Are you ready for yet another super niche post? I feel like this one requires a bit of preamble for the regular, non-simmer viewer of this blog before I jump into it, though perhaps I’m being a bit optimistic to suspect any non-simmers will be interested in a post like this.
Berry simming is a term used to describe a certain style of playing The Sims. I go into more detail below on what kind of style that is, but it’s basically become its own little subculture on the Tumblr “simblr” community (portmanteau of “Sims” and “Tumblr,” referring the wider community of Tumblr blogs devoted to documenting the lives of their sims mainly through screenshots and written stories.) One type of story, the “legacy,” is generally when a simmer takes one sim and then chronicles their entire lives and the lives of their descendants for ten generations. Often these legacies will add on other rules to the generic 10-generation rule, one specific type I reference in this post is the “rainbowcy,” where each generation is meant to represent a different color.
I think that’s all the background a non-simmer would need to at least begin to piece together what I’m talking about, but seriously, don’t be upset if you don’t understand. This is quite niche, even for me.
Welcome to the world of berry sims!
You’ve seen them on your Tumblr dashboards, colorful, “eye-searing,” sims with candy/fruit/flower/etc names and carefully selected color schemes. To a regular simmer playing non-berry, or vanilla, sims, it may be confusing how to even go about simming in this particular style. How do you find all of the clothing that matches the hair colors and skin colors and eye colors? And probably mostly you’ll be wondering what compels people to sim in this style.
I hope to answer many of these questions and more in the following post. I see a lot of confusion and interest in the regular simming community regarding our sweet little segment, so I thought it might be fun to whip up a little beginner’s guide to berry simming, as well as answer some frequently-asked questions.
What are berry sims?
“Berry sims” is a term used to refer to a specific style of sims known for colorful skin, hair, and eye colors along with clothing that matches. They are also generally named after their color – think “Strawberry Shortcake” characters and you’re on the right track, but add in unnaturally-colored genetics.
The term was originally coined and popularized by a simmer known as Berry. Though Berry recently retired from the simming community as a whole, for years she was the mother of Berry simming, and honestly, to me and to many others, she still is. Her Splash of Color legacy story was a seminal work in the Berry community which spawned an entire separate Rainbowcy challenge based on it, which many berry simmers made their own stories based on. (More on this later).
Why make berry sims?
A sentiment I see expressed in the non-berry simming community often is “Why?” The short answer is: “Why not?”
The long answer is a good chance, I think, for me to explain what I personally find appealing about berry sims.
I started playing the Sims when I was 12 years old, and I was initially drawn to the game thanks to the huge storytelling community behind it. I loved sims stories, especially legacies, and I wanted to create the same sweeping, generations-long stories I had seen repeatedly across blogs and forum posts.
Though at first I was mainly inspired by normal, vanilla legacies, I stumbled across Splash of Color and absolutely devoured it. I caught up somewhere in Generation Six and followed the legacy through (almost) to its completion. What struck me about Splash of Color was how beautiful and colorful it was. Berry’s world was so vibrant, so joyful, that I couldn’t help but be curious about putting berries into my own game.
And at the time, in the Sims 3 era, it was much easier to have berry sims in your game thanks to the Create-a-Style tool – all you really needed was to download an unnatural skin ramp – Fawkes’s was the popular one – and you’d be more or less set. So even I, a twelve-year-old with limited knowledge of downloading custom content, could easily start making berry sims of my own.
And they became very addicting very fast. One of the reasons I always enjoyed legacies was the genetic aspect – I liked the idea of creating one sim and then seeing how their descendants both resembled and didn’t resemble them as the generations went on. Berries showed this genetic aspect in an even more striking way as the colors of the individual parents mixed to create new color combinations, and those combinations got more varied as the generations went down the line.
Color is such a striking characterizing force, too, and I found the bright and distinctive colors of each of my sims made them stick in my mind. It also helped a young, not particularly talented decorator or sim creator to have easy color schemes laid out for me, making sim-making and building a more obvious process.
Finally, and this is a lot more of a “just me” sort of thing, since your mileage can obviously vary here and entire communities are difficult to characterize so sweepingly, but I’ve always found the berry simming community to be a really friendly and creative place. Recently I’ve rejoined it and started updating my own simblr to start making my own berry legacies again, and it’s been a really positive experience. I’ve made a lot of great friends this way, all of whom are kind and creative and just a joy to hang with.
But that’s just me. Berry simming isn’t for everyone, but if you’re curious about giving it a try, I really think you should. I hope this guide can help you get started finding your own reasons to love berry sims.
How do I start berry simming in The Sims 4?
Probably the largest barrier for entry to the berry simming style is how to get started, especially now that the Create-a-Style tool is not available in TS4. The limited EA palette of hair, eye, and skin colors is not really flexible enough to make the wide range of colors berry sims are known for.
Thankfully, a lot of great custom content creators have risen up to meet the demand, creating their own palettes of unnatural colors and releasing content in those colors. Thanks to this, I personally think berry simming in The Sims 4 is easier than ever.
The palette and content creator I turn to most often for berry simming is Tai of Tainoodles and her Sorbet palette. The palette is 65 colors (16 colors total with four shades each plus a bonus peach color), and Tai has made skins, eyes, eyebrows, and recolored almost every EA hair and many custom content hairs in that palette (all of which are available for download on her blog).
In addition, a community of recolorers have sprung up to recolor many other items in this palette, including furniture, clothing, and other custom content hairs. The biggest collection of these can be found on this blog, also run by Tai, which is my number one source for adding more berry-compatible custom content into my game.
The Sorbet palette is not the only palette used by berry simmers, however. Another popular palette is Wildly Miniature Sandwich’s Sandwich palette. WMS has recolored many EA hairs, released the palette as eye colors, and releases their own custom content hairs in that palette. In addition, simmer DecafBrookie recently created skintones for the palette. You can also find objects, hairstyles, clothing, and more recolored in the Sandwich palette at this blog.
Those are just two of the many unnatural palettes I’m aware of, though I’m sure many more can be used to create beautiful and colorful sims.
Another common piece of custom content used by berry simmers are skin overlays. The unnatural palettes of skintones can often be really saturated, so for simmers who want more pastel skintones, the MouseyBlue Rising Sun skin overlay is a good option, and versions that don’t lighten the skin as much and versions that include freckles are also available.
Many other skin overlays will work well with berry skins as well, so if the Mouseyblue version doesn’t tickle your fancy, experiment with others!
Do I really have to download all that custom content?
While custom content certainly makes it a lot easier to create berry sims in The Sims 4, it’s by no means absolutely necessary. The EA palette already does have a few unnatural tones in it, and a creative simmer can create berry sims inspired by more natural tones as well. Many desserts, elements in nature, and more have brown and tan tones.
Another thing I see people do is make separate Mods folders for their berry custom content, and only keep that folder in their game when they’re playing their berry sims. Then, when they play with their vanilla sims, they take that folder out. That means that while you’re not playing with berry sims, you won’t have your computer bogged down by the extra custom content. It’s not a perfect solution, and it won’t work for those who play completely CC-free, but it’s there.
How do you get clothes to match your berry sims?
Besides downloading custom content clothing items recolored in the many unnatural palettes out there, there’s actually a very handy tool for dressing your berry sims built into the base game. If you click the tiny triangle next to the tags being shown for the clothes you’re looking at, you’ll be able to add on a tag to search for specific colors of clothing items.
It’s not perfect by any means, but berry simming in The Sims 4 often calls for being flexible with the colors and experimenting, especially if you don’t download custom content.
How do you name a berry sim?
Even as someone who makes… a lot of berry sims, it’s still a real struggle to name them at times. Often, Google is your best friend – I don’t know how many times I’ve searched -insert color here- fruit or flower or species of bees for a family of yellow sims I was making.
But, when you’re super stumped and can’t think of anything, there’s a great name list, sorted by color, that was complied by the Berry Sweet Banter discord server.
What’s the lore behind berry sims?
Though it’s fun (and really encouraged) to come up with lore behind your own worlds and stories, there is some common lore shared between many berry stories.
One notable piece of lore are raws. Raws are all-white berry sims with a culture obsessed with maintaining that “purity.” Many raws attempt to maintain their purity by arranging marriages only between other raws, and most are quite rich. They’re also incredibly controlling, obsessed with maintaining a perfect image.
There is also common terminology used to refer to types of berries. Berries that are all one color are usually called “shades,” while berries who are multiple colors are “mixed berries.” In many stories, mixed berries are discriminated against or have been in the past, and romantic relationships between berries of different colors is considered, or was considered in the past, taboo.
Other common pieces of lore include dreamwalkers, berry sims with the ability to interact with other dreamwalkers in their dreams, a concept introduced in Splash of Color. Color-shifters are berry sims who can shift the color of their genetics at will, a concept created by now-deleted simblr Pollen Punch. Some are signified by rainbow-colored eyes and are by default all white, but not always.
Several berry simmers use other terminology and lore in their stories and keep them all on one page, so I suggest poking around the tumblrs of your favorite berry creators to find inspiration for other pieces of lore. Many also contain “berrified” names for different locations in the game. The lore in this guide or on these pages are by no means necessary to include in every berry story, however, but might be a good start if you’re interested in telling stories with your berry sims.
What kind of berry legacy challenges are there?
There are a whole bunch of great berry-focused legacy challenges, both story-driven and gameplay-driven, out there! To link them all would be an impossible task, but I can show you a few very common ones. It’s also important to keep in mind that berries can be used in normal legacy challenges too!
This challenge’s rules are based on the original Splash of Color rainbowcy by Berry. Its rules are quite well-suited for a more story-driven gameplay style, but I personally played this challenge by myself just as gameplay and with a few little tweaks it can work well for that too. This challenge is a classic, and is surprisingly flexible for all kinds of different stories. Though it’s based on her original story, Berry did a good job at giving wiggle room in the rules to interpret things differently than she did, and I’ve seen many great berry creators on simblr really stretch this challenge in all sorts of interesting ways.
Another challenge that works best as a story-driven challenge, I absolutely adore this legacy challenge and it’s one of my personal favorites (after all, I’m doing it myself right now, haha). I think the color schemes are really fun and unique to this challenge, and so many of the generation themes really stretch the way I play my game. It’s also a little shorter than your typical 10-generation challenge, which might be attractive if this is going to be your first-ever attempt at doing a legacy.
If you’re a fan of Disney, this is the perfect challenge for you. While not required to be set in a historical time period, I’ve seen lots of DPRs that are, which gives this legacy a unique spin on the typical legacy format. I actually haven’t explored this legacy challenge much personally, but it has a lot of fun and interesting generations that seem like they could lend well both to gameplay and to story-driven simmers.
While this challenge claims to be for people who “hate berry sims,” I really love this challenge and I think it works well for berry sims as well. (Which I know, because I’ve been playing it with berry sims). However, this challenge is also an excellent option if you’re new to berry sims because it’s designed to work with the EA color palette, so you don’t necessarily have to download all of the custom content I discussed above. This challenge is very gameplay-focused and I think the thing I love most about it is the way it explores so many different facets of the game I don’t otherwise explore if I’m playing on my own.
A couple of other berry-based challenges to check out include the Sweet or Sour Legacy challenge by Sweetlysimss, the Fall into Wonderland Legacy Challenge by unicorns-tea-party (Another great legacy for first-time berry simmers), The Seasons of Gnomes Challenge by frolickinggnomes, and the A Box of Macarons Legacy Challenge by fairy-simss.
Give it a try!
The most important thing to know about berry sims is that there honestly aren’t that many rules. Fill your game with color and don’t worry about what is “expected” of you. And mostly… stay sweet!