|“||Every Sim needs to eat, and every meal is now full of choices: cook at home, eat in town, or order a pizza!||”|
— The Sims 3
Hunger is one of the basic needs of a Sim. It is primarily satisfied by consuming food; not fulfilling this need can result in death. Hunger also has a strong effect on job and school performance. A Sim who goes to work or school hungry will not do well.
Refrigerators allow Sims to have a snack, a frozen heat-and-eat meal, or a regular meal at home. A Sim can also serve a group meal (which is the same as a regular meal except one Sim prepares several servings). The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and The Sims 4 added several cold foods, such as cereal, sandwiches, ice cream, and instant meals-in-a-can.
Food is less filling in The Sims and The Sims 2 than later games. A meal only fills about half the hunger bar in The Sims and The Sims 2, compared to almost the entire bar in The Sims 3 and The Sims 4, so as a result Sims will typically eat more meals a day in the former two games.
If a Sim is lacking a refrigerator for whatever reason, or is unable to cook, they can also phone for a pizza. However, eating a pizza is not nearly as fulfilling as cooking a meal, and it can take quite a while for it to arrive. Also, a pizza is more expensive than a group meal, costing §20-40. In The Sims, an adult Sim without a refrigerator can also satisfy hunger on their home lot by cooking food on a barbecue.
Sims have other options of filling their hunger meter as well. If a bar is present, drinks can provide a slight hunger boost. In The Sims: Makin' Magic, Sims can make bread, pies, and cakes. Sims can stock a buffet table to quickly provide food for a gathering of guests, or simply as an easy way to feed a large family. Children can use the toy oven to make a pastry that is more filling than snacks from the refrigerator.
How well a meal fills the hunger meter depends on several factors. In The Sims, it mostly depends on the Sim's cooking skill, but is also affected by the quality of the refrigerator. In other games, with more types of food available, it primarily depends on the type of food. In all games, if a stove or oven was used, it will be affected by the quality of that appliance. It can also be affected by the quality and cleanness of the preparation surface, and the use of a food processor. (In The Sims, a food processor will automatically be used if present and accessible. In later games, if a food processor is present, it will automatically be used for foods that require chopping.) In The Sims 2, The Sims 3 and The Sims 4, some types of food may be more satisfying if the Sim preparing them has a higher level of cooking skill than is needed to be able to make them. In The Sims 2 (console) a Sim can search through a couch and find the item Zombie Monkey Paw. It maxes out a random need, including hunger.
Eating away from home
The introduction of community lots in The Sims: Hot Date added ways for Sims to satisfy their hunger. Hot Date introduced restaurants, which were also available in The Sims 2: Nightlife and The Sims 2: Open for Business, (as rabbit holes) in The Sims 3, and in The Sims 4: Dine Out. Community lots in The Sims could have a variety of carts, kiosks, and stands, depending on which expansion packs were installed. The Sims 2: University added the ShinyTyme Cooktop, which could be used to provide basic cafeteria service on community lots in sub-neighborhoods. The Sims 2: Apartment Life added the One Complete Diner food stand, which sold gyros, hot dogs, and hamburgers. The Sims 3: Late Night added food trucks, while The Sims 4: City Living introduced food stalls. In all four games, barbecue grills can be placed on community lots.
In The Sims 2 and The Sims 3, Sims may get fed while they are at work or school if their hunger motive is low enough, though this does not always happen.
Of course, if a Sim's hunger meter reaches zero, the Sim dies of starvation. Therefore, it is essential that it does not reach zero. Sims will inform the player if they are hungry, usually by refusing to do tasks, or becoming extremely grumpy. In The Sims 3 and The Sims 4, they will receive a hungry moodlet. Babies will be taken away by the social worker before they starve to death. In The Sims 2, The Sims 3, and The Sims 4, toddlers, and children will also be taken away by the social worker before they can starve. Pregnant Sims can't starve in The Sims 3 and The Sims 4. In The Sims 3, the Starving moodlet timer resets when the hunger motive depletes and in The Sims 4, when their hunger meter reaches zero, they will pull a snack out of their pocket and eat it, even if there is nothing in their inventory.
Because gravestones are spawned upon death in The Sims 3, Sims can only starve to death inside of a lot.
An adult Sim with a full hunger motive and standard motive decay takes about:
- 52.5 hours to die from starvation in The Sims 2.
- 64.5 hours to die from starvation in The Sims 3.
- 63 hours to die from starvation in The Sims 4.
Neglecting the hunger need in The Sims 3 and The Sims 4 will give a hungry Sim the "Hungry" moodlet, or the "Famished" moodlet for a glutton Sim in The Sims 4. In The Sims 3, the moodlet develops into "Very Hungry" and "Starving", while in The Sims 4 it develops into "Ravenous". If the "Starving" or "Ravenous" moodlet expires, the hungry Sim will die of starvation. Toddlers have the second two moodlets for 12 hours and babies have "Very Hungry" and "Starving" for a mere 8 hours.[TS3]
In The Sims 3, Sims can buy the "Hardly Hungry" lifetime reward for 25,000 lifetime points. This will cut the decay rate of hunger to ¼ of usual. In The Sims 4, Sims can buy the "Hardly Hungry" trait from the satisfaction reward store for 4,000 satisfaction points. This makes the hunger decay rate slower. Sims can also buy the "Forever Full" trait for 10,000 satisfaction points, which makes the hunger need never decay.
- The Sims 3
|Image||Moodlet Name||Mood Effect||Time Period||From||Description||Notes|
|Hungry||No Mood Effect||3 Hours||Low Hunger Need||Your Sim's a wee bit peckish. The stomach growling isn't far behind.||After the 3 hours it will change to "Very Hungry".|
|Very Hungry||-40 Mood||24 Hours||Very Low Hunger Need||Gnawing hunger is not a good feeling for Sims. Feed regularly to avoid.||12 hours for Toddlers/children and 7 hours for babies. Changes to Starving when time expires|
|Starving||-80 Mood||24 Hours||Critically Low Hunger Need||Allowing Sims to starve is quite cruel! Get Sim some food immediately to avoid an unnecessary death.||
If the Sim is outside or is pregnant, the timer resets to 7 hours.
|Hungry Like The Wolf||No Mood Effect||24 Hours||Very Low Hunger Need||There's hungry, and there's hungry like the wolf. "Like the wolf" in this case means "with little disregard to the food's age or quality."||Werewolves only; received after the "Hungry" moodlet expires.[confirmation needed] This moodlet appears along with the "Very hungry" moodlet.|
|Hunger Striking||-5||During Protest||Protesting||(Sim Name) is enduring some serious hunger for a good cause.||Appears when performing a hunger strike.|
- The Sims 4
|Image||Moodlet Name||Effect||Emotion||Time Period||From||Description||Notes|
|Hungry||1||Uncomfortable||24 Hours||Low Hunger Need||(Sim Name) is Hungry! Eat some food before the Hunger gets worse!||Changes to "Ravenous" when timer expires.|
|Famished||2||Uncomfortable||24 Hours||Low Hunger Need||For Gluttons, hunger is a bit more than a mild inconvenience...||Glutton Sims only. Changes to "Ravenous" when timer expires.|
|Ravenous||40||Uncomfortable||24 Hours||Critically Low Hunger Need||(Sim Name) needs food now!||Death by Starvation when the timer expires.|
At least in The Sims and The Sims 2, one issue players face is making sure that Sims have time to eat. Normally in these games, Sims eat at a set pace, and will not eat faster even if they are at risk of missing the carpool or school bus, or of falling asleep while they eat. The Sims 3 compensates for that by having Sims take out quick meals from the refrigerator or eating a harvestable rather than a full meal.
A related issue, at least in The Sims and The Sims 2, is that Sims are very social creatures, and love to talk over meals. They love it so much that talking over a meal will significantly increase the amount of time Sims take to eat it.
Equivalents for other life states
While PlantSims[TS2:S] have no true equivalent of hunger, their Water motive has some elements of hunger, in that a PlantSim will die if the motive is depleted. Also, some things which fulfill hunger in normal Sims, such as drinking juice or a toddler drinking from a bottle, will fill this need.
For SimBots[TS3:A], the equivalent of hunger is Scrap Reserves. SimBots can fill this need by eating scrap, which is what they prefer, or by eating Sim food. However, unlike other life states, SimBots never die when their scrap reserves are depleted. Instead, they will short out, and can be repaired by Sims with high handiness skill.
For Vampires in The Sims 3: Late Night and The Sims 4: Vampires, the equivalent of Hunger is "Thirst". This motive is filled by drinking Plasma, the Sim-equivalent of blood. They can get plasma by draining Sims, from Plasma Fruit, which is a new plant, or by snacking on Plasmapacks. Similar to death by starvation, in The Sims 3 Vampires can die by thirst. The ghost of a vampire who dies in this way is red, with a pulsing red light beating where the heart would be. The image on the tombstone is that of a bat and the stone itself has a slight red tinge. In The Sims 4: Vampires, vampires cannot die of thirst but instead risk attacking a random Sim, however, it can be counteracted by the "Tamed Thirst" vampire perk.
The Sims 3: Late Night
The Sims 4: Vampires
- Called "Quick Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner" in The Sims, "TV Dinner" in The Sims 2, and "Microwave Meal" in The Sims 3
- It will not spawn a cafeteria worker if placed on a base-neighborhood community lot.
- Twitterview with Grant Rodiek