I realize this is an uncharacteristic post: it's about how to solve a hard part on a VIDEO GAME. But I spent so much time trying to solve it, and had to apologize for snapping at the children over it, and CRIED over it, and vented to Paul in a quavery voice about it, and so I am PUTTING THE INFORMATION HERE in case anyone else wants it. The last time I was this frustrated was when I wrote my Evenflo car seat post, and that's been one of my most enduringly popular posts of ALL TIME (as well as one of the few in which I use Bad Language), so it seems to me this is one of the things the internet is FOR: searching for solutions to EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING PROBLEMS and finding what worked for other people. And so when I solve something extremely frustrating, I like to post it. I think you should, too, in case you were wondering how I thought you should live your blogging life. SHARE THE WEALTH.
So. On Sims 2. Or Sims II, if that's what you typed into the search engine. When you want to get a kid into private school, this is how I finally solved it:
1. Save the game right after you have a Sim call the headmaster to come over for dinner. Don't save it again until you succeed and the child has been accepted into private school. This way, every time you fail you can quit the game without saving, and then you can try again. You can call it cheating, but I'm not listening: EVERY video game my kids play lets them start a level again and again until they get it right, and The Sims is the only one that doesn't allow a single redo.
2. Also, be prepared that your Sims will turn into crazy thwarty McThwartersons as soon as you try to accomplish this task. Mine were all "I think I'll go to bed now!" and "I think I'll take a shower" and "I think I'll suddenly go work on a painting!"---even though normally they were not so strong-willed. I had to keep pausing the game CONSTANTLY, just to make sure all of them were ACTIVELY FOLLOWING MY INSTRUCTIONS. And even so, a Sim was answering the phone when I'd x'ed out that idea THREE TIMES and ALSO replaced it with a new activity, which he ignored! It was...very frustrating. (I should have just switched off free will, but I was too flustered to think of it.)
3. When the headmaster comes over (he will come over right at 5:00, and he might be any one of several different headmasters), ignore the prompt to give him a tour. Don't give him a tour. If you WANT to give him a tour, what you do is select Entertain and then Give Tour, and then click "Go Here" in a room so your Sim will go there. The headmaster will follow. Then click the headmaster and choose "Show Room." Then repeat with a different room. But don't bother! It's incredibly frustrating and takes forever, and my tour-giving Sim kept trying to wander off to take an unneeded shower or sit down for an unneeded rest.
4. Instead, have one Sim talk to him: just Talk, and select Chat, over and over. NO SCHMOOZE. Ignore the suggestion to schmooze. I know there's a Schmooze Score, but ignore it. JUST TALK. DON'T NOBODY SCHMOOZE. The schmooze score will go up with the talking. The schmoozing is like with flirting or hugging or whatever: the score goes DOWN if you do it before there's a relationship established. Probably you can schmooze after there has been enough talking, but I didn't even try, I just talked and talked, and the Schmooze score went up and up.
5. The other Sim should cook a meal. You're supposed to have that Sim select Entertain and then Call to Meal, but this is BUGGY and might not work and might in fact VANISH as an option after you select it. DON'T PANIC. Once the meal is served, have the talking Sim stop talking to the headmaster and go eat, and the headmaster will come over to the table. (I hope. I HOPE the headmaster will come over to the table. It's glitchy, and in a couple of my attempts he wouldn't go there no matter what, which is why you should save the game first. But in the one where I finally won, he did go to the table.) Get as many other people as possible to sit at the table too. (I don't actually know if this is important. But it's what I did the time I succeeded, so now it's like a lucky rabbit foot to me.) Other sites told me not to cook chef salad so I didn't; other sites said to cook pork chops or lobster or salmon, and my Sims always burn the lobster and salmon, so I had them do pork chops. Other sites told me to make sure the Sim doing the cooking was the best cook in the house and that the Sim was pretty high in cooking; the Sim who did the meal had 8 skill points in cooking.
6. Things that I thought might be important, but weren't: having all the family meet the headmaster; having the child talk to and/or impress and/or schmooze the headmaster; entertaining the headmaster by letting him play chess; the tour; the schmoozing; everyone eating together; everyone being awake during the visit.
7. Things that were in fact important: having someone talk a bunch of times to the headmaster to build the relationship; feeding the headmaster a meal; knowing that this part of the game was full of bugs. I ended up with a ZERO score for the tour, and still got the child into private school with a score of 98 out of an apparently necessary 90 points (when I got 83 points, the child's application was rejected). I also ended up with a new facial tic.
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