To whoever built the Milstein Center in The Sims 4 over the summer—we feel you.

Ahh, The Sims: the game that you buy, play for the whole weekend, then never pick up again because it gives your laptop a two-minute battery life and the gameplay isn’t even that great. For all of its downsides, there are few other forms of escapism where you can create yourself and your crush as a happily married couple while also being a vampire evil scientist who paints and makes rocket ships! It seems that people use The Sims to simulate the life experiences they might not be able to have otherwise—which, for some, includes studying in those sweet, sweet libraries on Barnard’s and Columbia’s campuses. Here’s a tour of two virtual buildings that people have made in the past year.

The Milstein Center

What a beautiful exterior! While it’s only the first four stories of Milstein, godiego24’s build called “Milstein :)” in The Sims 4 gallery is surprisingly accurate to the real-life Milstein Center! It’s missing a few pieces in my game (including wall paint) because I refuse to buy all the expansion packs, but the spirit and attention to detail are definitely still there.

The first floor has the iconic Peet’s, green chairs, and pre-COVID-19 communal spaces that you can see just as you enter the building. Even though it’s a fairly faithful recreation, the green chairs just don’t quite live up to their real-life counterparts—but what really can? Even with these setbacks, the conference rooms are all there with their big screens and speaker’s pedestals, and the Empirical Reasoning Center is there too! This recreation also includes the makerspace with a funky little painting on an easel! The only thing that’s a bit concerning is the garden gnome that’s hidden behind the counter of what’s supposed to be Peet’s.

The second floor is also surprisingly accurate, even including the personal librarians’ offices (?!) and the zine library area! It includes an abundance of green chairs, but not quite as many bookshelves as there actually are on the second floor.

The third and fourth floors are also pretty accurate (although, I haven’t seen the fourth floor in a year so who am I to say?) and have a great load of seating like they do in real life. Overall, these four floors of the library are an absolute blast—even if the walls aren’t painted! godiego24 uploaded this last summer while everyone was away from campus, so this is almost all according to memory! They deserve a huge round of applause.

But wait…there’s more!

If we go downstairs, we enter a liminal space that isn’t too different from the Barnard tunnels. Right next to the stairs is the entrance to the Movement Lab, marked by its funky colors! Then, moving on a bit, there’s a bunch of lockers on the walls, and if we venture further we’ll find Hewitt dining hall! Once again, admittedly, Hewitt isn’t under Milstein, but the ~journey~ is what matters most of all. If I bought into EA’s money grabs more, this area would be much more robust, but you get the picture.

All in all, I’m tremendously impressed by godiego24’s recreation! Just adapting a real building into a game like The Sims is hard, but going based on memory? Impossible! godiego24, wherever you are, you’ve got a fan.

Butler Library

On the other side of the coin, we’ve got what appears to be a recreation of Butler from angelaVzO called “Columbia New York Uni. Al.” Upon first glance, you might shrug and say, “Sure, that looks a little bit like Butler.” It’s got the columns; it’s got the three little sections of grass in front of it. Unlike godiego24, however, I doubt that angelaVzO goes to Columbia or has seen this building in person.

Although I’m much more unfamiliar with Butler, I don’t think that it has a ceiling floating above it (unsure though) and I’m fairly sure there’s nowhere on Columbia’s campus that looks like that. The façade, at least, has the same energy as Butler does, but the trees give it its grandeur rather than the neo-classical columns.

Upon entering the building, though, all similarities dissolve. Again, despite my unfamiliarity with Butler, I don’t think that the entrance has lockers lining the walls, and I’m at least half sure that the floor isn’t tiled like that. Though I’m no judge, having only entered Butler twice before, I doubt that the second and third floors are just cavernous space.

When comparing these two campus personalities, it’s quickly apparent which one was made by a Columbia student with care and which wasn’t. In any case, these two buildings are the only Columbia recreations that appear in The Sims 4 gallery. godiego24 has made it clear that it’s not impossible to recreate these buildings, and maybe their hard work will inspire other people to go forth and remake Columbia buildings in The Sims.

sims CU libraries via the gamer girl author of this post