Maxis has changed the name of a trait that has been found in The Sims series since at least 2009, renaming the insane trait to erratic in the current version of The Sims 4.
The change is a small one in the grand scheme of things—only the name itself has been altered— but it’s a small change that could stand to have a positive impact on how mental illness is handled and represented in video games.
Kotaku first picked up on the new name, noting that the shift from insane to erratic was quietly implemented and not mentioned in the game’s most recent patch notes. The change follows another Kotaku story that criticized the insane trait as a misrepresentation of mental illness, arguing that the connotations of the word ‘insane’ and the trait’s behavior in-game are a harmful mismatch.
The original insane trait gave an in-game character unprompted mood swings and a habit of behaving inappropriately in some situations, and is represented by an icon of a torso in a straight jacket.
Following the update, the behavior and icon for the trait remain the same but all mentions of the word ‘insane’ have been replaced with the word ‘erratic’, something that Kotaku notes better fits with both the tone of the game and the in-game behaviors belonging by the trait itself.