The Sims Update
I don’t know about you people: but I still play The Sims. In fact, I still play The Sims 2. We have The Sims 4, but only on the laptop; the desktop only has Sims 2. We don’t have Sims 3 at all. Because Sims 3 sucked.
A couple of years ago, I read an article about unusual topics for college application essays; the one that spoke to me most clearly was a young woman who had applied to college and used The Sims to explain herself to the admissions officers: because you see, she had been playing the same game of The Sims for four years, and she had carried her Sims through twenty-seven generations.
That blew my mind. Just imagine that: if the average Sim takes 30 years to reproduce (If you’ve never played the Sims, they generally take one full day, 24 hours, of Sim time to be equivalent to a year of life; you have three days as an infant, then four as a toddler, then eight as a child, ten as a teenager, and 28 as an adult before you become a senior; how long you live as a senior is dependent on how happy and fulfilling your life has been up to that point. So yeah, about 30 Sim days before they can reproduce), 27 generations is coming up on a millennium of Sims. A Simillennium. I’ve never even played my Sims through three generations — though that’s usually because I kill them.
I’m something of an afficionado of Sim murder. Simicide.
But I was inspired. I was going to start a new game of Sims, I decided; and this time, I wasn’t going to do what I usually do, and make up the wackiest Sim I could think of — wasn’t going to make a pirate who lived in a house shaped like a ship, wasn’t going to make a family of Cthulhu worshipers, or mafiosos, or a sweatshop where imprisoned Sims paint pictures all day for their abusive and tyrannical overlord. This time I was going to play the Sim families that came in the pre-generated neighborhood, play them straight, and see if I could run them through many generations.
So I’ve been working on that. It’s hard, honestly: because there are a lot of families, and I can only play for a little while each day. I’m afraid the whole endeavor is now doomed, because this desktop, as it nears a decade of life, is breaking down; and I don’t know what will happen to my Sims when the computer dies. Will I re-install this game, now over a decade old, onto my new desktop? Will the neighborhood be saved with the files from this computer, and transferred onto the new one? Or will their universe collapse into oblivion, and I will need to start over again? Will I be willing to start over again, or will I just play more Diablo III?
Plus my penchant for strange Sims has proven inescapable: already in this neighborhood I’m planning my next serial Sim killer. I already have a witch in a lesbian relationship with a vampire. Another witch, this one evil, who seduced her sister’s husband and bore him a child. A trailer trash gold-digger who married an old man for his money.
Here’s the thing: I love The Sims because it invites story-telling. You can create a whole new person, and for me, that’s an opportunity to build a character with a backstory, and then run that person through conflict and resolution, conflict and resolution. And I love story-telling. It’s kind of what I do.
So here’s the new plan. I’m going to post updates on my Sims on this here blog. Not every week — I know not everyone finds The Sims as interesting as I do. But whenever I have something particularly interesting and wacky happen, I’ll tell you all about it. That way, even if the game ends when the computer does, at least I’ll have gotten something out of it. I’ll have told some stories. Hopefully they’ll be good ones.
Here’s the first story, though it’s actually corollary to The Sims. This morning, when I was floating this idea, of occasional Sims updates on the blog, past my wife, we were out walking our dog. And she was skeptical at first, questioning whether this would be terribly boring — because I generally play every day, for a little while, and the thought of daily updates was enervating: “I got my Sim a promotion today! Now he’s ninth level in the Medical career!” No no no, I told her. I would post less frequently, and just about the amusing and strange things that my Sims do.
“Like, ‘Today I got my swingers to impregnate each others’ wives!'” I said. Loudly.
And just then, a man out speed-walking for exercise walked past us, and heard just that last statement, without context. That was the strangest look I’ve received in a long time.
I think now that my Sims are strange because they take after me.