A couple of my kids have taken a break from playing Skyrim (shock) to get reacquainted with The Sims. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with that game. Basically, it’s where you have a character or a family that you direct in day-to-day situations, such as a job and social interactions, fix up their house, buy furnishings and gadgets, and try to keep your people happy. Each Sim has a different personality that you customize when you’re creating your character, so different things will make each Sim happy. Some Sims are shy and uncomfortable in social situations, while others are party animals, for example.
Well, a few years ago our family was on a Sims kick. I even got into it for a few weeks until I remembered I have real-life stuff to do, and I wandered off to work in my real-life kitchen and try not to set myself on fire. But I did have a lot of fun with it, and there are some memorable Sim moments that we still laugh about. A few nights ago, we reminisced about some of our Sims’ adventures.
Lia was 10 or 11 when we got the first version of the game, and Emily, at 5 or 6, decided to try playing too. It’s difficult to keep even one Sim happy, let alone juggle an entire family, but she always wanted the whole package. A mom, a dad, and at least two kids. She’d inevitably come running out of the room crying like she was badly traumatized. The reason? She couldn’t properly take care of so many characters, so the social worker would come and take her kids. Then she’d just add more kids (by the act of “woo hoo”, where the characters jump under the bed covers and giggle a lot while bouncing around, then you have the option to allow your Sim to become pregnant), and a day or so later she’d start sobbing again because her new kids were taken away. The social worker wore a bunny costume and hopped into the house, grabbed the kids, then hopped away, and the mother Sim would sob for a few minutes before getting over it and wandering into the kitchen for a snack.
I’m still a bit shocked that Emily doesn’t have a lasting fear of the Easter bunny, or of social workers. Oh, and incidentally, you can also woo hoo in hot tubs. I ended up banning the kids from woo hoo-ing at all. “Do not make your Sims woo hoo, or you’re grounded from the game! That’s only for grownups!”
Lia’s first Sims were based off her Aunt Lara and Uncle Ted. They resembled the real Lara and Ted in name only. Sim Lara had short hair and a giant butt, and dressed in tacky running sweats–the complete opposite of my thin and glamorous sister. Sim Ted was kind of a spaz. Well, so is my brother-in-law, but his Sim counterpart caught fire to the stove while cooking macaroni and cheese, and he died trying to put the fire out. The real Ted is a gourmet chef. Lia doesn’t know exactly how it happened, but somehow Sim Lara made a deal with the grim reaper and Sim Ted came back as a green undead Sim, and they went about their daily lives as if nothing was unusual. Even the neighborhood Sims didn’t seem to mind that their neighbor was a zombie, and he was still invited to their parties.
I should explain that different players on the same game disc can have Sims in the same neighborhood, and they interact with other players’ Sims. This led to no end of nonsense. My method of playing was to use a cheat that gave you unlimited money (if someone has the cheat code for that in real life, please send it to me), so my Sims never had to work. They bought mansions and lavishly decorated them, then pursued their interests until they were the freakin’ happiest Sims who ever lived. Sims like to throw parties, it makes them very happy to have lots of neighbors attend and have a great time, so I became a party-planning genius. When my kids’ Sims showed up at my house and developed friendships with my characters, madness ensued.
|If I can’t have a house like this in real life,
I might as well get one in the virtual world. Right?
When Sims 2 came out, we all started playing anew. Lia must have been 12 or 13 at this time. She’d create a male character, and tried getting him interested in the local girls. (You can develop relationships in the game, and have your Sims get married and raise a family.) For some reason, her male Sims always ended up in a hot tub or swimming pool flirting with a neighborhood guy. She’d get frustrated, delete him, and create a new character only to have it happen again.
I had my own frustrations with my little Sim family. My characters were a married couple who didn’t get along no matter what I tried. They refused to start a family together. One day, they were clothes shopping at the mall, and my female Sim kept nagging her husband. He’d glumly follow her around, trying on shirts. Lia’s new character walked in and struck up a conversation. Since my guy’s social bar was way low, I was happy to see a new budding friendship. Then they both started dancing in the store among the clothing racks! Little animated hearts floated over Lia’s Sim’s head. Then my female Sim came over and got into a huge screaming match with both guys.
“Guess what?” I said to Lia when she got home from school. “Your new Sim fell in love with my character’s husband!”
“AAAAAAGH!” she screamed, and stomped off to the computer to delete him and create a female character this time.
Emily’s Sim was this weird guy in a green kilt. I can’t remember what she named him, but we all called him Kilt Guy. He was a womanizer who showed up at everyone’s house at odd hours and got into their food. By this time, I’d abandoned my unhappy couple and created a single female Sim, hoping to have her fall in love with a cute guy and get her married. She had an awesome house and threw rocking parties, even though she was a bit of a social recluse who played piano like a maestro.
She had a parrot that she spent hours teaching to talk (hours in the Sim world take seconds in real time). Just when that parrot was getting really cool and smart, he up and died for no reason! When I was still sitting there gawping in shock, my Sim walked into the room in her pj’s, noticed her dead bird, and stood in front of his cage for 2 hours bawling her eyes out. Then, suddenly, she forgot about him and went off to play the piano. Her maid came in, shook her head at the dead bird, and threw him in the garbage.
I decided to set my Sim up with Kilt Guy. After a whirlwind courtship of all of one day, she accepted his marriage proposal, they got hitched, and he moved in. I soon got really annoyed with Kilt Guy. For one thing, he kept flirting with all the other neighbors during our parties. And he was a huge dork. I didn’t want to delete my Sim and start over, since I’d worked really hard to develop her skills and talents. I didn’t know if Sims would get divorced, but I figured it was worth a try. So I had her pick fights with him at every possible opportunity. Finally, she threw him out. He walked off sobbing, and I did feel bad for him for about one Sim hour. But he kept coming back, incessantly ringing her doorbell when she was practicing the piano, or crashing her parties when he wasn’t invited. They’d argue and he’d leave crying.
I created another character, a guy based off Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore (yum). Since I planned on hooking him up with my Sim, I only gave him a tiny one-room shack to live in. I soon realized he needed a toilet, since they’ll get really unhappy if they can’t pee anywhere. So, not wanting to waste time building additional rooms, I stuck his toilet in the living room. Then I set about getting Martin and my Sim to meet.
They spent their first date watching tv at Martin’s house. Apparently my Sim had really low standards, since his shack didn’t seem to bother her at all. He cooked her a meal without setting fire to the kitchen, and they were getting along great–until he had to pee. He refused to go in front of her, since the toilet was located right next to the tv. Moving it out to the yard didn’t work either, because apparently Martin was really modest. (Unlike some Sims. My friends Heather and Joe told me about when they were playing, they stuck a toilet in their front yard next to the mailbox to see what would happen. Random people would walk by, stop and ponder the toilet, then sit down and use it! Even the mailman.) Finally, Martin just lost control of his bladder and had an accident all over the kitchen floor in full view of my Sim. She just sat there laughing hysterically at some tv show she was watching, while he cried like a baby and mopped the mess up.
Still, for some reason they refused to fall in love no matter how many times I had them hang out together. They were great friends, though. Until I bought a heart-shaped hot tub and stuck it in Martin’s yard. Then all kinds of girls fell in love with him, including my Sim. She got pretty catty with the other neighborhood ladies. I’ll have to admit I did too. “You get away from Martin, you hussy, he’s MINE!”
They had a lovely backyard wedding attended by almost all the neighbors. Kilt Guy crashed their reception, got drunk, yelled at a buffet table for getting in his way, then jumped into the hot tub and started hitting on all the wedding guests.