I’ve always been a geek, and part of my problem has been a love for computer games. The Sims 3, for example, just released on June 2, 2009, is a work of modern art.
Create any person you want – a rock star, a dysfunctional family, a vegetarian neurotic – and let them loose in a colorful, slightly kooky simulated world and watch the shenanigans. You can control what jobs they take, their personalities, the friend and enemies they make, create complex, sordid lives, it’s all up to you. For some people their pleasure is much simpler – one favorite pastime is to put a “Sim” (as they are affectionately called) in a house, lead her into a closet, take away the door using the House Editor, and watch her die.
I, on the contrary, prefer creation over destruction. I was inspired by one creative blogger’s Sim game / anthropological study focusing on the digital lives of Alice and Kev, a homeless father and daughter who try to live out their lives in a cold and unforgiving Simtown. I figured: why not try to live out a simulated life in this wonderfully weird alterverse?
“One SimLife to Live” – Episode 1
It was Friday night, and Allan sighed heavily as he stirred his pot of Mac & Cheese. He was exhausted and hungry after a strange and harrowing first day in Sunset Valley. He didn’t have enough money to pick up milk on his way home, so even his Mac & Cheese was going to be insufficiently creamy.
He tried to think of why his day went so badly. There was one big problem, however: he couldn’t remember most of it.
The day started well enough. Allan’s landlord was an eccentric, sweet old lady, and she eagerly volunteered more info about his roommate as she handed him his house keys.
Allan couldn’t wait to meet him! But he had a whole day of errands to run first, which included reporting to his new job as a paper boy for the Daily Landgraab, one of the town’s two rival newspapers. Allan also wanted to tour the new town, so he headed to the park at the town center to gain his bearings.
While in the public restroom admiring the tasteful red brick decor, Allan stumbled upon an old friend from elementary school! They hugged and talked about old times. Although Parker was a linebacker on the high school football team and an excellent student, he decided to move to Sunset Valley because of its famous music school. He wanted to play guitar and was pulling together a rock band. It’s a small world, isn’t it?
Allan clapped his hands and tried to sing a few bars to “audition” for his band.
“So what do you think?”
Parker laughed. “I think you need to enroll in the school, too.”
Allan said sure, why not? (He smiled to himself, thinking he wouldn’t mind going to school with Parker again.)
Allan then stepped out and headed toward the grocery store, when suddenly…
Allan suddenly found himself in another place, standing near the City Hall at the other end of the square. He was reeling from a blow to his rear end, first-class delivered by Mr. Nick Alto himself, the owner of nearly half of Sunset Valley!
“That is the last time you cross me, Mr. Cruz!” said Mr. Alto, his voice hoarse from decades of smoking and yelling at his wife and children.
“What? Where am I?”
“You’re in MY town, mister! And don’t you forget it. Now scram!”
“I don’t know who you are, and I don’t know what just happened,” Allan blurted. “But I’m going to be something someday, like a great, great writer! And you know what I’ll do then?”
Mr. Alto smirked.
“I’ll write about bad, bad people like you know who!”
Mr. Alto sneered. “Wouldn’t you know? A regular wordsmith.”
He turned on his boot and walked toward the City Hall.
Allan dusted himself off and headed toward the grocery store. What just happened? Allan reached into his pocket to get his wallet, but it was gone! Someone had taken it!
Disheartened, Allan went to the police station and reported his lost wallet. From there, he went to the newspaper office and got a tour of the building. He tried his best to smile in front of his new co-workers, but his body was still smarting from his encounter with Mr. Alto. He had bruises in other places where he did not remember getting hit as well. The tour lasted much longer than he would have liked.
By the time Allan was done, night had fallen.
Allan returned home, but his roommate had still not arrived. He looked around at the furnishings, picking out those items he had brought, thinking about what he should sell off to cover immediate expenses. Maybe he could call Parker and ask for a loan? He had his phone number now…
… As Allan stirred his dinner, he tried to make sense of the Mr. Alto incident. Who had robbed him? Was it Mr. Alto? But that made no sense – Mr. Alto was the richest man in town, and for some reason Mr. Alto was angry at him.
Allan had no idea what to expect, now that he had made enemies with someone so powerful.
At this moment the doorbell rang. Allan put down the bowl and opened the door.
“Hi, I’m David!” said a teenager with a breathy voice. “Sorry I rang — I left my keys here earlier. I didn’t know you’d be gone all day, haha.”