i’ve been playing sims 3 a bit after being inspired by alice and kev. for those who haven’t seen or heard about them, alice and kev are two homeless sims in sims 3. the way alice and kev’s player portrays them, it seemed like there was quite a lot of serious ai advances and the story that was being told was a poignant and heartbreaking tale of realistically depicted homelessness. the things they got into, and the struggles they had seemed to be pretty realistic. strikingly realistic actually, and their player, robin burkinshaw, said on a number of occasions that she more or less let them do their own thing and let the free will ai make most of their decisions.
the realism of their story intrigued me, so i wanted to try it out. i considered doing homeless sims as well but besides being already done, i thought that would be hard to manage (i mean, obviously it’s hard to manage, just read the blog). so instead i thought i’d do a seriously dysfunctional family. i was thinking adultry, poverty, child neglect and possibly abuse, i wanted to see the sort of tension that existed between alice and kev when they had their big argument and subsequent falling-out. i was thinking huge screaming matches between the parents and seeing the effects of their behavior on the kids.
with that in mind, i created the parents. first, the dad: jimbo. my concept for jimbo was a big, beefy — but also very muscular — mean, redneck. jimbo is built like a linebacker, and i was imagining him having violent spells. when it came to personality traits, i gave him insanity, mean-spiritedness, and commitment issues, among other things.
the reality: jimbo was really good with the kids. he and kathy may not have been the best parents in terms of knowing how and when to take care of their needs, but jimbo was especially affectionate toward his son jimmy, and wanted to buy him a potty chair and teach him to go on the potty, and teach him to walk. he was less fantastic with charlene, and often made fun of her, but on the whole, i was somewhat disappointed by how much of an asshole he wasn’t. my conclusion is that parents, by default, love their kids. it’s unavoidable, no matter how effed-up they are and how much they don’t show it. being a parent, i can relate, but it wasn’t really what i was expecting for the game, and it made for much less drama and soap opera-ness.
the next character i built was kathy, the mom. i was thinking kind of skanky, redneck mom, who flirts with other men, hates children and even resents her own kids, and sees her whole married life being sort of a wasted existence. in choosing personality traits for her, i chose neurotic, hates children, mean-spirited, inappropriate, and flirty. her usual everyday attire is a tuxedo vest with nothing underneath and some low cut jeans, but usually she walks around the house in her short-cut, babydoll nightgown.
the reality: she was, as expected, a fairly horrid mom. whenever possible she just avoided doing anything for the kids and complained when she had to. she showed very little interest in her daughter, charlene. however, her and jimbo only really had a couple of serious screaming matches, and she still seriously wanted him to love her. this plotline was fairly interesting, actually, since jimbo has commitment issues, but, due to events that came later, didn’t get to play out as much as i would have liked.
charlene is the older daugher. she starts the game as a child and then shares her first “aging up” birthday with her younger brother, jimmy. she is a smart, good-hearted girl who takes nothing after her parents. i sort of saw her as taking responsibility for jimmy at an early age when their parents didn’t, but, unfortunately, the game doesn’t allow for that (i’m sure with the help of some mods, those types of behaviors could be unlocked). instead, she would just be woken in the middle of the night by a crying jimmy and stare hopelessly him, unable to do anything about it.
on her birthday, she’s finally woken up by all the screaming and cheering about jimmy’s aging, she gets out of bed to find the house is full of people. when you age in the sims, you’re wearing more or less what you were wearing previously, which, for her, was her underwear. this means she aged in a bra and panties with everyone there watching, so it was to a large crowd of people she didn’t know pointing and laughing.
…other than that, however, she’s largely unscathed…
then there’s jimmy. you do get to pick some traits for babies, although the choices are limited. so he was a loner and friendly. the loner came in fairly handy since he would often be left alone out of neglect, spending an entire night in the high chair with the only company being the tv that was left on in the other room. being left alone by the tv or in his crib was a fairly common occurance in his childhood, so when he grew, it was unsuprising that the trait that he had acquired on aging was “couch potato” – which means he loves to just sit in front of the tv and vegetate.
the story so far:
jimbo likes to tinker. after fixing their expensive flatscreen tv (the most expensive item in the house) after it breaks, he is asked to fix up a neighbors’ tv which is broken. he does, getting singed once, but otherwise unharmed. after fixing the tv, he moves back to his own tv, which proves to be his demise. the more advanced tv set bites back and he gets electrocuted in front of jimmy and a kid he met at school. jimmy is devastated but his guest is just bummed that the tv is broken. in between sobs, kathy calls a tv repairman rather than get anywhere near the thing again. it’s tough to say which of them is hit harder by jimbo’s death — both kathy and jimmy would often break down into sobbing fits at the thought of him, wheras charlene, after gettin home that night, is never really all that upset. if i had to put money on it, i’d say jimmy was hit harder, though, which makes sense being the younger of the two and also the one to whom jimbo showed the most unprovoked, positive attention and affection.
not long after jimbo’s death, jimmy is starting to cope, distracting himself in the tv, as per usual. charlene is out — either at work or at the library — and kathy is getting ready for bed when they are visited by the ghost of jimbo. jimmy and his dad have a bonding moment — jimmy is totally nonplussed by his dad appearing in astral form. his dad reminds him that it’s time to go to bed, and jimmy dutifully does so. jimbo hangs around for a while, sleeping on the couch, and possessing random objects around the house before slipping into bed next to kathy for a few hours and then taking off. he hasn’t been seen since, but i’m half expecting another spectral visit sometime soon.
a couple days after this, charlene gets the impulse to visit his grave.
having such a frustrating home life, as soon as she is able, charlene gets a part time job at a book store. she’s such a hard worker at school that the additional responsibility stresses her out quite a bit, but she really wants a computer, having acquired the computer whiz trait when she became a teenager.
jimmy has a birthday which goes largely unnoticed, even in his own family. charlene and kathy are both at work and he doesn’t even get a spoiled cake like last time. however, his maturing into a teenager reminds charlene that she really wants to hang out with her little brother and they spend the next day wandering around town together.