|I just want things to turn out well for these crazy kids.|
I don’t talk a lot about video games here. I like video games, but I’m firmly on the “casual” side of the casual-hardcore spectrum. I’ve always liked the Sims series of games, but I hadn’t touched them in 15+ years... until Covid hit.
With lockdown and my home game on suspension and the world on fire and everything, I started playing The Sims 4 as a way to escape. “There’s no corona virus or lunatic presidents in Willow Creek, I’ll tell you that! And everyone dressed like it’s 1995!” I turned off aging, didn’t mess with parenthood, and used a lot of cheats, and mods. Everyone was young, beautiful, immortal, and childless. Bliss. I’m a simple man.
But after I year or so, I felt like I was only playing half the game. So I decided to do a legacy game. Turn on aging, start young and broke, go to school, raise a family, and try not to use any cheats (but still using custom content). Between my self-imposed goals and restrictions, and (finally) the right combination of expansions (Get to Work, Discover University, and Season) I’ve become amazingly invested in my current game, and have had a blast silently roleplaying and watching how the narrative twists and turns.
I could pretend this post is all about ludo-narrative synergy, emergent storytelling, or other RPG discourse buzzwords, but really I just wanna talk about my Sim and I don’t have anywhere else to do it. So there.
I’ll like, put my Sims’ stats for Fate Accelerated at the end of the post or something. Gotta’ keep my TTRPG street cred.
|A chump in a dump.|
a teen with the Romantic and Geek traits and the Writer aspiration. His aunt had the Mean, Hot-Headed, and Alcoholic traits and the Criminal job track. I set them up in the worst apartment in San Myshuno and used a cheat to drop their starting funds to a mere $500. I generally only played Jagger, and left his aunt run on autopilot. The goal was to lift Jagger out of poverty, go to college, move out of the city, and start a family.
Jagger’s a young geek-punk with dreams of being a writer. Unfortunately, the apartment’s constant need for repair and upkeep meant he usually focused on engineering and mechanics instead of writing. Jagger was stressed and bored most of the time and wound up finding cheap comfort in tawdry relationships and petty crime. He tried to keep a before-school job as at the coffee shop, but it put too much stress on his school and sleep. Once he saved enough to buy a guitar (for some healthy outlet) he quit his job to focus on music school and dating. After getting repeatedly shot down by the teen wizard Gemma Charm, he wound up forming a deep relationship with Cassandra, the young heiress of the Goth Family (a townie NPC).
Despite his challenges, He graduated high school with a B average. At his graduation party, his friend J Huntington III, suddenly and unexpectedly dropped dead. This would be weird foreshadowing.
Jagger quickly left the slums and headed to Britechester University to major in Language and Literature. He only qualified for two small scholarships, so he arrived at the dorms with only $300 in his pocket. He resorted to stealing and selling his roommates’ possessions for extra cash. Of course he immediately started flirting with every attractive woman with colored hair on campus, forgetting his girlfriend back home. Many of his dormmates were gloomy and shocking number of them were evil. But he quickly made friends with a few of them, including a lasting friendship with a childish but good-hearted UFO enthusiast named Gage. The first term was tough, as he got used to the ebb and flow of course work. Some pick-up gig work writing ad copy gave him some extra cash. Dorm food was making him fat, however, so he began to focus on athletics to keep trim.
In his second term, Jagger qualified for more scholarships, including a soccer scholarship. Those days at the gym had paid off! Jagger started to feel bad about his former criminal acts and began to curb his baser instincts. He was still something of a jerk, though, and despite his girlfriend Cassandra back home (whom he never called) Jagger began a serious relationship with a fellow student named Becca Clarke (another townie NPC). Their relationship moved quickly, but there wasn’t much of a long-term connection.
|Jagger and Chihiro's first date. Awww...|
That connection was found in the next term when Jagger moved out of the dorms and into the Darkwing House. One of his room mates there was a cute Computer Science major named Chihiro Ono (a randomly generated NPC). She shared his love of athletics, music, and photography. Their relationship built slow, but the spark was there. Jagger amicably ended his romantic relationships with Cassandra and Becca, and focused on Chihiro. Becca and Jagger would remain good friends.
The next term, Chihiro moved out and a bunch of dudes became Jagger’s new roomies. One, a dreadlock-bedecked stout young man named Devon became his new best friend, inviting himself to wherever Jagger went in-town. Despite living in different homes, Jagger and Chihiro began to build their relationship. At the start of the next term, after Chihiro graduated, the two moved off-campus and rented an apartment town together (switched roommate NPC). It was small, crappy, and the couch was used, but it was theirs.
Eventually Chihiro got a job as a computer engineer with a nice signing bonus, and the two moved into a larger, better, less crappy apartment (Chihiro became part of the household, and became a full PC). They kept the used couch. Jagger proposed to Chihiro at the Love Festival and things looked great for the couple. Chihiro was bringing in a lot of money, Jagger was almost ready to graduate, and the future looked bright.
Then Chihiro died. While working on a toy drone at her home workbench, she electrocuted herself. Despite Jagger’s pleadings, the Grim Reaper snatcher her away. Jager was heartbroken (and I was stunned).
|"I'm Chelsea, and I'm here to help!"|
But all was not lost! Jagger’s grief echoed across the multiverse, and caught the attention of a good-hearted goth-hippy witch named Chelsea LaCroix (a fully-levelled spellcaster Sim from a different save game). She broke through the barriers of space-time (I ported her over from my gallery) and arrived at Jagger and Chihiro’s home. Using her powerful Untamed magic, she used a combination of the Necrocall and Dedeadify spells to bring Chihiro back to life. Chihiro didn’t recall any of her past friendships, but she remembered her love for Jagger (all her NPC relationships were set back to 0 at death). Chelsea, understandably, became the couple’s new best friend.
Things were back on track. Jagger graduated and planned to find a job as an private attorney, giving others the legal help he never had a young punk. Still, things weren’t 100% smooth. At his graduation party, Jagger got a little flirty with one of his exes (while I wasn’t controlling him), and Chihiro got very, very angry. The couple was able to talk things out, but it caused some concern, because Chihiro’s temperament used to be very mellow and she never got mad about anything, until after she came back from the dead. (This is true, and it’s weird.) Maybe she came back changed? Time will tell.
|Game Night with my besties!|
But for now, things are going well. The two are planning to move out of the city and build a house in Glimmerbrook. Gage, Devon, and Becca still show up at their door as a group, unannounced, and it never fails to delight me.
Yeah, that’s Sims. I know it’s just “playing dolls” but I love it. I’ve played it a bunch before, but this is the first time I’ve really gotten emotionally invested in it. Blame in on 13 months in lockdown if you must.
Anyway… Fate Accelerated stats!
Aspects: Gutterpunk made good; Poor impulse control; Language & Literature honors; Soccer champion; “I’ll be a better man for Chihiro”
- Careful +0
- Clever +2
- Flashy +1
- Forceful +1
- Quick +2
- Sneaky +3
- Because I’m handy, I get a +2 to Cleverly overcome obstacles when repairing broken machines.
- Because I’ve made a lot of friends in Sim City, once per session I can declare that a location has an NPC who is a friendly acquaintance of mine.
- Because I have Maximum Charisma, I get +2 to flashily Create Advantages related to friendship and charm.
- Careful +1
- Clever +3
- Flashy +0
- Forceful +2
- Quick +2
- Sneaky +1
- Because I build robots in my spare time, once per session I can automatically create an aspect with one free tag, representing some handy little bot I had on my person.
- Because I jog every day, I get +2 to Quickly Overcome Obstacles when running at speed.
- Because I have an degree in computer science, I get +2 to cleverly create advantages when dealing with computer systems.
Aspects: Hippy arch-witch; Quixotic romantic; Folk guitarist; “Tight shirt? Can’t hurt!”; My sister Cindi needs guidance
- Careful +1
- Clever +2
- Flashy +3
- Forceful +2
- Quick +0
- Sneaky +1
- Because I am a powerful spellcaster, I get +2 to flashily Attack someone with fire, ice, or electricity.
- Because I brew a lot of potions, once per session I can automatically remove an aspect from someone, thanks to a handy potion I happened to have for just such an occasion.
- Because I can manipulate the minds of other, I get +2 to sneakily Create Advantage on a target when making emotion-based aspects.
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