Judith Lautner (judith) wrote,
Judith Lautner

Sims and me: the dark side

Usually when I play with the sims I coddle the stupid little creatures. I do whatever it takes to meet their needs and "aspirations", even when they themselves resist (which is often). I try to keep them young and making babies and meeting goals as long as I can, and I try to keep them happy. The last thing I want is the death of one of them, although I have thought about multigenerational families and how interesting that will be as older sims die and younger ones continue on.

The other day, though, I had an idea. This idea led to an entirely different side of me, one I really didn't know I had.

I wondered what would happen if I created some sims and let them have completely free will. I decided to create a house with three refrigerators, lots of counter space, basic fun stuff like a television, chess table, and dart board, and a bookcase. I made two sims but gave them only one double bed, to see how long it took them to get to know each other well enough to share it. When they started out I also got them jobs.

Once that was done, though, I just watched.

They did quite well for a while. They complained a lot but eventually took themselves to bathrooms and showers and made themselves food. They didn't meet any neighbors because that would be me making them greet them. They missed days at work some of the time but not enough to lose their jobs. Eventually each of them brought someone home from work. I was interested in how those friendships would develop, given I was not doing anything to move them along.

Then there was a fire. There was an alarm, so no harm was done. But the pot was left on the stove. THe sims don't know enough to move such pots off, no matter how long they sit there. They couldn't cook anything on the stove after that. One of the two learned that oven things worked and he lived on tv dinners and toaster pastries. The other never really figured it out, occasionally got a tv dinner going. Both ate at work, of course.

After a few days they were attracted to each other and they slept in the same bed. The relationship never went past that, and I don't know if it would have, because they were stressed out. Their desires were not being met. The man started panhandling for simoleons, apparently assuming there was no money (which there was! I just wasn't using it). He had several collapses that required the therapist to come down from the sky. He also met with the social bunny on one occasion. He seemed to be handling it all worse than his roomie, which surprised me, because he was a "money" sim and she a "popularity" sim. I thought the lack of friends would get to her first.

But I digress. I found it interesting to watch and I became detached. When they cried or fell down or stomped their feet I just shrugged. When they collapsed, exhausted, on the sidewalk, I just watched. When someone came along and kicked over the trash can and soon bugs were everywhere, I just watched them run around stomping them, crying, and getting sick.

After almost two sim weeks the female died of hunger. The man died a day later. I picked up their urns and transported them outside, where they became tombstones. Now I was interested in how this haunted property would affect the next victims.

Interestingly, when everyone on a lot dies the program does not clean up the house. Everything remains as it was. So when I moved the next couple in, this time with the intent of controlling a little more of their lives, they were faced with bugs and damaged shower and clogged toilet and more. And ghosts. I had them clean clean clean and even had them call a maid and a repairperson who were scheduled to come over the next day. Neither of them made it! They both died. One of fright from a ghost, the other from just plain low everything. So now there were four tombstones.

My next plan was to create a situation where the sims would have basic needs taken care of. No repo man. No unrepaired showers or toilets. I would upgrade as needed, I would try to find ways to discourage the ghosts. But i didn't want to remove the tombstones. I think these are interesting and I wanted to see if the new folks would adjust to them, as others have in sim homes created by maxis (the sims2 creator).

This time I created four sims, randomly chose aspirations, randomly chose the sims themselves. Ended up with two men and two women. Although the place was cleaned up a lot from the first time they were still stressed rather quickly, mostly by the ghosts. With so many ghosts on the lot they were forever being plagued by them at night. I tried tricks I had read about - putting the tombstones inside a wall a sim could not climb, and putting a stone wall around that. That seemed to keep one of the ghosts inside but not the others. And after many encounters, one of these four sims hit the floor and the grim reaper arrived.

So that's where it stands, and I am wondering about myself as much as about them. I expected to relent when the sims reached distress points, and save them somehow. But I didn't. It was all scientific and interesting to me. And more so as I got into it. "How long before she loses it completely?" "Will he go to work?" "Will they figure out they can take instant meals from the fridge?" (they never did)

I did learn some interesting things. For example, when these sims are on free will and they go to sleep late and have not had enough rest when it's time to go to work, they wake up! Only one slept through. And ghosts can be completely impossible to withstand if a sim is in a bad way to begin with.

What was most interesting, though, is what I learned about myself. How I was able to detach and take a scientific interest. It was actually relaxing to watch what they were doing, even when they were meeting with the therapist or social bunny (I did feel the need to capture the moments with the sim camera, of course). I was able to watch them die. In a way, I think this has been good. I think I'll be enjoying the game more from now on.

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