Do you take friends from your real life and put them into your sim games? I know a lot of players do. Quite a few even create a “sim-self” and add themselves to the neighborhood. Way back in the original game, I did create a version of my family when I was growing up, only to have my grandfather become the first sim I’ve ever had abducted.
When Sims 2 arrived, however, my feelings about creating real people — that is, people from real life — changed completely. Our precious sims could now die. Well, of course, they could die in the original game as well, but only through carelessness, more or less. Or, of course, if we wanted them out of the game for some reason. The point is in the original game, our sims didn’t have to die. We could keep them around forever.
Not so with Sims 2. I suppose, theoretically, we could still keep our sims alive eternally using little cheats or potions, but the idea of aging was a major feature of the game, one of the key elements that made it better than its predecessor. Our sims now had a life-span and we could follow them from cradle to grave.
I wanted “aging on” for my game, but I certainly didn’t want to see any of my family — or friends – encounter the grim reaper, so I did not recreate my family, nor did I put any friends or acquaintances into the game.
And then Mike McGrath called me.
But let me back up for just a moment. This was soon after the release of Sims 2, and I was still in the process of populating my neighborhood with my first set of sims. I had a system. Starting at the beginning of the alphabet, I created first one female and then a male. These were two individual households.
I had Amelia Parks. Next door was Andrew Wittenhauer. Then came Belinda Gibbs, followed by Brett Harrington. I continued on through the alphabet, filling my little world with interesting characters.
As you already know if you’ve been following this blog, I love randomness, so each of these sims was created by randomizing their features, their hairstyles, even their aspirations. I had some delightful sims who became truly unforgettable. I cherish my memories of Sims 2.
One particular morning, I turned on the game, headed to CAS and began randomly putting together my next sim in the order. I had come to M, so I dubbed him Mike. He was a fine-looking fellow, and I was quite pleased with him. I was about to choose a last name for Mike when the phone rang.
Yes, that’s when Mike McGrath just happened to call. I answered, and as I chatted with my friend for a few minutes, I noticed that this newly-created, random sim actually bore quite a resemblance to him. Coincidence? Or was it a sign of sorts? It struck me as such an odd thing to have happen, I broke my rule and added Mike McGrath to my game. It would be fun, I thought, to see what happened to my friend.
Next step was to choose an aspiration and “lifetime want”. I nearly fell off my chair laughing when Become a Criminal Mastermind was the selection that came up. Mike McGrath? My friend, Mike McGrath? A criminal?
The idea was so absurd, I nearly discounted it, but then I reminded myself that I was just playing a game. It wasn’t like I was actually putting my friend into the game — he would never choose a life of crime — so in a perverse way, it was all right for me to add a real person, because my sim-version was so far removed from reality that it didn’t really count.
Mike went on to have quite an interesting life. He committed a few petty crimes, made a few important connections, and finally worked himself up to a position with a gang headed by Little Jimmy Purvis, one of the most notorious criminals in my game. Unfortunately, Mike got caught, spent quite a bit of time in prison, and Little Jimmy never offered any help. Mike soon realized that crime doesn’t pay.
After his release from prison, he returned to the neighborhood, took a part-time job tending bar at a fancy country club. There he met Diana Warner. It was one of those four-bolt attractions that so was strong, it nearly destroyed several lives. But I’ll save that story for another time.
My friend, Mike McGrath, is now gone — sad to say — and I never did tell him that he’d become a sim in my game. But every time I saw him, I had to smile a little bit to think of his illicit exploits and unfortunate fate as the very first criminal in my game.
Other criminals came along — like the notorious Little Jimmy Purvis — but the most memorable one for me will always be Mike McGrath, the reformed robber.
Do YOU have a memorable criminal in your game?