I was finishing up my third year of university, and getting ready to go back to my summer job at a garden centre. And I figured, hey, maybe I should try making another of those custom TS2 neighbourhoods! Do a better job of it this time, really think the characters through.
It didn’t work out.
This chapter does not represent the present visual quality of the Chronicles! The pics are tiny and jaggy and older than Spore, and don’t even get me started on the lack of custom content. Don’t blame it on me; blame it on past-me.
We’ll start with the first few failed versions of this neighbourhood. There will be several. I fail a lot. Upwards, though! Usually.
Woof, check out that pic size. I’ve added some snazzy UI as mild compensation.
So! I had a core concept for Autumn Heights. Let’s hear it, ’07!
Grugly2007: My new Sims are gonna have a backstory! They’re gonna have backstory parents. These are the first two backstory parents: Stanley and Mirna Berkowitz. Stanley’s gonna be a sleazy, cheating businessman, and Mirna’s gonna be his long-suffering wife.
Grugly2007: This is the main thing she’s been suffering: Kaitlin Davis, a sweet young doof that Stanley’s cheating on his wife with on extended business trips.
Always with the cheating, my Sims.
Grugly2007: I also gave Stanley a sister, Kay Berkowitz, because one thing I like to do when I set up backstories is make them so complicated and overwrought that I eventually give up on the entire project before it gets anywhere.
The fourth Sim I made should give you a sense of the kind of story I was expecting to tell.
Grugly2007: This is Wendell Kent. He’s going to be a funeral parlour director. Or maybe just a gravekeeper?
I remember him being a gravekeeper, but he looks more like a funeral parlour director.
I dunno why I made him while I was making the rest of the backstory characters, but whatever, here’s some real characters!
Grugly2007: They’re perfect! I’m already reconsidering them. Uh. Nick and Maya Berkowitz, a Fortune Sim and a Family Sim respectively.
If I recall correctly, I made Maya’s face then made Nick’s by gender-swapping her. That explains why she looks alright and he looks terrible.
Grugly2007: He also is terrible, because he takes after his terrible dad. Even wears the same suit! Probably not the exact same suit, for reasons we’ll get into.
Maya’s a sweetheart.
Aaaaand here’s where everything stops making sense. That didn’t take long! This is Stewart Berkowitz.
Grugly2007: He’s the half-brother of the previous two Berkowitzes. Stanley’s illegitimate kid with Kaitlin! Who’s supposed to be young. So it doesn’t work! And yet.
He’s another fucking Romance Sim. I definitely knew what I was doing.
I see I took great care crafting his personality.
Grugly2007: Sometimes you just need an oatmeal Sim.
Grugly2007: This is Mark Knight, our male POV character and another Family Sim.
Unlike Lewis from Oak Point, Mark’s actually a decent guy. He’s basically the original version of Stephen Murphy from the Chronicles, although there’s still one more step in between.
If there’s one thing this exercise has taught me, it’s that I wrote the same story five times in a row.
Finally got it right-ish the last time, at least.
Grugly2007: Can’t wait.
Oh, but you’re gonna have to.
Mark’s parents! Clark and Sandra Knight.
Grugly2007: Both dead! Actually, all these backstory Sims started out dead. So that’s something.
They’re both boring.
So it’s fine that they’re dead.
Grugly2007: That was my thinking.
Pete and Natasha Emerson.
Grugly2007: Pete’s a sloppy demi-douche, and his sister’s a sloppy semi-douche. They’re both Popularity Sims.
Grugly2006: Pete is basically Lloyd from Oak Point, but with a new face.
Natasha seems to be entirely new! And doesn’t get carried forward in any sense.
Okay, this is kinda terrifying: same poses, same faces, different ages, different clothes. Save these two pics and switch back and forth between them if you want to creep yourself the fuck out.
Grugly2007: Sure, why not. Doug and Corinne Emerson are the parents of their child-clones; they’ve both got obnoxious personalities.
The evolution of Suzie from Oak Point, Tanya and Corey Taylor.
Grugly2007: Tanya’s a flirty Romance Sim, and her sister’s a shy Knowledge Sim.
Their parents! Arthur Taylor and his wife Samantha are both sweet and doofy Knowledge Sims.
Grugly2007: My thinking is that Corey took after them, and Tanya’s embarrassed by them.
I had heard that people are sometimes embarrassed by their parents.
Grugly2007: It’s not something I ever had any experience with.
This charming portrait of a woman living her best life is Candy Cooley.
Grugly2007: Turns out Pete and Natasha are only half-siblings; their dad stepped out with a prostitute, tastefully depicted here, and that’s where Natasha came from.
I see I made her not only an elder, but also fat.
So yeah, very tasteful.
…the fuck am I looking at.
Grugly2007: Yeah, these didn’t really work out. That’s Jim, Chuck and Rob Thompson. I don’t even know what I was gonna do with them, they’re really boring and bland.
I can’t fit the UI on there, and I don’t even care enough to try.
Oh, look, more nobodies. Names?
Grugly2007: Why? Are they ever gonna become something?
Grugly2007: Ugh, why… okay, this is Gus and Tim Smith. Hey, why are you looking at all this old stuff anyway?
I’m gonna bring it all into my new stuff.
Grugly2007: Even the bits that suck?
Especially the bits that suck.
Man, you were really flailing about here, huh?
Grugly2007: Well, you’re in my test neighbourhood! This isn’t the real Autumn Heights.
Hate to tell you this, but even what you think of as the real Autumn Heights isn’t the real Autumn Heights.
Grugly2007: Whatever. Anyway this is… Colin Carter, Anna Carter, Bill Carter and Tom Carter.
And what’s their deal?
Grugly2007: No deal.
Looks like a Brady Bunch situation.
Grugly2007: Nope, they’re all related.
Also looks like you just wanted to use a Nicole Kidman Sim you found online.
Grugly2007: That definitely happened.
Oh, hey, big pictures all of a sudden.
Grugly2007: It won’t last.
Alright, we’re still not in the real Autumn Heights, but… this one at least gets some real pics in it before we give up.
Grugly2007: Stop confusing the audience. Pete Emerson is a Popularity Sim who’s a slobby asshole, just like the test version. His also lousy and also Popularity Sim sister is now called Cameron Emerson, which is a really clashy name, but hey.
“Cameron”! I use that later.
Tanya Taylor is still a sexy sexer, and her sister Corey Taylor is still a mousy mouser.
Grugly2007: I find it hard to believe that you write books.
Grugly2007: Moving right along, Nick Berkowitz is still a spoiled rich kid and Maya Berkowitz is the unspoiled variety, which may not exist in real life.
Grugly2007: And Mark Knight is a good-natured, tidy, shy Family Sim. Our protagonist!
Such agonies await him.
Grugly2007: Apparently Stewart Berkowitz still exists! He’s got a different mom than the other version, though, as we’ll see. He’s basically a lazy version of Nick. Slobbier, friendlier, and possessed of an actual sense of humour. But still a douchebag, because their dad was a douchebag.
Sure, blame it on him.
Grugly2007: We did!
Grugly2007: Speaking of which, Stanley Berkowitz remains a jerk, but he’s not dead at the start anymore. Mirna Berkowitz is also not dead at the start. She’s gonna die of grief because of what happens to him.
I’m gonna retcon the fuck out of that, because it’s silly.
Grugly2007: Here’s new Stewart’s new mom, Nikki Cox. She’s got a completely unremarkable personality, and I decided “hey, she’s wearing a bowling alley shirt, she’s some chick who worked at a bowling alley that Stanley picked up at a bowling alley.”
Except my thoughts weren’t that incoherent.
Grugly2007: The Emerson-daddy is now Bud Emerson. He’s a messy playful jerk-in-your-face Romance Sim, because of course he is.
Bud: Jerk off in your face.
You’re initialized dead, you don’t get to talk.
Grugly2007: This is not Bud’s wife. Her name is Shiva Radak. I don’t know if that’s racist or not.
She looks Indian?
Grugly2007: I think she’s cute.
She’s definitely cute.
She’s also playful and lazy. Oh, please tell me this wasn’t a Hawaain stereotype thing.
Grugly2007: Her name is “Shiva.”
Okay, yes, fair point.
Grugly2007: This is Bud’s wife, Jane Smith.
What the fuck? “Jane Smith”?
Grugly2007: Intentional non-creativity is creative!
She’s strictly middle-of-the-road except for Outgoingness, which is end-of-the-road.
The high end.
YET ANOTHER ROMANCE SIM.
Anyway she’s Pete’s mom. Cameron’s mom is… Shiva.
Grugly2007: It’s not complicated.
No, it’s just weird.
Grugly2007: He met Shiva on vacation! And had a kid with her. And then they all aged in nonsensical proportion to one another.
Grugly2006: So, Wendell Kent again. Gravedigger.
Knowledge Sim, not that it matters.
Very little of this matters.
Grugly2007: It shows what was happening in my mind!
Yes, it does, and I regret that tremendously.
Wave goodbye to, like, all the old folks.
Alvin Futa: I won’t.
Aaaaaaaand we’re back to tiny pics.
Grugly2006: Man, I had this all figured out! How did you shit the bed?!
Grugly2007: Who’s this asshole?
Stanley: Did someone shit our bed? With their asshole?
Grugly2007: Stanley and Nikki are presently flying at thirty thousand feet in Stanley’s private jet.
You can tell, because it doesn’t look like that at all.
Nikki: Even fake planes are sexy.
Grugly2007: Not included: bowling alley girl sex.
Also not included: walls.
Nikki: Is it safe to be in a backstory character’s backstory?
Nikki: How can I get out of it?
Do you have a parachute?
Grugly2007: Well it’s not like I’m overburdened with realistic airplane cockpit objects, dude.
Okay, this was… May 31, 2007
This airplane set had been out for fully three weeks.
Grugly2007: *yawn* Google is hard.
Stanley: Plane-flying’s no joke, either!
Stanley: IT’S NOT AS BAD AS IT LOOKS
Nikki: IT COULDN’T POSSIBLY BE
Nikki: STANLEY STANLEY PLANE’S ON FIRE
Stanley: Well, hang my dick from a telephone wire!
Nikki: Where are the parachutes?!
Stanley: You think we have parachutes? We don’t even have a proper cockpit!
Nikki: THEN WHERE WERE YOU KEEPING YOUR COCK
Stanley: IN YOU
Nikki: I CAN SEE A ROAD, THAT’S NOT GOOD
Nikki: Wait, can’t I just leave?
Grugly2007: You’re in the sky.
Nikki: I can see grass.
Grugly2007: THEN IT’S SKY GRASS
Stanley: DON’T ANTAGONIZE THE MAKER
Nikki: WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU
Nikki: No, seriously, where the fuck are you.
Stanley: Where the fire isn’t.
Nikki: THAT’S A GOOD PLAN
Nikki: GOING BOWLING DOES GET YOU KILLED
It was nonsense in 1999, but oddly accurate today.
You see, Nikki, right now there’s this vir-
Nikki: RIGHT NOW I’M ON FIRE
Nikki: BUT I’M SURE YOUR PROBLEM IS IMPORTANT TOO
Nikki: OH GOD THE PLANE ROOF CAME OFF
Nikki: WE’RE GONNA RUN OUT OF CAPITAL LETTERS SOON
Nikki: I THOUGHT FUCKING AN OLD MAN WAS ITS OWN PUNISHMENT
Stanley: Oh, hey, the sky’s on fire now.
Stanley: Get off my plane.
The Grim Reaper: JUST YOU TRY KICKING ME.
Stanley: MY SUEDE SEATS
Stanley: Fire on my private jet! And it killed my boy-toy! This is, like, creepypasta for rich old white men.
Stanley: AND I HATE ALL KINDS OF PASTA
The Grim Reaper: YOU’RE ABOUT COOKED YOURSELF.
Stanley: I can still land this thing!
The Grim Reaper: FOR A GIVEN DEFINITION.
The Grim Reaper: CRASHES ARE TECHNICALLY LANDINGS.
Stanley: I’m too rich to die!
Stanley: I knew I should’ve let that mid-coital heart attack happen!
Stanley: CURSE YOU, BETA BLOCKERS
Stanley: My poor children…
What should I tell them?
Stanley: Tell them what poor children they’ve been.
The Grim Reaper: TELL THEM HE SAID SOMETHING NICE.
They’ll see right through that.
The Grim Reaper: SOMETIMES PEOPLE LIKE TO BE LIED TO.
The Grim Reaper: …I WONDER IF I COULD LAND THIS THING.
The Grim Reaper: WHAT’S THE WORST THAT COULD HAPPEN? I ACCIDENTALLY PICK UP A FEW EXTRA CLIENTS.
So, I know I intended Mirna to die in a house fire, because… I don’t even know. But why is she looking like she’s been electrocuted?
Grugly2007: So she’d look like she’d been in a house fire, in their memories of her.
…but Sims don’t look like this when they burn to death.
Grugly2007: Don’t talk logic to me, I’m only twenty-one years old.
Wait, I thought we already had these Sims figured out.
Grugly2007: I made new ones again.
THIS IS THE THIRD TIME
Grugly2007: They’re much better now!
All you did was shuffle a few personality points.
Grugly2007: And gave them new outfits!
You didn’t give HIM a new outfit.
Grugly2007: He’s a Family Sim. He’s the neighbourhood’s control group.
…this is Jack Crichton. He’s a nerdy Sim.
I know for a fact that you don’t use him in this version of the neighbourhood.
Grugly2007: Yeah, I’m about to trash it and start over.
I’M ABOUT TO TRASH YOU AND START OVER
This is Pete Keppler. I guess at least you renamed him.
Grugly2007: Yeah, but I don’t like it.
This chapter depicts gameplay from 1 July 2007 to 13 July 2007.