So! In the far-flung future of the Sharpesvale Chronicles, I eventually decide to immigrate in all the Sims from my older neighbourhoods to shake things up a little, post… well, actually, I can’t tell you post-what! Post the ending, basically.
I’ve made a few attempts at firing up my third generation storyline, and they’ve failed, because my ambitions have outrun my preparations. Not this time! This time I’m gonna dig in deep.
I’m an historian, so let’s engage in a little Sim history. Okay, a lot of Sim history. It might be of more than academic interest; at the very least you’ll get to see a man scream at himself across a wide gulf of time, and that’s not nothing.
With that in mind, allow me to present (as if you could stop me)… Ridiculously Old Theatre!
This chapter does not represent the present visual quality of the Chronicles! It’s grody and uncropped and older than the iPhone, and so compressed it’s frankly hilarious. Don’t hold it against me; it’s not beautiful enough!
We have now moved to a place where establishing shots can’t find us. A world which only barely survived to the present day on a CD-ROM so old and so scratched that it needed holes in its aluminium plugged with permanent marker before the reader could read it.
My very first custom neighbourhood, from the far distant days of two-thousand-and-six, the Oak Point Estates.
It’s a real bitch to figure out what’s going on, and when. It was played on a daily cycle, like Pine Valley/Sharpesvale, but it was also being played by an idiot, so he’ll be doing his best to stymie and confuse me, as he’s been doing all my life.
Here they are, my oldest surviving custom Sims!
Oh, wait, did I say surviving? Nope, not at all. I deleted these ones.
Maybe something of their character data can still be salvaged, though? Hmm.
Their names were Angela, Lewis, and Melissa Crowe.
I guess I liked those names, because, well, you’ll see.
This is my oldest actually surviving Sim: Willa Ruggles. Best name ever? Best name ever.
She’s a Knowledge Sim.
After half a dozen variations, she would become, sort of, kind of, Abigail Young. If I’ve learned one thing about these older neighbourhoods, it’s that who goes around, comes around.
This is Lewis Bright. He’s my generic male protagonist. He’d eventually end up as Stephen Murphy, but he didn’t start out anything like that; he’s a Fortune Sim, and he’s a complete asshole.
Stephen is only a complete ass hat.
Suzie Chambers is a Romance Sim. So, yeah. She’ll end up being Ember, some day.
And probably be a completely different person by that point.
I’m discovering this nonsense at the same time you are.
She might be named after someone from Resident Evil? I don’t know, I’m a different person now.
I’d totally name someone after someone from Resident Evil today.
I just don’t know if I would’ve done it back then.
I had them all on Gamecube, and they were great, so maybe.
They’re still great.
What the fuck was I doing…
SIMS! Right! Sims.
Walter Crowe is also a Romance Sim, because why not? Glad I had the whole “sex” thing dialled in from the start. The whole “death” thing, not so much.
I don’t even know which characters he inspires.
He’s certainly not inspiring me, at the moment.
That is some SERIOUSLY low image quality there, Past!Grugly.
I can’t make household headers for pics this small!
Okay, I can, but I won’t.
Past!Grugly: It’s 2006, dude, what do you expect? I’m playing this on a computer that sucks so bad, I carved “SHIT” and “CRAP” and “JUNK” into it with a PIN, once.
I remember that.
What an idiot I used to be.
Lewis: I think there’s a certain charm to these low-res pics.
Walter: It is keeping me from seeing how ugly this chick almost definitely is.
I made Lewis and Willa for each other.
So, naturally, Lewis immediately starts staring at Suzie.
I know history is supposed to repeat, but video game history…?
Walter: We’re clearly being paired off, dude.
Lewis: What, you and me?
Suzie: I’m gonna make out with SOMEONE today. Who’s it gonna be?
Willa: These sandwiches have pretty great lip-feel…
Suzie: Oh, are you one of those asexuals I keep hearing about?
Willa: It’s 2006. HE hasn’t heard of them, so YOU haven’t heard of them.
You know, it’s weird?
I forgot all about this neighbourhood, one HUNDRED percent.
Willa: Well, folks, I guess we’re all dying in the next hundred pics.
Well, that’s the funny thing, actually!
Willa: Oh, good! How we die is “the funny thing.”
You DON’T die! I play the SHIT out of this neighbourhood!
And then FUCKING FORGET IT.
Suzie: Which of these characters is worth paying attention to?
All of them!
Suzie: Oh, really? You develop them ALL? You strike me as more of a “big pile of characters, resent and regret more than half of them” sort of creator.
You know me so well!
Perhaps because you are me.
Willa: You seem marginally less terrible than the other dude.
Lewis: What’s your criteria for that?
Willa: Your name sounds less jerky.
Ah, the days before plumbbobtoggle.
Wasn’t introduced until Open for Business!
That’s Ivy Copur.
This neighbourhood’s so old, it’s using the goofy Pleasantview Townies.
Okay, SERIOUSLY, P!G. Can you do something about this?
Past!Grugly: Okay, fine. But I’m blaming you if my computer burns the dorm down… and stop calling me pig.
Oh, thank Christ.
Past!Grugly: Please don’t tell me I become religious in the future.
If you do, it’s in my future, too.
Walter: Hey, she’s pretty cute!
She had to be. I didn’t have ANY custom content, so I couldn’t hide genetic irregularities with makeup or hair.
I didn’t even have the censor blur turned off.
Suzie: Here’s hoping you figure it out soon.
Suzie: In the meantime, there’s more than one way to see a weiner.
Suzie: For all I know, his penis is a giant flesh-coloured block.
Suzie: A cock block.
Suzie: That one took a lot out of me.
PG, you’ve got SERIOUSLY low texture settings.
Past!Grugly: This computer?
Past!Grugly: This computer is a DELL.
oh my god it WAS a Dell!
Walter: More like fuckin’ Suzie!
Suzie: Willing and able!
Walter: How many hugs we gotta do before the magic happens?
Oh, like, forty.
About the same.
Walter: ABOUT THE SAME
Lewis: Yeeesh! I need a warning when you’re gonna suddenly spring all this DETAIL on me!
Willa: Bathroom hugs!
Lewis: Unsanitary and uncomfortable!
Lewis: …did we just kiss?
Willa: It’s a fact lost to the ages, my man.
Lewis: I’m your “man”?
Willa: It’s a saying.
Past!Grugly: It’s not a saying I’m familiar with.
Willa: Then I guess he’s my man!
I can’t get over how blurry everything is!
This game looked better on my NETBOOK, for crying out loud.
Some of these textures might as well be flat colours.
It’s good to know that even back then, though, the camera was capturing the tail ends of plumbobs and headlines which weren’t actually displayed on the screen.
Lewis: I couldn’t stand not knowing about the kiss.
Well actually, if you hadn’t done that, and something else happened in the interim…
Past!Grugly: Yeah, what?
I could’ve checked his memories in SimPE.
Past!Grugly: What’s SimPE?
Don’t look it up, you’ll only corrupt your game with it.
You teenage nincompoop.
…wait a second.
Oh my GOD those HANDS!
They’re like… meat mittens.
…wait a second.
Is Willa showering…
…in YOUR house.
Lewis: It’s taking every inch of my chivalry to not take a peek.
P!G probably can’t figure out how to get you in the bathroom.
Past!Grugly: Why won’t it lettttt meeeee…
Lewis: Kind of a pervert, weren’t you?
Lewis: Ohhhh dear.
Any desire to see Lewis naked?
Willa: I’m not a censorsexual, so, no.
Willa: Man, this undifferentiated orange material is delish!
Willa: Alright, if you’ve got some way of checking these things…
Yeah, I am ON it.
…okay, sex is a resounding… maybe.
Willa: I hope it was good, if it happened.
I love that I adjusted the angle to get a better look at the computer which shouldn’t have been visible.
I also love the creepy stalker plumbobs watching them sleep.
I also also love that the scene transitions from her sleeping with Lewis in his bed to her sleeping by herself in her own bed.
This, though, this I don’t love.
Willa: Why are you taking-
Past!Grugly: I DON’T EVEN KNOW
The roof. It’s not visible.
Past!Grugly: Should it be?
Willa: I don’t think you’re gonna get along with this guy, guy.
Which of us are you talking to?
Willa: Whichever one’s still real.
Good lord, that… background. It looks… dirty?
NOT AS DIRTY AS PAST GRUGLY, APPARENTLY
You’re getting toilet seat all over that chair.
Apparently that turns Lewis on.
Those blurry-ass thought bubbles remind me of my thoughts.
I guess I’m always being reminded of my thoughts, though.
Especially when I’m looking at my Sims.
Willa: Especially when you’re looking at your SIMS and you’ve CUT OUT ALL THE GOOD PARTS!
Yeah, apparently my thoughts at this point were “Sex? BORING.”
Which doesn’t sound like me at ALL.
Lewis: So, you’re saying there’s lots of sex in our future?
Willa: I’ve always been a futurist, myself.
This barely looks better than TS1.
Lewis: I think TS1 is actually installed on this computer!
God, it must be like living next to the great apes!
When you yourself are barely an ardipithecus.
Willa: Wait. Ardipithecus was probably an evolutonary dead-end.
Lewis: Stop trying to further darken our long dark night.
Willa: He’s saying we’re just a side-story, though!
Lewis: A few years ago he didn’t even remember we existed! We might surprise him.
Lewis: And I might surprise you!
Willa: …yep, I totally was expecting a ring right there, so, well done. Colour me surprised.
Willa: You’re like Mr. Bean.
Past!Grugly: I love Mr. Bean!
Willa: Wanna make out, while he talks to himself?
Lewis: No, I wanna make in.
Willa: FUCK ME LIKE WE’RE OVER THE COVERS
Willa: FUCK ME LIKE IT’S EXPLICIT
Willa: FUCK ME LIKE THE ESRB RATING IS HIGHER
Lewis: Fuck me you’re loud.
Willa: Sorry, it’s just, I had a checklist.
Lewis: How far down did we get?
Willa: Well, neither of us went down, so, not that far.
Willa: It was a solid first effort, though.
Willa: Yeah. “Solid.”
Willa: I think this place is gonna turn out alright.
Lewis: We already know it isn’t.
Willa: I still think it is, though.
Walter: How does it feel?
Ivy: How does WHAT feel?
Walter: Being in, like, everybody’s game at once.
Ivy: I can’t feel that.
Walter: Seriously? I’m rubbing as hard as I can!
Ivy: No, I mean, I can’t feel being in everybody’s game at once.
Walter: I think it would be cool to exist in multiple dimensions!
Ivy: Yeah, you do seem kinda one-dimensional.
Walter: If I got promoted to the new neighbourhood, would you want me to take you with me?
Ivy: I’m not even sure I like being in the past with you
Walter: This is not the response I expected to get from my magic carpet ride offer.
Ivy: Maybe if you could actually show me the carpet, I’d be more receptive.
Walter: “Showing you the carpet” sounds like a euphemism for-
Ivy: YEAH IT DOES DOESN’T IT
She’d probably end up as a townie, in the new neighbourhood.
Ivy: I’m ALREADY a townie!
Yeah, but you’d be a customized townie.
Ivy: Oh, so I’d still be nobody, but you’d have fucked with my face? Thanks, I’ll give that all the consideration it deserves.
Past!Grugly: Eek! I’m ascared of flirtation.
Ivy: Don’t be. It isn’t very good flirtation.
Walter: Just for that, I’m recommending you become the garbage collector.
Walter: You WANT to become the garbage collector?
Ivy: Where else am I gonna get a vehicle big enough to knock your new house down?
Walter: I PARSE DANGER AS ROMANCE
Ivy: You kissed me ACROSS THE ROOM!
Walter: Didn’t I say? I can take you places, baby!
There’s, like, ten townies in this neighbourhood.
Sometimes I think these cans kick themselves over.
Are you SERIOUSLY in a HOT TUB with KENNEDY COX.
Kennedy: No! I am Kennedy Cox!
Suzie: Aw, you made him all selfconscious about his nose.
Kennedy: WHAT’S WRONG WITH MY NOSE?!
Suzie: Nothing! If you’re a puppet in an Italian fairy tale.
Dude, how far forward are you sitting?!
Suzie: Dude, how far left are you FRAMING?
Kennedy: I thought we were getting into the hot tub to make out.
Suzie: I thought so too, but the steam obscured your face less than I was hoping it would.
Suzie: I’d never forgive myself if I fell in lust with that schnoz.
Suzie: HAHAHA THE CHEF LADY BURNED TO DEATH
It must be great, being so far in the past that the pixellated TV visuals don’t look out of place.
Kennedy: I didn’t know you were a TV star!
Suzie: I hate to break it to you, but all non-custom Sims only look the same.
Kennedy: You’ll always be a doctor to me, Suzie.
Suzie: Well, I don’t do extractions, only insertions.
Plumbbob: yesssss… yesssssssssss… breaaaaathe on each otherrrrrr…
Good call, P!G.
Past!Grugly: Please tell me there’s a way to make that thing go away permanently.
More like a magic spell that temporarily banishes it, but yeah. It’s coming.
Lewis: What day is it?
March 24, 2006.
Lewis: What expansion did you say has the plumbbob cheat?
Open for Business.
Lewis: That came out fully three weeks ago!
Yeah, well, if you want to chip in to buy me a new computer that’ll RUN it, be my GUEST.
Willa: You shouldn’t look up features we don’t have. It’ll make you dissatisfied with your lot in life.
Lewis: What if it’s actually my lot in life doing that?
Lewis: Just think! No more weird green prism thing following us around!
Absolutely glacial loading times!
Lewis: And… business! Business things. I didn’t actually look the rest of the expansion up.
Willa: I don’t know if that’s worth destabilizing our world, Lew.
Trust me. I think my purchasing University from EB, installing it, and being unable to run the game subsequently might be what kills your neighbourhood.
Willa: Well, when does your NEXT neighbourhood start?
Looks like… 2007.
Willa: Yeah, I don’t think we want to put the Maker off his game for an entire YEAR.
Willa: Especially since his game is our game is our WORLD.
He’s so bad at your world, though.
It’s like, okay. He wants to remember this makeout session? So he films it from ORBIT
Willa: Probably doesn’t know about the TAB camera.
Do you know about the TAB camera, P!G?
Past!Grugly: You mean the camera tab? Where I cranked the settings up, earlier?
Past!Grugly: *drifts out to space*
Past!Grugly: Okay, is THIS what you want?
Past!Grugly: I don’t know if you know this about me, but getting closer to people isn’t a thing I do.
Later Past!Gruglies are a lot less useless.
Lewis: You should start numbering them, for ease of recognition.
Grugly2006: That’s a good idea. Especially since he called me “PG” once and then went straight back to calling me
Oh. You noticed that, huh.
Lewis: I’m so lucky to have found you.
Willa: Not really? There’s only two other people in the world.
Lewis: It was meant as a compliment.
Willa: Oh, really? I’m glad it was complimentary, then, because it wasn’t worth much.
Willa: In the future you might try making compliments about the person you’re trying to compliment, instead of, y’know, yourself.
Willa: Why can we buy baby art in the Buy Catalogue?
Because the game wouldn’t introduce real baby art technology until 2008.
Willa: So, we’re never gonna see it.
You’ll be lucky to see babies.
Willa: …I find, more often than not, that I’m sorry when I ask you things.
That’s it, G’06, get right up in there.
Lewis: Once he learns closeups, can he learn what doesn’t merit recording?
I hate to tell you this, Lewis, but he never learns that.
Lewis: I’ve got a stupid face going.
Willa: I can see that!
Lewis: I can’t FIX it.
Neither can I.
Grugly2006: Is there a cheat, or something?
Nah, you’d need mods you don’t have. You could force an error on him, though.
Grugly2006: I don’t think I want to force anything on anyone.
That much about us stays consistent.
Lewis: Like my face, apparently.
Willa: You’re getting dangerously close to some serious slappage.
Lewis: Sorry Willa. Apparently, in 2006, bad dance faces are fatal.
Willa: Yeah, if I catch them from you, they certainly will be.
Lewis: When do they develop a cure?
It’ll be a few years. Flying Fish Systems is working on it as we speak.
In the meantime maybe G’06 will develop some balls.
Grugly2006: It’s not worth crashing my game to make his face stop looking stupid! I can barely see it at this distance anyway.
Y’know, I’ll probably keep those outfits when I bring you guys to Sharpesvale.
Grugly2006: They’re good outfits, eh?
I’ll customize them in Body Shop a bit, though.
Grugly2006: Oh! I haven’t used that yet. Is it as good as The Sims Creator?
FUCK no, that thing was AWESOME.
You could draw on the skin, and it would show you in real-time where you were drawing on the SIM!
Grugly2006: Yeah! How does Body Shop work?
Compared to THAT? It DOESN’T.
Lewis: Looks like we’re stuck the way we are, for the present at least.
Willa: At least your face went back to narmy.
Lewis: You mean normal.
Willa: Do I, though?
Lewis: We’ve got a responsibility to future generations, you know.
Willa: Yeah, we’re setting the tone of all future stories in this universe!
Lewis: What should we do to make sure it gets off on the right foot?
Willa: FUCK ME FUCK ME FUCK ME
Willa: FUCK ME LIKE I’M NOT YOURS
Willa: FUCK ME LIKE MY BOYFRIEND’S IN THE NEXT ROOM
Lewis: …give me a minute to work that scenario out.
Lewis: Are you thinking about someone else while we have sex?
Willa: Yes, but it’s someone you know.
Well, that was educational.
Grugly2006: Should I keep playing?
Yeah man, don’t let me stop you.
It’s not like you’re failing Sociology at this very minute, or anything.
So yeah, we’ll come back to this from time to time. There’s fifteen parts, and by the end of it I’ll probably have figured out who these assholes are, and what I might want to do with them, and who I am, and what I might be able to do with myself, and maybe come to terms with my own mortality too, who knows.
Back to your Regularly Scheduled Fucking tomorrow.
This chapter depicts gameplay from 14 and 24 March, 2006.
Only that pic of the deleted dorks was from the 14th.
But I’m nothing if not thorough, right?