things magazine / about / what's new? / archive / photos / projects / order
things 13
winter 2000-01
Sims illustrations from Sims4mac
designed by Jerome
caption link / issue index / archives
Willa G.Cline
Sims Tips

18 October 2000
I got home, and Bob said, ‘I got you a present.’ A present? This must be the week for them. He sort of pointed me toward my desk, where he had left a software box – he had bought me the computer game The Sims.

He knew I wanted it. I had mentioned it a couple of times. I thought it would be a good Christmas or birthday gift – he’s always saying he’s bought me everything I could ever want several times over, and looking for new ideas – so I expected to get it before the end of the year, but it was a huge surprise to get it now. 

I, of course, sat right down and installed it, and started reading the manual, and poking around in the program, and before I knew it, it was 9:00 and I had created Simone Holland, my first Sim. 

She lives alone in a one-bedroom house near the lake; she doesn’t have much furniture yet, because she just got a new job as a medical technician and she doesn’t start until tomorrow. She doesn’t really mind living alone. She likes to watch television and play games on the computer – she couldn’t really afford the computer, but she needed one because she was having trouble finding a job – there was only one job in the newspaper for the past two days, as a pickpocket, and I hated to get her started down that road, so I figured the computer was money well spent. 

Once she gets her first paycheck, she can buy some more furniture, and maybe get a cleaning service – she’s pretty messy. She tends to throw her empty dishes on the floor, and she has to be prompted to take out the trash. She likes to take showers and baths, though. 

She even took one while the neighbors were there. Right after she moved in, the Goth family visited, and somehow they all ended up in the bathroom together. Simone took a shower while the Goth husband used the toilet, and the Goth wife stood at the sink. I hadn’t figured out the camera feature yet, or I would have taken a picture. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen with this group, but shortly after the bathroom incident, the neighbors left, and they haven’t been back since. 

I’m not sure who offended who; since they don’t speak English, it’s so hard to tell. Well, hopefully when she starts her new job tomorrow, she’ll make some new friends. Maybe I ought to check and be sure the alarm is set.... 

21 October 2000 
I have made a fairly neurotic Sim – Simone is prone to throwing tantrums and stomping around, and refusing to do the things that I suggest. She keeps complaining that she isn't having any fun, and that she hates her furniture, but she hates to get up and go to work in the morning, and has already missed one day by oversleeping and taking too long to get ready, so she can’t afford to buy the high-end toys that might make her life happier until she works a little while longer. 

We’ve already had to hire a maid and gardener – the maid because Simone refuses to pick up after herself, and the gardener because she just doesn’t have time to water all the flowers. 

She was becoming quite friendly with a neighbour, Mortimer (I didn’t create him, he came with the game), but he’s married, and that relationship seems to frustrate and depress her more than making her happy, so I created a new neighbor – Brad. Brad is much neater than Simone, to the extend that I never have to tell him to clean up, and he takes about six baths a day. I thought they might be a good match. 

They don’t seem to like each other all that much, though. She invites him over, and he says he’ll come, then he just doesn't show up. He had a fire this morning, though, while he was cooking, and although the fire department showed up pretty quickly, it was still unnerving, and he ended up taking another long bath and going to bed early.

He’s out of money, and he can't find a job, so I think he’s going to have to sell something. He has pretty expensive tastes – witness the leather furniture. And I don’t know what he’d do if we had to sell the tub....

There are a lot of nuances that aren’t at first evident, like the fact that if you just go get a snack out of the refrigerator, it isn’t as nourishing as a cooked meal eaten at the table, but if you don't have a kitchen counter, you can’t prepare a meal, and you also have to know how to cook, and in order to learn how to cook you have to buy a bookcase and books – and even then, there’s no guarantee, because I bought Simone the bookcase, but she refuses to read. Says she’s too depressed.

27 October 2000
I played The Sims for a couple of hours last night; I had Simone call Mortimer right after she got up in the morning, but when he yelled at her for calling so early, I decided to give up on him as a potential mate. 

I evicted one of the pre-made families that came with the game and moved in a ‘family’ of three single people – two women and a man. I decided to get the women jobs, and leave the man at home to take care of the house (and possibly have time to socialise with Simone, poor thing). The two girls both got jobs as security guards, but one of them (due to her bodybuilding past, apparently) got promoted almost immediately, so one is working during the day and one works at night.

It’s a real struggle to control three of them at one time, being sure they eat right, take out the trash, and get enough sleep. And I naturally forgot to install a burglar alarm, and they were burgled the first night, losing the big screen TV, the computer, and the stove, so although I replaced the stove (can't have them eating cold beans every night), they haven't been able to afford to replace the television or computer, so it’s pretty boring. None of them like to read, apparently.

3 November 2000
Matt said he was thinking about buying The Sims this weekend. If he’s anything like me, he'll jump right in and start playing without more than a cursory glance at the manual. Of course, he may be one of those people who sits down and reads the entire manual before starting, but I’m the type of person who reads the manual after things start getting screwed up. Or he may want to figure things out for himself, like I did, mostly.

The thing about doing that, though, is that you can easily get into a bind like I have – I created two single person ‘families’, thinking it would be fun to make them fall in love and get married, but, of course, they don't like each other, and neither of them have enough free time, anyway, to do much socializing, because they’re so busy trying to do everything around the house.

Some tips: 

1.Buy a refrigerator first. Without a refrigerator, they can’t eat. 

2.Buy a stove next. Without a stove, they can't cook, so they end up eating beans out of cans, which isn’t very nutritious. 

3.Without a kitchen counter with nothing on it, they can’t prepare meals and, again, end up eating beans out of a can. 

4.Keep an eye on that counter, too. If they lay a newspaper or mail on it, it becomes unavailable for preparing meals. 

5.You also need a trash can right away. And a sink so they can wash the dishes. 

6.Buy the best bed you can afford. The better the bed, the more energy and comfort they get from sleeping. If they run out of energy and they’re not close to the bedroom, they’ll just fall down wherever they are and sleep, but, as you can imagine, they don’t get much comfort from it. 

7.You have to water the flowers. This didn’t occur to me until they started dying and I had to replace (and pay for) them. You can also go into ‘Buy’ mode and rip them out. You don’t get any money back for them, but at least you don’t have to water them anymore. You also have to water indoor plants. You do not, however, have to water trees. 

8.If you change your mind about a purchase, you can return it within 24 hours and get all your money back. You can return it after 24 hours, too, but the value depreciates. 

9.Here's a suggestion I’ve seen other places – use all the money that you have to buy a computer right away, use it to get a job, then return it and use the money for something else. 

10.A computer is good for more than just getting a job, though – it can also provide fun, and it’s apparently useful for studying as well, although I think that may just be for kids (so far the only purposes I’ve seen when I click on the computer are ‘play’ and ‘find a job’. 

11.You really need a family of at least two people. Single life is just too hard. You have to do everything – clean up and water the plants, and go to work, and study (you have to study in order to get promotions and, thus, make more money) and there just aren’t enough hours in the day. If you have a two-person family, one can stay home and take care of the house, and the other one can go to work. 

12.Oh – if you possibly can, buy a burglar alarm and a smoke alarm. If you have a smoke alarm and you have a fire, the fire department will come automatically. If you don’t have one, you have to call them on the phone, and who knows whether they’ll get there in time. Same thing with the burglar alarm. There used to be a computer on that table. He also stole the stove. 

13.The more you study cooking, the less chance of having a fire, so one purchase you should consider right away is a bookshelf. If you study mechanical, you might be able to fix things that break by yourself, but without any mechanical skills, you have to call a repairman. 

14.Once you start moving up in your job, you can afford to hire a maid. She’s pretty economical, and then if you're too tired to clean up, you can just leave it for the maid in the morning. 



1. See Living in Sim, things 12, page 118.
To follow the lives of Willa’s Sims, go to www.willa.com/journal

things 13, winter 2000-01

back to top of page