Pete from Dragonchasers asked me to think about doing a follow-up to my previous post about Keeley and Lianna, my homeless Sims. I played the duo for a few hours after making that initial post, so I have a decent amount to report.
As time went by, the ladies accrued lifetime happiness points. These points are earned slowly over time, but can also be supplemented by bonus points earned through wish fulfillment, e.g. Keeley wishes to go to the park, she goes there, she gets 150 points.
Since it’s hard to satisfy many of the more materialistic wishes, (buy a TV, buy a computer, etc.) gaining points has been slow going. Eventually Keeley, the head of the family, was able to earn enough points to purchase a few rewards.
The rewards offered in The Sims 3 range from discounts on book store purchases to fast metabolism to a “mid-life crisis” in which your Sim can change her traits/lifetime wish. For Keeley, I chose the steel bladder reward, which reduces her restroom needs to a single daily trip. I figured that she has a lot of practice holding it in, seeing as how she lived without a private bathroom for a while. I also gave her complimentary entertainment, a reward which allows Sims to see movies and sporting events for free (she probably hides under the bleachers) and “Discount Diner,” a reward that lets her eat at local restaurants free of charge. Maybe they’re giving her food they’d throw out anyway?
When Keeley isn’t working at the supermarket, she’s toiling away in the family garden. Not only does the fresh produce act as a great meal replacement for the hungry ladies, but it also sells for a hefty sum at the grocery store, perfect for supplementing the family income. Another great thing about gardening is that farming Sims will often get random opportunities to grow produce for neighbors which can be turned in for a cash reward. The woman below asked Keeley to grow three “outstanding” tomatoes for her (your produce is rated based on your skill at gardening). As a reward, the woman gave Keeley about 500 simoleons and became friendlier to our homeless heroine.
Meanwhile, Lianna graduated from high school with an “A” average and has found a job at the local book store. She helps her mother with the gardening when she can, but she prefers spending her free time with an old friend from school, Mortimer Goth. Mortimer is a famous Sim from the game franchise, most notable for being a pre-made Sim in the original Sims and Sims 2 games. In The Sims 3 (which is a prequel to the other two games) he begins as a child. Lianna met him at school and befriended him, ultimately spending much of her time in the Goth’s house when she needed a break from the park.
Nowadays, Lianna and Mortimer have become even closer, with Lianna often spending the night at the Goth’s mansion outside of town. Keeley and Lianna have already built their outhouse (complete with shower and toilet), but Lianna is too fascinated by Mortimer’s fancy furnishings to resist taking a luxurious bath, the first she’s ever taken since losing her home.
When not eating out of his fridge or using his bathtub, Lianna can often be found swiping treasures from the second floor of Mortimer’s home. She reasons that the spoiled rich kid probably won’t miss the odd lamp or window dressing, and readily takes the items home to decorate her growing household.
With the income earned from Keeley and Lianna’s part-time jobs, as well as what they earn on the side from their vegetable farming, the ladies have been able to expand their house quite a bit. When I was finally able to afford a full room addition to their outhouse, I was faced with a tough decision. Do I give the McGee’s a kitchen, in which they can cook their own meals, or do I give them a bedroom, in which they can finally get a good night’s rest? Ultimately, I opted for the bedroom.
The women are both extremely tough and hardworking, though, and it wasn’t long before I was able to add a kitchenette to the small shack. One thing to note about refrigerators in The Sims 3: Sims can cook meals with ingredients they already have on hand (e.g. a salad with tomatoes, mac and cheese with a piece of cheese), cook any meal they have the proficiency for by paying a small fee for the ingredients ($6 for spaghetti, $54 for roasted salmon), or eat “quick meals” which cost nothing. These quick meals do not require ingredients and are simply available for Sims to eat as much as they want.
I made a decision early on that I would not allow Keeley or Lianna to consume a quick meal. The meals include cereal, bread and jam, soup, ice cream, and juice. My thought process is that the women are just too poor to keep such staples on hand. When they eat from their own refrigerator, I only allow them to eat something they have the ingredients for, whether through growing them or purchasing them from the store. No convenience cooking for my ladies!
Eventually I was also able to add a second room to the house, allowing both women a sense of privacy. You can see in the picture below that the house is nicely furnished. I mentioned that Lianna can swipe things from other houses and public places; the things she swipes can be used in her own home. The only items I actually purchased in the picture below include: the beds, the fridge, the countertops, the stove, the sink, and the fire alarm. The dinette set, the lamps, the side tables, chairs, candles, and stereo — all stolen by Lianna.
As Lianna got more and more confident about her home life, she felt increasingly confident in her relationship with Mortimer. Confident enough that she felt ready to move their relationship to the next level.
I’m not certain whether Mortimer likes Lianna for her spunky, go-getter attitude or simply because he’s looking to rebel against his rich family by dating the poverty-stricken lass (or is it a white knight complex?) but like her he does, as he agrees to go steady with her. Lianna likes Mortimer a lot, and, accordingly, I stop asking her to steal things from her boyfriend’s house. Except when they really need something, like a new dresser.
Things got serious enough with Mortimer that Lianna decided she wanted to marry the angsty young man. Keeley seemed to approve as well, as it was her wish to see Lianna get married. The McGees saved enough money to book the Sunset Valley beach for a wedding party and invited all their close friends to witness the marriage. It was a lovely venue, especially since being on the beach meant Lianna’s bare feet didn’t look out of place.
I didn’t want Lianna to move in with Mortimer, as taking up residence in the large manor would be contrary to the experiment. I also wasn’t keen on Mortimer moving in right away, as I figured he’d be uncomfortable living in the small shack-like abode with his wife and his mother-in-law. Unfortunately, the game does not give me this choice. “Newlyweds must live together” it told me when I tried to cancel the dialog box it presented me with to move them in to one home or the other. I couldn’t find a way to bypass this, so I reluctantly moved Mortimer in with the McGees.
Along with his emo wardrobe and his full selection of guyliner, Mortimer brought a whopping 7,000 simoleons to his new family. This is more money than Lianna has ever seen, and a greater sum than Keeley has had access to in years. It’s obviously enough to build a much larger home for the family (perhaps with a baby room?) and keep the McGees comfortable for a while.
And that’s where the story gets boring. Once Keeley and Lianna no longer had to struggle to make ends meet, their story was no longer very interesting. They were just two mundane Sims living with a third, pre-fab Sim in a mid-size home next to a lake. Assuming Mortimer got a part-time or full-time job, they would have even less need to scrimp and save, as the third income would no doubt put them well within the middle class range for Sim society.
I think a lot could be said her about materialism, wealth, and homelessness, but ultimately I think it says one big thing about The Sims 3: it’s easy to play. Maybe I’m just a Sim expert; it’s entirely possible, I’ve been playing the franchise for a while, and not casually either. With all the resources available in TS3, though, I don’t see how a family can go very long before striking it rich. There are so many tools in the game designed to make Sims happy, that it’s almost impossible to make them unhappy.
I’m not one of those people who likes to torment Sims, but I can’t help but notice that tormenting them is an impossible task. Between public restrooms, wild plants and free picnics, public showers (pointed out to me by the fabulous Ysharros), and free entertainment, there’s really no way to keep a Sim down. New players need only to take their Sims over to the gym to have most of their needs fulfilled — hunger from the kitchenette, bladder and hygiene from the locker room, energy from the numerous plush sofas, social from interacting with local Sims, and fun from watching the gym’s free television.
Obviously a real homeless person couldn’t mooch off of a real gym like this. Perhaps that’s the answer to Burkinshaw’s Alice and Kev experiment. He must have implemented some kind of special “house rules” to make sure his Sims remain in poverty and relative unhappiness. Otherwise, if he fully took advantage of all the resources at the Sims’ disposal, he would have seen, as I did, that homelessness isn’t an epidemic in Sunset Valley.