Thoughts on Reading (and Writing) Legacies

I’m enjoying a flurry of legacy reading. My emotional investment in these stories surprises me. Walking through the garden, I find myself thinking of Handsome Noble, remembering Donny Winklecheek’s smiles for Zoe, wondering at Catori’s anger for her father, daydreaming of Estrella and Clem’s true love. (And, though not a legacy Sim, Scarlet Firecracker in “Gather Ye Rosebuds” has me captivated.)

The other day, I started rereading Candi’s Uglacy. I felt a rush of reunion on seeing Brandi, Komei, Kory the headmaster, and Remington the maid–all my old friends from the TS2 neighborhood.

I have to ask myself how I’ve gotten so involved in these cartoon-like computerized characters.

Ultimately, Sims are made of pulses of electricity, 0’s and 1’s, offs and ons. What they are missing–that spark of spirit, that consciousness–we provide for them, breathing the force of our imagination into their digital souls.

As our imagination enters them, they become a part of us.

And this is why we care so much about them. We mourn when Estrella leaves Clem and Dianthus and the rest of her grieving family. We cheer for Handsome’s chances at true love. We smile when Catori’s father says she can call him “Dad.” We hope that Don Lothario and Scarlet will just quit pretending and get together.

Our imagination links these characters to the heart of our emotions.

Legacies have a predictable structure, and just as in formal poetry, the structure of a fixed form provides a container for unexpected surprises.

With a legacy, we know the story will unfold through courtship, births, birthdays, death, over and over for ten generations, contained within the setting of a big (initially empty) lot.

But we don’t know what the characters will be like: their loves, their interests, their aspirations, their dreams, their quirkiness, their tenderness, or their wickedness.

And then there’s the style of storytelling and game-play that each Simmer brings. In what ways are Blindxsecrets’, capturedmuse’s, and FloorRaisin’s legacy games similar to or different from mine? How does Lynnwood accomplish so many aspirations and achieve so much wealth in so few generations? Oh, look! Drake poses for the camera, but my Sims never do! And look at the relational complications RachelRosebud has maneuvered her Sims into!

Sometimes legacies and neighborhood rotation stories can become so complicated. My life, even with a car that needs to be taken to the shop and a back fence that needs fixing, seems blissfully simple in comparison–and this is part of the joy of reading legacies, too!

That part of my brain that loves to untangle complications can amuse itself endlessly while pondering legacy stories, and this allows the rest of me to settle with relaxation and contentment into the ease of my own simple life.