The Coding of a Finite Game


“I wonder if I should explain to her the logic behind the coding for relationships.”

Linda’s considering having a talk with her oldest daughter while there’s still time–Grim’s been expected for over a week, but he’s been dallying out of respect for Linda’s longevity bonus trait. At least he didn’t show up during Madrona’s adult birthday party, which, being the dark party animal that he is, is his usual time to appear.

Aspen has found herself in the middle of unexpected sadness–and it comes from a complication that could have had ripples throughout the family.


“I can’t foresee any harm–and it would feel so playful and fun!”

Aspen has had persistent whims to flirt with Lamont. At the same time, Niko’s been having whims to flirt with Madrona, Madrona’s been having whims to flirt with Niko, and Linda’s been having whims to flirt with both of her sons-in-law, and maybe Brody, Mailman #3, or one of the wiener-heads, too.

It’s easy for me to ignore most of these whims–they’re just whims after all, passing indications of attraction and interest, nothing we need to follow and nothing worth the risk of changing our lives or the order of the world.

But Aspen’s whim felt different to me: there’d been that early night with Niko and Lamont when following her whim to flirt with Lamont led her to choose Niko. So maybe she has something in mind–maybe she knows more than I do about the workings of Sims, and I certainly feel she knows more than I do about her own motivations and life direction.

So, late one night when she returned home to find only Lamont awake, the two found themselves in the kitchen, feeling playful. We ventured a flirty joke–just a joke! How harmful could that be? Sister-in-laws can joke with brother-in-laws, can’t they? No harm done?

The joke was funny and flirty enough to spark some pink between them in their relationship bar.

I think I had not counted on the depth of Lamont’s feelings for Aspen. Sure, he adores Madrona, and he’s happy with her and devoted to her–but it was Aspen who had caught his eye first.

They kept the conversation in safe waters after that–harmlessly enthusing about new shows, chatting about vegetables (brocolli and cauliflower, mostly–none of the risque veggies like carrots, zucchini, or eggplant), boasting about family members–and then Lamont headed back out for some quiet solitude in the cemetery, and Aspen joined Niko in bed. No harm done, right?

The next day was Madrona’s adult birthday.


“Dancing on my birthday with my BFF little sis and my husband–life is pretty sweet!”

The party started on a mellow note. Before the guests arrived, Madrona danced with Poplar and Lamont, who was feeling pretty flirty. His beautiful wife becoming a lovely mature woman, and his own birthday just a few days away–that was enough to get this romantic, family-oriented Sim feeling pretty good.


Minsk is looking cute in his wolf shirt and jazz hat.

Poplar’s childhood friends, Minsk and the other boys she befriended for her social butterfly aspiration, showed up and, during the party, they spun around in sparkles in the transition from teen to young adult. Poplar now has a wider selection of friends and acquaintances to choose from, if she’s thinking along the romantic lines.

And, judging from the way that Minsk and Brody, Mailman #3, look at her, it does seem like, at the least, her friends and acquaintances are feeling inclinations in that direction.


Brody always arrives flirty.

Poplar’s not feeling any rush, though. She’s got a full life already–why add anything else to the mix?

While the younger set danced, Lamont and Madrona sat together at a corner of the kitchen table, enjoying a romantic conversation. As the birthday Sim, Madrona just had a special beauty–and Lamont was lavish with his attentions.

Soon, everyone gathered at the table, including Aspen. Lamont continued declaring his love for Madrona, and Aspen felt the sting of red hearts and negative romantic relationship points.

Sure, she knew all along that Madrona and Lamont were married. She knew, of course, that they love each other–it’s obvious. Yet to sit across the table from them while Lamont proclaimed Madrona the queen of his heart–Aspen hadn’t counted on the coding within her that would make his attention to another, even if that other was her own sister, feel like plum.


“How come I feel so sad?”

She had thought, somehow, that her own feelings of generosity, open-mindedness, and affection for Madrona–and all her family members–would somehow protect her from any sadness that could come by seeing Lamont share his attentions with his wife.

She hadn’t realized that she was programmed this way–that when somebody she shared pink bars with would engage in romantic interactions with another, she would feel hurt.

Aspen and I both began to question her whims. So, just because it worked out well the first time, that doesn’t mean it will work out every time. We’re lucky, this time, that Aspen is the only one to feel sad–it could’ve been worse, since Lamont, Madrona, and Niko could all be hurt by this romantic complication.

It’s a finite game–with specific and limited coding. Actions have consequences, sometimes emotional ones. No matter how open-minded, generous, and loving one’s spirit, there’s still the coding that affects the emotional response. That’s just part of being a Sim.

While Madrona pondered her wish, and Aspen chatted sadly with Salix, we reflected that sadness, at least, is temporary–a few hours and this moodlet would pass, leaving as its only trace the wisdom of experience.


“I’d better choose a good wish!”

Next time a whim like that arises, we’ll think more than twice before acting on it. I might not cancel autonomous extramarital flirts–and then again, I might–but I will at least feel more sure about not acting on every whim.


“Oh, yes! It was a good wish!”

Madrona looked so full of joy after her birthday wish that I’m sure it was a good one, most likely revolving around the intertwined happiness of herself and her family.

We know a little more about the limited coding of this finite game now, and it’s knowledge and experience that Salix can benefit from.

She’s already got the advantage of the skilling and aspiration strategies we learned through doing the Wonder Child challenge.


“I call this monster ‘The big fat sadness of limited coding’.”

She finished her Creative Prodigy aspiration in four or five days, leaving her lots of time for other aspirations.


“This is a sweet, sad song about my mom’s broken heart.”

And now, being an active child, she’s thrilled that she gets to dedicate herself towards Rambunctious Scamp.

Ah, the joys of all-night play sessions, typing, video games, dancing, swimming, and crossing those monkey bars! Salix is going to be a strong and tough little Bough!


“Watch out, sissies! We’ve got you cornered! You’ve gotta be tough if you expect to survive deep space!”

Sometimes, as in our loner gen 2 spare Mesquite Bough rolling both Social Butterfly and Friend of the World aspirations, the circumstances of our Sims’ lives don’t match up with their coding.

And sometimes, as with Aspen rolling persistent romantic whims towards Lamont, the desires of our Sims don’t fit well with living harmoniously within the emotional boundaries of Sim coding.

And sometimes, when active little Sims get to be rambunctious scamps, coding and inclination align–and we get, even if just for a little while, the deep satisfaction of structure and spirit in harmony.