Reflections on Legacy Game-Play, One Year In

I’ve been playing the Goofy Love legacy for a little over a year. We’ve had a few breaks: the long Plum Day break during the holidays, the break while we waited for the Story of the Month to come out, the break during the Elder/Young CT mad-crazy nuptials, the S-GAS break. But since March 2015, we’ve kept a pretty steady pace.

It’s hard for me to separate game-play from writing, at this point. The two are integrated. While I play, I listen to the story unfold. What’s happening? What are these Sims telling me? Where are my thoughts wandering? What are these Sims, this game, teaching me?

A year ago, I wanted to achieve this integration between writing and playing the game for I feared that I would get too far ahead in game play and not be able to catch the story’s thread. Through the past year, a shift has happened: Rather than write so I can play, now I play so that I can write.

I’ve had stretches in my life where I’ve written often and consistently, but never with the motivation that I feel now. The Sims have become my scrying orb, revealing to me the themes within my life that ask me to consider them. In this way, the Boughs have become reflections of me, and I reflect them.

Last year, when I calculated the progress of this legacy game, I predicted I’d be done this past spring. After the interceding breaks, I’m now considering that I’ll be making good pace if I’m finished before Plum Day rolls around again. At this point, I do predict I’ll finish (knock on wood), which is something I only dared to hope a year ago.

So what has it been like? Saying goodbye to so many Sims has been the hardest part. Watching the surprising things these Sims do has been the best part.

Would I play a legacy again? I’m not sure–I’ve learned so much from this one that I’m not sure I see the point in tackling another one. Some aspects of legacies, such as rolling for aspirations, don’t seem to me to be in the best interest of the Sims. But I love rolling for traits, even when Sims wind up with traits that don’t seem to fit their inherent personalities, for the inconsistent trait, such as Salix’s materialism or Tam’s meanness, seem to add a complexity that provides a rich challenge for these Sims, one that they grow through as they meet.

I hope to play generational games again. I continue to be amazed by gen 5+ Sims. Their AI and emotional intelligence astounds me. To get to gen 5, though, likely means Normal life span and many visits from Grim. I still have a little while before I need to completely make up my mind about this, but I’m thinking of incorporating generational play and Normal lifespan into the Neighborhood Rotation game planned for after the legacy is complete.

As the penultimate generation approaches young adulthood, I’m making sure to appreciate everything. The other night, the game crashed, and rather than feeling disappointed or frustrated that I’d have to replay a full Sim day, I felt grateful–one more day with the gen 8 kids as teens, one more day before Tam becomes an elder, one more day before Grim visits the home lot.

A year ago, when I was still in the initial excitement of starting this project, I didn’t predict that gratitude would be the predominant feeling for me that legacy-play would bring. But it makes sense. All I need to do is remember how Cedar would throw out her arms beneath the desert sun, twirl, and say, “Ah, Lor Ay!” to realize that gratitude is Cedar’s gift to me and to the generations of Boughs that followed her.

Happy Cedar

There’s beauty all around us!