Whisper: Author’s Notes, Gen 1

This is my first ISBI! I’m enjoying it so much. After a nearly two-year break from TS3, I’m finding it very engaging to play again. Through playing TS4 intensively for the past two years, my game-play has shifted to become more Sim-centric; I feel more comfortable than ever with Sim autonomy and trusting the Sims to know what they want for their digital lives. For an ISBI, this has been a good shift.

When I played TS3 previously, my game-play was task-specific. I’d usually focus on one Sim (generally TS3 Cathy Tea) and direct her to do stuff: gain skills, redecorate homes (as an architectural designer), give make-overs (as a stylist) and explore worlds. As a result, I didn’t discover much about what TS3 Sims were capable of in terms of their emotional range, their sense of wonder and delight, their proclivities, affections, and aversions, their diversity, and their artificial intelligence. After being surprised so often by the range of TS4 Sims, I was prepared to be disappointed by what I assumed would be one-dimensional responses and limited emotional range and intelligence of TS3 Sims. With the ISBI, I expected lots of bladder failures and passing out from exhaustion and maybe a few deaths by starvation–all within the first few hours of game-play!

Was I in for a delightfully different experience!

TS3 Sims are smart! And they’re capable of a full range of responses and very individual choices. Marigold has shown me so much. From her adoption up through her young adult birthday, she was fully autonomous. She nearly always took great care of herself, without ever passing out, going hungry, or having bladder failure. She sometimes didn’t shower as often as I’d prefer, but she always got around to bathing eventually.

Riley, in Imaginary-Friend form, caused quite a bit of distraction. I expected this through reading Saraphaeli’s amazing What Are You Even Doing? (A Backwards ISBI). Marigold had a tough day at elementary school when the irresistible draw of pillow-fighing with Riley kept her from doing her homework, bathing, eating, and sleeping. But once I figured out that Riley could stay safely tucked in CT’s inventory until the next play-time, this problem was solved.

I was surprised by the autonomous skilling of the ISBI Sims. Though Marigold spent most of her toddler years playing with Riley, she had seven fitness points by the time she became a YA, all earned on her own. (It helps that she has the athletic trait.) Riley (in YA Sim form) has begun learning cooking, chess, and piano on her own. Bobobo, on the other hand, mastered the peg box and began block-building and xylophone as a toddler. As children, Bobobo and Patches both love to play chess.

Marigold, a dog-lover, has taken great care of Zoey, interacting with him often and bathing and brushing him autonomously. And Zoey’s been a great ISBI dog, doing a much better job of eating and taking care of other needs than previous non-ISBI pets.

The best part of playing an ISBI, for me, has been the surprises: Marigold drinking tea with the zombies and teasing them when they “attack” her has helped quell my own kinemortophobia.

I’ve also been surprised by the way the plot’s unfolded, with CT’s initial discomfort with the culture of Moonlight Falls, her discovering herself at college, and then her eventual acceptance and embracing of the particular life that Moonlight Falls offered her. She truly found her home.

The epic love story with Dante also blew me away. I was so surprised when she chose him for her lover, equally surprised when he died so early in their courtship, and then even more surprised when, even after meeting Frank, she decided to remain (eternally) faithful to Dante. I would never have been so bold as to invent a love story like that, for it seems corny and unbelievable to me. But to have it unfold through CT’s life was a joy.

I thought I’d feel uncomfortable at TS3 CT’s ultimate appointment with Grim, but since it came after she’d fulfilled her and my wish to see Marigold graduate, and since she accepted her final transformation with grace and gratitude, I found it gratifying. After a life well-lived, with lots of lessons and lots of gifts and lots and lots of love, that final meeting with the Reaper isn’t such a scary thing, after all.

So now we move onto Gen 2! I’m excited to see what these amazing Sims will offer.

In case you’re curious, here are the traits of the gen 2 Sims:

Marigold:
Dog-lover
Friendly
Athletic
Eco-friendly
Genius (Selected–I’m allowing myself to select the YA trait for the Torch Holder. All other traits are random.)

Riley:
Absent-minded
Good
Neat
Loner
Never Nude

Bobobo:
EvilHates Children
Heavy Sleeper

Patches:
Absent-minded
Computer-geek
Cat-lover

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