Wow! I was delighted to see that Shannon Simsfan at Simdale Valley Post nominated me for a Liebster Award. Thanks, Shannon. Everyone should be reading her Sims 4 legacy, Take Me to the Moon. It features well-drawn characters and a lovely balance between rotational play and focus on a single legacy family. I’ve learned a lot from Shannon’s style.
But, wait! As I was writing my Liebster post, Kate of The Loewe Legacy let me know that she nominated me. So I am moving her from MY nomination list (blast) to a second thank-you. The Loewes are a legacy of horsemen and women in gorgeous Monte Vista. The characters are adorable and well-drawn. The narrative is witty and draws in game elements like Imaginary Friend in creative ways. The blog features original storytelling aids like the family photo album and ID cards for each character.
What is Liebster? Well, it’s is a sort of half-award, half-chain letter that’s sweeping the Simblog community. This is the best kind of chain letter. It helps us share recommendations for great Sims blogs.
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about who I should nominate. Meanwhile, several of the blogs I wanted to nominate have been nominated. If I don’t get in on this action, I’m going to be left behind :).
Like any pyramid scheme, though, SOMEBODY is going to find themselves unable to pass it on. If you accept the nomination, you are called to nominate 5-11 of your favorite blogs. I’m already struggling to come up with five blogs that I read that aren’t already nominated. If anyone I nominate can’t produce five blogs they want to recommend, I say no shame. Nominate however many blogs you can get behind!
Now, without further ado… and before anyone ELSE I intended to nominate gets a nomination….
Responsibilities of a Liebster Nominee:
1. Put the award on your blog
2. Thank the blogger who nominated you
3. Nominate 5 to 11 other blogs
4. Answer the 11 questions that were asked
5. Then ask the people you nominate, 11 questions.
You know, I’ve been doing this so long that my first thought was of all the dormant blogs I wish were still active. Some really great stories have been written using Sims. I raise a glass to all my active fellow simbloggers. Let’s keep the stories rollin’.
1. Grata Musica (Sims 3): A haunting, music-themed DITFT Challenge. Amhranai uses wishes and personality traits to build multi-faceted characters whose strengths are balanced by their flaws. Sometimes you want to hug them, and sometimes you really wish you could shake some sense into them. Grata Musica features a lingering mystery about the origin of the founder.
2. Wren’s Nest (Sims 4): I’m pretty shocked that Wren’s Nest hasn’t been nominated yet. Carewren hasn’t acknowledged a nomination, and one hasn’t been posted in this comments of her blog as of this writing, so I’m going with it. This is an intense and beautiful Apocalypse Challenge that builds the rules into the narrative in innovative and heartwrenching ways.
3. Not So Ordinary Life (Sims 3): A dramatic multigenerational Sims story featuring the fame, fortune, and tragedy of the Bennett family. Beautiful character designs, good photography, and well-crafted prose. Plenty of side stories to keep you interested.
4. Crowned to be Sim (Sims 3): This is an old soul legacy like mine, dating from June 2011, and there’s never been a legacy premise like this one. Follow the royal line of Willem II of the Netherlands after his is transported to the present and given a fresh life. He and his descendants are out to take over all the Sims worlds. Touching and hilarious by turns, this is not a legacy to be missed.
5. The Alien Legacy (Sims 4): A legacy founded by an alien before there even were aliens in the Sims 4. Delightful quirky story told in the first person that changes to a fresh voice every generation to match the personality of the heir.
6. The Granite Legacy (Sims 4): This is a fresh legacy with a fresh style. It tells the story of a young woman who washes up in Granite Falls with no name, no money, and no memory. Anne tells me that we’re going to get more information on the poor founder’s origins soon.
7. Secrets of Waikiki (Sims 3): This story is just beginning, but the use of CC to create a unique sense of place really grabs the eye. There’s a lot of story to tell on the primitive island of Waikiki. I hope it returns from hiatus soon.
Answer’s to Shannon’s Questions:
1. What’s you all-time favorite place in the world? (If you don’t feel comfortable giving the location, just a description).
Wow. This is a hard question. It might sound corny, but I think it’s my house right here in Somerville, Massachusetts. I’ve moved around a bit. I grew up in Carmel, Indiana (old suburb of Indianapolis), and have lived in Ohio, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Madrid Spain, and London England. Of all those places, the one we most wanted to return to was the Boston area. We built a secret dream of owning an old Victorian house with access to good public transit, and to our surprise, we were able to make that dream a reality three years ago. We love to travel, but this the home we want to return to.
2. Who is your favorite, non-sims author?
Lois McMaster Bujold! I started as a fantasy and light science fiction reader as preteen. I’ve branched out a lot these days, and I like to read anything that’s good. But I think I still come home to SFF. I also recommend Megan Whalen Turner and Ben Aaronovich.
3. When did you start playing Sims?
I first picked up a combo pack of Sims and Sim Livin’ Large back in the day. It was well past the halfway point of the original Sims game. Judging from where I was living, I’m going to guess 2003. I lived and breathed Sims for a few weeks. Considering that it could take you half an hour to walk from one side of an original Sims house to the other, I got obsessed with designing efficient houses to save time with the morning routine :). But after a while I realized that the Sims lives were more boring than my actual life, and I stopped playing.
I went through a similar cycle with Sims 2. I never even got any expansions. I hadn’t discovered the online community, and I don’t think I really got the potential of what you could do with this game.
I picked up Sims 3 in 2009 and really fell in love. It and World Adventures really touched the wish fulfillment I think I wanted out of the franchise. I’ve stuck with this game and its awful instability through thick and thin, and I love it passionately in spite of itself.
4. What is your favorite part of playing or blogging sims?
When I play, I love looking for the game to reveal a unique personality for each sim. I like to play first and then stitch a story together from the gameplay. It’s a great sort of semi-directed fiction writing prompt.
I also love modifying my town and maintaining a breeding population with interesting genetics. It takes a bit of work to keep your town generating fresh faces, even using NRaas StoryProgression to be sure the town keeps reproducing.
5. What is your least favorite part of playing or blogging sims?
Troubleshooting. It’s taken me a truly stupid amount of effort (and mods) to construct a stable game. I’m delighted to help anyone else troubleshoot, because Sims 3 is an awesome game underneath a veneer of instability.
6. Where do you find/get inspiration for your blog’s characters?
I randomize the toddler and child traits and then spend a lot of time pondering what kind of person would grow up with those traits.
7. What about the setting, how did you come up with the imaginary aspects of your sims’ world?
Honestly? I fell in love with the metallic skin tones I found on ModtheSims, then saw Bakafox’s lovely empty world Avalon, and I just had to come up with something to justify them.
8. How did you decide to start blogging about your game?
About halfway through the life of my test sim, Susie Sample, I realized that I was telling a story. I couldn’t bear the thought of losing that story, so I put it on a blog. I didn’t even really know there was a Sims blogging community back then. I just wanted the story to be recorded someplace so I wouldn’t forget it.
9. Do you know any simmers in your everyday life, or just online?
Yes! I know some in my everyday life. Others have entered the halfway land of Facebook friends.
I keep a closed Sims community on Facebook. Let me know if you want an invitation ;-).
10. On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being completely), how freaked out are you when the power/internet go out and you can’t play or read or write about sims? (I’m about a six, this happened last week!)
Woo. I’m a telecommuting software engineer. Losing power and internet really messes me up for all sorts of reasons. If it were for an evening, it would be entertaining. Longer than that and I would be an unhappy puppy. Dur. Maybe a 7? I don’t want to imply my brain would explode if I couldn’t get online.
11. All time favorite sims moment?
It’s hard to settle on just one, but it’s been hard to top one from my first generation — Connor Frio being late to his own wedding. That one was so funny because I was new to the game. I’d never thrown a wedding before, and I had no idea why he might be late. I was really freaked out that Susie might be stood up on her wedding day, and I was so relieved when he finally arrived.
Answers to Kate’s Questions:
1. If you could start your story over, would you change something?
If I started my story over, I would have thought of it as a work of fiction from the very beginning. I guess everyone who has been blogging for a while cringes when they go back to see their first posts.
I still have a copy of Susie Sample, and sometime I’d like to go back and give her more of a life.
2. Do you get inspired by real-life situations or is your story a pure creation of your imagination?
It’s mostly a creation from my imagination. I really enjoy taking prompts from wishes, personality traits, and random game events and turning them into a story.
3. Did you already have some experience in writing before starting blogging about The Sims?
My husband and I used to keep a travel blog — back before we had our daughter and did a lot more traveling.
4. Do you write other stories/poems/lyrics/etc.?
I’m an aspiring novelist, emphasis on the aspiring. When my daughter was born, I was about 2/3 done with the first draft of my second novel. I put a lot of effort into trying to publish my first one, but now I’m ready to put it in a drawer for a good long time. My second novel has been on hiatus for a few years due to parenthood, but I’m very excited about the story.
Sims blogging is actually a way for me to play with writing without all the pressure of trying to produce something professional.
I intend to return to writing seriously in the new year or two.
5. Does your family/friends know that you’re blogging about The Sims? If yes, what do they say/think about your story?
Ha! My friends come in two types: Those who read and blog Sims, and those who think it’s a bizarre hobby. I tell my non-sims friends about my blogs, but I don’t think a single one has every tried to read them.
6. If you’ve ever created yourself in the Sims, how far did you get with your ‘legacy’?
My simself stars in my Nothing Is Free variant challenge, Waypoint. It’s currently dormant but in no way abandoned.
Waypoint has never made it to Generation 2, though. It proceeds verrrry slooowly.
7. What Sims 3 traits would you use to describe yourself? (If you graduated from a college/university you’re allowed to use up to 7 traits).
Haha! I have ’em in the sidebar! Absent-Minded, Adventurous, Artistic, Friendly, Computer Whiz, Loves the Outdoors
I have a Master’s degree. I should probably come up with a 7th trait. I guess it would probably be either Slob or Tinker, depending on how kind I felt about myself that day.
8. What was your favorite loading screen that came with the Expansion/Stuff packs?
This is a great question!
Generations, bar none. I wish they’d put that much thought into more loading screens. The Generations screen was really touching.
I don’t really for the interactive game loading screens they came up with later. I have turned them off. I read a book while my game loads, no kidding. You gotta do something.
9. Do you think The Sims 3 (expanded with all Expansion and Stuff packs) is actually worth the money you spent on it?
Haha. I love this question :). This is the elephant in the room for everyone, isn’t it?
I have worked really hard on economizing my Sims 3 purchases. I didn’t buy expansion packs until they came down to half price. I built a whole strategy around getting cheap premium downloadable content from the store. Even so, a back-of-the envelope calculation estimates that I’ve put well over $300 into this game.
Then again, I’ve been playing for six years. $300 is $50/year. Even if it’s $60 or $70/year, I think I’ve gotten my money’s worth.
10. What Sims 3 music is your favorite? (If any.)
I actually play with the sound off a lot. It lets me play with my husband and kid around without being self-conscious about the noise. I like the intro theme, though :).
Oh, and I have “sulsul” as a notification tone on my phone. That didn’t answer your question. I just wanted to share my geek cred.
11. If you could change anything about The Sims genre, what would it be?
There are dozens of changes I wish I could make to the Sims 3 engine to make the game stable enough to reach its full potential.
That’s not really what you’re asking, though.
I guess I really want to use Sims 3 to live interesting alternate lives. I know that going to the toilet is the canonical Sims experience (the toilet was the first object designed for the first game!) but it’s not a big part of the experience I want to play.
I want immersive opportunities to try out new walks of life, and I want really strong AI to make my interactions with other sims as real as possible.
I think the game gets closer to what I want with every iteration.
*Drumroll* At long last…. (Good grief, now what do I ask??)
1. Tell me something that you do with your real life. Career, hobby, life’s ambition, anything.
2. What’s your favorite Sims game in the franchise? Why?
3. How do you tell your Sims story? Do game first, then build a story out of it? Do you build the story, then play it out in the game? Are you an observational blogger? Some other way?
4. Do you mod? If not, do you have a reason? If you do, what’s your favorite mod?
5. What is your most favorite sim you ever played? Why?
6. What is your favorite part of playing Sims?
7. What’s your favorite part of the Sims community? Do you have forums where you like to hang out?
8. Do you blog for laughs or dramatic moments? Both? Neither?
9. Have you ever given up on a challenge without finishing it? Have you ever actually finished one? Inquiring minds want to know.
10. (Stolen from Shannon) Who is your favorite author?
11. (Stolen from Kate) Do you write other stories/poems/lyrics/etc.?