I was asked this the other day by certain beautiful counterpart of mine. I didn’t answer her at that time because I really had to stop and think about it. It came to me last night at work. The honest answer? The Sims.
Yes, those Sims. The ones created by Maxis. For those of you who have known me the longest, and were around when I wrote “Taking the L” and “Krahne”, you’ll remember that my earlier writing had a certain brutal quality about it. I haven’t gotten fully away from that sort of writing as anyone who has read part one of “The Cinder Plant” will tell you. I have to attribute about 90% of my savagery to the Sims.
Let me explain. When The Sims was first released back in 1999, I was one of the first people that I knew to own it. I loved building their houses, furnishing them, and even creating my people the way I wanted them. Life was good for a while…until I realized that Maxis had created the possibility that your Sim could die. Suddenly, the game took on a more sinister role. The game allowed me to create scenarios that would most likely never happen in real life, and watch how things played out. I began to plot against my characters. I wanted to see how they would handle what I would do to them. For example, your Sim might need to pee. He’d start waiving his hands and yelling “Tay yo mah!” Whatever the hell that means. Sometimes I would tell him to go. Sometimes, I would make him piss himself just to see what the game would have him do next. He would cry, and want to shower. When I realized that you could have a hand in your Sim dying, shit got ugly. I killed everybody. It was like if Stephen King was death; people were killed in such paranormal ways, they would literally haunt the house. I would have the entire neighborhood over for a pool party. Once everyone was in the pool, I’d delete the ladder, and watch them turn into tombstones around the pool. If I was feeling particularly psychotic, I’d create an island in the middle just large enough for one person to stand, and put the ladder leading onto it. Then I’d see who made it out alive only to die on an island. I wouldn’t always kill them though. Sometimes, if I had an annoying neighbor that wouldn’t leave so I could go to bed for work, I’d put the game in build mode. Then I’d put the neighbor inside a glass room with no doors with the urns inside. Then I’d switch to play mode, and wait for 2 am for the ghost to haunt the neighbor. He’d get scared, and run away (magically through the window). No matter what situation I came up with, the Sims had an answer. That answer always was based on what would keep them alive the longest. Now when I write, I create these horrific situations, I imagine my Sims, and see how my characters get out of them. Sometimes they get out unscathed, more often than not, they don’t. It’s just how it happens! I hope this answers your question. Thanks for asking!