The best way to make money is to found a religion. — L. Ron Hubbard
There is no shortage of content about The Sims. New players are welcomed into the sunshine of helpful resources, custom content, and troubleshooting. Eventually, however, one gets desensitized to the formulaic set of goals laid out for us and veers into the labyrinthine forest of storytelling. Stories about female Sims who are impregnated 100+ times by different men. Stories about serial killer Sims who marry the Grim Reaper and trap Father Winter in their basement, then seduce the replacement Father Winter and trap him in the basement too. Stories in which Sims enact scenes of betrayal, drama, mystery, and intrigue.
If you’ve managed so far to navigate this labyrinth, you find yourself facing the entrance to a dark alley, lit by a single bare bulb, surrounded by concrete and chain link fence, outside a boarded-down restaurant named Lucky Dragon. This is no longer formulaic crazy. This is high-effort crazy. This is farmer’s market, organic, handcrafted artisan crazy. This is Willoughby Whippets and Tibetan Spaniels.
Allow us to introduce ourselves.
Every RAGING middle school child at some point gets the idea to capture an unwitting NPC that wanders across their lot in a four-by-four grey wall enclosure in which they spin and impotently raise their arms into the air over and over until death befalls them. Despite the fact that you did not create a ceiling, the other residents of Pleasantville, for whom the game has generated happy bourgeois player goals, seemingly stroll by without hearing their screams. The developers think it’s weird that there would be ghosts inside a house, but we know, as players and modders, that this is not even close to the limit of insanity WHICH GOES TO INFINITY. Not only do we REFUSE to follow through on the goals posed to us by the developers as rhetorical questions in their family descriptions, we DEMOLISH THE GIVEN HOUSES and replace them with CHURCHES and an underground DOME OF OPIUM GNOMES!!!!!!! Do you not understand me? Then see for yourself in the following pages. Can you think outside the four-by-four grey wall box of NPC capture? Simister can. Can Bella Goth be rediscovered? What kind of goal is this?? The REAL question you should be asking yourself is, can the Mormon Church figure out the source of psychedelic rock music coming up through its floor from the Gnome orgy? Can little Johnny escape the room in which his grandparents force him to play the violin continuously? Forget about the single mom scenario. What about the child who is raised by a globe wearing a bonnet and a stick? Watch him receive parental guidance from a floating twig! Who needs alien abductions when you have an a tower laboratory in which citizens are captured for experimentation? Simister does not make all their sims live in ghettoblaster apartments with one microwave for a family of 10 and five stereos that play constantly from locations sims cannot get to from any angle. Simister’s replicate of herself in the virtual world owns a mansion in every possible gameworld and has a boyfriend and three children for every man Simister has every found attractive whether from knowing personally or from seeing for three seconds on a street corner. Yes, random man I never talked to at the cafe–do you know that you and I have already reproduced repeatedly in our home that we own in the jungle?
Dolly Llama, in contrast, guides her virtual children with a gentle hand. Sweet, happy, highly accomplished families live in (admittedly poorly-built) houses; there is no evil, no meanness, nothing but genuine empathy. Yet, even when their every move is guided by a benevolent creator, Sims find ways to make themselves unhappy. Perhaps two personalities conflict, or idiosyncrasies appear, or the AI makes some inexplicable decision. Why ignore it? Stifling your Sims’ personalities for the sake of your own flawed understanding of life is limiting, after all. Even a benevolent creator creates in a purely Orwellian context. Moreover, there is no need to create artificial conflict: no matter how kind the player is, how much freedom the player gives them, Sims will create conflict solely based on who they are. Ignoring pain is itself a cause of pain. There is no need to torture them. They torture themselves. This is the thesis of Dolly Llama’s work.
If you are ready to think outside the box—yes, outside the four by four square of grey walls in which you captured Santa Claus—then read ahead and follow us into the Wonderland that is the only known Sims blog sponsored by the Church of Scientology: Willoughby Whippets and Tibetan Spaniels.