~~The Simtopian Gazette~~
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March 27, 2013
Posted by Gloria P.
Gloria/WebMistress/The Simtopian Portal
Well, hello again, Simmers, it's your webmistress here, with some news about my latest Sims 3 project. Why should the happenings within my game interest other players? It should interest other players because I'm dealing with the subject of homelessness.
I was surfing the Internet for some interesting Sims to add to my game, and came across a family named Bin Diver. They are a father and daughter - Kev and Alice - homeless, and penniless, living in a weed-overgrown, no longer used Park. Kev and Alice have nothing, save for a couple of worn and weathered Park Benches, and a faded and equally weathered old table. Alice also has her Teddybear, something thing she managed to hold onto when the bill collectors came to toss them out onto the street, and lock up the house, with all of their former belongings. Their creditors planned to sell off all they had accumulated over the years, to pay what was owed to them.
But, what about Alice's mother? Where is she? Who is she? The person who created this poor, sad family never mentions Alice's mother, and the subject never comes up.
This family has problems from day one. Kev, the man that unfortunately turned out to be Alice's father, is a man who dislikes children. He's also hot-headed, inappropriate, a Kleptomaniac, a Couch Potato, and insane. Just being near Alice irritates Kev. He blames her for everything. It's her fault they were now living in a park. It's her fault that they didn't have a penny to their names. If he hadn't been forced to support her, he would have had enough to pay the bills. If he didn't have to be there to look after her, he might have been able to find a job. It was her fault that his wife decided to leave. She just couldn't handle the demands of raising a child, and caring for her home and husband at the same time. If only she hadn't come along...if she hadn't been born...everything would be fine right now!
Kev is an oddball to be sure. He gets his meals by walking into people's homes and helping himself to the contents of their refrigerator and closets. He bathes in strangers' bathtubs, sleeps in their beds, watches their TVs. Kev couldn't care less if Alice has anything to eat. Heck, she doesn't even have a pair of shoes to protect her small feet.
Kev wanders about the neighborhood, often wearing nothing but a pair of dirty underwear. He talks to himself, rummages in public trash cans, and makes passes at strange women. When Alice is nearby, he'll stop strangers and make rude and insulting remarks about his daughter.
Poor Alice is left on her own most of the time. When she's hungry, she has to go to strangers and mooch food. When she needs a bath, she has to go to the neighborhood public pool, or the gymnasium and use the showers. For entertainment, she goes to the public library and spends the day reading. She'll also go to the Community Center, play video or table games, watch TV, join other Sims for a game or two of Dominos or Chess, or even Basketball. More than anything, Alice longs for a close friend of her very own. Someone she can count on to be there for her when she needs them, a person she can count on to listen to problems without being accusing, disapproving, or judgmental. Her friend would be supportive. Her friend would be there to offer her the simple pleasures of a bed to sleep in, a hot meal, a warm bath, a roof over her head when it's pouring rain, snowing, and bitter cold. Alice wasn't asking for a lot...just the basic comforts that everyone else enjoys.
It seemed that every day, Alice would find herself asking..."Why did this have to happen to me? What did I do to be punished this way? Would she ever manage escape this miserable life, and have a home of her own, a husband, and a family? Was that too much to ask?
I followed this sad story as it slowly played out, and it just seemed to become more and more depressing. Poor Alice's situation seems to go from bad to worse. I saw her grow and become a teen, and then an adult. She eventually found herself a part time job, which out a few Simoleons in her pocket.
Wanting to help others, Alice starts mailing most of the money she earned to charities. And with her job to keep her busy, she thankfully doesn't see much of Kev. And, then one evening, as Alice is sitting in their old park, reading a romantic story, Kev appears. He looks to have aged considerably. In fact, Kev looks quite thin and frail, and rather sickly.
Ordinarily. Kev would have accosted her angrily, picking a fight. Kev was always rude and insulting...always hateful. But, this time, he seemed subdued, and passive. He just wanted to talk.
Eventually, Kev lay down on one of the benches and fell into a deep sleep. Worried about him, Alice decided to sit with him through the night. Ultimately, she too grew drowsy, and lay back to close her eyes for a while.
It was the warmth of the morning sunshine on her face, and the sweet, subtle melody of bird song that aroused her from her dreams. She yawned, stretched, and finally sat up. Looking over at Kev, she realized that something was wrong. Frowning, she got to her feet and went to where her father lay. She touched his shoulder...He was cold, and still. Kev had passed away during the night.
Alice was taken aback. The way Kev had always treated her, she shouldn't care about his passing. She ought to be glad that he was finally out of her life. But, she wasn't. Tear welled up in her eyes and spilled down her pale cheeks. She stepped back, sat on her bench, and with her face cupped in both hands, she sobbed grievously. Why, she wondered, couldn't she and her father manage to become friends? Why was he always attacking and belittling her? Why couldn't Kev have been the father she longed to have?
And, now he was gone, and she was alone in the world.
This is where this sad, sad story ends. I had thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Homelessness, I believe, is s subject that we all need to address. Putting together a Sims 3 story, with Homelessness at it's heart was an excellent way of making people aware of it.
The author of the Kev and Alice story was interviewed many times about the piece, and why he had decided to do it. The creator also posted links, so fans of the series could download Kev and Alice and continue their adventure. Fans could begin with Alice as a child, with Alice as a Teen, or Alice as a Young Adult. It was reader's choice. Along with Kev and Alice, fans also got a copy of of their weed-overgrown park. From there, fans of the story could take Kev and Alice on a new kind of adventure. Fans could have them rise above their depressing situation, or they could make it worse. There were many, many options.
I chose to download all three versions of Kev and Alice, thinking that I might try to begin their tale at different periods in their life, and locate each version in a different town.
So, thus begins my brand new Legacy Game. I started with Alice as the little, barefoot child, and placed their weedy lot in the town of Aurora Skies. I looked the town over, searching for a good place to set down the park. I really didn't scan the landscape too thoroughly. I just looked for a location where the lot would fit without too much adjustment, and plopped it down.
Turns out, I couldn't have chosen a better spot, if I had planned it. I had chosen a downtown spot. As I had a look around, I discovered that the public library was right next door! Two doors down the street, I found a spa and bookstore. In the other direction, was a wooded area, where The Weatherstone was concealed.. Just beyond the wooded area, was a large park, designed for fishing, and beyond the park, was Aurora Skies Public Swimming Pool. All around Alice and Kev's park were a number of other community lots...a Learning Center, the Municipal Bldg, a restaurant, a couple of parks...The locale I had chosen was going to provide Alice with a lot of community places where she could spend time, learn, and have some fun.
I also decided, that since Alice had really longed for a friend, I would provide her with one. A little boy her own age, living with a Middle Class Family, not rich, and not poor, just a family who would embrace her as one of them. A family who would offer to take her in, and provide her with some simple necessities...a few sticks of furniture, money for food, appliances with which to prepare the food. I felt, however, that Alice, for some reason, felt obligated to stay and look after her father, even though he was a terrible Ogre...and a Thief. He's always bringing home things that he claimed to have found "in the trash". But, Alice knows better. She's all too aware of how Kev came by his assorted treasures. He Boosted (stole) them. A great many of his acquisitions came from the junkyard, Kev's favorite place to hang out. The Junkyard office, had a small bathroom, a computer that he could use to Troll on forums. Upstairs of the office was a kitchen/Living Area, with a few appliances, a TV, Radio, plenty of books. Kev often sat there for hours on end watching TV and eating the food stored in the fridge. Kev enjoyed this little luxuries, and eventually decided to bring them home with him.
I built a garden on Kev and Alice's lot, and added a fishing pond. It wasn't hard for Alice to find seeds scattered about town. She started growing her own veggies and fruit trees, and catching fish. These she sold at the Consignment Store. With the money, she bought a used tent to protect them from the weather. But, unable to look inside the tent, because it was a Rabbit Hole, I decided to build Alice and Kev a simple shelter...I gave each of them a small bedroom, where they could go when the wanted privacy. There was also a combination Kitchen/Dining Area, with a simple Sitting Room. All of the materials I used were aged and weathered. The windows didn't match, the doors were made of old, dirty, weathered boards. The structure had a thatched roof. The shelter had an Outhouse, with a toilet and a simple, basic shower. I gave them a clothesline for drying laundry. They also had a stained and faded washing machine. Kev had found the old washer, sitting on the back porch of one of the furnished, but unoccupied houses in the neighborhood. He couldn't resist bringing it home. Kev told Alice, once again, that he had found the machine, discarded in the trash. He decided to bring it home to see if it worked...or if he could fix it. Alice nodded. She knew he had not found the washer in the trash, but she had long since stopped worrying about him. With a bit of luck, he'd get arrested, and be out of her hair for a while.
So, Simmers, that's how I laid out my Legacy Game. I'm planning to begin a new blog, so that I can document the progress of my family, and follow the course of their daily lives. Most everyone who have played and are still playing this family, have used cheats to take them down to zero funds. Others, feeling sorry for Alice, used cheats to make her rich, so she could finally enjoy the good things in life. For me, that seemed like a cop out. I wanted Alice to rise above her situation, but I wanted her to work her way out, and earn all the good things I wanted her to have. That, after all is the point of playing these characters. I wanted to see how long it would take for Alice to earn the money she needed, selling the produce from her garden in the Summer, and selling the fish caught.in their pond. In the Winter, she would have to use the amenities of The Stone's Throw Greenhouse.
As for Alice's young friend...There is a lot of space that can be utilized for placing lots, right across the street from their lot. Easy enough for the two children to walk back and forth across the street. All I need to decide, is if I will use a pre-made family from the bin, or create one of my own. A pre-made family would be far more interesting...
Well, that's about it for the Bin Diver family, Generation 1. I've already got them securely ensconsed in their shabby, little shelter. All they have is the most basic of necessities, just enough for them to prepare basic meals, have a place to sit while they watch their stolen TV. Each of them has a single bed to sleep in, and a door they can lock for privacy. Alice has an old computer, given to her by her little friend's mother. It's a full time job, keeping Kev away from it. He likes to Troll on forums, almost as much as he likes rummaging in rubbish cans!
I do hope you will check out my Bin Diver Blog, and pass along your ideas and suggestions for struggling Sims....