Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Robots and Evil Squid

This has been the longest week for me, and only a couple days have gone by. It's not because there's been a lot of particularly bad stuff happening, though, it's just been really snowy and gloomy outside for the past couple weeks, and that takes its toll on my brain - I have snow on the brain, so to speak. With snow comes the mentality that I should be at home drinking coffee sitting in a warm, quiet room, not in a brightly lit office environment where everything is air conditioned even in the winter, having to click away at a keyboard all day long. No wonder I don't get anything done when it's snowy out. I still have the "snow day" mentality from when I was a kid in school and a big snow usually meant a pretty good chance of getting at least one day off. They never call out at my job. Being an adult sucks.

On that happy, happy note, I must clarify that I'm actually doing pretty good, if you ignore my little issue with gloomy weather. I was born in Los Angeles, and I've never quite embraced living in a state where it's cold so much of the year or there's so much weather variation. Having all that change at the age of 12 was like having TS2 installed and installing "Seasons" and abruptly changing everything your sims know about the weather. Speaking of sims (how's that for a segue?), let's move on to them, because they're a lot more fun than my personal mumbo jumbo. As we enter the neighborhood, we find ourselves at the Andrews home, where the adorable and talented Amy Andrews is busy flying a kite...

Amy: "At the first sign of lightning, I'm letting go of this crazy thing!"

Yes, it was lots of fun to craft all kinds of goodies to sell at Radio Shock, but curiosity eventually got the best of Amy, and she decided to try out some of the products she was selling to test them for fun and functionality. That way, when folks asked her how something works or if it's any fun to use, she'd actually have something to tell them instead of just standing there looking dumb. She was smart enough not to test the obviously evil variations of some of the items like the clown-in-a-box and the evil kite (she just left the evil clown sitting around the house where people like Clarence could keep using it and peeing on the floor as a result). Buddy was the first to test the "water wiggler", and was somehow able to turn it on and off at will. That is one smart pooch.

The eternal battle of dog vs. plastic, water spewing octopus!

Eventually, Amy got tired of playing with all of the toys and gadgets herself, and decided to try them out on an unlikely focus group - kids! Now, I know it's been a while, but if you really stretch your brain, you'll recall that Amy has grandchildren (I know, she doesn't look it), and this fact didn't escape her. She called up Aiden and Vyn, who brought their daughters Kati and Jaden over to the house. She also called up her daughter Aimee, who isn't exactly what you'd call a kid, but she's close to the same age as Amy's grandchildren, which is enough to make you drool with confusion. The kids (and Aimee) managed to get Buddy away from the water wiggler long enough to play around with it a bit themselves, then decided to gather around the pitifully small dining room table for a bite to eat.

Jaden: "Have you guys ever been to Pimp Harbor?"

Really, with all the improvements that have been made to the Andrews home since they first moved in (it was actually one of the template homes in the beginning, but you'd hardly recognize it now), it's amazing they'd never bothered to add something functional like a bigger dining room, but since Clarence and Amy are the only real residents, and everyone else has a tendency to eat sitting at the couch, I guess it wouldn't have gotten much use. Antonio Wilson eventually figured out where his fiancé had gone off too, and decided to come join in the soggy front yard fun. A little later, Antonio and Vyn retired to the hot tub, where they assumed they'd have a nice relaxing soak, until Clarence joined them and tried to bore them to death with his endless, tedious talk about politics and the challenges of being mayor…zzzz…

Vyn: "If he doesn't change the topic soon, I'm going to hold my head underwater until he shuts up!"

Despite everything she already had going on in her life, including her family, her dog, taking care of the house, and minding Andrews Radio Shock every few days, Amy still found herself getting bored, and while Clarence was making okay money as Mayor, it was only about half of what he was making when he'd reached the top of the sports career track (the only reason he switched was because of a life long aspiration to become the best on the slacker track). The solution was simple - if she had a job of her own, she'd be making more money, and it would kill a few hours during the day when she was usually sitting around at home by herself while Clarence and even Buddy went off to work.

Amy: "Actually, I'm just playing the sims right now…the job can wait!"

Whew…speaking of work, I'm incredibly tired right now. I wrote the above yesterday morning while I had time, and since then, the rest of the day has gone by, followed by a night of my wife elbowing me every five seconds saying I was snoring, and now I'm about as close to being a zombie as you can get without actually being dead. I just can't seem to find the motivation to work (and it's a good thing I'm not right now). Anyway, back to Amy. After a little searching, she decided on a job in the business track, which is handy because she didn't have any strong preference about what profession she entered (she's been to the top of a couple of other career tracks before, most notably law enforcement). Amy's carpool left at the same time as Clarence's, so regardless of what would normally be picking her up, she wound up taking the helicopter to work.

Amy: "Can't we just get a nice, inconspicuous limo instead?"

Like all sims with maxed out skill points, it didn't take Amy more than a couple of days before she was a CEO (wouldn't it be great if it were that easy in real life?). As with the top position in so many other career tracks, the CEO money wasn't all that great, but when it was combined with the money Clarence was making as Mayor, it wasn't so bad. The real benefit to Amy taking on yet another job, of course, was the career rewards. The family had started storing the less interesting ones like the lie detector and podiums in their upstairs attic, but it seemed time to start putting some of the fun ones to good use. Clarence pulled out the putting green, since, thus far, there's been no indication the sims will have access to a full size golf course any time soon (you thought the bowling lanes and skating rinks were big objects, just imagine how big that puppy would be).

Clarence: "It's all in the hips, baby…"

By this point, thanks to the questionable crafting skills of Katrina and Mia Kay, who made the toys at Radio Shock, Amy had gotten to see most of the "evil" variations of the toys sold at the store. However, due to a lack of units produced, nobody realized there was an evil version of the water wiggler. Then one day, while Amy was restocking the shelves at the store, behold, she filled the empty wiggler spot with the coolest "evil squid" variant. She decided it was just too cool to allow someone else to buy it, and quickly reclaimed it for her own use at home. The old, boring octopus model was quickly discarded, and folks gave the squid a test run, with decidedly "un-evil" results…

Well, it LOOKS evil anyway...

Yes, while there's a noticeable difference between the regular octopus model and the "evil" squid, the squid didn't actually do things any differently from the octopus. A little research later on my part seemed to indicate there was a risk of "flooded lawn", but after days of using the stupid thing the only thing to get wet was the people jumping around in the water spray, and they suffered no ill effects. I'll admit I'm a little evil myself in that I get a good laugh out of the effects the evil clown-in-a-box and evil kite have on sims, and I was just the tiniest bit bummed when the so-called evil squid didn't deliver the goods. Oh, well. Now, with Amy and Clarence both having jobs and being pretty busy, there were a couple times it was tempting to reactivate the household servos, but just recalling all the trouble they'd caused already was enough to squelch that temptation.

Clarence: "It's okay! You can listen to me play the piano for hours!"

The maid (and Amy, who still couldn't shake some of her old maid behaviors) did a pretty good job of keeping the place clean, but there was no denying it was pretty tempting to activate C-3P0 or Dot to have them wander around and pick up garbage. They inevitably wound up wasting time doing recreational stuff instead though before their desire to do chores kicked in, and it just wasn’t worth the trouble of repositioning them in their corners in the piano room later to be deactivated. Amy figured out a much better solution, and didn't have to look any further than her very own store. She brought home a "cleanbot" and a "hydrobot" to take care of garbage and watering needs, making the servos a little more useless than they already were.

Dumber than their servo cousins, but much more efficient!

I have to say, the little rover droids do a pretty good job of handling their individual tasks, if you ignore the fact that the cleanbot can't scrub toilets or get trash off counters. My sims have a terrible habit of dumping plates and trash on the floor wherever they go, and having a robot to handle those alone made a huge difference. The hydrobot was a little less useful since nobody ever caught on fire, but it's ability to tell when the garden plants needed watering was superior to my own, since I have a tendency to drown them. Eventually, Amy started to feel a little guilty about leaving the servos to collect dust. Sure, they were mostly useless and concerned only about satisfying their own selfish desires, but she'd raised kids before too, and they were the same, and it wasn't like she'd stood them in a corner until she needed them. Eventually, Amy reactivated them for little bits of time here and there so they could go do their thing, whatever it happened to be.

Dot: "I am going to be SO buff!"

I don't really have anything strongly against the servos, even after the less than stellar experiences both the Andrews and Daniels families had with them. At the heart of things, they aren't normal "sims", and I suppose they so badly want to be that they overcompensate with excessive interactions with their "owners" and pursuit of "normal" activities. I just don't like it when they try to flub up existing relationships by making shameless passes at their owners, or they waste all the food in the fridge making meals that aren't needed. Of course, servos, even with all of their quirks, are less disappointing than the dang "evil" squid, which after several more days, still had yet to demonstrate any evil behavior.

Squid: "I've got scary glowing eyes…what more do you want?!"

If nothing else, all the stuff getting crafted at Andrews Radio Shock has been amusing and occupying the family, which is a lot more fun than just watching it get bought up by townies and never used at all. Over the next few posts, we'll be paying a visit to the Wilsons of both Wilson households in the hopes that they can provide us with some sort of amusement. Then later, we'll visit Leon and Rinoa Hartman. It's been a while since we checked to see how they were doing. Have they found the ideal life together Leon seemed to hope they'd have? Has Leon actually made anything of himself since the last time we saw him? I wouldn't bet on the latter, but we can always dream. Take care, and drop by next time!


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