Autonomy

Last week I uncovered in my room-cleaning efforts an archive data CD (the medium indicates its age). Among the archived data I found saved-game files and Norwegian girl-on-girl porn. But the thing that piques my interest (and that of like-minded friends) is a collection of old modded The Sims 2 objects.

This isn’t to say that said friends and I are somehow sophisticated or above prurience and titillation, rather that said objects offer more potential for sexual intrigue and gratification than the porn, at least for those of us who are excited by plot and intrigue and scandal. The Norwegian porn in question is unexceptional and that may be a factor.

Among these magical Sims 2 objects is a bed that we call the Bed of Autonomy,* so named because it offers a vector by which sims can initiate a romantic relationship on their own. A powerful thing.

I talked before about how difficult it is to get two sims to woohoo (that is, have sim sex), and this bed acts as the hub of that process. It advertises** as a comfortable place to relax. I think it also advertises as a good place for social gratification if someone else is relaxing on it.

Two sims relaxing on the Bed of Autonomy will engage each other in the most intimate way possible, accounting for the closeness of their relationship. Strange sims will just talk until they get hungry or bored, and leave. Sims that like each other will rapidly get it on. Given that without the bed, sims deeply in love will still only flirt with each other (including some light kissing), cohabitating couples behave a bit more like… couples.

The presence of a magic Bed of Autonomy puts into sharp relief the degree to which sims are not autonomous. It’s not long before I’m compelled to do some disturbing math:

~ In sharp contrast to human folk, sims will never take it to the next level on their own. Human beings are pretty love-crazy. Two of them mutually hot for each other will hang around each other until they can trust each other, at which point it will be difficult to keep the clothes on. Unresolved sexual tension (without sufficient inhibiting circumstances such as spouses, and even then) only too easily becomes …well… resolved sexual tension. Sims are another matter entirely. They will, even if totally into each other, stay very good platonic friends to the end. That is, until the player decides to spice things up. (Or the bed pulls them in.)

~ With player intervention and a sufficient relationship value, sims will do anyone. All sims are bisexual in this regard. They may have preferences as to one sex over another, much the way they have other preferences (added in the Nightlife expansion), but if she clearly likes girls, and the player directs her to first-kiss her flamboyantly gay, flamboyantly male best friend, there will be love and, if so directed, woohoo and babies.

That said, all sims relationships are arranged (by the player) and sims cannot consent. Sure, a sim can say not right now (say, if she really needs to pee), but she cannot refuse a coupling based on tastes once the relationship numbers qualify.

To be fair, The Sims 2 is not meant to be a realistic simulation of human interaction. To the contrary, it’s like a dollhouse, a storytelling game / toy, where the player directs sims around in order to tell stories.

And sims are not just romantically unmotivated, but pretty generally lackluster all around: Sims ignore homework. They don’t look for jobs. They won’t call friends. They’ll ruin food answering the phone. They’ll get distracted away from going to work / school. They have little drive to do much of anything, let alone pursue romantic interests. So it’s up to the player to decide what they do if at all, otherwise they’ll spend all day playing pinball and eating pop-tarts. When the pop-tarts run out, they’ll starve to death rather than go shopping, order a grocery delivery or even order a pizza.

So in that regard, sims left on their own would need a whole lot more than a bed of autonomy.

* Renamed in the classic tabletop gaming Noun of Verbing tradition by which common magic items were named. (Unique items were named something like McWizard’s Superfluously Ostentatious Thingamajig). The bed originally was something like LizzLoves’s Super Swinger Bed which conveys to sims a strong compulsion to undress, relax on the bed and fiercely make out with anyone else who happens to also be relaxing on the bed. For my purposes, I dial back the settings a bit.

** Sim objects advertise which is a simulation shorthand of informing the sims the object is there and what needs it can fulfill, so that when a sim is feeling hungry, she knows to go to the fridge. When she’s sleepy, man that sofa looks comfy. They also advertise based on how well they can satisfy a thing, so a pinball machine (which is super-fun) will advertise it’s fun-ness brightly, whereas a bookshelf will advertise dimly (reading fiction is fun, but not as instantly gratifying as the pinball machine). Of course, someone who particularly likes reading may have modifiers to prefer the bookshelf over the pinball machine.

Note that this was probably not the intent LizzLove had for a bed she’d call a Super Swinger Bed. When I installed it, I’d dial down the advertising and make sure it took into account relationship values. At the default bed’s default setting, it would summon the nearest sims, who would proceed to climb on the bed and go at it, woohooing the night away until exhausted, and later being a bit confused as to what happened. And if their relationship wasn’t strong enough to fall in love, they’d get a bit weirded out about each other. Love magic is not a toy to be trifled with.

Note also the bed was set to mind familial relationships, so as to constrain siblings or parent-child relationships. This setting could also be turned off for those wanting a V. C. Andrews or tragic gothy romance Sims experience.

University students at a Greek house will spontaneously Visit Campus and bring back pizzas, usually frequently enough to feed the whole house perpetually. With higher ratings of a house they’ll start bringing in free furniture and appliances. And still crazy amounts of pizza.

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