The main argument behind my dissertation is that games are empowering through the storytelling opportunities they provide. Tired of reading theory, which felt like spinning round and round in the same circles, I realised that it’s been a while since I told a story I wanted to tell. So I created this family – for the sake of a name I named it “Cool Ppls” – made of young women at different stages of life, who all have different personalities and goals. To show that women can come in all the diversity and there is no single mould they have to fit to remain just as womanly as they were at the start.
From left to right, we have:
- Gabe Gonzales (child) – vegetarian
- Marianna Symanski (teen) – unflirty and mean
- Zahra Saeed (young adult) – maker, bookworm, self-assured
- Jade Hall (young adult) – genius, recycle disciple, bro
- and Sacheen Cruz (teen) – unflirty and hot-headed.
Only after I put them all together into one big family, I realised that almost everyone is wearing some sort of a knitted sweater… It must be that Jade is rather warm-blooded. I just wanted to make them all comfortable, that’s it…
The family settled in the town of Newcrest, because I wanted a blank slate to tell my story. I’ll tell my story through people, events, and environments I’ll design. I started building a maker-space on the other side of the road from the Cool Ppls’ house, and it’s coming together nicely. I’ll share it with you once it’s ready.
I dubbed their house the ‘Allotment Living Space’, which I call Allotment in short. The thing I had in my head when building it were these semi-living structures people have on their allotments in Poland. Most of the structure is semi-open, the main ‘living space’ as such is surrounded half by walls and half by tall wooden fence. The bathroom has no door but an arch, and the ‘inside room’ sadly has only one sleeping space. For the sake of gameplay, I put four camping beds outside the house in case my Sims got tired. The beds are uncomfortable, but I actually had limited household funds so they’ll have to deal with them.
However modest the house might be (though from some perspective you could see it as not being modest at all), it has several things to occupy the Sims – chess, an easel, a keyboard, a boat, and a BBQ for socialising. There’s also a perfect fishing spot right behind the house, which Zahra has enjoyed the most. That’s where most of their neighbours usually hang out.
When looking for some creative equipment for my Sims, I also stumbled across the mural kits. I had space for two murals, and because Sacheen and Marianna were the least tired, I got them to paint murals first. I got them to paint political murals. (Graffiti is a form of painting introduced in The Sims 4: City Living).
Sadly, I discovered there are only two political murals available for Sims to paint, and Sacheen and Marianna painted them both on their very first day. The next ones I got them painting are the nature murals (here you’ll find a helpful catalogue of all murals available). Seeing the teens paint those murals right next to the bins made me think of the YA novel Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson, which is about two Australian teenage guerrilla gardeners whose troubles eventually lead them to establish a community garden.
Generally, I am discontented with how so many Sims players get the idea of decent living or ‘eco living’ completely wrong. It’s not about having a meat wall and replacing antiques with clean-cut modern furniture. It’s not even about having the most plants on your lot, because your plants might actually be of an invasive species or be extremely water-needy and bad for local wildlife.
I really love my little allotment living space and I’ll give you updates on any additions I make.