Meet Carrie Marin, my newest sim:
Carrie is an adventurous bookworm who loves to travel and write about her experiences. Her goal in life is to reach the highest possible Visa level (3) for all three countries featured in The Sims 3: World Adventures. So far, she’s doing great! – she has attained Visa Level 1 in Egypt and is currently completing quests to try and do the same in China.
I created Carrie because I was getting frustrated with the family I had been playing in The Sims 3. It is currently comprised of 3 adults, 2 teenagers, a child, and 3 horses – quite the headache! One of the adults has been ignoring his life goal of completely exploring 6 tombs in each of the 3 World Adventure destinations; I’m concerned he’s going to be unable to achieve it. Another adult randomly had her progress toward her life goal reset, which makes me question whether it’s worth the effort to bother with that goal at all.
(The Jockey: my sim still has her levels in the Riding skill, but lost the progress she’d made toward winning/earning $40,000 with her horses. I’m disinclined to try and get it back because I’m frustrated with how the game handles equestrian competitions and don’t find them particularly fun, anyway.)
And I’m saddened because one of the teenagers has been neglecting the horse she adopted as a child, to the point where they have lost their friendship. There just isn’t really much room for the horses in any of the sims’ lives anymore. I find myself too caught up in keeping the sims’ needs met and getting them to school/work on time and perhaps occasionally fulfilling a wish or two to play that game the way I’d like to. I’m not having fun with it anymore. There’s just too much going on at once: too many different goals and needs and relationships, etc. to juggle. It’s very disjointed!
So, I’ve gone to the complete opposite extreme: one young-adult sim with no children and no pets. The pro is that there’s a lot less to juggle, less risk of something like an important relationship slipping through the cracks. The con is that I spend most of my time playing the game on fast-forward, often waiting for her to finish sleeping or to get out of work.
Pretty much everything Carrie does is focused on achieving her life goal. She works in the Journalism career, currently as a Professional Blogger (level 4). She has 3 close friends, all of whom she met and maintains a relationship with at work. She also writes novels for extra income. Her home is small and simple, her meals light and inexpensive, and she rides a bike instead of spending money on a car. If something in her house breaks she fixes it herself, simultaneously saving money on the repair and improving the Handiness skill she’ll need to disarm traps and complete future quests successfully. You can bet that as soon as she’s saved enough money to go on vacation, she’ll be on the next plane abroad!
And once she arrives, Carrie hits the ground running by taking whatever work is available. She easily befriends the locals, making much-needed connections and learning the information she needs to complete quests. She’s never lonely because she feels comfortable talking to pretty much anyone. She doesn’t have a significant other, children, etc., so she can make her own choices – including when and with whom and how she wants to socialize.
I wish I could say I play this game because it’s fun, but at best that’s only part of it. My “reason” for playing Carrie the way I am is because I actually want to play World Adventures, including all the built-in quests and tomb exploration and so on – it’s a nice touch, different from my typical experience playing The Sims 3 (and 2, and the original).
But it’s also an escape: when I’m playing The Sims 3 I don’t feel. I’m caught up in what’s going on for my sims, and I can ignore reality: the fact that after over a month I’m still not fully unpacked and I’ve been neglecting things I once considered my biggest passions in life (e.g. music) and I have to medicate my rats even though all three of us hate it, etc. etc. etc. Like the game I abandoned (temporarily, or so I’d like to claim) my life feels too disjointed, too many different interests and goals and relationships to juggle them all. Something ALWAYS falls through the cracks. I feel completely unmotivated to try to do any of it – either my heart isn’t in it, or I can’t imagine myself being successful. The weight of my anxiety about not doing schoolwork and my depression from doubting whether I’ll ever achieve my life goals and feeling isolated is unbearable.
So, I play The Sims 3 instead.
And what am I playing? A single sim who focuses her energy on one thing, and uses her different interests to support each other. Her job funds her travel. Her travel gives her something to write about. Reading is fun, relaxing, and educational – and relatively inexpensive (as long as she doesn’t decide to buy the book). Reading also helps her be better prepared to travel, better able to make connections with others, and a better writer. Forming interpersonal connections meets her need for socialization and supports her goal of gaining Visa levels – essentially, being accepted into diverse communities. Add a knack for photography and martial arts (two skills one can and kind of needs to learn while in Egypt and China, respectively) and Carrie Marin is unstoppable!