Iris Ophelia's ongoing effort to simulate Downton Abbey in The Sims 3
Summer is wrapping up at Sim Downton Abbey, and the weather has been absolutely abysmal since the festival. Even worse, the family seems to have hit a bit of an unlucky streak; if it's not the weather it's fleas, broken plumbing, bad dates, or aliens (just when you thought the werewolves were bad...)
I think it's time for a change of scenery, don't you? Warning: There's some NSFW Crawley butt in this week's post, but you'll have to keep reading to find out whose.
When I mentioned the weather, I wasn't kidding. It hasn't just been a little rainy, it's been full on hailing for the last couple days of the season even though the newspaper predicted nothing but sunny skies for the week ahead. Oh well, what can you do?
If you're Cora, you can take the family to La Shove beach (GET IT? Because it's like Twilight but a little different. Good one, Sims 3.)
Naturally Mary and Robert both run back home almost immediately after arriving (because it is fucking hailing and they know what's up) but Edith and Sybil stick around with their mother for a light dip and a mild concussion. It doesn't last long though, soon enough everyone has come to their senses and heads home again.
... Just in time for another goddamn werewolf to show up for a wade along the shoreline. Every single person in this town is a werewolf. Also, none of them wax.
With that outing foiled, I decide to send Mary out on a date with Matthew at a new venue I've set up in town, a very grand looking theatre. The pair haven't exactly been hot and heavy since their last date, but they have been exchanging increasingly ridiculous love letters daily.
You would think from the look of it that they would be more than friends, but the relationship window says differently. Just friends. Friends who send each other sparkly, heart-filled love letters.
Just like before, the game tells me that mary can't ask Matthew out on a date yet because the pair aren't close enough, so instead I suggest they just "Go out" and meet at the theatre. It's like high school all over again, but at least he accepts and doesn't bring a bunch of awkward friends.
In fact, he doesn't even bring himself. Mary's been stood up.
An hour passes and I make her invite him again but this time he says he's not interested, so Mary gets to enjoy a completely not depressing evening of watching romantic movies alone in a completely empty theatre.
I had sent Anna out to window shop at a few stores and wander around town because she was going stir crazy (literally) from being stuck cooking and cleaning in the house for days on end, but beyond that I left everyone to their own devices.
When Mary comes home (and I with her) I find Edith getting out of Cora's now broken tub...
With Mary's tub also somehow broken a few rooms away...
And the Dowager Countess' as well.
No big deal though; tubs can be repaired, floors can be mopped, and Edith almost immediately changes into some ridiculous outfit (girl where did you even get that?) to take care of both.
It turns out that she'd picked up a little handiness at some point. Good for you, Edith, way to round yourself out!
With that crisis under control I continue surveying the house. In Anna's absence, Robert's cooked the family some waffles of "horrifying" quality, but thankfully she comes home before anyone can take a bite. She doesn't come home alone, though.
She has a shrew in her pocket, and wants to buy a terrarrium for it.
Fine. Who am I to stand in the way of her dreams?
I shoehorn it in between her bedroom and the laundry room, since I doubt Violet would be pleased with having a shrew in the parlour. The animal's default name is "Squeaker" so I decide to just go with it. At least until I can think of something better.
Maybe O'Brien? I don't know, I think we need to workshop it a bit more.Anna seems happy at least, though I can't help but wonder if this is a sign that she needs some more substantial companionship. Thomas isn't the best person to be cooped up with all the time (especially since he's currently infested with fleas for some reason) so I don't doubt that a random shrew off the street probably seems like the ideal bff by comparison.
As I'm dealing with the shrew crisis, I notice that Cora is incredibly upset. She's out on the street, crying beside some sort of super cool looking futuristic laser car (!!!) that seems to have just politely dropped her off on the sidewalk in her bathrobe. She has the "abducted" moodlet so there isn't much mystery about what happened, but she's so exhausted that she goes to bed immediately once she's done freaking out in the street. I don't blame her, I'm just mad I missed the actual abduction.
Big families are incredibly hard to manage in The Sims 3, and this family is even bigger than most with the staff and pets included in the tally. Staying on top of everything is incredibly difficult, and with this string of bizarre bad luck I decided I needed a bit of a vacation from it all as much as the Crawleys might.
Welcome to beautiful Champs Les Sims, France.
I've brought Violet here with her granddaughters (and no one else, thank god) for three days as a little break from the hustle and bustle of the estate. Bonding time for them and a break from the drama for everyone else.
While I have plans for the family to buy a vacation home here once they have the Visa points required, for now they're stuck in a hotel--with foreigners--which goes about as well as you would expect.
Because this is The Sims and sims are super needy, everyone has distinct wishes they want to fulfill here. Mary wants to shop, so I immediately dispatch her to the bookstore to pick up a few special french recipe books for Anna. She completes her errand...
... Before she wanders over to the nearby museum instead. Fair enough, Mary. There's no harm in absorbing some culture, so the museum seems like the perfect place to park her for now.
Violet and Edith both want to visit the local winery (sorry, "nectary") so I pair them up and send them over.
I assume that leaving them there unattended is harmless enough. What could possibly go wrong?
Meanwhile Sybil is eager to slip away from the group and go adventuring, and I'm eager to help her.
Sybil is my favorite character from the show, and she's become one of my favorite sims in the house as well. It's easy for me to get sucked in when a local sends her out to explore a really un-Celtic looking Celtic tomb in search of a lost item. Just look at how adorable and excited she is about this! Forget the latest Lara Croft reboot, what about Sybil Crawley: Tomb Raider 1920.
And there's a lot of tomb here to raid. There are puzzles to solve...
... Relics to find...
... Chests to open...
... Skeletons to loot...
... Uh ... More skeletons...
... And so, so many bugs.
It takes nearly two days, but Sybil makes it through the gauntlet. Her big prize (in addition to quite a few urns, gems, relics, and coins) is a nearly 1000 year old bottle of wi-..."nectar".
I could be wrong here, but that seems a bit too old, doesn't it?
You know what? Let's just ask Violet and Edith. Now that I look at the family funds, they appear to have spent thousands of dollars on "nectar" and now the family is even closer to being broke. So... They should both be experts in this stuff at least. What about it, ladies?
Customer story of the day: I was reading a post from @themarysuealoud in the store about the Sims 3/Downton Abbey crossover...— Rachel Tougas (@SporadicErratic) March 8, 2013
...a boy who looked to be 9-11 years old weighed in on how he thought the hot dog eating contest between Mary, Cora, and Violet would go.— Rachel Tougas (@SporadicErratic) March 8, 2013
"Mary would get some news about Matthew, and then she would be out of the running."— Rachel Tougas (@SporadicErratic) March 8, 2013
"Cora would get food poisoning and the she would get that weird disease again." ("The flu?" his mother added.)— Rachel Tougas (@SporadicErratic) March 8, 2013
...we then all had a conversation about how people still die from the flu today.— Rachel Tougas (@SporadicErratic) March 8, 2013
Obviously I love getting feedback, and because Sim Downton can be a bit overwhelming for me to manage I love hearing advice as well. Do you think I should rename Squeaker something a bit more appropriate? Should I officially nuke all the supernatural townspeople or should I let them be? If you have any thoughts about Sim Downton, don't hesitate to share in the comments, via email, or on Twitter or Plurk. À bientôt!
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Iris Ophelia (@bleatingheart, Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.