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Sims 3 Storytelling

By S.A. Hunter, editor, author of Stalking Shadows

Sep 6, 2009: Alice is Kev’s daughter, though no one would figure that out by looking at them. Kev constantly verbally abuses her and even threatens her with physical violence. He offers her no food or shelter, but then again, he has none for himself either. They are homeless and must rely on the kindness of others to survive, which is difficult to acquire because Kev is borderline psychotic.

Alice and Kev exist in the Sims 3. Robin Burkinshaw created these two characters and set them loose in the game. What they do generates the plot. The story is told with simple but eloquent prose and many game snapshots to illustrate the hardships and triumphs of two Sims struggling with homelessness. Watching these two cope with day-to-day needs and attempting to form relationships is fascinating in a way that is somewhat hard to explain. Seeing their constant bad judgment and knowing that they are ‘programmed’ to act this way does not negate the pathos. They are not real. This is obvious, but reading their story is undeniably poignant.

Robin Burkinshaw does not claim to be a writer, and the story she is telling is predetermined by a game, but she has stumbled upon something truly magical. I bet a lot of writers will kick themselves when they read this story and wonder, "Why didn’t I think of that?" and I dread the proliferation of this idea because few, if any, will capture the hearts and imagination as Alice and Kev have.

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