Welcome to my first reflection post! Though I’d originally said I was planning on doing seven of these — one for each week up to the anniversary of starting D2D — I think it will likely end up being longer than that… So I may end up posting two reflections on some weeks, or post after the one year anniversary date. So apologies in advance for not sticking to the promised schedule!
Reflection One: Origins
I’ve been playing The Sims games since the very first game was released, back when I was 11 years old. I loved it from the very first time I played, and have loved it ever since!
As a very geeky child who was raised on tabletop RPGs (Dungeons and Dragons was my first. Thanks to my older brother haha), I’ve always been kind of “role-playing” with my Sims. I was always telling some sort of story. But it was never for anyone else, just for me. And I didn’t mind. I was having fun with it!
When The Sims 3 Generations EP came out and introduced Imaginary Friends, one of my favorite “stories” to play-out with my Sims was having a child sim fall in love with their imaginary friend, work hard to bring them to life, and then live happily ever after with them.
I think this was partially inspired by me reading the (very cheesy) book Sundays at Tiffany’s. That story is about a little girl whose imaginary friend “leaves” her when she is too old for him, but she sees him again when she’s an adult, and they end up falling in love. In the end, he becomes human and they are together.
Something about that plotline stuck with me, and once we were able to do the same in TS3, I jumped on the opportunity to re-create similar stories for myself.
I had a lot of fun digging through my TS3 screenshots folder to find some examples of this! Forgive how awful the pictures are. I was just taking these pictures for fun/for me, at the time.
The above little girl brought her imaginary friend to life very quickly! Haha. I don’t have any shots of her when she was older, unfortunately. But I assure you she married her imaginary friend! I always had that sort of an ending… I am a romantic at heart!
This girl above is one of the only actual pictures I have of the sim being romantic with their imaginary friend once they were brought to life. I’m sorry I don’t have more examples… I didn’t take that many screenshots until I started writing SimLit!
The below screenshots, though horribly quality (oh goodness, why are the walls down?!) are two of my favorites, because they were a big inspiration for Dust to Dust.
I always loved the feature of being able to click away to another sim in the household, and having the imaginary friend disappear. So clever! I took a screenshot of this for my own personal enjoyment. But as you can see, this was a huge inspiration for similar moments in D2D:
(Oh wow, giant Easter Egg! Look at the top of the bookshelf in the above picture… Angelfish 😉 The above scene was screenshotted after I’d played through the entire story before, so the Angelfish had been caught long ago. But more on that in a future reflection hehehe)
When The Sims 4 was released, I continued my tradition of telling stories with my sims. As I’ve said, Imaginary Friends had always been my favorite in TS3, and I’d dabbled with ghosts a bit as well:
(Oh man, that “story” was tragic. This little girl’s father died when she was a toddler. His ghost haunted their house throughout her life, but she was the only one who could see him or interact with him… or at least, the only one I’d let interact with him haha).
Anyway, I’d done a bunch of little “stories” in TS4, and last summer, I decided I wanted to try to bring back my old favorite storyline of having a child fall in love with their imaginary friend and bring them to life. Knowing there were no imaginary friends in TS4, I instead decided to alter the story so that the child’s “imaginary friend” was actually a ghost. And thus the idea for D2D was born!
So I guess the whole point of this first reflection post is that Dust to Dust probably wouldn’t have existed if it weren’t for a cheesy James Patterson novel and Imaginary Friends in TS3!
The next reflection post will focus on the actual beginning of Dust to Dust, and offer more behind-the-scenes info on how the story developed the way it did 🙂 Thanks for reading!