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WEIRDNESS - Death & The Afterlife

Every sim life comes to an end ... sort of. Death is not necessarily the end for our sims. We will be looking at what happens to ounmr sims after they have died in one form or another and all without the need of Derek Acorah.

Also, in The Sims and in The Sims 2, a certain supernatural lightness has always been present in each game and their expansions. Over the years, this "weirdness" as I have called it has been one of the first things that I have looked each time a new game or expansion comes out. The Sims 3 is no exception.

Weirdness also comes in other forms and there are quite a few manifestations of that already in the original game.

However, before I continue with this report, I have some sad news.

Bronwen Miles - An Obituary

It is with regret and sadness that we announce the death of Bronwen Miles.

Bronwen, who lived at 2400 Pinochle Point in Sunset Valley, died peacefully of the ripe old age of 94. For her working life, Bronwen had worked in the music industry and although she finished her career as a backing singer with the group "Orange Box", she is more famous as being a lyricist having penned the trash-metal classics "Left 4 Dead" and "Battlefront".

Outside of her working hours, Bronwen could frequently be found giving guitar concerts in the park. At home, she was quite a talented artist and her paintings were hung in almost every room.

Bronwen had been a widow since the early and untimely death of her husband Jonah, who some sports fans will remember as being a one-time Llamas's MVP and its team captain. Even though he never really left her, Bronwen was already moving on with her life and was quite a popular and well known character in the town, despite rumours linking her to the strange disappearance of the Central Park statue.

She leaves behind her late husband Jonah, who had become one of the town's living ghosts, and her daughter Melody, who is the town's most famous angler and gardener.

Elders & Death

"Death comes as the end", so goes the title of an Agatha Christie novel. However, this is The Sims 3 and we have known from experience that once our sims die, that is not necessarily it. Ghost sightings have not been uncommon in the previous versions of The Sims. In fact, I would say that they are even more common in The Sims 3, especially now it is a fully interactive and living world.

In the way I play The Sims 3, the most common form of death is from old age. The second most common form is electrocution, as I did with Jonah just to see what happened. Yes, I killed him, I admit it. I just passed it off as a tragic accident. However, assuming a sim is going to die of old age, it means they are coming to the end of the Elder life stage. With that stage, we do not necessarily know when time is going to run out. The age bar is full and all we know is that it is a matter of time.

I have not covered the elder life stage as it is effectively the same as it is in The Sims 2. The only real difference is that elders can get their hair redone so that they do not remain stuck with the grey or white hair that they are arbitrarily given upon rising to this stage. I did that for Bronwen.

When I reviewed the last stage of life in The Sims 2, Elizabeth Jones died when she was 70 simdays old. She died accidentally from a dose of the elixir of life that did not work as she had hoped which added to her days instead of subtracting. As she was close to the end of her life stage, it just pushed her one step beyond.

Bronwen Miles died when she was 94 days old and I have seen sims in The Sims 3 who have been over 100 before Grim calls on them. She did not have the elixir of life to help prolong her life as there is no green water cooler in TS3. A Death Flower, which can be harvested from a death plant, is a way of bargaining with the Grim Reaper. There is a death plant in the cemetery in Sunset Valley, by the way. Ambrosia, which is a meal that can only be cooked by those with Level 10 in cooking and have the right ingredients, is one means of prolonging life. Another one is completing various challenges with the Athletic skill. Unless aging is turned off or you have lifefruit or ambrosia production lines set up, time will eventually run out for them and the sims will get a visit from the Grim Reaper. Whereas in The Sims 2, there was a major cash payout to the nearest and dearest of the recently deceased by the SimCity Insurance Company shortly after death, this does not happen in The Sims 3. As before, however, any paintings created by the recently deceased will suddenly appreciate in value. This also means the twice-weekly bills will also increase

As well as old age and electrocution, sims can die from starvation, in a fire and by drowning.

When a sim dies, their remains are represented by either a stone grave marker or a metal urn depending upon whether they are outside or inside when the Grim Reaper comes for them. Sims can mourn the deceased and even customise the epitaph on the grave marker. I have seen proper gravestones and the obelisk-shaped ones as we see here but I am yet to work out how to get them. Each marker or stone has a decoration to indicate the mode of death and the colour of the stone changes as well. In this picture here, we see Dallas Swallow at the cemetery in Riverview mourning his grandmother who died from drowning. The gravestone on the left is for someone who died in a fire and the one on the right is for someone who died from electrocution. The gravestones are also in different subtle pastel shades depending upon the mode of death as well.

The Afterlife

In previous versions of The Sims, ghosts were the first form of weirdness that have been encountered.

With The Sims 2, ghosts came in different colours depending upon their mode of death. In The Sims 3, this has been continued and these colours are as follows.

Old Age - White, Fire - Orange, Electrocution - Yellow, Starvation - Purple, Drowning - Light Blue

In this picture, we can see someone in the cemetary playing his guitar for tips where he knows he is guaranteed an audience. Incidentally, he actually made over ยง300 for this performance.

What I am calling regular ghosts are non-playable, they appear after midnight and return to their graves at dawn. During their time as ghosts, you can hear a ghostly wailing when they are active on a lot. They can animate various objects and if a sim is awake during that time, the ghosts have the annoying habit of scaring them, although I don't believe that sims can be scared to death like they could be in The Sims 2. However, other behaviour can be more amusing. I have seen regular ghosts turning the TV on and working out, playing on the computer, having a nap on the bed, having something to eat or even driving cars to visit people in the night.

The first real difference in The Sims 3 is that sims can interact with ghosts in the same way that they can interact with any other non-playable character.

However, there are what I call "living ghosts" who are playable. There are two requirements in order to get one. Have a grave on the lot and have a living adult sim on the lot who may get an opportunity from the science facility to take part in an experiment to bring them the deceased back to life. The living sim puts the grave marker in their inventory, visits the facility and either the sim is brought back to life or they become a living ghost.

Living ghosts are playable members of the family with needs and moodlets like any other living sim. Unlike their non-playable counterparts, they are not restricted to only being active during the hours of darkness. My first ever sim died of old age but her son brought her back as a "living ghost". She was able to live her elder life stage again, but as a ghost and regularly played her guitar for tips to the living.

Living ghosts do not live forever. They can choose to return to the ethereal realm any time they please or when they have lived their life cycle again, they will again die. Jonah was a living ghost but after Bronwen died, he chose to join her as a regular ghost.

Written at 03:14 on Tuesday 23 June 2009 by Andy.

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