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Wednesday 14 April 2010

My big gay Sims family

Posted in: True Stories
By Matt Akersten - 6th January 2010

20-year-old Bryce Parker has an addiction - he can't stop playing Sims 3. "It's a reality away from reality," he explains. "Sometimes I get so involved, I forget what day it is."

Sims couple: Pierre & Ethan in their marital bed

This new version of the game - it's only been out a few months - is a major step forward for LGBT Sims equality. Yes, it's now possible to not only create gay characters, but also 'marry' them and witness as they adopt kids.

Bryce Parker
Bryce loves designing his Sims family home and lives, but then rather than step back and see what happens, he's 'hands on' with his creations. "You can control the amount of free will the characters have, but I generally control all the moves they make," he laughs. "You can influence their emotions by getting them to do things, for example, if you talk to another character about things they both like, they'll eventually become friends, then if you interact with the other character long enough you can become best friends.

"If you want them to fall in love, you can go on dates, take them out to dinner, or to a movie, and then you can 'try your luck' and get them to kiss, hug or more. So I guess I know what's going to happen to them, you get an idea of what you want them to do. Get a scenario in your head, and you can make it happen."

Bryce says he's really hooked, playing Sims 3 at least once each day. "In the evenings when there's not much on TV I can play from 5pm until 11! It's pretty addictive, when you have skills you want them to learn or there are opportunities at work, there's usually something to do."

Meet the Von Blomfields

The family. From left: Edward & Mortimer, Pierre & Ethan, sons Alfred & Amadaus

Bryce introduces his Sims whanau in his own words:

"Edward Von Blomfield is the main breadwinner of the family. He was previously married to another man who tragically died while trying to fix the family transportation pad. Edward, being one of the most successful and richest men in town - he in fact OWNS half of it - gets a share out of any revenue the businesses earn. Edward used to be a Five Star Chef, but quit to become a Prominent Author. Once he achieved this, he went into the business career and was offered the job as Mayor of the city. He worked his way up the political ladder and is now Leader of The Free World.

"Mortimer Von Blomfield (nee Goth), met Edward at a party, they fell in love and quickly got married in a local park. Mortimer's dream came true, and worked hard to become a Rock Star, going to the theatre to perform for the masses.

"Edward and Mortimer adopted one child, named Pierre Von Blomfield. He had a sheltered childhood, was tutored by his parents well, and followed the music path like his father, becoming a Hit Movie Composer.

"Ethan Von Blomfield (nee Bunch) met Pierre at one if his parents' soirees. Ethan is much older than Pierre, but they dated for a short time before eventually getting engaged and married. Ethan works as a Dynamic DNA Profiler in the Forensic department in the police force.

"Pierre and Ethan have so far had two children, but are thinking of having up to five children - in their eight-bedroom house, this is very much possible.

"Alfred Von Blomfield is a teenager at high school, has a part time job at the cemetery, and wants to be a Doctor when he grows up.

"Amadeus Von Blomfield is the youngest in the family - a child going to the local elementary school. Amadeus is not sure as to what he wants to be when he grows up, possibly an artist?"

An impressed wondered whether the characters Bryce creates are based on folks he knows in real life, or are they just fantasies? "I haven't yet made a character based on people I know," he replies, "though my mother thinks the main character Edward is me - perhaps just because he's blond - and his husband Mortimer is my boyfriend Alex - perhaps because he has black hair? But Mortimer has a love interest on the side, which I'm sure Alex doesn't have!"

Another reality

Ethan & Pierre share a private moment

There are so many different types of games on the market today, many involving fights, racing, aliens and medieval magic worlds, but Bryce prefers The Sims to any of them. "It's such a classic," he enthuses. "I've been playing since I was a kid. I enjoy making their houses, and making the characters do crazy things.

"The Sims 3 has a lot more things to do than in the first versions. You get a 'Lifetime Wish' which you can work up to achieve a big role like Five Star Chef or Rock Star. These can be achieved with a mixture of good performance at work, and the additional skills you can learn, like cooking or playing the guitar. Once they've reached that goal, you can quit the job and work your way up elsewhere using those skills you've learned, or you can continue, getting pay rises for working hard."

Having computer/console games feature gay characters - or the ability to create them - is more important than ever, Bryce concludes. "The world has become more accepting of gay people. Gay families are all over the world, though they were always there, it's now socially acceptable to talk about them and depict them. Seeing these characters in games/movies/TV helps us to live life more comfortably and know being gay is not a bad thing - it make us feel less of a minority.

"It's annoying, sad and boring for a gay person to play this type of game and not be able to depict their idea of a family. The Sims is perfect for that, because you are able to depict dysfunctional families, straight or gay."

The Von Blomfield family home

The video clip below (not created by Bryce) shows an intimate gay Sims 3 scene and a romantic proposal!

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Matt Akersten - 6th January 2010