The Sims made me do it

Posted by Kayla Cross on March 20, 2018

The 2000s was a productive waste of time for me.

For a nerdy girl in an itinerant family, the internet was a godsend. I moved around a lot from school to school, and the internet was always a click away - I could take it all with me. I also respected the technology community’s ethos - however apocryphal - that it wasn’t about who you were, but what you could do. Most comforting was the culture around early online games and the freedom they gave me, and kids like me, to create our own little worlds.

Take Neopets. The first time I used html and css was to deck out my Neopets store with my own custom template. I can’t remember the exact details of the layout, but I’m sure it kept up with the chicest Geocities design trends of the time. (Warning: the latter link has autoplay music - but that should be self-evident. I said Geocities.)

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And The Sims! The possibilities within the default builds seemed endless, but when I found out there was custom content on top of that? And that I could make my own if I only knew how? And that knowing how was a few tutorials away? I modded every release of those games and felt like I’d hit the motherlode. (Speaking of Geocities, if my blog had an autoplay mp3, it would be The Sims’ loading music.)

My small additions to these games thrilled me because there were so many possibilities. I rarely ever had trouble with writer’s block - I got excited at the blankness of the page because it meant I could write. It turns out the same went for the emptiness of a bright, blinking screen or a console when I was starting a project - it meant I could make something.

Much later, I took a Ruby class in college and rediscovered my love for coding. Then I took a C++ class and lost it again. :) Regardless, as I was taking stock of my experience at school before I graduated at the end of last year, I noticed that the only time I lost track of time while doing schoolwork was when working on coding and writing projects. So I decided to commit myself to pursuing it - not just because it means a lot of time I enjoyed wasting in my youth wouldn’t be, well, wasted - but because it’s been a constant passion throughout my life. One that I want to continue until I’m old enough to explain to younger generations what it was like before artificially intelligent Sims.