Simerican Gothic

I find it interesting that the Sims creators have some notion of ongoing storylines for the pre-made characters, particularly the Goth family. In the original Sims, Mortimer Goth, his wife Bella, and their daughter Cassandra automatically share the neighborhood with you.

They’re somewhat morbid in their decorating tastes, living in a Gothic house near a graveyard, and Mortimer bears a resemblance to Vincent Price. I’ve seen some speculation that they’re based on the Addams Family, although they’re not quite as over-the-top. The Unleashed expansion pack brings in Mortimer’s parents, Gunther and Cornelia. Sims 2 takes place what I think is officially twenty-five years later, at least if you play the Pleasantview neighborhood. (I actually didn’t, but I did check it out before designing my own.) Mind you, Sims generally only live about 180 days in that game, so the twenty-five years is obviously mixing Sim time with real time. Anyway, this time Mortimer is still around as an old man, Cassandra is an adult, and there’s a new kid named Alexander. Bella, however, is nowhere to be found, the popular rumor being that she was abducted by aliens. We also learn that Bella is the sister of another pre-made character from the first game, Michael Bachelor. Their parents are Simis and Jocasta, the latter being the name of Oedipus’ mother/wife. I’m not sure “Simis” is a real first name, although apparently it is occasionally used as a last name. Sims 3 was conceived as a prequel of sorts, with Mortimer, Bella, and Michael as kids living with their parents. They don’t necessarily form into the households we now know, either. When I first started playing the game, before realizing I could choose epic lifespans, the three of them all remained in their original homes and presumably didn’t marry. Poor Cassandra never got a chance to exist. Anyway, one oddity is that Mortimer’s biography in the first Sims refers to his “old country upbringing,” suggesting he’s from Europe or somewhere else foreign. Sims 2, however, claims that the Goths had lived in the neighborhood “since time immemorial,” and Sims 3 identifies them as the founders of Sunset Valley. I guess this doesn’t mean that Mortimer’s immediate family had to have lived there, though. It does appear that Mortimer must have come to Sunset Valley with his parents when he was a kid.

The Sims Wiki attempts to explain the derivations of character names, many of which are obvious. “Bella” means “beautiful” in Italian, and the names of her mother and children are of Greek derivation. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything; my name is of Hebrew derivation, and I don’t know of any Jewish ancestry. Names tend to mean a lot more in fiction than in real life, however. Perhaps the Bachelor family is of Mediterranean ancestry. The word “bachelor” comes from French, and originally meant a knight in training, then eventually came to mean an unmarried man. Strange how words evolve. The Goths, of course, were a Germanic tribe that contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire. There’s also a Gotha in modern Germany, although in that case the name seems to just mean “good.” For that matter, there’s a Kingdom of Gotha in Dragon Quest V, so maybe Mortimer’s family comes from there. I mean, if Bowser appeared in the Super Nintendo version of SimCity, anything is possible, right?

What is the nature of the Sims’ world, anyway? Since I tend to make Sims either directly or indirectly connected to various other fandoms, I tend to think of it as sort of a Cleft of Dimension, but is that what the creators had in mind? We know that the neighborhoods you play are suburbs of Sim City, which is identified as the state capital. So is it in the United States? Maybe, but that wouldn’t explain why it has a different language and currency. Also, when you follow the politics career track in one of the first two games, your Sim has to work his or her way through being a Congressman and Senator BEFORE being elected Mayor. Sims 3, on the other hand, takes a Sim from Mayor to Governor, then Vice-President and Leader of the Free World. It isn’t clear exactly what this position entails, but I know of no evidence that only one Sim can be Leader of the Free World at a time, just as there can be multiple Mayors in the other games. So it’s similar to American politics, but not quite the same. Also, is the kingdom from Sims Medieval on the future site of Sim City, or in some other country? We can only suppose that the state of which Sim City is the capital is a state of mind.

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1 Response to Simerican Gothic

  1. Pingback: Set Your Watch for Sim Time | VoVatia

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