|The Francos have recently earned enough money to move from their old roots to SimVille, looking for an opportunity to start anew. Will they be able to make it, or will poverty strike them down again?|
|Lot||The Grey Lofts|
|Game||The Sims 2|
|Write a Review!|
Original MTS post
I have been very busy this past month with midterms and assignments and stuff. I once again find myself approaching the same situation I had in April where final exams suddenly leave me lots of time. I know I should be using that time to study, but I've left this thread dormant for a bit too long, longer than my liking. As such, I have decided to take some time to resurrect this thread with:
The Franco Family
The Francos have recently earned enough money to move from their old roots to SimVille, looking for an opportunity to start anew. Will they be able to make it, or will poverty strike them down again?
It's never easy being an immigrant, and the Francos are no exception. Rising costs of living, rampant gentrification, stereotypical attitudes towards the poor, and a drastic reduction in opportunities for both young and old alike have led many families in SimNation's lower class to head west, looking for better opportunities. SimVille, located near the southwest corner of SimNation, was generally insulated from this influx by the various towns and cities further east. But west is best, and so determined families have pressed on, sacrificing whatever money and possessions they've had looking for somewhere to call home. Unfortunately, while opportunities were plentiful, the sharp class division that has plagued SimNation society and culture has resulted in many of them being hastily closed as the middle and upper class feared losing their job opportunities and their "clean" neighbourhoods from all these "impoverished dirtbags", as a politician once put it (Unsurprisingly, he was unpopular with the lower class). Will SimVille play kindly with these newcomers, or will it chew and spit them out of existence?
Israel's willing to work hard, but his alcohol addiction has held him back for years. Though he is recovering, he's still suffering from the effects.
Contrary to popular belief, not all alcoholics are lazy and apathetic. Many of them indeed work long, hard hours, being the breadwinners of the family. But these people may still have internal problems and struggles, and for some, alcohol is one of the things they turn to for support, for comfort, for relief from such pain. For Israel, that struggle came from a time when he was working paycheque-to-paycheque, phone ringing off the hook (At least before it got disconnected) and the landlord always pounding at his door yelling at him to pay his rent using money he didn't have. He was getting no support from friends and family, and some of them even chastised him, saying "You should be independent by now. The only reason why you're not is because you're lazy." Israel grew up in a workaholic family, and when he couldn't meet up to his parents's expectations, he felt left out and rejected.
So Israel turned to alcohol for support. He was still a heavy drinker when he married Stephanie and had three kids. Fortunately for Israel, an NGO found him and offered him counselling and recovery sessions gratis. While he's been able to part with the alcoholic drinks, and his relationship with his wife and children are starting to heal, the effects of alcoholism may be here to stay for a very long time.
Israel is currently looking for work, and he's getting desperate. There aren't an awful lot of job offerings in SimVille these days, and the middle class are wary of their positions being usurped by lower class workers. If he doesn't find a job soon, though, next stop's going to be living on the streets!
Stephanie wanted to be an astronaut when she was a child, but poverty robbed her of her dream. She still makes paper spaceships in her spare time.
Like the Haiders, Stephanie's on the part of the hierarchy where if you have dreams, you may as well forget about them. There were virtually no social assistance programs to help the poor when she was growing up, and while support systems are slowly being developed in the modern era, the assistance she receives is still paltry and relatively unhelpful. Stephanie fears for the future of her children: will they be able to pursue their dreams or will they remain stuck in the buttocks of SimNation, forever condemned to the ranks of the proletariat?
Stephanie is also looking for work, and like Israel, she works hard (To little avail; SimNation execs are notorious for not noticing employees in the lower ranks of their organizations) and wants to support her family. The fact that they were able to leave their old home—where things were much worse—is a plus, but they're not having an awful lot of luck here in SimVille either. Maybe that will change, though. While there are indeed a lot of sour grapes in SimVille, there are also kind souls that genuinely care about other people too. Will the Francos receive the compassion they need?
Juan's been getting into a lot of trouble recently, with bad influences knocking on his doorstep. For a change, he does like hip-hop music.
Juan's never been much of a family boy. From a young age his two parents were rarely at home, both of them working full-time trying to get a steady income flowing into the family. When his two younger sisters were born he was expected to care for them... But with what? There were no toys at home and barely any food in the fridge. At school he's been mingling with the wrong crowd, although it seemed logical at first: help transport (illegal) pharmaceuticals, and he'll be paid in cold hard cash for his efforts. Juan, looking for a way to help his starving family out, started doing just that. His parents were pleasantly surprised at first when all of a sudden there was something to eat every evening... until the police took notice. Juan was under twelve at the time, and in SimNation only Sims twelve and older can be deemed responsible for their actions (and thus can receive a criminal charge). But in that city, it was practically illegal to be poor, and Juan very nearly did time. His parents had no experience with dealing with the law, but they did their best to fight for their son. In the end, the charges (which technically should never have been laid in the first place) were dropped, but the cops never got in trouble for it. While it may have been a one-time incident, and while it might've just been that city where the cops were particularly corrupt, Juan's been distrustful of authority ever since.
For a change, though, he's involved somewhat in SimNation's underground hip hop scene (Like Robby Haider), and recently a large number of Simlish hip hop artists have been using this renewed interest in hip hop to open doors for children and teenagers living in poverty, hoping to use hip hop as a means of keeping them clear of crime. Not all hope is lost for Juan: he may still be scoffed at by society, but there's a growing movement behind him that's determined to end the stigma about the poor. The opportunities Juan never had may be unlocked for his children someday.
Celeste wants to be a soccer player when she grows up, but will her family's dire financial situation hinder her from reaching her goals?
Among the ranks of the poor are often talented people who just need an opportunity to sharpen their skills and to let their light and ambitions shine. One notable example is Panyee FC.[n 1] Celeste spends a lot of time watching soccer on TV, and the nearby FreeTime Recreation Center has a soccer net she can use, but SimNation sports teams—even amateur ones—are notoriously selective. Celeste was rejected from her school soccer team right off the bat before she could even hand in the registration forms due to her grades and her family's financial situation. While SimVille is slightly more tolerant, most schools in Landgraab County don't want lower-class students to tarnish their reputations in academia and sports, meaning that even if a poor student makes the honour roll or performs better than "richer" students, they're kept under wraps—really shut up in a dungeon—and aren't given much recognition, if at all. There is reform movement trying to change all this, but the culture of class discrimination has permeated SimNation society, and it's going to be a difficult habit to break.
Sandra wants to be a mechanic someday. She dreams of being able to take apart a car's engine and put it back together in working order.
Blue-collared professions are frequently looked down upon as being dirty, low paying jobs on the East and West Coasts of SimVille. In the interior, the negative stereotypes aren't nearly as profound, and indeed there are many blue-collared workers living in SimVille, but the stigma is starting to build up here. Sandra has a fascination with machines, but so far her interest has been limited to reading books about it. In some parts of SimNation, children have more freedom to do what they want, and some cities and towns even have "real-life playgrounds" where kids can be a firefighter, or a paramedic, or any other profession inside a supervised "city", and would get a glimpse of how the real world works. Unfortunately, SimVille's not one of those cities, and schools here generally don't offer much opportunities to go beyond the four walls of the classroom (In fact, just last year a school came under fire for "cancelling all field trips" due to "safety concerns". There was a protest amongst the parents and the school retracted its decision, but that just shows you how ridiculous attitudes here can be sometimes). For Sandra, it's only at home where her father sometimes brings home some old engine parts for her to toy around with. It's more fun than the plastic rubbish most children are given nowadays. She's friends with Evan Newbie, who invited her behind-the-scenes at Amar's Flowers & Craftables one time. She really wanted to use the toymaking bench there, but the Newbies said she was "too young" to tinker with it.
Their apartment is fairly small, and like the Haiders, the kids wind up sleeping on couches and recliners. However, they also have one less person than the Haiders, so there's at least a little more room.
A brief glimpse of life in the Franco family
Israel's up at 6am to make a simple breakfast.
Like other poor families in SimVille, every little bit of uneaten food is saved for later.
Juan, Celeste, and Sandra all have the day off today, which is great. Unfortunately, the clouds roll over in the morning and dump buckets over SimVille. That doesn't stop Celeste and Sandra from playing in the rain puddles, though.
Israel and Stephanie don't have time to sit around, though. As soon as the morning paper arrives, they're checking to see if there are any job offerings available.
Nope... not today. No vacancies available.
It's a Saturday, so the landlord went ahead and ordered a pizza. The rain has since stopped, making the rooftop available for grilling and eating.
Robby Haider comes out and tunes the stereo to hip hop. Juan just can't help but join in. Shame there's no true hip hop dancing in The Sims 2 (Except maybe breakdancing), but slap dancing works well too, I suppose!
Meanwhile, Israel and Stephanie get into an argument. I'm not too sure what it's about, but it may have something to do with alcohol. Recovering from alcoholism is a slow, steady process, and occasionally Israel slips up. His family is going to have to be patient and understanding about this.
Mingling with the neighbours, apartment communities have more of an opportunity to be closely knit than those living in detached housing.
Juan has befriended Alex, so there's a connection between the two at least.
Dinner proceeds in much the same way that breakfast does.
Israel goes off his rocker for a little bit.
It could've been a lot worse, but sleeping on couches and recliners still isn't very comfortable.
Once the parents find a job, their position in the one and only proper bed will be more justifiable.
Before the Francos point fingers at their father, they should all remember that Israel has made tremendous progress over the last few years, and while he may slip up occasionally and come home with several beers in his system, he definitely is not the same alcoholic that he was ten years ago. Juan is understandably shaken from his experiences with authority, but he needs to remember that things are different in SimVille: Landgraab County cops aren't exactly world-class, but they boast one of the lowest corruption rates in the country. And as a whole, the Francos should take some lessons from the nearby Haiders and the Day brothers, who place great importance on family and staying together. The Franco family needs to strengthen its meager bonds with its own members if it wants to be able to make it through. The goal should not be getting rich, but about finding something that even the Newbies—the wealthiest family in SimVille—cannot find.
Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more!
The following images were taken but were not processed on the date of capture, and were not included in the forum post.
- See this video.