…for those who want to be extra-afraid of Coco….
By COCO HAMES
The computer game The
Sims was released in the spring of 2000, the same year I left for my first
semester at the University
of Florida. I am an
unapologetic Luddite, so when I received this game for my birthday, I figured
I’d never play it. How very wrong I was. Nine years later, it is
still the only game on my computer, and I am still involved. With the
original. I’ve been told new versions have come on the scene, but they
don’t interest me, mostly because I can’t be bothered to learn new
technology. I barely use a telephone. These “apps” you
speak of intrigue me, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about using one.
When I write songs, as I’m currently expected to, as we’re working on our third
album, I have to have complete privacy. I have to be completely
alone. So everyone knows, when Coco gets
her Sims out and nestles down into bed, she’ll be infuriatingly impossible to
reach for a day or two, but my time in the Sims k-hole will yield, usually,
about two or three new songs.
It’s not just that I enjoy building houses, furnishing them, designing
landscaping, and controlling everyone’s every move. It’s not just that I
have all of the original expansion packs, so my Sims are wizards, animals, and
movie stars. There are stories. There are lives! There are
long running undercurrents of love, loss, frustration, anxiety, and
despair. Sim neighbors gaze upon Sim neighbors and lament never making a
move before the mustachioed doctor got married, etc.
One of the most intriguing story lines running through my current Sims world is
that of Rome Bidgert. And yes, part of the fun is naming them. Rome is a simple, time
traveling conduit of magical energy, placed in these modern times, currently in
the form of a big black guy with an eye patch. Luckily, there exists a
magical village where the magic-at-heart can get away from all mod cons and go
shopping for dragon scales and participate in wizard duels. It was in
this very magical village that Rome
heard tell of a strange cat, a stray that had wandered into town and been
picked up by — who else! — the Sim community’s most powerful wizard, Charles
Rome made his
way to Charles’ home and knew, from the very moment he laid eyes on the cat,
that it wasn’t a cat at all, but the age old time traveling spirit of the
legendary witch Minuit! Rome
convinced Charles to cast a spell on the cat, a spell which would restore it to
its true form, that of a tall, pale mocha skinned woman. Charles was
reluctant, but cast the spell, and lo and behold, the cat turned into an
elegant, bespectacled lady: Minuit!
Initially, Minuit was confused and cagey; she didn’t know where she was or who
the people were around her. Rome
left Charles’ house discouraged, but hopeful that Minuit would return to
herself in time. But Charles — being the experienced and resourceful Sim
wizard that he is — brewed her a strong potion that inverted her personality,
and Minuit instantly remembered who she was! BUT THEN! When Rome returned on a visit to check up on her that she
recognized the soul of the love of her life, deep behind Rome’s eyes, the eyes that had of course
instantly recognized his beloved Minuit in the guise of a stray feline.
Um, eye. Because of the eye patch. .
So now Rome and
Minuit live together in a compound on the edge of the magical forest where they
raise children and send them off to magical “military” school one by
one to form a dark army in preparation for the battles they know are coming.
Poni says I can’t go near the World of Warcraft.
Coco Hames fronts The Ettes – Hames on guitar, Jem Cohen on bass and Poni
Silver on drums – whose latest album Look At Life Again Soon (Take Root) is still a hot item-but look out for a new
EP, Danger Is, on April 7 (already out digitally, www.myspace.com/theettes), and a Dan Auerbach-produced limited-edition
single this month. They tore it up at the Hold Steady showcase At SXSW in Austin, by the way. The
real Austin, not the Sims-world Austin.