Irene L. Pynn’s The Princess and Her PS3™ – Novelist/Gamer’s Broken Bone Single-Handedly Turns Life into a Sims 3 Summer

About two and a half months ago, it rained for an entire week, non-stop. No, I wasn’t trapped in some kind of Biblical flood; I was in my home state, and time seemed to stand still.

During the summer here in Florida, we check the time by looking up to see whether it is one of the following options:

The time was late June, and it was unusually dreary. I looked out over and over, and no matter what, the time remained stuck on “Is Raining” for almost seven full days. I’ll admit that I was a little excited– surely this is exactly the kind of event that would attract the Doctor… Number 10, pretty please? In any case, I was mostly frustrated with the weather because my brand new hammock was just soaking in the yard, getting absolutely no use at all.

Then one day I looked out my window and saw the hiccup in the time vortex had passed, and the sun had returned. Sure, everything was still dripping wet, but I didn’t care. I was going to relax on my hammock. I threw on some grubby clothes, grabbed my hat, and ran into the sunny air for some much-needed R&R.

An hour later I was at the emergency clinic with a broken hand. Apparently fully saturated hammocks aren’t as safe as you’d imagine. And, to top it all off, the doctor I saw wasn’t number 10. It was some female regeneration I’ve never met before. Her TARDIS was nowhere to be seen. The whole thing was a major disappointment, to say the least.

Everyone pointed out I was lucky to have broken my left hand, since my dominant is my right. Well, apart from the fact that I didn’t feel lucky to be in a cast in the first place, I suppose they had a point.

However, when you write full-time, there are some important reasons to have normal use of both hands:

Typing… And ummm…

Okay, typing’s the main one. And it’s a very big problem when you do it all day long. I had to relearn how to type with only one hand. This actually can be done, but when you’re accustomed to jabbing out 100+ words per minute, the new way of things can be pretty frustrating.

And there are other reasons it sucks to lose use of a hand, even if it isn’t your dominant. Many of these simple actions don’t even cross your mind until you attempt to do them. Go ahead, try to do the following things with only one hand:

·      Put toothpaste on your toothbrush
·      Wash your hair
·      Get dressed
·      Pick up your emotionally needy pets
·      Hold things and open a door
·      Drive a stick shift
·      Open a bottle of water
·      Scratch your back

But annoying as those problems were, they didn’t hold a candle to the desperation I felt when I realized the human race’s single most important use of the left hand…

No kidding– at the time when games were most needed for maintaining my sanity, I couldn’t hold a controller. In the cast, my wrist didn’t move at all, so I couldn’t put my hand in the proper gaming position even if I hoped to just nudge the directional stick one way or the other. It was simply not happening. Suddenly I was down to one-handed games only. Think hard about that for a second… What are the names of those games again?

There aren’t a whole lot of mainstream options. Some of my colleagues have mentioned a need for wider accessibility in games, but just as I hadn’t anticipated how difficult it would be to brush my teeth with one hand– I had also never given this issue much serious thought. Here is a group that has given it a lot of thought: Check out the Able Gamers Foundation and take a look at what they and other organizations have done to bring games to everyone. I love this movement.

With a seven-week prison cast calendar counting down on my wall, I decided to go with the simplest one-handed game I had nearby: The Sims 3. Thus began the two-month saga of Sebastian, a virtual guy who helped me forget my broken hand.

Sebastian is a rock star. He wears green shoes and loves his husband, a really friendly hottie he picked up while touring in Egypt. I’m not sure whether Sebastian’s husband wonders where their twin daughters came from, but he doesn’t seem to love them any less.

Before he got hitched, however, Sebastian was a bit of a wild child, and he remains difficult to control around other attractive Sims– thanks to the flirtatious trait in his personality. “May I have an affair with this ghost lady who wandered through my wall from the back yard?” is a question he’s actually asked. The world is your playground for the next seven weeks, Sebastian. As long as you keep me distracted from my cast, I’m not going to judge.

Glitches in The Sims 3 provide a little added fun as well. For instance, even with his “cheater” reputation, Sebastian has been faithful since he got married. Still, his family tree history shows he has a daughter with another woman in Egypt… A woman he’s never met, and I cannot locate. Sebastian got nothing out of that deal except the unknown woman’s last name. That happened randomly on one trip, and now he is Sebastian Kamel. Obviously, this is some sort of evil scam and soon Sebastian will begin receiving hostile letters from the Sims Ambassador in Egypt about how he needs to pay ungodly amounts of simoleans to care for his mystery baby. For now, though, he doesn’t seem to mind.

There was also the time when Sebastian went abroad (yes, World Adventures is my favorite expansion), and when he returned he had only one daughter instead of his infant twins. Who took the other baby?! ALIENS! This is not something I have actually proven; it’s just one of those things I know. I had to do some weird behind-the-scenes moves to bring back the other girl, and they are full sisters again– still twins– but now with birthdays inexplicably a few days apart. Timey-wimey stuff. I’m still waiting for David Tennant to sort that out.

I type this column today with a mostly mended, slightly swollen left hand– out of the cast. Sebastian is on vacation because I need to catch up on, um, everything I didn’t do while I was immersed in his world. And when I say “everything”… I mean everything. I’m sure my dog is hidden under the piles of laundry somewhere…

As the meme warns, “One does not simply play Sims for only one hour.” Apparently one can expect to play it for several weeks, at least.

I’m not quite up to full gaming strength, so games with frequent use of L1 and L2 are out of the question, but my PS3 is getting more of the attention it deserves lately, and I’m exercising my fingers every day so I can get back to full mobility.

This entry was posted in Commentary, Geek Culture, IMJ Nation™, Inveterate Media Junkies™ Exclusive, Irene L. Pynn, Opinion, Ouch!, The Princess And Her PS3, Video Games and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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