After the Sims-based format of last theme page, this one takes the shape of a Sims album. One of the extras promised to buyers of the Sims was webspace on which to publish their families and "albums", collections of snapshots taken inside the game with added descriptions. Every one of these snapshots was marked with the Sims logo, and there were so many hitches in the family-publishing system that a number of fans forwent the privilege and published their own albums of game snapshots, doctored or not, sometimes logo-less, on their own webpages.
The game itself saves its snapshots as JPG files at three posible qualities. It must be said that the in-game snapshots, at the highest quality, preserve colours better than the JPG files made by most graphics programs, whose colours leak and fade. Therefore, I've gone with in-game snapshots as much as possible. That does mean the graphics can be pretty large files.
This album will consist of several chapters, most of which have yet to be produced as they need skins and objects which also have yet to be produced. That will give me an incentive to get on with skinning. The stories were not thought out beforehand but came from playing with the Sims neighbourhoods and seeing what happens. The neighbourhoods used for the stories are the BotP-hood (Battle of the Planets) where the team are children, and a modified Animehood (Gatchaman) where they are young adults (and one child) since teenagers were only introduced with The Sims 2.
Chapter 1: G-Force comes up for air
As peace seems to have returned to the galaxy, the five gifted children that make up G-Force have been given a new, above-ground house in a place called Simsville on planet Sims.
The house is not only spacious but divided into four areas on each floor, connected by a central area. On the top floor, there are separate bedrooms for each (except Princess and Keyop, who share a room), two balconies, and two luxury bathrooms, one of them being cleaned by Servo, 7-Zark-7's much superior replacement: he doesn't talk!!
On the ground floor, more well-deserved luxury for the heroes: a well-fitted kitchen and dining room, a rec room carpeted in warm colours where the team can lie back and listen to the stereo or Princess's guitar practice.
On the ground floor again, a small library with a piano and a playroom with a computer. And, outside, their very own swimming pool!
The team wanders around, a bit dazed. Clearly, Chief Anderson made sure that no expenses would he spared.
They're quick to home in on the essentials. Princess, the brightest of the bunch, can't decide between playing chess and grabbing a book, and does both. Tiny tests the chairs.
Having gone off by himself as usual, Jason is in the pool - where else?
Good idea! Let's take an evening swim by way of housewarming.
Mark gets on the diving board, but instead of diving in, hops off holding his nose. "Oh, good grief, Mark, if you're not going to jump, use the ladder," Princess says. "There's three of them!" Jason doesn't comment, but shows how it's done.
Dried down after a hearty bit of exercise, Keyop tries out the piano. A big change from playing drums!
He shows an unexpected talent. Princess and Mark are deeply impressed. Tiny might be, if he hadn't lost all interest on seeing the tame guinea pig in its cage on the table. "Aww, what a cute li'l fella." Jason, who didn't even bother to change, walks off to the other room, bored.
Now this is music!
The others think so too. Keyop stops playing and runs after Princess to see what she's listening to.
"Incredible," Princess says. "You're almost as good as me!"
It's getting really late now, good children should be in bed. Princess feeds the fish she took along as a reminder of Center Neptune.
The next day, our heroes are up bright an early. "Do you really think that's necessary?" Tiny asks Princess, who's doing some yoyo practice. "You should always be prepared," she replies.
"Mark, as our leader, what do you think? Would Spectra attack this town?" Tiny asks Mark, who replies: "What I think is that we should invite Chief Anderson and president Kane over to thank them for this great house they've given us."
"In fact, I'll give them a call right now."
The Chief of Security's answering machine replies that he's too busy right now, but the president would be delighted.
President Kane is looking around ruminatively as Keyop walks up to greet him. "Br-root-toot-toot! Great house!"
"How are you doing, young man? Any sign of Spectra around here? Aliens? Suspicious spacecraft? No? That's good to hear!"
"And how's our little rebel? Should you be eating pizza at this hour? And why haven't those plates been cleaned?" Jason says nothing and goes on eating. After all, he wasn't inviting anyone.
Besides, Jason doesn't like authority figures.
Slightly disappointed, the president sit down for a bit in the library. Ah well, nothing wrong with the sofas here!
Seeing their guest look a bit glum, Princess cries out: "President Kane, you really have to hear Keyop play!" That wonder child can play anything. The president is impressed.
"Humph!" Jason says.
"You can't just pick at the strings a bit. You have to put feeling in the music!" Jason says, and demonstrates. Princess can't stop herself from dancing. "Did I say you're almost as good as me? You're almost as good as my favourite group, DN-5!"
"You're a fan of DN-5?" the president asks. "Well, isn't that a coincidence - they live in Simsville too! In fact, they're practically next-door neighbours!"
Chapter 2: Gatchaman under cover
Meanwhile, in a very different universe...
The Gatchaman team have had to hand in their bracelets for annual servicing. No matter what dangers threaten, they're on their own now! For the time being, they're continuing their civilian lives. At the airstrip, Ken is checking his email. No news about the bracelets, but Joe has invited him to a party.
Jun and Jinpei have been busy extending the Snack J. They've converted the extra space around the top floor into a terrace with potted plants.
"We've been closed for weeks - I hope our regulars still remember us," Jun sighs. "Oh well, a free meal on the opening day should make them come running." And it does. While Jinpei chats with the customers, Jun pours drinks.
After food and drink, they provide entertainment.
Here's someone who would like a free meal! And a bribe won't hurt... He can't stay long, however, because Joe's expecting him.
For Ryu, the present situation means he's able to spend more time with his father and little brother.
And since the weather forecast is so bad that his father can't go out fishing, they're all stuck at home.
Ryu decides that this is the right time to treat his old man to a holiday, and makes a call to Vacation Island.
Did we remember to pack everything we need? All aboard!
Ryu is happy to see the sea again. The three of them wander around, wondering what to do first.
You're only as old as you feel. Nakanishi Sr builds a sandcastle.
Ryu makes a campfire.
He's soon joined by his family and other tourists who like to roast marshmallows. "Nice to see you folks enjoying yourself," the resort mascot says. "Not much tourism lately - there's been some strange weather." He (she?) looks out over the sea. "Yep, there's some funny goings-on out there."
Ryu decides to ignore the shark-person's ominous comments and invites dad to a soak in a hot tub.
"This is the life, isn't it?"
Seiyi, left alone, tucks into a hot dog - he doesn't want to end up all skinny like the other people here!
Time for bed! We'll have more holiday fun tomorrow.
Meanwhile, at Joe's hideout...
Joe isn't really a party person, but as he thinks to himself while pouring drinks: if he doesn't do something, he'll go barking mad. Bottoms up!
On with the preparations. The guests will be getting what he usually eats: pizza.
He didn't go out and invite anyone, just threw a party to see what would show up. Man, there's some freaky people living in this neighbourhood. And that chick with numbered shirt, is she a Condor fan or what?
Ken is even less fortunate: one of the guests cornered him to talk about Art. "Don't you think Amano is the greatest artist that ever lived?" Ken shrugs. All he wanted was to use the john.
As they clean up after the party, Ken says: "Let's not ever do this again." Joe nods tiredly.
Tucking into his microwaved lasagna, Joe neither sees nor hears a late guest that certainly wasn't invited!
What is that person doing here? Why is he (or she) contemplatively gazing at a vase of roses? And what is Ryu doing in his (or her) house?
To be continued...