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Interview With Pinstar1161: Creator Of The Legacy Challenge

Thursday, December 9, 2004 - 22:00

Have you taken the Legacy Challenge? How did Pinstar1161 come up with this challenge that everyone is talking about?

Learn More About The Legacy Challenge


For over a month, the community has been devoted to working on The Legacy Challenge, a challenge to make a Sim family the strongest it can be over 10 generations while following certain rules. We spoke with Pinstar1161, the creator of The Legacy Challenge, about how he conceived of the challenge, how he feels the challenge is working, and his thoughts on future challenges.

In recent weeks, your Legacy Challenge has generated a lot of interest in the community. How did you come up with the Challenge?

A rather wide variety of factors inspired me to create the challenge. Like many simmers, I become a bit attached to my Sims, and hate to see them die. I'd create a family, let them age to elder and move out their children, but I never had the heart to go back and play the elders to their graves. The Legacy Challenge was a way of forcing myself to let my elders die.

Secondly, I read in the prima guide that a sim-created painting can appreciate all the way to $4,500, but I realized that would take forever, so I got to thinking "What if you did play a lot for a really, really long time.

Lastly, I wanted to see what kind of house I could build on a 5X5 lot if I played it for a long time. I was also curious to see what others in the community could make too. It's one thing to build a huge house from nothing to done in one sitting. It's another thing to see a house evolve from a tiny shack to a grand mansion, bit by bit, over the generations. It takes on a lot of character.

What was the most difficult part in conceiving the rules?

Balancing the scoring was a paramount. I wanted the Challenge to reward players for a wide variety of play styles, and allow simmers to focus on different aspects in their families and still be rewarded equally. If one method of play earned you more points than any other, then that would be the ONLY way to play if you wanted a high score, and that's no fun for anybody.

How did you determine the point value associated with each goal?

I decided on a base-10 system. Each major area would earn you, on average, 10 points. The average net worth of a house would be $1,000,000 after 10 generations, so 10 net worth points. The average simmer could get 30 family friends in the end, another 10 points. Half of the Sims that die on a lot would be platinum. Assuming just married couples, that's another 10 points. The average simmer could get about 10 impossible wants fulfilled, 10 more points. Finally 10 points exactly for reaching 10 generations. Now 10 is a base, a simmer who is GOOD in an area could get more than 10 points, a simmer who did badly in an area could earn less... but overall, it gave each area equal weight. A simmer who was really good at making family friends, and a simmer who was really good at making the family money could end up with very similar scores, despite the drastically different play styles. This is what I wanted from the points system, and from the response thus far, I think it's working! Also feedback from the community has allowed me to tweak and adjust the scoring, and add new and interesting bonuses.

What has the response been like in your guest book or on the boards? Did you expect it to become so popular?

I could never have imagined such a large response. When I first posted the challenge, I anticipated a few responses, and maybe I'd get lucky and somebody else might give it a try for a few generations. As you can see, we have quite a bit more than "a few people" doing the challenge. My Guest book is lively with remarks, but it is the message boards that is REALLY lively. The main threads are huge and there are dozens of splinter threads with questions and tips for my challenge. All I can do is sit back, watch it all unfold, and help those who need it along the way.

Have you successfully completed 10 generations yourself? What's the top score you have achieved?

I have not completed my own challenge, yet. With the demands of college tearing me from my Sims from time to time, I have paced myself. My current Legacy family is on generation 7, and I'm currently holding a score of about 45. I can tell you right now, that despite being the creator of the challenge, I KNOW there are simmers out there who will beat my final score by a good margin, whatever it ends up being in the end.

What are the most challenging aspects to this game?

Some of The Sims' impossible wants are really hard to get, and take a long time of skillful play to fulfill, romance and popularity Sims in particular. Raising twins and training them as toddlers at the same time can be tricky. Lastly, when you play a house that has a LOT of ghosts, nighttime itself becomes a challenge, but that keeps it all interesting!

Your blog indicates that your Sims are leading very active and interesting lives. Can you tell us about some of your most interesting characters?

My favorite character would be Raccoon, who's currently in his golden years in the blog. The Legacy family's first knowledge sim had a rather obsessive-compulsive attitude with ghost hunting and stargazing. He also, to go with his namesake, made a hidden burrow under the house to live in rather than sleeping in a bedroom like any normal sim. Anyone who has downloaded my house will see the network of underground passages he's created. His daughter Teliah was likewise odd, but she met an early and young death from the very ghosts Raccoon hunted.

If I had to pick a second favorite character, it would be Rodger. The country boy from Simfarm turned gardener for the suburbs. He brought an interesting perspective and attitude to the Legacy family.

Also the grim reaper is beginning to take on his own personality, simply from his frequent visits to the house.

How long have you been playing The Sims?

Since the day it came out. I am always interested in anything Maxis makes, and when I saw "The Sims" on the horizon, I followed it closely and pre-ordered it. I'm very glad I did.

What do you like the most about The Sims 2?

I would have to say aging and the aspirations. With new Sims coming and going, the same household doesn't get stale like it did in the original Sims. The different aspirations further the variety of game play, and give you mini-goals within the game, beyond the classic "reach the top of my career" that was in the original Sims.

Any other Challenges in the works?

I will be issuing another challenge based on the up and coming University expansion pack soon after it is officially released. I can't give too many details about what exactly the challenge will be, mainly because I myself don't know ALL the cool new features and challenges that will be introduced with life on campus.

As far as the Legacy Challenge goes, as soon as many more simmers complete their challenges, I have a secret additional challenge that I will issue, but that is a ways away.

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