Author Isa McLaren
Casing museums with a drink in hand!
I’ve enjoyed many video games over the years. In high school, it was the arcade game, Dragon’s Lair. I worked in a mall and spent my breaks and tips trying to get Dirk the Daring around that damned whirlpool. In the 80s-90s, it was the King’s Quest series. I particularly loved that one because it was designed by a woman, Roberta Williams. I played MMOs for years, including Aion, Rift, The Secret World and of course, World of Warcraft. I even had a podcast and a blog about my adventures in Azeroth.
The longest-lived and most fun, however, is Sims Medieval. A spin-off of the Sims franchise, it’s really not much like the others. Like a TV show that tries to give a minor character their own series. But unlike those shows, Sims Medieval is brilliant! You get your own monarchy where you control one or more of the 10 Hero characters at a time. Each Hero lives in their own predefined home, which you can decorate to your heart’s content. A style editor lets you tailor the look of furniture and clothing.
Choose a quest, then select the appropriate Hero to work on it. In addition, you have daily responsibilities to fulfill. Some of these are really fun, like pickpocketing with the Spy, while others are somewhat tedious. Skipping daily chores gives your Hero a debuff, and skipping too many will land them in the stocks!
I’ve been playing this game for about six years now, maybe longer. I’m still finding new content. Even if you’ve completed one quest, the next time around, you can do it with a different Hero, with a different approach. Once you’ve completed your Ambition (a series of quests with a goal), you can start a new monarchy, or play indefinitely with the current one.
The graphics are amazing. Mirrors reflect, grass rustles. The facial expressions the characters make is hilarious.
If I had to pick something to complain about, it would be clothing options. Yeah, I get that it’s based on medieval times, but come on. I see fashions on some of the NPCs that none of the Heros get to wear. This makes me sad.
A few months ago, during Hurricane Florence, I was nearing the end of writing A Kiss For Luck. I took a break and loaded up a new game. Since a big part of the book is set in Florence, Italy, or Firenze, that became the name of the monarchy. I populated with characters from the book, recreating their appearance as closely as I could within the confines of a video game with a medieval setting.
Jules Brand is a con artist and jewel thief, under the guise of being an art dealer, religious icons a specialty. In Kiss, he targets a Mark, an American tourist spending money like it was going out of style. He’s charming and charismatic, and just perfect for a vacation fling. When his past catches up to him, it all hinges on Luck.
Send him back a thousand years, and he’s a Peteran priest, one of the two religions in the world. Convince people there’s a deity who needs monetary donations? No problem!
The traditional garments for priests are robes, but those lack a certain sartorial flair. I put him in his favorite colors and tried not to think of what passed for hair product back then.
And if his silver tongue isn’t enough, there’s always booze to fall back on.
The charming scoundrel isn’t above cheating at cards, much to my surprise and delight when this netted me an Achievement!
One of the fun aspects of the game is that while you are questing with one of your Heroes, the others go about their day all by themselves. Some have strange hobbies, like my Knight who would try out different chairs. Another likes to sit in his torture chair while his assistant tortures him. (Yes, torturing people is one of the daily chores the Spy or the Jacoban priest have to do.)
I’m not sure what Jules had been up to, but whatever it was, it landed him in the stocks. He swears he’s innocent, but he’s always guilty of something.
While the characters from A Kiss For Luck enjoy their time in Medieval Firenze, there are a few surprises planned for them. And here’s one for you:
Sneak peek at a major character from book two in the series, Keep The Mark Happy.