B is for Burkinshaw

Well, the year has started and so has the ABC Indie Reading challenge. Strangely, we’re 4 days in and I’ve already ticked the letter B off my list! It’s not like me to get started so quickly.

On the second of the month I read the entire serial of Alice and Kev, by Robin Burkinshaw, a link that Anna provided. It’s free (which is a great way to start the year!), and while I looked at the 60 part list and wondered how I would get through it, I was finished before I realized.

Alice and Kev is more of a story in images than a story in words. From the site:

This is an experiment in playing a homeless family in The Sims 3. I created two Sims, moved them in to a place made to look like an abandoned park, removed all of their remaining money, and then attempted to help them survive without taking any of the game’s unrealistically easy cash routes. It was inspired by the old ‘poverty challenge’ idea from players of The Sims 2, but it turned out to be a lot more interesting with The Sims 3′s new living neighborhood features.

I have attempted to tell my experiences with the minimum of embellishment. Everything I describe in here is something that happened in the game. What’s more, a surprising amount of the interesting things in this story were generated by just letting go and watching the Sims’ free will and personality traits take over.

Now, I haven’t played the Sims 3, or the Sims 2 either – I vaguely recall playing the first Sims back when it was initially released, but I get the feeling that a whole lot has changed since then. As I’m not a follower of the game, I wasn’t sure I’d have any interest in the serial, but decided to give it a shot anyways.

And you know what? It was a good ‘read’. I felt quite drawn to the main character, Alice, and even her deadbeat Dad near the end had some redeeming qualities. He provided some light comic relief throughout, but was also the major source of pain in Alice’s life. I really felt for her. I don’t know whether it was the images, or the combination of images and words but they seemed like they could be real people.

I was surprised, and stunned, by some of her decisions. I won’t go into any details here, because if you’re interested you should check it out yourself. It’s a very quick read, and you might be surprised at just how ‘human’ and unpredictable these game characters can be at times.

It actually made me interested in checking out the game – though I’ll try and avoid that. I don’t need any more distractions from writing! lol

I’m entirely unsure how I feel about the piece as a ‘story’, but like I said, it was interesting, and I felt drawn into what was going on. The writer is fairly unobtrusive for the most part, which I can appreciate, and the images almost tell the story by themselves. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and knowing that it’s finished, I feel a sense of loss. I’d really like to know how Alice got on.

I’m not going to give a rating, because I’d have no idea what to rate it. But if you like the Sims, or are interested in seeing how a story like this works, why not check it out?

Next on my list is His Robot Girlfriend, by Wesley Allison. Also free. I’m starting to build the rest of my list, and will add a new page for it soon.

I’m feeling good about branching out and trying things I might not otherwise.

What are you reading this year?


6 thoughts on “B is for Burkinshaw”

  1. Alice and Kev was really addictive! It’s not quite a novella, not quite webfiction… A kind of experimental story-telling, if anything. But I really enjoyed it, and was grateful I’m in Milan and faaar away from my copy of the Sims. 🙂

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