Story arc: The Urbz
The Urbz: Sims in the City picks up about one year after the events of Bustin' Out. We are heavily implied to be the same character, and we've landed in the nearby city of Miniopolis, where we're working as a janitor, cleaning pigeon shit off windows while more pigeons shit elsewhere, in an endless stream of pigeon shit. After a series of unfortunate events involving Daddy Bigbucks, who is in the process of a hostile takeover of the city, we end up in jail ourselves - taken there by none other than Detective Dan D. Mann, who has moved here from SimValley. Detective Dan listens to our side of the story, asks us a few questions, and he genuinely listens to us and cares and decides that he can let us go on probation. He suspects Daddy Bigbucks of wrongdoing too, but he hasn't done anything illegal that he can nab him for yet.
After releasing us from prison, Detective Dan didn't just leave us on the street. He knew that we didn't have a home, since Daddy has taken over the building where we used to live and work. So, Detective Dan pays us to play basketball with the cop team. Somehow. Is this really a contrived excuse to give us money? And he makes sure that we have access to a bed and a shower at the jailhouse in the meanwhile as we raise the money to rent an apartment. Detective Dan is exactly what the justice system needs.
As we wander around Miniopolis trying to find the cheapest apartment in existence, we see a familiar leather-clad form creeping around the street. We're greeted by a familiar Eyyy! He introduces himself, but this time...
Hey, I'm Giuseppi Mezzoalto. Have we met somewhere before? My memory is hazy... ever since I got out of the SimValley slammer, I've tried my darndest to forget my past.
He's done his time in jail, and he's out on parole. And he's forgotten all about us due to the trauma of this event. All those good times we had... We're just a vaguely familiar face now. At least he doesn't remember our role in his incarceration.
He mentions that he went to jail for "rearranging" furniture. And we know from the timeline that he spent about a year in jail. We interpret this to mean that the whole thing with the guillotine has been retconned, or he would have been in jail for much longer. Or maybe he managed to explain himself and get the guillotine dismissed in court. We're sure he didn't really intend to decapitate Uncle Hayseed, one way or the other.
He also looks like he aged twenty years in less than one. In Bustin' Out, we would have thought he was 20, maybe 25. In The Urbz, he looks 40. His experience in jail has visibly changed him.
In talking with him a bit, he's also more somber. Half of what he tells us is bad, sad news.
When he went to jail, his van was repossessed, so one of the highlights of his life is gone. That van was so important to him, it was the pattern of his backdrop in Bustin' Out -- and it still is his backdrop in The Urbz, even though he doesn't have the van anymore, and never will have the van again.
While he was in jail, he took the time to read and improve himself. However, the prison only had three books. Meeps.
He also seems much more concerned about keeping up a certain appearance to stay safe, which presumably comes from surviving in prison. He gives us pep talks about being properly intimidating and insulting. He doesn't accept compliments, because he doesn't want to look weak, and he doesn't accept apologies, because he doesn't want us to look weak, either. And that's in direct contrast with Bustin' Out, where he did like compliments. In Bustin' Out, you told him something good about him, and he was all, "Thanks, I really appreciate it". In The Urbz, if you tell him a secret, he says, "Thank you for trusting me, but I can't say the same. But nevermind". He still feels that what you say is good, but he's burnt now, and he used to believe it too, but now he can't.
Since he got out of jail, he's been trying to turn his life around, and get a legal job and a legal hobby. However, he's been having a lot of trouble with that. Everyone sees him as a convict, or at least a shady guy. People give him the side-eye at the flea market and expect him to steal something. Not even the carnival is willing to hire him, saying he is too creepy. Currently he's turned his fake moving business into a legit moving business, although he no longer has a van... so... maybe he has his crate and elbow grease. Or maybe there's not too much to move... because not too many people are hiring him - we might be his only customer.
Clearly he's not doing so well. He makes it sound like he lives in a hellhole, so awful that he refuses to let us know where it even is, since it is just too embarrassing. Considering that we, the player character, started living in an apartment that is awful to a horrific degree -- it's half falling apart and looks like someone died in there -- and he seems to rank his home as worse... well, shit. He says that the plumbing is so bad, he's cleaner if he doesn't shower. Yiiikes.
And yet, this is an upgrade from his previous living situation. This is too much for Giuseppi's pride to usually allow him to disclose, but if you max out your friendship with him, he will trust you enough to tell you that he had to spend some time living in the broken-down abandoned school bus on the outskirts of town -- and he wants us to know that it still makes a handy hideout if we're ever in a tight jam.
So Giuseppi is doing his best to lead his life according to the rules from now on, but he is barely managing to survive. He's regularly hungry, he hasn't been to a doctor or a dentist in years, and he's just barely above homeless. Everyone assumes he is scum and treats him accordingly. Of course Giuseppi is disappointed and bitter about life.
We're so sorry. Thankfully, we get to the point where we can hug him.
However, in spite of how bitter and sad he is over his life, he still can crack lots of jokes about being a thief, getting the five-finger discount, stealing money and spending it, being good at lifting (and that's why he should work in construction), and joking that the forklift was the best invention ever. And while we no longer see our dialogue and know we are saying such filthy things to him anymore, we can flirt with him and teach him new rude gestures, which he appreciates.
We can kiss him again. We like the idea that, even though he's forgotten who we were and what we did, we can still become friends again. But we can no longer do it in the back of the van. Those times are over, and just a hazy, half-forgotten memory.
Anyway, he's in town. He can most often be found at the casino, where he is making a profit by playing cards. Considering that Moogoo Monkey is gambling and usually how people lose money, Giuseppi must be very, very good at it. Since it involves reading people, weighing probabilities, and taking risks, yeah, it makes sense that he is good at it.
The sting operation
And it's there that we have our first plotline involving him. Detective Dan once again suspects that there is evil afoot, and asks us for our help for a sting operation. The signal is playing just one hand of Moogoo Monkey. Note that we only ever can play one hand of Moogoo Monkey per day, but that's okay, that just adds to the joke. So we play that one hand in order to intercept the secret criminal rendezvous, and who comes to talk with us but Giuseppi... He says he can't help but note that we've played just one hand of Moogoo Monkey. Wouldn't we like to play another?
Here, our character gets two possible responses: either to blow the cover, or to stammer and say that, no, we won't, because we're going to die soon. We went with the second option. Giuseppi takes that as funny, says that Daddy B sure sent a joker, and plays along, saying that he hopes that we check the message board before we "die". That sure was a poor choice of words to say die, because then Giuseppi can sound pretty creepy threatening when he jokes with that.
So, after all of this sneaky secret stuff, we go to check the message board, following his instructions. On the message board, there's a note that says: "Lucy - Check the bush near the museum". In just plain English, our name spelled out just right there. All that sneaky secret stuff, to put this perfectly readable message on the public message board. Lol.
Ok, so we check the bush. We get another note, that says that we'll find our answer ~beyond the grave~. Giuseppi is so clearly playing along with that die thing. So, we later get access to the graveyard, and behind the tombstone, we find another note, saying to give this note to someone with a feather in their hat. We know that's Berkeley the creepy creeper, so we go to deliver the note. He gives us a briefcase to return to Giuseppi at the casino. Berkeley has other dialogue in which he tells us that the casino is a wonderful place to do his laundry, so we can guess the nature of the contents of this briefcase.
At this point, the quest log says we should deliver the briefcase to Detective Dan. But we saved, and wanted to know what would happen if we just tried to give it to Giuseppi. When we try to give it to him, he very awkwardly shuts us down all, no uh h I have to go over there, bye. Normally, when you try to give him something that he doesn't take, he says, don't burden me with this junk or something like that. But here he gets a special line of dialogue. Interesting...
So we go deliver the briefcase to Detective Dan. He puts this giant, obvious recording device on the briefcase, and tells us to go bring it to Giuseppi now. We deliver it, and Giuseppi asks, you didn't do anything to bug the briefcase or anything stupid like that, right? And our options here are:
- No man, I'm cool
- No, Detective Dan did.
We picked 2, because it seemed like one of those jokes that it's so honest it's a joke. Giuseppi laughs along, and takes the briefcase saying that he's going to count all the Simoleons that Mr. Clodd put in it.
So we have this conflicting scenario. Giuseppi has told us he's trying to change from his illegal ways, but he also seems to be in league with Daddy Bigbucks and involved in some sort of money laundering scheme with Berkeley Clodd. Is he forever a crook because he is, or has society broken him to the point where he can only be a crook? Or is there something more?
When talking with Detective Dan, sometimes you get the option to gossip. If you do so, he tells you something about Giuseppi:
Keep an eye on Giusseppi(sic) Mezzoalto, Lucy. He's not quite who he claims to be.
What does Detective Dan mean? Is Giuseppi not really as good as he claims? Or is he not really as bad as he claims?
The rest of the plot happens, and our animosity towards Daddy Bigbucks grows ever stronger. He's been trying to buy the entire city and turn it into a theme park for rich people, so they can pay to see how poor people live. That's horrific. Luckily, we've managed to thwart all his plans, but Daddy is willing to go pretty far to get his way. He's tried to murder us and leave our corpse in the bayou. He's managed to convince the governor to outlaw running, citing noise pollution as the reason, but actually with the sole purpose of slowing our efforts to stop him. He's twisted. It's gone so far that even his lawyer, who is corrupted and unsympathetic, doesn't want to see the places where she grew up destroyed. It's gone so far that even his son, who is still absolutely a rich asshole, is now somewhat on our side.
Daddy's ultimate plot is to go back in time and buy all the land of Miniopolis while it's still an empty field. To stop him, we've built our own time machine, but we don't know when to set the dial. We're told that, to learn where, or when, Daddy Bigbucks has gone, we should ask someone who knows him... or one of the shady characters in town.
We know just who to ask.
Player: Giusseppi(sic), you've worked for Daddy Bigbucks before. Do you know where he went? What time he traveled to?
Giuseppi: Hey now, "worked for" isn't exactly the phrase. "Double-crossed" is more like it. You didn't actually think I was running errands for that him (sic) and that snake Berkeley Clodd did you?
Player: Well, yeah... Detective Dann (sic) and I busted you, didn't we?
Giuseppi: Ha ha ha. And how do you think you pulled it off so easily? Because I was working for Detective Dann(sic)! I'm a reformed criminal and a fighter for truth and justice now.
Player: Wow! And a fine actor too. You had me fooled.
Come here and give us a kiss. (And, later, we'll help you get a spellcheck).
Giuseppi doesn't know precisely when Daddy went, but he knows the year, and he suggests that we set the date to December 31st, so that we will definitely arrive after Daddy has left. So smart.
We do as he suggests, repair the timeline, and manage to get one last blow at Daddy... by making the deed that he went back in time to alter instead entitle him to the ownership of an island filled with nothing but dancing nutrias.
The redemption arc here is wonderful. Bustin' Out ends with Giuseppi going to jail over an excessive crime that is frankly out of character, and we never wanted to see him behind bars, and we feel sorry for him. At the same time, we're forced to suck up to Daddy Bigbucks, and it makes the game end on a bit of a downer. We've become a traitor to Giuseppi and to ourselves: we've put the small-time thief who we know to be a good person in jail, and we're licking the asshole of this rich asshole to get ahead, and is this who we've become?
The Urbz starts with Daddy Bigbucks being confirmed as a villain, and, in a circular turn of events, we go to jail, and we get to experience a tiny bit of what we did to Giuseppi. And it ends with Giuseppi turning out to be the hero of this story, and he's instrumental in bringing down Daddy Bigbucks once and for all, and we get to do it together, and it's triumphant and glorious.