Timeline and levels of canonicity
The "Giuseppi Sims" series spans four games that form a loose timeline that you can piece together. While mostly being consistent, a few things seem to have been retconned along the way, and last two games get a bit weird. Here is our understanding of the timeline and how each game connects with the others, with particular focus on Giuseppi's role.
Bustin' Out is happening in the summer of 2003. We know this because the main character is going to Uncle Hayseed's farm for the summer, and because the game is happening in the then-present. Also, The Urbz is happening one year after, which we know to be the year 2004.
During the events of Bustin' Out, Giuseppi is a burglar. Near the end of the game, the player character catches him robbing Uncle Hayseed and doing something nefarious with a guillotine.
In The Urbz, you can go back in time to December 2, 2003 and find your old self of Bustin' Out repairing the tractor of Uncle Hayseed. This breaks a few things, because repairing the tractor is a task that is given to you (and that is only possible to do) at the very beginning of the game - which would mark the beginning of summer. Even if we imagine that fixing the tractor happened multiple times during the course of the player character's stay at Uncle Hayseed's farm (even though it only is shown happening in-game once), it would need to be before the player character's departure, which canonically happened at the end of summer. However, the time machine was set to December.
Our explanation for this incongruence is that Bustin' Out was released in December, more specifically on December 16 - maybe December 2 is when it went gold and was ready to ship, and this date is important to the developers, leading to this Easter egg.
So, for the sake of the in-universe timeline, we can ignore the "December" part, but keep the understanding that Bustin' Out happened during the summer of 2003. Unless this series is taking place in the southern hemisphere of SimEarth. Though, the locations seem pretty closely based on locations in the United States, so we think this is unlikely.
In Bustin' Out, Detective Dan D. Mann suspects that a crime ring is at work in SimValley. However, the only criminal we ever actually encounter is Giuseppi himself. There are a few lines of dialogue that refer to Giuseppi's burglar "friends", who also look like him and go around wearing masks, and who help him clear the paths in the steam tunnels. However, there's no sign of these people in the game.
Maybe this was a discarded idea that wasn't fully edited out. Or, perhaps, it is an in-universe tongue-in-cheek nod to the fact that you could return home to discover you were robbed by Giuseppi, even if you spent the entire time in his presence. It's almost like there is more than one of him around! And they all look the same and wear the same mask! In any case, these "friends" don't seem to really exist, and they are never referred to again, so we consider this concept to be retconned.
The Urbz is happening in 2004, most likely before August. We know it's happening in 2004 because you can use a time machine to go back to "last year", which is 2003. And we know it's probably not August yet, because, in The Sims 2 (GBA), Luthor L. Bigbucks has won a gold medal at the summer Olympics of 2004, which happened in August, and this momentous event is not mentioned in The Urbz, so it can't have happened yet.
Bustin' Out and The Urbz are happening in the same continuity, and the main character is implied to be the same person (but you can easily believe not if you'd rather).
During the plot of The Urbz, the player character meets Giuseppi, who is out of jail on parole. He is involved in a major plotline, and we learn how the experience in jail has impacted him, about his past, and about his personal ideals.
Upon first meeting the player character in The Urbz, Giuseppi notes that we look familiar, but he can't quite place us - he says that his memory around when he went to jail is a bit fuzzy, because he's trying his best to forget that time. This lets the game allow us to continue playing as the same character from Bustin' Out if we want, or imagine ourselves as a separate character if we want. If we think we are the same character from Bustin' Out, the fact that he doesn't remember us means that we don't need to worry about Giuseppi wanting revenge against us for our role in his incarceration.
This is one of the most clever uses of the amnesia trope ever. It lets the game fulfill so many different possibilities seamlessly.
Giuseppi mentions that he went to jail for the crime of, uh, "rearranging" furniture. While Giuseppi is not the most forthcoming about the details of this moment, we take this to mean that he was found guilty of robbery; he was obviously not convicted of attempted murder, since he was in jail for less than a year.
Because the aforementioned nefarious deeds involving a guillotine are completely ignored by the series and never referred to, we take this to mean that the developers wanted to retcon this detail of Giuseppi's crime. We're okay with that - we thought that it was a bit out-of-character. And if we agree that it never actually happened, no one - not the player, nor the player character, nor Uncle Hayseed - needs to hold such a serious grudge against Giuseppi.
So Giuseppi doesn't want revenge against us, and we don't want revenge against him. This leaves the plot free to explore other, more subtle aspects of Giuseppi's life as an ex-con.
The Sims 2 GBA
The Sims 2 (GBA) was written by a different team than the previous games. The writing has a different tone, and it seems the writers only half-heard of the characters, which means this game has a lot of out-of-character and timeline-conflicting moments.
In The Sims 2 (GBA), Daddy Bigbucks is producing a reality TV show by secretly filming people in Strangetown. He has hired the player character as a secret actor to stir up trouble and see that his plots go the way he wants, with maximum drama.
Considering that we're on good terms with Daddy Bigbucks, and he says nothing about remembering us or not remembering us, this main character can't be the same person as the one in The Urbz, who notoriously was his arch-rival and foiled all of his plots. Plus, none of the other recurring characters remember (or fail to remember) anything about the main character at all.
The Sims 2 (GBA) is happening in 2005, about one year after The Urbz. This is most solidly established because the 2004 summer Olympics, in which Luthor won a medal, were last year.
However, the characters remember some things, but seem to have forgotten most of the events of The Urbz:
- At the end of The Urbz, Daddy Bigbucks is stuck on Nutria Island, which is the only plot of land that he rightfully owns in Miniopolis. However, in The Sims 2 (GBA), Daddy is in Strangetown. How did he exactly leave Nutria Island, when he seemed to be stuck there? He makes no mention of anything that happened in The Urbz at all.
- However, Giuseppi mentions nutria burgers, and that he doesn't want to walk back to Miniopolis to get one. So, the existences of Miniopolis and the nutrias are acknowledged, as is the fact that Giuseppi has been in Miniopolis. However, nothing that happened to Giuseppi in Miniopolis is ever mentioned, which is strange because those events must have had a big impact on his character!
- Misty Waters seems to have traveled directly from SimValley to Strangetown, because she says she moved to the desert because she didn't want to be a lifeguard anymore. This ignores her entire role in The Urbz, where she had a gym and was a fitness guru, and was already done with lifeguarding.
In this game, Giuseppi has a minor role. He does odd jobs, including "keeping an eye on" Ara Fusilli for her father, mafia lord Frankie Fusilli. We find it a bit odd that he would choose to do that. He also scoops horse manure for Tristan Legend, in a sycophantic sort of way. We also find it a bit odd that he would choose to do that. He is easily distracted by paddle balls, and he seems to leave town partway through the plot. :(
The Sims 2 DS
The Sims 2 (DS) is happening in 2005. We know it's after The Urbz, because the famous Club Zydeco of Miniopolis is said to have closed in 2004, and Cannonball Coleman has moved from Miniopolis to Strangetown. This game, unlike The Sims 2 (GBA), acknowledges that Misty Waters has become a fitness guru, which she did while she was in Miniopolis.
The Sims 2 (DS) would be happening after The Sims 2 GBA, because there are references to its events:
- Giuseppi mentions "the last game", which may or may not be The Sims 2 (GBA) - wait for that explanation...
- Luthor mentions how his father punished him by making him the star of his television show, which must have made very little sense to anyone who didn't play the GBA game.
However, the two games are actually mutually exclusive timeline-wise, because they both take place in the same setting of Strangetown with the same characters, but Strangetown itself is completely different, and everyone is doing different things.
So, these cross-references are more like jokes from the developers as Easter eggs.
In The Sims 2 (DS), what little dialogue Giuseppi gets sounds more in-character with how he was in Bustin' Out and The Urbz. Also, Detective Dan D. Mann is there (unnamed, but with undeniably the same character model), which leaves open the possibility that Giuseppi and Detective Dan are still in contact with each other.
But all this said, in The Sims 2 (DS), Giuseppi drops a canon-shattering bomb on us.
The robot thing
If you become best friends with Giuseppi in The Sims 2 (DS), he reveals to you a secret:
You want to know a secret, man? I'll tell you one. That sell-out claiming to be Giuseppi in the last game... that was a ROBOT man!
First of all. What is "the last game"? Do they mean The Urbz or The Sims 2 (GBA), or even Bustin' Out if they're ignoring The Urbz happening?
Our personal belief here is that, if this tidbit is true at all, they mean The Sims 2 (GBA), because that's the one where Giuseppi's characterization is least on-point, and where his role in the plot is most minor. And it would be a way for The Sims 2 (DS) to jokingly point out that its own timeline is more canon than the GBA one. While The Sims 2 (GBA) almost seems to be in opposition with the plots of Bustin' Out and The Urbz, The Sims 2 (DS) isn't, leaving more room for it to be linked to the previous events. And The Sims 2 (GBA) revolves around a reality TV show with intentionally contrived plots and characters who may or may not be actors in the know, and alternate universes contained therein.
However, The Sims 2 (DS) and The Sims 2 (GBA) were released on the same day, according to Wikipedia. So, can The Sims 2 (GBA) really be "the last game" from the point of view of The Sims 2 (DS)? Maybe "the last game" doesn't necessarily mean the last game released, but the last game they were working on. Since there are references to the events of The Sims 2 (GBA) in The Sims 2 (DS), this could be true.
Besides, we categorically refuse to let this throwaway line retcon The Urbz, where Giuseppi had his most shining role. And that would make robot Giuseppi have more character than real Giuseppi! And why would the developers do that?
If The Sims 2 (DS) is considering The Urbz as a tangent and not a Sims game (since that's what EA wanted), and is actually directly following from The Sims: Bustin' Out, maybe this robot business was an attempt to yet again retcon the guillotine thing by blaming a robot that wasn't him? If that's the case, boy, they could have referred to that in a more clear way than "the last game"!
Secondly, why would Giuseppi be a robot? Why would you even think any incarnation of Giuseppi is a robot? Why, of all the possible secrets they could have had him tell us, they put this confusing idea that gives us no joy? They could have told us that his secret is that he sleeps on his left side, and we would be happy! But they had to give us this robot junk??
Giuseppi from The Sims 2 (DS) calls the last game's robot-Giuseppi a "sell-out". What does that mean? If he's referring to The Urbz, is he referring to the fact that Giuseppi made a deal with the police? Even though said deal was to get out of jail, which he is clearly benefiting from? And even though said deal was to fight for what he believed in? And if he's referring to The Sims 2 (GBA), is he referring to the fact that he worked for Frankie? And possibly for Daddy, if he was in the know about the TV show thing?
Or, is this somehow telling us that Optimum Alfred in The Sims 2 (GBA) was Giuseppi in disguise? Since Optimum Alfred is a robot who also sold out (literally, since he betrayed us and then demanded money to go along with our plans)?
While we were playing these games, we accidentally read something online about how Giuseppi had something to do with a robot. So, when we played The Sims 2 (GBA), we paid close attention to his presence compared to the appearances of Optimum Alfred. We noticed that they do have appearances in the same episodes. So, unless Giuseppi is running around the set and changing outfits a la Team Rocket, he can't be the same character as Optimum Alfred. There is also nothing in The Sims 2 (GBA) that suggests that Optimum Alfred has anything to do with Giuseppi. Optimum Alfred is said to have been built by Tristan Legend 30-something years ago, and we have no reason to believe this is a lie. So, that's probably not it.
Considering how much was left on the cutting room floor during the production of The Sims 2 (GBA), was this maybe a reference to some plot detail of the game-in-progress that was cut from or completely altered in the final version of the game?
All in all, what's this robot thing, and why? We're going to go with the interpretation that The Sims 2 (GBA) incarnation of Giuseppi matches Giuseppi's character - so we can still learn things about him from his appearance in this game - but was a robot, and not indeed him. This also lets us understand that The Sims 2 (GBA) is a somewhat non-canon game. Good for Giuseppi himself, because that way, he didn't work for a mafia lord and didn't have to scoop horse shit. But we're still disappointed by this completely baffling "reward".