Breaking news in the world of virtual lifestyling: the real world simulation game, The Sims 4,

now has basements.

Virtual people worldwide can now get their damn virtual stuff out of the virtual hallway closet into a virtual two-level underground storage space.

Electronic art has caught up to real life and it’s time basements got their due. Back in the old country — England, Greece, Ontario — people had attics to store their extra possessions. Attics, whimsical and mysterious, hold a special place in the cultural conscience.

Unfortunately, they also suck up a good portion of household heat, so many houses no longer have quaint, dry attics to store rocking chairs, steamer trunks, and family secrets.

Instead, here in the modern world, we have basements: moist, dark, cold, and if Sarah Palin is to be believed, the domicile of political bloggers sitting in their pyjamas.

We love to hate basements, but as those who are in the habit of buying and selling real estate know, a house without a basement is like a baby without a diaper. There’s no place for the crap to go.

Basements are the archival vaults of contemporary life. Where else could we store our action fi gurines whilst waiting for their value to rise? Without basements, we’d have to venture out to the garden shed every time we wanted to consult our Grade 8 yearbook. Worse, we would succumb to the tyranny of the storage locker. I’ll save my rant against storage lockers for the What’s Up Yukon’s annual “First World Problems” issue.

For now, all I’m going to say on the matter is that for a portion of my mid-20s, my parents’ cardboard boxes lived in better rental housing than I did. Secure, convenient, and climate controlled. But speaking of housing, this raises the other virtue of basements: they fi ll in a valuable niche in the housing market.

There are a significant number of basement dwellers that simply can’t afford to own a house. There are also many people who could not afford those houses without a basement suite. Indeed, quality can vary. The roof over your head will always be the floor beneath someone else’s feet.

I briefly lived in a basement suite where I could hear every word of Another World every evening, and yes, those were dark Days of Our Lives.

I also once had a boyfriend who couldn’t straighten his neck because he spent 28 years of his life living in his family basement where he had to duck his head in order to get through the doorways.

At their worst, basement suites are dank money-grabbing schemes, but at best, they are mutually beneficial to both owners and tenants.

And there’s no shame in either owning, or living with a good shag carpet, a tiki bar, and a six-foot scratching post. Which brings me to the real reason basements are essential to modern existence: the cats.

Sure, we think of the basement as the only acceptable location for kitty litter. Little do we realize that the basement is the power base for the feline technocracy.

Nobody truly knows what happens among the jumble of half empty paint cans, the Christmas ornaments, and the boxes left by one’s hoarder ex-roommate. Nobody except the cats.

How else to explain the cat videos? Sims 4 indeed.