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PC Games (Games)

Sexuality And The Sims 91

Posted by Zonk
from the two-great-tastes dept.
Jim Rossignol writes "An article on a new blog I'm contributing to discusses how The Sims (mostly the original, but also the sequel) gets used for sexual purposes, and also examines how this kind of response is essential to the appeal of the game. Here's an extract: 'On sites like Simulated, Eight Deadly Sims, Pandora's Sims and Strange Sims we see increasingly bizarre uses of the modding tools. While mainstream sites are for all ages, these have reached such a level of risqué or alternative content that the majority hide behind pay-for-access barriers to ensure that the users at least have a credit card (i.e. aren't minors), and to earn a little cash. Of all the mod cultures online — and virtually every PC game has users making their own additional content either in publisher-supported or unofficial ways — it's only The Sims which has such an obvious number of sites which demand money for access. This is particularly unusual: there's a clause in EA's tool license that they can only be used 'on your personal non-commercial website'. That Electronic Arts hasn't gone after such a sizeable community is interesting in and of itself.'" Jim Rossignol is a well-respected games journalist in the industry, and his new blog (Rock, Paper, Shotgun) is well worth checking out.
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Sexuality And The Sims

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  • by CrazyJim1 (809850) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:20PM (#20405793) Journal
    Obligatory? maybe
  • Really? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JamesRose (1062530) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:26PM (#20405847)
    It sounds like they expect EA to sue these users using it commercially, frankly, a good company that knows what its doing puts in that clause to cover itself, but wouldn't even consider suing its users. Unfortunately more recently its become the norm to be scared of being sued by the people you buy your software from. EA understands how to build a community, and lets face it, the sms has a pretty obvious appeal as a community game, EA starting to sue the odd site that makes a profit on these things would more damage than good because there's always trouble drawing the line at who you should sue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mqduck (232646)
      I think it's more like this: They're not willing to try to ban all sexual mods (in fact, as the article states, they probably want them). But they're not going to sue them for charging money, because that would equal demanding they give them away for free. And that's too risky politically for them.
    • yes really (Score:3, Interesting)

      by crossmr (957846)
      pandering isn't the same as knowing how to build a community. Much like knowing how to grab your ankles doesn't make your prison stay that much more pleasant.

      Suing people would go a long way towards giving the sims fans a long needed kick in the teeth.
      They're the whiniest bunch of crybabies I've ever seen assembled in a single place. You might say "Well that's because there are so many kids there", while true the adults aren't any better. They are the only community I know of where there is such rampant com
  • This is just silly (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TibbonZero (571809) <.Tibbon. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:27PM (#20405857) Homepage Journal
    The Sims is one of the few non-pornographic games that let you have sex and/or relationships of complexity with any other characters. Why? Because it's a life simulation game. If it were missing sex/relationships then it would be missing a huge part of life. That's not to say it's the only 'fun' thing in the game, or that it's even particularly fun in the game.
    He takes the fact that you can have sex, to mean, "The purpose of this game is to score by, well scoring". It's not the purpose of the game any more than it is in GTA. At the same time, everyone's got to try it at least once in game right? Who hasn't slept with a hooker in GTA, then ran her over and took the cash? I know several people who have played The Sims just as a home decoration program to make fun looking houses, and forget all about the people.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bios_Hakr (68586)
      If the game is a life sim, then the only way *to* score is *by* scoring.

      The point of life is to get your genes into another generation. Everything else is just fluff.
      • by Mprx (82435)
        Isaac Newton died a virgin.
        • Isaac Newton died a virgin.
          Score.
      • That's what life tends to do, but "point"? Life just is. Making a point of it is up to you.
        • Life just is.
          No, it isn't.

          The reason for life is life itself. Being alive means to give new life; to people. And ideas.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            Speak for yourself. Do you see reasons for the sun and the stars, the mountains and oceans? The question isn't "why are we here"--we're here because of an eons-long chain of chemical and physical phenomena in the universe that lies behind us, not for anything that lies before us. The question is, "okay, we're here--now what are we going to do about it?". And don't you presume to answer that question for me.
            • So gave you the authority to speak for the sun, stars, mountains, and oceans?
              • So gave you the authority to speak for the sun, stars, mountains, and oceans?

                They'll stop as soon as the sun, stars, mountains, or oceans lodge an objection.

                • You do you assume lack of consent is the same as tacit consent?
                  • You do you assume lack of consent is the same as tacit consent?

                    Uh... no. Are you a troll or something? I assume that 'consent' is only relevant when dealing with something that's actually sentient and therefore capable of giving or denying consent. Mountains et al don't qualify.

                    I'll be happy to revise my opinion the very instant you introduce me to an ocean that can converse with me. Get back to me when you've got one, I'll be fascinated.

                    • > 'consent' is only relevant when dealing with something that's actually sentient

                      And your definition of sentient is... ?

                    • > I assume that 'consent' is only relevant when dealing with something that's actually sentient and therefore capable of giving or denying consent. Mountains et al don't qualify.

                      That's a logical fallacy. You have a _very_ narrow definition of what sentient even is. Of all the millions of sentient beings & things in the universe, you are basing your definition on what? One planet? And a few living species? Are animals sentient? Are plants sentient?

                      i.e.
                      Amobea's don't give deny or give consent, but
                    • And your definition of sentient is... ?

                      Okay, you're either a troll or else you're actually that clueless, since I pointed out a test in the very message you're replying to. Either way, I strongly doubt that you qualify as sentient in my book. :->

                      Since it's vastly more likely that you are a troll, I'd appreciate it if you could email me and tell me what possible benefit you get from that. I've never understood your kind [homeunix.org].

                    • Sometimes it's fun to play with trolls. Like training at altitude, when you get back to sea level you can really fly.

                      Proposition 1: You are a human being.

                      Proposition 2: It takes a minimum of several years for humans to learn sufficient communication skills to post on Slashdot.

                      Proposition 3: You are posting on Slashdot.

                      Proposition 4: Humans must consume other living things to remain alive for several years.

                      From 1, 2, and 3, we can conclude that you are a human being who is at least several years ol

            • And don't you presume to answer that question for me

              Unless, of course, the long chain of physical and chemical processes has produced the kind of person emminently suited for answering questions of choice for other people. :)
            • by ultranova (717540)

              The question isn't "why are we here"--we're here because of an eons-long chain of chemical and physical phenomena in the universe that lies behind us, not for anything that lies before us.

              Actually, that is the (possible) answer to the question "how did we came to be here", not "why are we here". The question of why doesn't neccessarily have any answer, as it implies that there is a purpose for human existence, which in turn isn't provable one way or another.

              The question is, "okay, we're here--now what

          • by mwvdlee (775178)
            One of the nicest (and probably best) theories on this I've ever read is that the point of live is to distribute energy. On a global scale, this seems to be pretty much all we do. Procreating is just an efficient way of doing this.
    • Sex is actually completely absent from the game. Even the "Hot Date" add-on never featured sex of any kind, simulated or otherwise. Babies were produced in the game by alternating between giving someone a back-rub and kissing. The
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by MorePower (581188)
        What do you mean there is no sex in the game? Even before "Hot Date" you could get two Sims with a high enough "friendship/love" rating (either male/female or female/female but for some reason not male/male), to go to the bed, take off their clothes (behind a blur, of course, just like when they shower or go to the toilet), get in to the bed together, cuddle up to each other and then slide completely under the blankets. The blankets would then bounce up and down for a several seconds and the Sims would emer
        • by AusIV (950840)

          Even before "Hot Date" you could get two Sims with a high enough "friendship/love" rating (either male/female or female/female but for some reason not male/male), to go to the bed, take off their clothes (behind a blur, of course, just like when they shower or go to the toilet), get in to the bed together, cuddle up to each other and then slide completely under the blankets. The blankets would then bounce up and down for a several seconds and the Sims would emerge with much higher "social" and "fun" scores.

        • by Moraelin (679338)
          Nope. In The Sims 1 there was no such thing, until Hot Date introduced the "love bed". And then it would work only with the love bed, normal beds were still only for sleeping.

          So given that you're describing the animation for the love bed, I'm really curious _how_ you got that before Hot Date.

          I'm not discounting that maybe later, much later, someone copied the scripts to the regular bed or made a new skin (ok, new sprite) for the love bed. (Most objects for The Sims 1 were actually this latter category: they
          • Warning: incoming pedantic nerd!

            The love bed (a big tacky vibrating bed) was introduced in Livin' Large, the first expansion pack for The Sims 1.

            And yeah, anything pertaining to sex in The Sims was rather tounge-in-cheek and cartoonish. I can't say I know anyone who ever bought the game for its hot, erotic possibilities...yech!
          • by ultranova (717540)

            I'm sorry, but that was as non-erotic as you can possibly get. If anyone considered it "scoring" that their sim gave a backrub and had a friendly kiss, or worse yet as some pornographic material to choke the chicken to, I'd seriously worry about their mental health. Then they'd probably be as turned on by a bowl of rice.

            You underestimate the power of human imagination. I've known people who have masturbated while interacting with a succubus in Nethack [nethack.org]: "Time stands still while you and the succubus lay i

            • by jgrahn (181062)

              I'm sorry, but that was as non-erotic as you can possibly get. If anyone considered it "scoring" that their sim gave a backrub and had a friendly kiss, or worse yet as some pornographic material to choke the chicken to, I'd seriously worry about their mental health.

              You underestimate the power of human imagination. I've known people who have masturbated while interacting with a succubus in Nethack.

              Uh, I think that is covered by the phrase "seriously worry about their mental health".

            • by Alsee (515537)
              masturbated while interacting with a succubus in Nethack

              Wow.

              I proudly refer to myself as a geek/nerd, and I got embarrassed just reading that.

              -
    • by joib (70841)

      Who hasn't slept with a hooker in GTA, then ran her over and took the cash?


      I prefer to use the baseball bat.
    • Who hasn't slept with a hooker in GTA, then ran her over and took the cash?

      Me? Not that I have anything against people who do (its just a game). But I played GTA like an RPG, and the character I created didn't think that way. On the other hand, he liked to run over inline skaters.

    • Will Wright has said in an interview that The Sims was originally conceived as a Doll-house style game. The sims and the whole game surrounding them were added later, at the suggestion of others. And no, I dont' know what interview that is. I probably read it on gamasutra.
    • by Alsee (515537)
      If it were missing sex/relationships then it would be missing a huge part of life.

      Oh.

      I guess I need to get out more.

      -
  • Riiight... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by morari (1080535) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @06:32PM (#20405887) Journal
    I remember when those pay sights went up. I had not yet become bored with the original game (anything after Hot Date is lost on me). They're not there to protect the children, they exist solely to make money. The Sims community is pathetic. What you usually get is a simple recolor and a terrible read-me; "hi, i made this. i hope u like it!". The fact that people are trying to sell this shit, and are succeeding, is merely a side effect of how Maxis and EA already run the game. You buy an expansion pack every six months, and the three month periods in-between see the release of a cheaper, completely mediocre "Stuff Pack". Capitalism and pretending to have friends isn't just the goal of the game, it's the goal of the surrounding community. Compare this to a Quake mod, which is made up of a team of motivated hobbyists who sometimes create an entirely different game within the confines of the system and then release it for free!
    • by pclminion (145572)
      What the fuck do "the children" have to do with anything?
      • When the fuck are THE CHILDREN not involved at all?

        More specifically, TFS mentioned that the credit card checks (and even charges) are supposedly to ensure that minors (Who don't have the guts to borrow their dad's VISA) don't get their hands on the dirty dirty content they "create".
        Surely, the grandparent post couldn't have been trying to counter that claim?
        The point, if I may take a wild guess, was probably something like this:

        These sites don't really have any good reason to charge money for their content, since it's mostly just crap.
        The idea of having credit card requirements for the sake of age verification is bullshit

        • Thank you. I was wondering how to hijack a higher thread to say just that.

          Once more : Mod sites that charge money just want that, money. Age verification my ass.
          • Yep, charging money to prevent minors from downloading "adult themed add-ons" is essentially bullshit. Hell, there are loads of pay sites for The Sims that have no adult content! I remember when pay sites started appearing (way back around when Hot Date was released)...back then it was all about covering hosting fees. Understandable for some particularly large sites, but then brand new pay sites started popping up without ever offering any content for free (aside from occasional samples)! It probably all st
    • Sims is a game largely for a different audience than the rest of the games. It seems that many players of the Sims are teenage girls. Maxis was smart to make a game that could cater to them so much. How many teenage girls (or females of any age, for that matter) are there playing Unreal Tournament or Starcraft?

      I know there are also other demographics playing the Sims, but I guess that most of them aren't really hardcore gamers, either. Which would largely explain why the franchise sells so very well.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Babbster (107076)
      I've downloaded a lot of Sims stuff in the past (haven't played in a couple years) for free and there was a LOT more going on than simple "recolors." Everything from elevators to some (turning in a "man card" here) ridiculously nice fashions were available. I remember the original stuff at 7 Deadly Sims and there were some excellent designs with full new furniture sets and the like. It may not have been your cup of tea (and I never paid myself), but people have done a lot more work on those downloads tha
    • That seems a bit harsh. Let me point out that:

      For all their "we love modders" hot air, EA and Maxis never released any tools, specs or support, other than (very late) for clothes and wallpapers. (And recently even took to giving you scary warnings that bad things might happen to your game if you enable third party mods.) But for making new objects? Nope. EA makes a good living selling those "Stuff Packs" (Livin' Large and wossname party were just stuff packs for the original The Sims 1 too) which give you a
  • Breathless prose:

    Im someone who tends to see the world as a brittle shell over a twitching mass of sexual longings, and my games tend to devolve into love-dodecahedrons as everyone has had a passing moment with everyone else. It could easily be argued that Im not writing about everyone, but just myself.

    Yes, I'd say he was writing about himself.

  • I mean, we've already seen that Sims-type games are disproportionately more popular with women than are other games, and women are the people who tend to write fanfics, read trashy romance novels and the like. Guys don't tend to do much with sexual game mods beyond "Surprise buttsecks!" and other such attempts to humiliate other guys with homophobia, while women, being women, are more interested in actual pleasurable sex.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Surprise buttsecks!
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by benzapp (464105)
      being women, are more interested in actual pleasurable sex.

      Women and men have different opinions and needs regarding sex, but it is ridiculous to assume that men aren't interested in "pleasurable" sex. Of course men are interested in pleasurable sex. The issue is men and women somewhat differ on what the definition of "pleasure" is. This is wholly subjective value judgment, and neither is better or worse than the the other.
      • by Guppy06 (410832)
        "The issue is men and women somewhat differ on what the definition of "pleasure" is."

        If what you say is true, then most male gamers are homosexual tops into BDSM.

        Women are the ones more likely to pursue the sexual angle in whatever it is they're doing (the point of my post), and generally of the variety they themselves find enjoyable, while men spend most of their online gaming time playing power games with each other. So in order for what you assert to be true, then at least 75% of male gamers are closete
  • by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @08:24PM (#20406673)
    Right now the Sims is perceived by the public as a great family friendly game. The last thing they want to do is put the Sims in the headlines next to "adult content" or "bizarre sex acts" or anything that is going to cause an outswell of ill-founded but inevitable comparisons to the 'hot coffee' mod and general backlash against their game.

    • Too late. The daily show did a segment on that quite a few years ago. IIRC it was Samantha Bee talking to people who made sexual scenarios, bondage items, etc for the Sims, all the time acting like she didn't get it.

      It was pretty funny, but in the end it looked like the Daily Show didn't get it, or hadn't seen the actual mods, until they showed clips of a Sims dungeon as their moment of Zen, showing that they understood what was going on and were playing it for laughs.
  • by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Wednesday August 29, 2007 @09:22PM (#20407127) Homepage Journal
    Jim is a well-respected games journalist who apparently knows little about the games industry. The Sims is one of the best selling PC games of all time, and I wouldn't be shocked if it was the single best selling PC title of all time. What he is discussing is a small series of modders who added adult content to a title extremely popular with adults.

    The original game is extremely family-friendly, features no sex and in that regard is somewhat lacking as a life simulator. The game is mundane enough that I don't think it ever really caught on with the kids, and despite having a predominant adult audience, the game is in no way adult in nature. The game doesn't cater to adult mods, nor were there any official mod tools that I know of.

    The reason adult mods exist for the Sims, is that any major PC game often receives adult mods. If he had spent 5 minutes of a Google search he would have found several sites (won't Google for them at work personally) that cater to providing adult mods for any game out there. His supposition is completely flawed, disturbingly so for a journalist who supposedly specializes in the games industry.
    • by mqduck (232646)
      I suggest you read the whole article before you reply.
    • by SimHacker (180785) * on Thursday August 30, 2007 @01:50AM (#20408513) Homepage Journal

      Just wanted to address a few points in your post:

      The Sims surpassed Myst at the top selling game of all time, quite a few years ago, and has continued to sell very well. The franchise has sold about 85 million games to date [ea.com].

      The success of The Sims is largely due to the fact that players can add their own content to the game. Conversely, The Sims Online was a flop because it didn't allow players to add their own content, even though that feature was initially promised, to the delight of the fans, then later forgotten, do the fan's dismay.

      Yes there are official and semi-official mod tools. I wrote the character animation system in The Sims, and several tools for creating custom content. Before we release The Sims in March 2000, instead of releasing a demo, I developed a tool called "SimShow" that displayed the animated characters, and enabled players to create their own Sims. After we release The Sims, Will Wright hired me to use The Sims source code to develop The Sims Transmogrifier [thesimstra...rifier.com], a tool for cloning objects, exporting and importing theie graphics and properties, so players can modify them and create their own objects. I've created other easier to use "drag-and-drop" tools like Show-N-Tell for displaying Sims objects in a web browser, and Rug-O-Matic for creating picture story rugs. (You can enter text that's displayed in the catalog and in an in-game pop-up window, that tells a story about the picture on the rug.)

      One important way that The Sims is family friendly, is that it does not discriminate against families with gay people, nor does it perpetuate the hypocritical anti-gay homophobic agenda of the Republican party (like some other games from Texas and Senators from Idaho whose names I won't mention). Any of The Sims characters can participate in gay or straight relationships with each other, without any negative consequences or stereotypes. Anything less would be hostile to many families and gay people. Anyone who would argue that it's family friendly to discriminate against gays is homophobic, and needs to have their head examined, and work through their self-loathing personal issues with a mental health professional, just like Republican Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho, or Republican Senator James Foley of Florida, or Republican Evangelical Crystal Meth and Gay Sex Addicted Reverend Ted Haggard. (Oops, sorry -- I just couldn't resist naming some names.)

      -Don

      • Thanks for your response. I found the gameplay a bit mundane for my taste, but it absolutely amazed me how well the game resonated with many people who normally don't play computer games. Other "Sim" games seemed to evolve in the challenges that would develop as your city/anthill/whatever progressed, but with The Sims, gameplay and the challenges contained within basically stayed the same. Empty your bladder, keep up your energy, do something social. The game never changed, yet people just ate it up.

        Las
        • Other "Sim" games seemed to evolve in the challenges that would develop as your city/anthill/whatever progressed, but with The Sims, gameplay and the challenges contained within basically stayed the same. Empty your bladder, keep up your energy, do something social. The game never changed, yet people just ate it up.

          To some extent they do.

          As you progress up any career path, for example, you start needing more friends, and more time keeping them friends, while at the same time needing more time to improve you

          • by nuzak (959558)
            > All while managing a budget.

            And limited time. And oh so ungodly-horrible intelligence. I have to take my sims to the bathroom, and it takes them an hour to navigate around the furniture, and another to do their business, if they even make it. I'd have enjoyed the game far more if it the sims weren't so damn slow, stiff, and stupid. The Sims 2 added diagonal paths and furniture placement, and made sims a tiny bit smarter about managing their bodily functions, but otherwise didn't improve on the stat
    • Sorta (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Moraelin (679338)

      Jim is a well-respected games journalist who apparently knows little about the games industry.

      You're sorta right that he doesn't seem to "get" what made The Sims popular, but I wouldn't necessarily say you have to know little about the game industry to be stumped there.

      The fact is, a lot of _members_ of the industry are just as stumped trying to understand it. I can think of at least three games which tried to bolt-on some kind of "at home" mode to their game, apparently for no other reason than to try to g

    • by crossmr (957846)
      obviously you've never woohoo'd...
  • "anime, or more generally cartoon porn."


    I guess I have a hard drive full of porn. Who knew?

    XD
    • by julesh (229690)
      I guess I have a hard drive full of porn. Who knew?

      Come on. This is Slashdot. 90% of us have hard drives full of porn. The other 10% archive it off onto permanent storage rather than keeping it on their hard disks.
      • OK, I'll byte.

        Work : 6G
        Images (non-pr0n) : 8G
        Software : 23G
        Text : 25G
        pr0n : 57G
        Music : 181G
        Videos (non-pr0n) : 240G
  • The article clearly states that Kieron Gillen wrote it.

    We can see all the people on /. that are critisising the article without bothering to read it. They criticise Jim.

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