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Games Entertainment

Sim Plague 141

Brian Kingsbury writes: "The New York Times has an article on a new twist in the world of the Sims --- a "virus" that can kill off a player's characters. In a particularly sadistic twist, the virus is carried by a guinea pig that players download from the Sims Web site. I wonder what's next, maybe the Black Death? " That's all Nate would have needed to complete his House of Fear - locked doors, no food, two ghosts, and the kitchen on fire. Will Wright, you're a genius.
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Sim Plague

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    if i had the sim i'd design a sim that pours bowls of hot grits down his pants for everyone to download, but that game sounds really boring, so i'm not wasting my time. thank you.

    If I had the sim progamming language, I'd design an RMS sim that would go around yelling GNU/Linux, GNU/Linux.

    Then I'd build a cluster of bloodthirsty monsters, and call them Grendels.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hi, Partly because of slashdot, there's a somewhat "The Sims" related website, that I've created and maintain. It's and if anybody is interested in help out let me know. I'm posting from work, thus the anonymous coward posting.
  • Re-read the article. It does replicate. An infected human character can transmit the virus to another (nearby) human character by sneezing.

    If you want to flame me, do so here [].
  • Ah. Yes, well... I'm not surprised that the media can't differentiate between a "virtual" virus, infecting a PC, and a "virtual virtual" virus infecting a character in a game on a PC. I get miffed when they bungle computer concepts up, too. But I suppose that concepts that you and I think of as fundamental and simple are obscure and complex to them. Maybe psychologists and other highly specialized professionals find themselves wincing, too, when the media botches up in their attempts at paraphrasing the experts.

    If you want to flame me, do so here [].
  • before someone makes a Janet Reno to run around your Sim neighbourhood taking all the children and removing them from the game at gunpoint.

    Actually, I was looking for something to do tonight....hmm.

    (evil snicker)

  • There a quite a few ways to kill off your Sims:
    1. A Sim with low mechanical skills cane electrocuted when trying to fix a broken appliance or light (standing in water increases the chances)
    2. A Sim with low cooking skills can set the kicthen on fire if trying to cook with anything other than a microwave.
    3. Getting a Sim to get into the swimming pool, and then taking away the ladders will result in your Sim(s) drowning when they get exhausted. Takes about 1 whole day.
    4. If you lock a Sim in a room with no way to get food it will starve to death. Takes four whole days.
    5. Guinea Pig Plaugue.
    6. Spmntaniuos Sim Combustion - every once in a while a Sim will just burn to death.

    Yes, I've researched this a bit.

  • Why stop there? Why not make the capton "Federal rescue team saves child from potential molesters"?

    Because there's no evidence to that. But that the relatives were kidnappers is quite clear; thanks to the media the entire nation witnessed it.

    I can't believe so many people are defending a gross abuse of power, committed with a neglect of the courts.

    While I do agree that they did go a bit extreme, I'm not sure this was an abuse of power. The child was, for all intents and purposes, kidnapped. He was being held hostage, and negotiations were not working. Was sending in armed agents a bad thing? Yes. But did they have any other choice? I'm not so sure they did. And when you run out of options, you do what you have to do.

    I'm not surprised that Reno ordered it, though, as she has a long history of such acts.

    Agreed. But for once I think she may well have been right. In the past she's been more than a little trigger-happy, and many people died senselessly as a result. But this time she showed a great deal of restraint, actually waiting until there was no other option.

    Going into a house, in the way those agents did, was just asking for somebody to be killed.

    Quite true. But no one was killed; that is what's important. Going into a building with guns to rescue hostages is also just asking for someone to be killed, and that's more or less what this was. The relatives managed to pull a rather inane political-ideology bit to manipulate a lot of people and hide the truth of their actions, but they did what they did.

    If people suddenly find that agents have broken into a house, and are pointing automatic weapons at them, people will often react defensively.

    They'll react defensively if anyone breaks into a house with automatic weapons. They'll also react defensively if their children have been kidnapped.

    We *do* still have a right to keep arms in our house, and bear them to defend ourselves.

    Yes, that's true. From all reports, there were guns in the house; that is why the agents were sent in armed. It would have been stupid to send in unarmed agents which could have been mowed down in front of the child, making this even more of a tragedy than it would have been.

    If the agents had a warrant, and it very much looks like they did, then they did nothing wrong. If they didn't have one that's another matter, but the vast majority of reports seems to show that they had one. Displays of force are Bad Things, and should only be used in very rare cases when there is no other option. However, this seems to have been exactly such a case.
  • -and in tight red dresses. With Soulswords.

    Ah, Yohko-chan...
  • >What about a dark ages patch. Go for a witch-hunt
    >and burn em at the stakes.

    We'd need the "sim-scales" patch too. And a duck.
  • The point I was making was what if this world was created by a being who inflicts us with the occasional flood, earthquake, plague, "insert any of a number of tragedies here", et cetera, just for fun.
  • Take another look at *the* picture, and imagine it with a caption that says "Federal agents rescue kidnapped child".

    Looks different now, doesn't it?

  • "...the most fun I ever had was when I got bored with the city and unleased death and destruction upon my paradise."

    It's kind of scary how much this does to explain all the suffering in the world.

  • So how soon until Norton or Mcafee market something to protect your sims from the virus, keep it from spreading to the rest of your computer, and keep your computer from getting it from the Internet? :-)
  • Art imitates life, life imitates Art. Mwaaa-haaa-haaa! Somewhere deep underground a malevolent Mad Scientist is creating a real guinea pig virus of death!

    Either that or an 3l33t h4x0r is building a virus to infect "The SIMS" plug-ins.

    - // Zarf //
  • I stand corrected. On another note tho':

    The program is intended to be modifiable, and at some point Maxis, now a division of Electronic Arts, plans to make the language it has created, known as Edith, available to the players. Edith is designed to permit anyone with minimal programming skills to extend the game.

    Mr. Wright said he realized that such a language in the hands of antisocial game players would create vexing problems. "Hopefully," he said, "they will be balanced by people doing more creative things."

    Actually the Edith programming language concept is really a fun little idea from wright. I'm impressed with the implications. A very simple language to extend play within the game... I'm reading between the lines but I think this is intended to be a kind of interpereted language. If it is a "real" programming language with sufficient facilities it would really boot strap a lot of kids into the world of programming.

    I like it, it means that there'll be a whole lotta codin' going on. I can see it now... billy's 'The Sims v2.0' plug-in that allows your character to carry a BFG or a HyperGun and blast his enemies!

    Ofcourse there are other implications... but those aren't as much fun as crazy coders building insane extentions to muck up a paradise world. so... I still get to laugh manically...

    Bwaaa haaa haaa!

    - // Zarf //
  • Um, the origional SimCity (now SimCity Classic) did this ten years ago. It had a "cheatsheet" that you had to enter the correct code from when you started the game (remember those?). If you didn't have the code or entered it incorrectly (you had two or three tries), after a few years of building up your city the disasters would start (yes, even if disasters were turned off) and continue non-stop, completely leveling your city.

    I had some friends that pirated a copy, but didn't bother to patch over the protection or get a copy of the cheatsheet because they actually enjoyed that "feature". Don't ask, I don't understand either.


  • Someone forgot to mention that needs a complete listing of your personal data er.. I mean registration before you can view articles on their site.
  • Next we need to add a computer to it and hook it to the internet. Then we can watch and see what the teenagers in the sim family do when you try to "filter" the internet. And, of course, if you have a teenage geek, s/he will compulsively check his/her e-mail every 37.5 seconds.. raising the electric bill... which, if an entire neighborhood fills up with geekiness.. OMG - then the whole universe will collapse as they run out of electricity, creating brownouts...

    Heh. Just a matter of time.... >:)

  • The picture also illustrates that the safety is engaged on the weapon, though you can't always see that in the resolution-crippled versions that you see in the newspaper. Also realize that we're only dealing with a moment in time... accounts from witnesses at the scene (including the AP photographer who is, incidentally, guaranteed to win a pulitzer, ) state that the agent immediately raised the barrel of his weapon upon seeing the fisherman and the child inside the closet and confirming that there was no threat.

    Events didn't quite go off the way I would have planned them, but the end result was acceptable... zero injuries and mission accomplished.

  • To put it in terms journalists might understand:

    I have a picture of my dog stored on my computer. I hope he doesn't get loose and eat my homework.


  • by Lx ( 12170 )
    I downloaded the guinea pig - at first I was worried, since it's been rotting for about a month in my living room, but I suppose it won't bite anyone. I think it's a pretty cool concept, but that still doesn't mean I want my replica of myself to die - he's just about to reach the pinnacle of his career. I've already had several people die - drowning is pretty common, especially if you tell them to take a swim without any ladders to exit the pool...>;)

    My first traumatic Sim Death was when I discovered a burnt out light bulb and had one of my favorite sims change it - only she had just taken a bath. Keeled over dead straight away. That really sucked. Fun game though.

  • Why stop there? Why not make the capton "Federal rescue team saves child from potential molesters"?

    I can't believe so many people are defending a gross abuse of power, committed with a neglect of the courts.

    I'm not surprised that Reno ordered it, though, as she has a long history of such acts.

    Going into a house, in the way those agents did, was just asking for somebody to be killed. If people suddenly find that agents have broken into a house, and are pointing automatic weapons at them, people will often react defensively.

    We *do* still have a right to keep arms in our house, and bear them to defend ourselves.
  • Oh yeah, Kevin Mitnick was a saint! I'm sooo sorry John Markoff wrote articles that made the criminal get treated badly. Boo hoo.

    When the articles are filled with lies and misrepresentations, that's a serious issue, regardless of WHOM is being written about. I'm not condining what Kevin did, but that's no excuse to blow things out of propotion and print outright falsehoods, then have the gall to call it "journalism".

  • A much less harmful virus got around on an early muck named Brigadoon, which was up in late 1990 and early 1991.

    It spread the same way; if you looked at an infected person, you got infected as well. However, its only effect was that it changed an attribute named 'appendage' that some code used so that your default appendage was: a withered penis. Hence messages like this became common:

    A withered penis appears and pulls (person) up and over the edge of the floating island.
  • Yes!

    I thought the article was really good up to that point as well. Kudos to Will Wright! This was a truly geek move and deliciously evil to put a cute pet on the Maxis homepage that could lead to such havoc. By virtue of making a way to play through the virus and save the character, he's done it in just the right way, without affecting game balance.

    At first I was a little mortified at the thought of some kid innocently wanting a pet in the game then having their character get messed up, but then I realized this even has educational value. That little kid will understand that pets need to be taken care of, their cages cleaned, and that human hygiene when sick is important to prevent the spread of disease. Too bad my coworkers didn't learn about washing themselves as kids...


  • by scm ( 21828 )
    I've heard that you can't get two male sims to share the same bed. Haven't tried it myself though...
  • This is about time!

    I've only tried the game once or twice, but after only 30 minuttes of gameplay, I started looking for a way to kill of those annoying creatures.

    Perhaps a full blown black death extension to the game, migh be good. Let's see what natural selection can do.

    What about a dark ages patch. Go for a witch-hunt and burn em at the stakes.

  • No, you read the story again... what Markoff is implying is that, since all the objects in the game are "programs", and by that I assume he means compiled or bytecode objects that are executed by the parent application (the game). What he's implying is that someone might use this functionality to write a trojan horse Sims modification that would do Bad Stuff(TM) to the end user's machine or something.

    Purity Of Essence
  • It would seem to me that this comes out just in time for the new Sims add-on "Quarintine".
  • No, you're not the only one. I didn't get the Sims (I haven't bought any new games in a while actually; nothing that great has come out this year really) and I don't really see what the point is of simulating someone's real life is. I play games for escape, so I don't see any point in playing a game where I get to be a regular shlub. :)

    The fact that you have to micromanage your people so much (making them run to the bathroom, for crying out loud, geez) also does not make the game appeal to me much....

  • Not as far as I know....I don't think it's quite prepared to be Slashdotted though. :)
    I guess you just need to keep trying to reload the page. :/

  • Acually the modified picture I had emailed to me today had "Drop the Chalupa!" as the caption.

  • Will this SimNet include a Sim version of Slashdot?
  • What a hoot, it almost makes me want to get the sims.

  • Imagine if the caption read:

    "Janet Reno hasn't come out of the closet, so why should we?"

  • So, how is having a Sim die from catching a disease from a guinea pig any different than a Sim dying from having the kitchen stove catch on fire? About the only difference is that the guinea pig disease is a lot more mysterious, but it's still avoidable once you figure out how to prevent it...

    In any case, I think the article itself was drug induced or something. What's up with it bringing up Internet worms in the context of a "virus" that's part of a game? Sheesh. Next, these journalists are going to start harping on the "Censorware" code that's in the game when it mosaics out the characters when they're naked or going to the bathroom... Sigh.

  • shift-ctrl-c then type "klapaucius", doesn't work with 1.1

    In 1.1 it's been replaced with 'rosebud'. It's in the readme that comes with the patch :)
  • Whenever I'm nagged to register a program I've paid for, I always enter . . .

    First name: NoneOfYour
    Last name: FuckingBusiness
    email: (or postmaster@whoever is making me register)

    I usually enter the zip code and other demographic data correctly, though.
  • If you have made sure that your drivers are up to date, there are no programs in the background, and followed other suggestions by EA, then it could quite possibly be a hardware issue. As a PC tech, I hate problems like this because they are so hard to diagnose.

    The first things that you should consider to be at fault are memory, video RAM, and cache. They are a common source of problems that don't seem to have a cause. That's because they are so sensitive to electrostatic shock, that when they are put in, they could be damaged but still work. You can check those components by using hardware testing software. I must warn you that a memory test can take hours. If you have 128 MB, prepare to leave the machine on for over a day. Check out PCDiags [] (but that one costs money) or visit your hardware manufacturers page to get testing programs for each piece of hardware. If you don't know what hardware you have, use System Analyser [] to make a list.

    After you have ruled those out, break down the system to the bare components that you need to run the game. Take out your sound card, modem, ethernet card, and disconnect all peripherials except mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Then play and see if it crashed. If it doesn't, then it was one of those components. Start putting them in one-by-one until the problem happens again, and you should know what is wrong.

  • ...People coding to make themselves a host that is carring virri in virtual worlds. But this can be played into the games, just think of medics and wizards that can put a "patch" so to say on the infected users, they have to hack the virus in the world. Oh man that would be cool.... I think when PDAs get more and more wireless we will be meeting for a business lunch and our business cards will automatically transfer to the people you meet. Just think of an injected virus from the wireless card reader app into your PDA ... to much yap -Kancer
  • pray tell us admiral...
    would you have allowed the family time to hide/hurt the child? would you have gently knocked on the door and asked: "may elian come out and come to daddy?"
    the cuban american community seems more intent on defying castro than looking out for the real best interest of a child and his father. it is my feeling that elian is being exploited by the miami relatives who are in turn being exploited by the radical elements of the cuban american community.
    come on, would his "mouthy" female cousin be a proper role model? she needs a lesson on the proper way to hold a conversation (one that does not involve screaming at the top of your lungs on all sorts of conjecture which seems to be the only way she holds a press conference).

    that being said, i applauded the government's restraint in waiting and in using adequate force to confuse and deter resistance. you can argue 'what-ifs' all you want to avoid the real issue.

    would the child be better off as poster child for the anti-castro movement?
  • It would be nice to have an anime plug-in of some sort, or at least some skins you could download. I'd try to create the whole of Nerima--Ranma, Akane, Shampoo and all the rest. Or Urusei Yatsura! Gods, what I wouldn't pay to play "Sim Lum," or "Sim Utena" for that matter. There's probably all sorts of licensing issues, though--it'd likely cost the game creators out the wazoo to get permission. Pity.
  • Don't know if YOU read the article or not but you are wrong, Maxis is not going to release source code for "The Sims". They will in the future, after Sims 2.0 no doubt, release the Programming Language that controls the Sims and the objects that surrounds them. That way you can create your own objects etc...
  • Harm to what? It's a game. This is no more damaging than an AI player in _Starcraft_ suddenly making an unanticipated raid with 6 fully-loaded Protoss Carriers.

    It's not like it's eating your _Quicken_ database.
  • Actually, they did something along those lines when they created the original SimCity. You had a red sheet of paper(red because it was really hard to copy... yet it was possible >:) that had codes and such. If you didn't enter the correct code, you'd start getting earthquakes and other disasters about every 10 seconds.

    I always thought it was annoying, and, I did get download a crack for it not long after I bought it. :)
  • geez...That guy is an idiot. Of course Maxis made Sim City.
  • Sierra has sort of done this. I remember in Sim City, if you didn't enter in the correct code from the red sheet, your city would get destroyed by tornados, earthquakes and monsters.
    Of course, you could always unleash them on yourself for a little excitement too.
  • Sierra didn't make Sim City, idiot...Electronic Arts did.
  • I am sorry to see that my joke was lost on you... then again maybe not since you are one of the people that seam to confuse video games with real life...
  • Oh yeah.... also let me point out that if you did not use the atuo-destruction options in the SimCity games, you missed out on a great part of the game... The game creators put them there (Will Wright is a GOD) for you to use, not sit around thinking that video games are the problem with society along with movies and television. If the state of American society bothers you that much, get off your ass and do something about it.
  • As with Sim City, the most fun I ever had was when I got bored with the city and unleased death and destruction upon my paradise. Now lets look to The Sims and see if you can't do the same thing. How about adding a chemistry set where you can build your own viruses, or maybe an option to poision the food. I think the poision would be helpful in the situations where you have two people in love with the same sim... just slip a little be of you special brew in their food and problem solved. Of course I have a sick and twisted mind... but it would still be fun to do.
  • Yes, they are possible. Could this little "feature" be the Maxis answer to the SimCopter rumors a few years ago?* I do find it interesting that no one has tried to have gay male Sims.

    Honestly, when you add in the AdultPatch, who wouldn't want to have two naked male Sims making out on their computer...

    (crickets chirping)

    * Rumor has it that a programmer at Maxis was pissed about their failure to recognize alternative lifestyles, so he inserted a bit of code into one of the later pressings... come 2/14, male Sims would be dressed only in Speedos, and show "interest" in other male Sims.
  • From the artical:

    And there have been other viruses in computer games. In 1984 a virus appeared in Core Wars, an early game in which users created programs that did battle in the memory of a computer

    What excatly do they mean by this? When was there a 'Core War virus' except in the sense that some peoples 'bots replicated themselves?

  • There is a pretty big support section on itself. Just click on the "Help" link on the top of the page.

    And it doesn't hurt to search their BBS...

  • Actually, that was just a lack of clarity on my part. The article implies that this is a virus in two respects--the "simulated virus" that the Sims can catch, which is most definitely a virus, and a "computer virus", because it was installed without the user's knowledge. It's the second part that has me griping.


  • Fortunately in real life the animal -> human disease transmission vector is not so reliable. Probably the only reason that someone's not doing that ;)
  • > (note to moderators: mod the above up please).

    Offtopic rant:
    I am sick and tired of all this "Hey moderators"
    bull. Let whoever has mod points moderate already.
    It seems in every article these days there are
    a few posts saying "I can't believe this got a 2"
    or "Mod this up" etc....leave it alone. I mean I
    can understand posting a clarification when
    something was intended as a joke and gets called
    flamebait (has happend to me even) but...seriously
    let them decide for themselves.

    > I totally agree, even working in a media
    > organisation I hate the way they've got to put a
    > spin on these thin

    Its not just these things, its everything. Face
    it, scare tactics work. Repeat after me everyone:
    "Readership is God.".

    Why do you think media flocked to columbine like
    flies to shit? Great opertunity to scare people
    shitless, and keep the glued to the tube and
    reading the paper. Anything they can do to latch
    into peoples fear, they will do. If your afraid
    that something might affect you, then you are
    going to keep reading, keep watching, and keeping
    their advertisers happy.
  • Now please tell me where I complained at ALL
    about moderation? That was a discussion about
    playboy magzine and, me, defending the stance
    that its articles ARE actually good and worth

    Perhaps in the subject line you say? well the
    subject line began with a 3 letter sequence
    "re:" before the "how did this get a 4" which
    implies, nay, outright states, that it was a reply
    to someone else.
    (see above: "Re:Throwing Stones....")

    Now, as the Mahareeshi Hashish Yogi said...
    "People who live in glass houses, shouldn't throw
    orgies"....thats words to live by homey.

  • The Guiny Pig Carries The Ebola virus, if you play with it while it is sleeping it will wake up and bite your sim and they will get sick and die.

    It fits in perfectly with our house that has the people locked up in the attic with no food, no bathroom, and no way out. We let them starve to death and call it a documentary.


  • not EVERYONE has a phone. :)
  • Hours of *work*? I enjoy playing The Sims, but I, like most people do other things as well.

    It's too bad that SimLife was already taken. They could have named the product that. SimLives for people w/o real lives.
  • I have some twisted friends who live ont he hall that all but condemn their Sims to death anyway. I think it'sonly a matter of time before one of them gets a computer fast enough to stage a mini-Sim Holocaust. Death to all the Guinea Pig Owners!

  • You're correct. More properly, this is a trojan horse. But in the "common usage" that equates hacker & cracker, this would be a virus.
    Christopher A. Bohn
  • ...and other highly specialized professionals find themselves wincing, too, when the media botches up in their attempts at paraphrasing the experts.
    Yup. Holds true for every profession, every expert. The then head of my local amature astronomy club did an interview for a major post-news TV show (7:30 report, today tonight, whatever) and was referred to as an Astrologer. If you're into anything and there's a media report on it you will find mistakes. The more technical, the more mistakes.
  • Wait 'til the multi-player version comes out, when people can exchange characters. I build up a great family, looking to sell it on eBay. Mr. Wright gets cute and throws in another virus. My family's wiped out, and I've got nobody left to sell on eBay. Time for my lawyers to have a little talk with Mr. Wright. You just wait. :)

    Personally, I think the guinea pig thing is a great idea, and should just be seen as part of the game. Who's to say that there isn't someone going around to animal shelters injecting guinea pigs with nasty viruses? Sure it's far-fetched, but so is life -- how many people expected their Tylenol to be laced with cyanide back in the '80s?


  • Unless they offer a toll-free number as an option to register, this would not be great. We have to remember that not EVERYONE has Internet access, even though it's considerably more common nowadays. And if this is a requirement to get anywhere in the game, it needs to be stated on the box.
  • I think we need Resident Sims. Rats can carry the T and G virus, and your sims can hunger for blood and flesh and may evolve into Tyrants if you keep them well fed.

    And they could still have babies, and baby zombies like Dead Alive. Ah, Peter Jackson...
  • I should have kept a tab of all those times when all those earthquakes, tornados, UFOs, Godzilla attacked my peaceful SimCity town. Damn you Maxis! You owe me BIG!

    On a more serious note, I don't think it's "damage " when your game character dies. You might as well sue him for not making the Sim guy live forever.

    Go get your free Palm V (25 referrals needed only!)

  • One of the (many) things that I loathe about the media is how they have this uncontrollable desire to make issues appear as nasty and brutish as possible.

    You did see who wrote the article, right? That bufoon Markoff has made his living pulling crap like this. Besides, it's easier than doing any kind of research or something. :-P

    Purity Of Essence

    simcastro! simcastro! simcastro!

    Chso the Clockwork Maus
  • Offtopic rant: I am sick and tired of all this "Hey moderators" bull. Let whoever has mod points moderate already. It seems in every article these days there are a few posts saying "I can't believe this got a 2" or "Mod this up" etc....leave it alone.

    It's a bit hypocritical to bitch about something you yourself are guilty of, my homey. []

    The Divine Creatrix in a Mortal Shell that stays Crunchy in Milk
  • How about "The Sim Hot Zone", where the family's pet monkey causes Sims to develop massive internal bleeding and eventually crash and bleed out? Maybe the virus could mutate, become airborne transmitted, gradually decimate the community, that sort of thing. Eventually, you could call in the Outbreak/Andromeda Strain option and firebomb the house and allow life to go on as normal. Or wait for a multiplayer version, and spend your time developing an army of plague monkies so that you could infect and conquer other communities.
    Or SimLepracy... I can see the digitized extremeties falling off now...
  • It may be a bit off-topic, but I figure an "ask slashdot" wouldn't be quite appropriate, so I just threw the question into a comment:
    Does anyone else have problems running this game?
    There's a page on the EA support website for my problem. "Sims crashed with a page fault in module " meaning, basically, I can run it for about five minutes, and then it crashes.
    Their solutions are to kill all the other programs, and to make sure your drivers are up-to-date.
    I've contacted EA support, and while they've suggested numerous solutions to the problem, none have worked.
    Is anyone else getting this? I see good reviews and (mostly) positive comments on this game everywhere, but almost no mention of my problem.
    If anyone had this problem, and has fixed it, I'd really appreciate hearing how!

  • What's to prevent people from creating or hacking the guinea pig virus and create different strains? What's to prevent the exchange of such hacks? Is this a possibility?
  • weeelll, not quite the same, though. What I'm saying is that if you have to download an "antidote add-on" to cure the disease, and let's just say that the virus has a signature that is generated from registration information, and the only way to get the "right" antidote is to register the software with the registration information you enter. The antidote would be keyed to your registration information, thus can be used to "cure" your characters.

    This sounds a little like the Intel PIII CPU ID, doesn't it?

  • I think that this is the kind of stuff that makes these games cool. I'd love to see more "realisms" in the game. I don't know about you, but I think this game can be used (maybe after modification) as a tool for creating an environment for people to deal with "real-life", maybe good therapy, even.
  • But maxis is going to release the source code of the game named "edith" sometime soon. So like every popular game that windows users loved and linux users hated to dual boot for ... here comes the code. I figure once Maxis releases the code sales will skyrocket because this game alone looks like an addictive 3D RPG.

    I guess I don't blame them for making the game for linux from the get go ... that would have taken production costs higher, but now that the game is going no where but up I don't thi8nk it would be so unlikely to make it for linux. I like Loki, but just because they make games for linux doesn't mean they're cheap ...

  • However I have to admit that it is an ingenious "easter egg" for the game.

    But truly, you would have to trust Maxis 100% with any bonus material they give you for the game... the next thing you know is that your nieghbours in the game open a crack house...
  • Are you suggesting that the guinea pig is not a trojan houre? A TH is an innocuous looking program that actually calies nefarious code. The code that this TH carried was a game virus that infected characters and could be passed from character to character. How is this not a TH?

    Anomalous: inconsistent with or deviating from what is usual, normal, or expected
  • Go here [] for the story with no annoying registration.

  • It says they are going to come out (in version 2) with a thing that allows you to program your own extras. My brother has the game and I think I am going to turn one into a SimStripClub. Topless dancers and the like, that way I could bring it up to the standards with EA games. Or maybe... I could make a whore house. By the way does anyone know if you can make lesbian Sims? It could be like free porn.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 27, 2000 @09:51AM (#1107111)
    I never d/l extra stuff for sims, I just make the lady take a bath over and over with no censoring =)

    no censor "hack":
    create a file
    in it put:
    version 300

    if you want the children naked (sicko!), its:
    version 300
  • by Glytch ( 4881 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:13AM (#1107112)
    ...but am I the only one on this planet who hates The Sims?

    The (alleged) AI in this game seems no more advanced than some expert system based Starcraft clone. Was this just a testing ground for Maxis to play around with neural networks, and happened to become stable enough to release as a game? This game needs to go through a little more improvements to the neural network before it even comes close to what a real human would do.

    That, plus the fact that the premise is so *dull*. Oh, joy. I get to simulate a person who gets a job as a medical test subject or a race track announcer. Yeehaw. Woohoo.

    Oh, please. I'd much rather spend time blowing away enemy starfighters in X-Wing Alliance or giant robots in Mechwarrior 3 than guide a person around a house, doing chores in The Sims.

    Just ranting. Flames are welcome.
  • by itp ( 6424 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:09AM (#1107113)
    Dude, time to take a deep breath, chill, and look at the story again.

    They're not implying that this well affect the entire Internet. What they're saying is that, were Sims a multiplayer game, the potential would exist for the virus (that kills characters in the game) to spread from character to character.

    Ian Peters
  • by zCyl ( 14362 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @08:07AM (#1107114)
    > Virus in a computer game? We must surreptitiously imply that it might affect the entire Internet!

    Clearly you know nothing about computers! Everyone knows this happened on X-files with that hot S&M digital chick with the sword.
  • by / ( 33804 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @05:48AM (#1107115)
    Depending on how pissed off a user could get from seeing his beloved sims characters die, he could try to press charges under Federal statute 1030 subsection (a) (5)(A):

    Whoever knowingly causes the transmission of a program, information, code, or command, and as a result of such conduct, intentionally causes damage without authorization, to a protected computer;....incurs a penalty of: (c) (3)(A) a
    fine under this title or imprisonment for not more than five years, or both, in the case of an offense...of this section which does not occur after a conviction for another offense under this section...and no more than ten years imprisonment if previously convicted,...or an attempt to commit an offense punishable under this subparagraph.

    Intentionally causing damage without authorization sounds about right....
  • by Necromncr ( 35589 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @05:55AM (#1107116) Homepage

    Someone with far too much time on his hands decided to see how badly he could break the game on ISCA BBS -- here's the results: []

    I particularly like the fireman watching people keel over dead in the street....

  • by Cy Guy ( 56083 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:04AM (#1107117) Homepage Journal
    But then MSNBC [] would have to do a story with the headline

    only to explain later in the body of the article that it was a virus that only characters in the SIM game were vulnerable to, and then only if you download the Guinea Pig patch.

  • by RavinDave ( 58826 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:54AM (#1107118)
    They (Maxis) did something along that line, which I found rather hysterical. About a week after several gaming magazines published cheat codes for 'The Sims', they offered a patch upgrade to correct several minor annoyances (cursors on accelerated cards kept leaving tracks & the Sims repairman kept getting electrocuted when he tried to fix the TV). Anyway, after you installed the patch, they casually mentioned that they all those cheat codes have just been changed.

    That the 'ginea pig' virus made news is odd; they tell you point-blank that characters handling it might get sick. Maybe I came in late and they had added that after several complaints -- but I've been playing several weeks and always knew.

    "The Sims" is incredibly addictive -- the ONLY reason I still have MicroDos on my system. The various add-ons they offer on their site, coupled with pre-made characters & houses from fan sites (one UK site features dead-on renditions of various celebrities) have cost me more sleep-time than I care to admit.

  • by Keelor ( 95571 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:06AM (#1107119)
    There's plenty of amusing Sims stories right at the official site, []. Not only do they tend to kill off large numbers of people, but they do it with a storyline! Lot's of fun ;)


  • by haystor ( 102186 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:22AM (#1107120)
    What is being said here is that "it will create an interesting social dynamic".

    Think about this for a second. Outside of the very recent past, people with diseases were locked away. Personal "rights" were stripped for the good of the whole. What will happen in the game when someone gets a character that is running around trying to kill everyone with disease.

    It will be interesting to see if people are as forgiving in a game atmosphere (where it costs even less) to someone that has a disease. Will names of the diseased be posted. Flags put outside their houses? Neighbors take up collections to pay for the cure?

    I look forward to the answer to these questions and more when people can behave however they want.

  • by chipuni ( 156625 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:25AM (#1107121) Homepage

    It's already happened.

    Back in 1991 or 1992, text-based MUCKs already had programming languages. One enterprising programmer wrote a virus that attached itself to a person's description.

    Whenever someone would look at an infected person, they would also be infected.

    I forget what the 'payoff' of the virus was, but the 'antivirus' command even now exists in places like Furrymuck. []

  • by cheezus ( 95036 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @05:56AM (#1107122) Homepage
    what do you want now? oh, you're hungry. ok, fine then, don't sit in the hot tub anymore, go make dinner. what? yes, the stove is on fire. oh, go stand in the middle of the fire, yeah, that's a good idea. point at it and freak out, yep, that'll fix it. retards.

    you know, given that my sim just tends to pass out on the floor when he gets tired, i doubt he could be trusted to take care of another living creature. no wonder the hamster bites them and gives them diseases.


  • by DeepDarkSky ( 111382 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:07AM (#1107123)
    What if they create a virus that is in the game from the start that is not an optional download, and that will kill all your characters, no matter what happens, and you can't get the antidote unless you register your software?

    I'm sure people won't like that and a patch would certainly be created in no time, and it could be a PR problem, but it's an idea.

  • by roman_mir ( 125474 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:01AM (#1107124) Homepage Journal
    Will Wright obviously sees himself as the Creator the God or the Devil, and he is right. What is the ultimate goal of all programmers - control. You control something - your PC you GNU/Linux your application your network etc. This guy controls his creation - a little world, in fact many little worlds.

    In some aspect he also controls the people who play his game. He has the power to teach them, to change them, to manipulate them.
    for this ultimate goal all means are justified.
  • by JammmGrrl ( 131305 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @08:58AM (#1107125)
    By then, however, gamers may have been forced to confront the same challenges that face e-mail users whose computers are frequently attacked by hostile programs.

    "Right now it would be hard to convince a prosecutor to attempt to convict someone for such a program, but that may change," said Mark Rasch, a former assistant United States attorney who successfully prosecuted a Cornell graduate student for releasing the first Internet worm in 1989. "These things become more important as online gaming proliferates. With online gambling it will become even more problematic."

    WTF??? I read about this Guinea Pig mod to this game two months ago in Computer Gaming World, and I thought, "No way! That is so cool!" All it did was prove to me that this thing really simulated real life, and was versitile enough that they could release such a hugely new feature into the game months after its release. It almost made me go out and buy it then and there.

    It's a fscking game! The point of a game is for it to be difficult! If Sims players are so upset that they would, as this litigous Mark Rasch put it, attempt to CONVICT the programmer, then perhaps they should move to more easy to play games, like Reader Rabbit. That way, they'd always win.

    To me, this is adding value to the product. For the same low price of $50 (or whatever it is), you get a game that is always changing, always becoming more challenging. Sounds to me like you're not likely to get bored of The Sims within the first two weeks of game play, like so many other games I've played. Again, if people want an easy game where they always win, then leave the computer alone and watch sitcoms.

    I don't see where they get off saying "gamers may have been forced to confront the same challenges that face e-mail users whose computers are frequently attacked by hostile programs." What??? I don't see where anyone's hard drives have been deleted. I don't see where anyone's been forced. Sim players choose to download mods. Worm recipients don't choose to receive worms. And even then he's sensational about it. I'm an e-mail user, and I'm not frequently attacked by hostile programs. I've gotten maybe 3 infected emails in my entire life, and even then, was not stupid enough to open "prettypark.exe".

    To me, this article didn't get bad in the middle, like a lot of you said. This article was doomsday from the very beginning. There was a lot of negative and dark language from the headline to the last sentance with only a few minor positive highlights.

    Incidentally, the virus he refers to in Snowcrash only worked on hackers, so you'd think the media would like that... Get rid of the hackers, and all your problems will be solved.
  • Why can't they just tell the story, and not try to inflame the public with these false potentialities?

    Well, if you look at the author of the article, it's none other than John Markoff! If the name doesn't ring a bell, he's the same guy who wrote sensational articles about Kevin Mitnick many years ago which ultimately resulted in Kevin getting treated so badly by "the system". You can read more at [].

    Markoff wouldn't know good journalism if it bit him on the ass. Why the New York Times continues to employ someone as irresponsible as him is beyond me.

  • by revscat ( 35618 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @05:47AM (#1107127) Journal

    From the article:

    Although there is no easy possibility that the guinea pig virus will escape from Sims and cause havoc in the Internet world, the specter of software viruses in the future of computer gaming is real, Mr. Smith said. "When they introduce a future multiplayer version of Sims, it will create an interesting social dynamic," he said.

    Why can't they just tell the story, and not try to inflame the public with these false potentialities? JESUS. The article was great right up until this point. One of the (many) things that I loathe about the media is how they have this uncontrollable desire to make issues appear as nasty and brutish as possible. This is a perfect example. Virus in a computer game? We must surreptitiously imply that it might affect the entire Internet! That's MUCH more interesting!

    FUCK THAT. Just tell the story! Grrrr....

  • by Ted V ( 67691 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @09:23AM (#1107128) Homepage
    I thought everyone forgot all about that. It was new years eve 1993 on Furry, actually. And it did more than just attach itself to a person's description. It infect the room they were in if possible, so anyone walking into the room got infected. It infected the links between rooms, objects, and even actions on objects. (So if you create an object with a link to a program and run that command to run your program, the virus infected that command as well. Every time you ran it, you would be re-infected.) There were also plans to abuse something called _listen, which executes a program whenever a person _receives_ a message. So a person could get infected just by _hearing_ something. But the programmer didn't have enough permissions, which is probably a good thing.

    Another thing the virus did was overlay each person's ability to communicate. The virus had its own special versions of the basic "say", "pose", "spoof", "write", and "whisper". (It could only create these through a big in the MUCK code on Furry, I'll note.) The payoff of the command was that after midnight (ie. one New Years), all infected users would have their communications silenced and rerouted to a special log file. Actually, the messages got printed out to the user's screen so that it _looked_ like everyone could hear them, but in fact they couldn't.

    This "fun" went on for a good half hour until one of the administrators figured out what was going on because of a bug in the modified page program. (Note to coders: *always* test your code before you install it in public.) Eventually they just reinstalled an older DB to clean out the virus.

    Incidently, they people perpetrating this took the log file, flamed it, and then posted it to usenet. In retrospect, that was a bad idea, but you do stupid stuff when you're 15...

    If you're curious about the aftermath, a lot of clueless users on Furry complained to the programmer's sysadmin. Of course, the clueless users blew everything out of proportion, not understanding what really went on. When word finally got back to the programmer, apparently he had written an "internet worm, capable of copying itself between different servers on the internet." I only wish I was that good of a coder! Apparently the FBI got involved for a short time, until they realized that the Furry server was located in Canada, so any felonous charges would have to be tried in an international court. Once the feds finally realized it was just some stupid prank with no lasting harm, the programmer never heard a thing from them again.

    Anyway, the guy lost his internet access, which was through a university. He spent the 9 months of downtime (before getting another account) working on a program to let people play several variants of Poker on MUCKs. Ironally, this program is still popular on Furry to this day. Consider it one last bit of both apology and spite.

    But that was a long time ago, and I was a different person then.

  • by Keelor ( 95571 ) on Thursday April 27, 2000 @06:02AM (#1107129)
    This seems to lack one of the essential aspects of a computer virus--it completely lacks any way to replicate itself. It's basically just an undocumented feature in a patch that a lot of people downloaded--but the only way to get the feature is to download the patch, so it doesn't act like a virus. So kudos to the NYT for making the connection to Snow Crash, but next time try to make the analogy correct.


"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"