(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

That three letter 'S' word...

Sunday, October 03, 2004
Do I mean 'sex' or 'sim'? It's hard to tell the difference sometimes, and therein lies an interesting point: sexy Sims sell! Or, that's what EA Games seems to have decided (and after selling over a million copies of The Sims 2 in the first 10 days of release, they may be right!). A few weeks ago in the NYTimes Charles Herold's review of The Sims 2 pointed out that the Sims "themselves" seem to have a higher sex drive (or need to woohoo!) than those people who are playing simply to see how much sex Sims can have:
I spent most of my time getting my Sims to seduce one another. Sims are bisexual, fickle and intensely jealous. After moving Mike, Rachel and Carol in together, I did my best to make them fall in love with one another. But while every Sim is quite ready to take on multiple partners, each demands monogamy. When one of my Sims saw another flirting, the result was fighting and weeping. Eventually, I concluded that the logistics of multiple clandestine affairs in one household were too daunting, so I married Mike to Rachel while Carol took up with an older woman and the grocery delivery boy.
Along those lines, I was fascinated to find that Snooty Sims currently has an anti-censorship patch available for downloading which "removes the censor that appears around the sim when he sits on a toilet or steps into a shower". The interesting thing, though, is that since the the patch is only 15.5Kb, it is obviously making visible something the game is already rendering and then blurring, implying that the blurring is an afterthought (or, actually, a ratings necessity), and that the game designers always had nude Sims in mind as part of the game!

The Second Life Herald also points out that the marketing campaign for The Sims 2 in magazines certainly reflects a sexed-up-Sims world:

[Click images to enlarge; source.]

Certainly, the Sims don't appear to be prudes, and neither, presumably, are the target audience! A trimester lasts a day in The Sims 2 (offspring emerge [very quickly!] 3 days after a good WooHoo), and Sims can even get pregnant after "alien abductions" so there are ramifications to super-sexualised-Sims, but not ones that are likely to stop gamers getting all the WooHoo they can. Indeed, Water Cooler Games even has a sort-of-cheat described by "Gay Simmer" who notes:
the only way two males, or even two females for that matter, can have a bio-baby together is in create a family mode. First you create your two sims (same gender) once that is done, go back and edit one, changing it to the opposite sex. once that is done, you can then create a baby between the two sims in create a family. After you have created the baby, go back and edit the sim whose gender you changed, and change it back. this is what I did so that my sim-self and my sim-husband could have a bio-sim baby.
And while I suspect transgender people who have "changed sexes" in the material world might be a bit bemused by how easy this change can happen in the game, I do love the idea of a cheat which allows two gay or lesbian sims to have their own biological baby (a term with some meaning in the game since offspring Sims carry their parents "genetic" traits!). It's like virtual bioengineering!


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