Here is a like to the video of the most recent Sims trailer that has been released: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z00mK3Pxc8w
The Sims is a computer game first introduced in 2004 that is similar to real life. There is no specific goal or accomplishment to achieve, but the main concept is just to have your character go through any given daily task that you would perform in your life. To be more specific, your character may start by buying a house, furnishing that house, finding a job, roommates, etc. With that being said, The Sims, may bring up many controversies about body image, sex, etc., that we will discuss that the game may display.
First, we will start by going into more detail of the concept of the game. As stated above, the main concept is for your character to go through daily tasks in which we would perform as humans. This may bring rise to controversy because since this was mainly a game for children, children are not aware of many responsibilities that come with adulthood. In the game, you are required to do little tasks such as cleaning, taking out the trash, food shopping, walking your pets, and many other chores similar to those. Additionally, your character goes through different types of moods in which you have to control to perform. The character may go through phases of jealousy, hunger, thirst, or being sleepy. A young child may not be interested in doing any of those tasks for their character because they may think it isn’t entertaining. This may bring controversy because although it may be trying to be educational, it can be avoided by whoever is playing the game.
Next, we will be discussing the body image in the video game, Sims. This was an issue for a very long time because there was only a male and a female with one body type. This may be controversial because of the whole standard that everyone thinks they should live by with how they look. The Sims designers have now updated their game so that you are able to choose the body image you would like to best identify your character with.
Since the Sims was first introduced in 2004, and is still releasing new versions every few years, the technology is improving which is giving more customization opportunities, and better graphics. Those few factors are making the game more realistic with each new game being released. A story that broke the news in June 2016, was that Sims introduced gender customization options. This is controversial because gamers will have the ability to dress their character any way that they would like, as well as add many different accessories to their character’s attire. This could lead to issues because online gamers may feel that your character represents the person that you are. If you may be someone who is homosexual, transgender, etc. and express that through the game, it may lead to controversy while playing online with other gamers who may be against members of the LGBTQ community.
Another topic to discuss, could be some of the specific tasks you can tell your character to perform. For example, one option you can have your character do is to have sex, whether it being a heterosexual relationship or a homosexual relationship. This may bring rise to controversy because this game was well advertised as a game for children when it was being released. Most content you see that involves sex or nudity, may be labeled as rated M for mature. Sims, however, is not rated M. A parent may not want their young child playing a game that displays that type of adult content.
Speaking of sex, there is a huge problem that has been created from this video game. The Sims introduced a way to generate income for their character, called Simoleans. If a player needed money for the game, they could receive money through other people playing online. This money can be used for their character to buy clothes, houses, and other goods. Players would go to far measures to get this money. In some cases, unfortunately, people would agree to cybersex sessions in exchange for the virtual money. The worst part about this situation is the possible age ranges of people playing this game. It is definitely possible that a young child may be interacting with an adult while playing. This means that underage children are given the opportunity to possibly be participating in these sexual online chats with adults. Although the online chat is not guaranteed to lead to a sexual interaction, it is definitely a possibility and it is unethical that the company did nothing to stop this from occurring.
It has been reported that in The Sims 2, there is a cheat code you can apply to give you the ability where you can see nudity. This may be very controversial if there were an incident where a thirteen-year-old child happened to see content like that. “On July 22, 2005, former Florida attorney Jack Thompson alleged that Electronic Arts and The Sims 2 promoted nudity through the use of a mod or a cheat code. The claim was made that pubic hair, labia and other genital details were visible once the ‘blur’ (the pixelation that occurs when a Sim is using the toilet or is naked in the game) was removed” (Wikipedia).
In the third edition of The Sims, they introduced the pregnancy phase of the female life. In the game, it makes women seem happy all throughout their pregnancy. Although every woman may have a different attitude towards pregnancy, this concept may not necessarily be accurate. This may bring rise to controversy because of the way pregnancy is implied through this game. many young, or teenage boys think about women in a way that they always look perfect. Not only boys, but men may even have this image that women do not change as drastically as they actually do.
In conclusion, we have discussed multiple reasons why the game series The Sims may lead to controversy. First, we discussed the extent of responsibility and adulthood the game provides and how it may be controversial due to the lack of knowledge or care that a young child may have when playing the game. Then, we discussed the controversy of the standard that everyone thinks they must live by with how they look, and how the Sims supported that controversy through only having one body type available to choose while playing. Third, we discussed the improvements the Sims has made, which may bring attention to the controversy about homosexuals, transgender, etc. We then talked about the ability to give your character the task of having sex and how this is inappropriate for a young child to be exposed to while playing a game. Fifth, we discussed the “chat room” or direct messaging application that was introduced and the exchange of “Simoleans”, that could possibly lead to online sexual relationships between two strangers and how it is unethical. Our last two topics were the cheat code to access nudity, and the representation of the pregnancy phase of the female life. Both represent events that are inappropriate to a young child and may bring rise to controversy. As one can tell, The Sims, can be a controversial video game to play.
7 Video Game Controversies Not Involving Grand Theft Auto or Mortal Kombat. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2016, from http://mentalfloss.com/article/28177/7-video-game-controversies-not-involving-grand-theft-auto-or-mortal-kombat
Coville, C., Klink, J., Comeau, J., Brown, A. T., Sargent, J., & Terris, R. (n.d.). 5 Prejudices That Video Games Can’t Seem to Get Over. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from http://www.cracked.com/article_19922_5-prejudices-that-video-games-cant-seem-to-get-over.html
Sacks, E. (2016, June 03). Sims 4 introduces gender customization options. Retrieved December 14, 2016, from http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/tv/sims-4-introduces-gender-fluid-options-article-1.2659708
The Sims 2. (n.d.). Retrieved December 14, 2016, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Sims_2