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Book Excerpt and Review - Sex in Video Games


December 12, 2006 Article Start Previous Page 15 of 15
 

Hacked Sex

Hacked sexual content arises when a product is modified by a member of the development team unbeknownst to its publisher and others. In 1996, programmer Jacques Servin modified the code of the Maxis game SimCopter™. The game fea tured numerous beautiful women, and Servin, who is gay, decided he wanted to see beautiful men in the game, too. So, he created a muscular character that appeared in a swimming suit. If another sim encountered the male character, the code made them kiss one another. The hack also created more characters on designated days like Servin’s birthday. Regrettably, Servin’s hack wasn’t quite bulletproof. The random number generator caused more of these characters to appear than he bargained for. The hack was ultimately discovered when the game had already sold 50,000 copies [Wired03]. Servin was fired the following day.

Almost a year after the attack, a group calling itself “®™ark” (artmark) was revealed as the act’s true mastermind [BPhon01]. The organization, which had remained underground until breaking its silence in 1997, offered rewards for specific public acts of corporate sabotage. Originally, Servin had claimed that he acted on his own to draw attention to the status quo of heterosexual characters in video games [Wired03]. He later admitted that he had been paid $5,000 for the act [Wired04].

Accidental Sex

When Ubisoft shipped Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six® 3 to stores, they neglected one small piece of marketing—registering a domain name that was prominently featured on posters in a level in the game. The domain took players to a Web site filled with pornography links.

In an interview with CNN/Money’s Director of Content Development Chris Morris, Tony Ashcraft said he noticed the URL while playing the game and went to the link hoping to find additional game information, but instead he found it un registered. So, he purchased the domain and filled it with porn links. He hoped to build traffic, which porn is known to do, and ultimately sell the site [CNN01]. Ubisoft was unaware of the gaffe until Morris contacted them seeking comment, and told him they thought the incident was unfortunate. Although Ashcraft expressed willingness to sell the domain to Ubisoft, the company released a statement December 31, 2003, saying that they would not be subjected to “blackmail” or those trying to “extort” money from game developers for what it deemed was an honest mistake [CNN02].

WHAT ISN’T SEX

Games have been made that allow the “player” to simulate sexual harassment, stalking, and rape. Such mechanics do not represent sex. Instead, they represent violence or the threat of violence and are therefore beyond the scope of this book.

REFERENCES

[BPhon01] Barry, Ellen, “The Dilbert Front,” The Boston Phoenix, January 22, 1998. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[CNN01] Morris, Chris, “XXX . . . in a Tom Clancy Game?” CNNMoney, January 7, 2004. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[CNN02] Ibid.

[Currie01] Currie, Linda, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, July 29, 2005.

[Currie02] Currie, Linda, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, July 15, 2005.

[Eggh01] Henderson, Cory (contributor), “Sim Porn,” Egg Heaven 2000!. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[G4TV01] Video Game Vixens, G4TV. Available online. (2004). Ac cessed August 7, 2005.

[GGA01] jane, “Sex in Games=Rez+Vibrator,” Game+Girl=Advance, October 26, 2002. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[GMR01] GMR magazine, advertisement for ATV Offroad Fury 3, pp. 94–95, GMR, January 2005.

[GRay01] Graner-Ray, Sheri, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, p. 104, Charles River Media, Hingham, MA, 2004.

[GRay02] Graner-Ray, Sheri, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, p. 105, Charles River Media, Hingham, MA, 2004.

[GRay03] Graner-Ray, Sheri, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, p. 181, Charles River Media, Hingham, MA, 2004.

[GRay04] Graner-Ray, Sheri, Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market, p. 33, Charles River Media, Hingham, MA, 2004.

[Kasavin01] Kasavin, Greg, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, July 7, 2005.

[Lagny01] Lagny, Patric, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, June 24, 2005. [Lagny02] Lagny, Patric, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, June 24, 2005.

[Oltyan01] Oltyan, Chris, interview with Brenda Brathwaite, May 27, 2005.

[SD01] qDot, “SeXBox version 2, or How to Create Your Own Army,” www.slashdong.org. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[ Trix01] “Top 10 Video Game Hunks,” Gameinatrix.com forums, September 14, 2004, unavailable online.

[Vore01] “Vore in Video Games,” Vorarephile.com. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[Webster01] Definition of “Sex,” Merriam-Webster Dictionary online. Available online. Accessed June 29, 2006.

[Wired01] Kohler, Chris, “Better than a Joystick,” Wired, November 5, 2003. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[Wired02] Kohler, Chris, “Better Than a Joystick,” Wired, November 5, 2003. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[Wired03] Silberman, Steve, “Boy ‘Bimbos’ Too Much for Game-Maker Maxis,” Wired, December 3, 1996. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.

[Wired04] Frauenfelder, Matt, “Secret Prankster Fund Goes Public,” Wired, April 8, 1997. Available online. Accessed August 7, 2005.


Article Start Previous Page 15 of 15

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