EA in Jack Thompson's sights over Sims 2 nudity hacks
US attorney Jack Thompson, an outspoken critic of sex and violence in videogames, has turned his attentions to Electronic Arts' The Sims 2 - describing the game as a "paedophile's paradise".
Thompson was recently in the news for his astonishing condemnation of Rockstar, the ESRB and the ESA over the GTA: San Andreas 'Hot Coffee' scandal. In his latest statement, Thompson referred to The Sims 2 as the industry's "latest dirty little secret", claiming that the game "contains, according to videogame news sites, full frontal nudity, including nipples, penises, labia and pubic hair."
Although there is no sex in the game, characters appear nude when carrying out activities such as taking a shower. Their breasts and genitals are blurred out to avoid offence - but Thompson claimed hackers could get around this by using a cheat code.
"The nudity placed there by the publisher/maker, Electronic Arts, is accessed by the use of a simple code that removes what is called 'the blur' which obscures genital areas," he said.
"In other words, the game was released to the public by the manufacturer knowing that the full frontal nudity was resident on the game and would be accessed by use of a simple code widely provided on the Internet."
Thompson went on to note that children can also be made to appear nude in the game - "Much to the delight, one can be sure, of paedophiles around the globe who can rehearse, in virtual reality, for their abuse."
However, as usual, Thompson seems to be shooting from the hip - and blindfolded, at that. Even if the blur is removed, the characters in the game have no visible genitals, publisher EA was quick to explain.
"This is nonsense. We've reviewed 100 percent of the content. There is no content inappropriate for a teen audience. Players never see a nude sim," EA executive Jeff Brown told US website GameSpot.
"If someone with an extreme amount of expertise and time were to remove the pixels, they would see that the sims have no genitals. They appear like Ken and Barbie."
But that's not good enough for Thompson. "The sex and nudity are in the game. That's the point," he said.
"The blur is an admission that even the 'Ken and Barbie' features should not be displayed. The blur can be disarmed. This is no different than what is in San Andreas, although worse."
Thompson later updated his statement, saying that he understood that available mods only get rid of the blur without revealing graphic details. However, he went on to complain that, "Electronic Arts has done nothing about this," claiming that the publisher is "co-operating, gleefully, with the mod community to turn Sims 2 into a porn offering."
The ESRB has made no comment on Thompson's statement, and there is currently no suggestion that The Sims 2 could be slapped with a higher age rating as in the GTA: San Andreas case.