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Industry giants in hot water after underage topless photos appear in game

An American teenage girl has filed suit against Take-Two, Microsoft, Sony and Top Heavy Studios after topless footage of her aged just 17 appeared in a console trivia game.

A Texan judge has granted a temporary order prohibiting sales of a trivia game in the USA that rewards players with video and photos of topless women, after a teenage girl claimed that she was photographed and included without her consent when she was just 17 years old.

Take-Two subsidiary Gathering, which publishes "The Guy Game", developer Top Heavy Studios, and platform holders Sony and Microsoft, for whose PS2 and Xbox consoles the game is available, are all reportedly named in the suit, which claims the plaintiff, identified only as "Jane Doe", has suffered humiliation, embarrassment and shame since the game came out last year.

Although in these cases one would expect the question of consent to be pivotal, as the girl involved was just 17 at the time - and therefore legally a minor - the issue of consent is rendered entirely moot, and her age also raises questions about the legality of the material overall.

The game itself, considered by most critics to be a poor game show derivative swaddled in low-grade soft-core pornography, involves answering questions to try and unlock photos and footage of young ladies cavorting during the Americans' annual "spring break" celebrations, during which - as far as our exposure to such events through MTV, The Simpsons and other television imports have informed us - young people get very drunk and dance around on beaches.

The offending footage of the young woman was apparently filmed during the spring break celebrations on Texas' South Padre Island, and the suit also claims that her image can be found on the game's official website, where the girls' first names are also reportedly listed.

"Plaintiff is still a teenager and wishes to attend college, develop her career and be active in her community and church," the lawsuit said.

None of the defendants in the case had commented on the matter by Wednesday, but as The Guy Game has yet to be released outside of the USA it seems unlikely that any statements will be issued through European branches.

The Guy Game has, however, just been released in the US on the PC, prompting a minor PR nightmare for the firms involved. Indeed, a search for "The Guy Game" brings up the press release headlined, "Stuff Your Stocking with the Girls of Spring Break as TOPHEAVY Studios Ships 'The Guy Game' for the Personal Computer," just inches away from stories discussing Jane Doe's fight to get it banned for including unauthorised topless images of her whilst she was a minor.

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Tom Bramwell avatar
Tom Bramwell: Tom worked at Eurogamer from early 2000 to late 2014, including seven years as Editor-in-Chief.