The Null Device

Candace the viral dishwasher

Players of The Sims 2 have been swapping houses on a website, and have discovered that Sims hacks are contagious; an object infected with a hack will affect everything else in the installed copy of the game, which can often bugger things up.
The hacks are easy to install, but they aren't for everybody. Many are cheats that eliminate challenges and obstacles in the game, while others modify fundamental behavior of the virtual people that inhabit the Sims 2 world. The "No Social Worker" hack, for example, allows Sims to neglect their children without the state getting involved. The "No Jealousy" patch lets them keep multiple lovers without getting slapped all the time. Another hack allows teenagers in the Sims 2 to get pregnant. As the game is sold, they can't even have sex.

(Actually, the "pregnant teenagers" hack is not a hack, but rather an official localisation for the British release to make it more authentic. Especially the part where they start wearing hip-hop hoodies and smoking like a coal-fired power station.)

At one point as many as three-quarters of the lots on the exchange contained hacks, estimates Suzanne Walshire, a 57-year-old Sims 2 player from Pflugerville, Texas, and an early victim of the phenomenon." It's extremely widespread," Walshire says. "Someone at Electronic Arts was really shortsighted not to have thought of hacked objects spreading this way. If they knew that their own objects would download with a house, they would know that other objects would download with a house also."

Perhaps EA's programmers were too exhausted from their 80-hour work weeks to notice such a flaw in their design?

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