Hacks spread like viruses -Sims 2
Players of Electronic Arts' enormously popular simulated life game are complaining that their artfully-crafted homes and mansions are beginning to resemble the Twilight Zone, thanks to an artifact of the game's design that causes hacks to spread like viruses from user to unwitting user.
Entire neighborhoods of Sims are being mysteriously graced with eternal youth, while some characters are finding all their needs fulfilled by a single shot of magic espresso. Others no longer need to empty the toilet after potty training their toddler. Some Sims are being abducted by aliens when they glance through their telescope -- every time, instead of just occasionally, which is normal.
All this mayhem is the work of a community of experimenters wielding hex editors, custom programs and reverse-engineering skills who began mastering their own Sims 2 worlds immediately after the game's release last September. The hackers share their weird science with one another through public websites and forums.
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.
The first sign that some of the hacks were spreading to unwilling users came in October, in the form of a dishwasher that did nothing special, but was inexplicably named Candace on the screen. Candace began replacing the ordinary dishwasher in the houses of users who had never visited a Sims 2 hacking site, or knowingly installed a hack. A torrent of other hacks soon followed, and users who wanted to play the Sims 2 as it was designed found them as unwelcome as the latest Windows worm. By mid-November, players were openly complaining on EA's Sims 2 forum and other sites. "Please help, I'm afraid my game is going to get ruined forever," one player despaired. "This stuff is not funny."(Kevin Poulsen - SecurityFocus)
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