Gaming Memories: The Sims Guinea Pig Virus

Posted on April 19, 2006

In April, 2000 the New York Times ran an article about an ailment that was killing Sims and frustrating gamers. Sims who neglected a pet hamster would eventually get bitten by the virtual pet and fall ill with a serious and sometimes deadly virus. The sick Sim also became contagious and could infect other Sims. The BBC also reported the story and explained how the virus worked.

Sloppy Sims who do not clean the cage of the guinea pig and get bitten by the filthy beast are falling ill and, in some cases, dying.

To make matters worse sick Sims that do not rest and recover can infect other Sims.

Players of The Sims who have lavished attention on the virtual people for weeks only to see them cut down by a dirty guinea pig are getting annoyed.

"People are very upset by this aspect of reality being added unannounced to the game," said Sandra Linkletter, a keen Sims player. She said people were annoyed because there was no warning about the danger posed by the guinea pig.

Some infected Sims even ended up in military school or got bad grades. It was a horrible situation.
Some child Sims with bad grades have ended up in military school after spending a day or two in bed recovering from the cold.
To end the guinea pig disease Maxis updated the Sims code so that the worst Sims would get from it was a mild cold and not the terrible illness and possible death.

Image: Maxis

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