Abortion mods for The Sims are popular

The creators of the long term The Sims video game series does not allow pregnant characters to have abortions. But unofficial add-ons that give players this option are popular, their creators tell Axios.

Why is this important: In the world of video games, major studios often shy away from socially sensitive topics, but fans sometimes find ways to incorporate them.

  • Such is the case with Abortion and The Sims of Electronic Arts, a virtual dollhouse game in which players initiate the births, marriages, careers and intimate “woohoo” moments of digital people.
  • It’s a bolder game series than most, with 200 million copies sold and a history of including more socially progressive topics, such as gay romance. But he didn’t go there with the abortion.
  • This addition was left to the unofficial efforts of gamers-turned-developers, through modifications or fan-made downloadable mods.

A popular abortion mod for the Sims 4, LittleMrsSam‘s”Risk of miscarriage and abortion”, was released in 2018 and has been downloaded more than 250,000 times since mid-2021, its creator tells Axios.

  • The abortion portion of the mod allows players to pay 1,000 Simoleans (the game’s fictional currency) during the first two trimesters of pregnancy for the procedure. This will result in the Sim feeling guilty, in most cases.
  • The cost and timing settings are “a way for me to let users be ‘responsible in the game’ instead of using it whenever they want,” says LittleMsSam, who asked to be identified by her modder name. to protect his privacy.
  • She’s a prolific and revered modder with plans that include better in-game yoga mats, more complex dating options, and the ability to hire a babysitter. She created the abortion mod, at the request of the players, in about a week.

Between the lines: Unwanted pregnancies are unlikely in the virtual world of The Sims, where players have discreet options to initiate harmless sex, or “woohoo”, between two Sims or “try for a baby”.

  • But some gamers want the abort option, because for many, The Sims is a chance to take on virtual people and orchestrate dramatic storylines.
  • “The thing about The Sims isn’t that they’re necessarily goal-oriented,” says Lisa Marie Segarra, editor of video game news site Kotaku and series veteran with nearly 1. 400 hours logged in The Sims 4. “It’s more about telling stories.”

Performing a digital abortion: “What I always struggle with is that there’s the whole human experience and there’s a game with a black and white yes and no code,” says The Sims 4 modder Lumpinoumuch of whose work stems from a desire to add nuance to the simple lives of Sims.

  • A Sims player since childhood, she started altering the game in 2020 when she realized her Sim couldn’t talk to her partner about her career promotion. So she wrote a way for them to do it.
  • Disappointed by the Sims’ almost uniform joy upon finding out they were pregnant, she created a mod that allowed them more complex reactions. And in 2021, she released an abortion mod timed to trigger similarly mixed emotions.
  • Sims who terminate a pregnancy through her mod may experience guilt, relief, loss, confidence, stress or other reactions. “We’re trying to put some reality into it,” she says.

Reactions to Abortion Mods of players have been largely positive, modders say.

  • It helps that EA developers at the Sims Maxis studio — and the community at large — have established a permissive atmosphere for all types of mods, according to fans of the franchise.

Abortion mods have become most notably recently, following the US Supreme Court ruling that allows states to ban abortion.

  • On the day of the court ruling, the Sims team tweeted: “We understand that today is difficult”, adding that the game is meant to reflect the team’s belief that people have “the right to bodily autonomy”.
  • Lyndsay Pearson, EA’s Creative Vice President for The Sims, reaffirmed this position in a statement to Axios and said, “The Sims continues to represent the diversity, complexity and realities of real life, through an optimistic lens.”

Yes, but: Even some proponents of abortion mods don’t think EA should or would add abortion to the game, noting the series’ appeal to younger players (it’s designed for teens and older players).

  • Some, however, have said that her historical absence from the show is another example of popular culture actively or tacitly stigmatizing abortion.
  • Segarra says, “What I come back to is, what are we saying about abortion when we’re not saying anything about abortion?

And after: Lumpinou plans to update his abortion mod, working within a larger social judgment system that will make other Sims react to whoever terminates a pregnancy.

  • And that’s part of his hope that people can use his mod to role-play and learn more about their neighbors.
  • “One of the greatest powers of fiction is that through empathy, through a story, we can become much more understanding,” she says.

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