Bully Boy-Kiss Brouhaha Recalls Maxis SimCopter Scandal

Bully is not the first game with guy kissing built in.

It’s just the first one in which the smooching was company-authorized. But some GamePolitics readers may remember a similar scandal that rocked the gaming world a decade ago.

On November 20th, 1996 Maxis released SimCopter for the PC. Within a short time, famed designer Will Wright himself discovered that one of the Maxis programmers, a gay man named Jacques Servin, had secretly coded in hunky men who would kiss on certain occasions. 78,000 copies of the game were shipped before Servin’s unauthorized easter egg was discovered.

Based on comments made to the Associated Press and other media at the time, Servin seemed to be making a sort of gay rights statement:

My job was to make the little people with a body and animation editor. The artist who used my editor to make the bodies … was aggressively heterosexual, and made several ‘bimbos,’ which was my boss’s term. At a certain point I wondered, ‘Bimbos — why not studs?…’


Even in the final game, there’s one woman who’s in a state of semi-undress. I guess the position for her in a real city would be a prostitute and nobody’s ever complained about those. These boys in swim trunks just walk around — very rarely, I might add — except on certain days of the year. On those days, all kinds of things happen. There will be boys kissing, there will be a greater number of bimbos, there will be Elvis impersonators. It’s really hilarious.

Maxis was not amused, however. The company quickly showed Servin the door and tightened internal procedures to prevent a recurrence. Servin, who told the press that Maxis was a good place to work and free from homophobia, seemed surprised by his firing:

I didn’t do it out of anger, just kind of `Why not?’ I can’t quite figure out why they would be so angry. It’s not a game for kids, it’s for 20-year-olds. But you put gay and kids anywhere in the same sentence and people explode.

As for Servin, he appears to have landed on his feet. Working under the name Andy Bichlbaum, he is part of the "culture jamming" group The Yes Men.   

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  1. 0
    Babus ( User Karma: 0 ) says:




    I refuse to even comment on the cannonical incorrectness of that statement.

  2. 0
    Demios says:

    @my previous post
    Wow, I formatted that terribly, sorry readers (what a thing to discover on a sleepless night). I do stand behind the content though, and sorry for the double post

  3. 0
    Timmy says:

    While SimCopter was a great game, I would’ve loved there to be more specifics on how to activate those easter eggs.

    For instance, once I was playing and everybody was a ninja. The hospital and police rooftops were filled with ninjas and they soon began leaping to their deaths. Another time, they were knights or something. Or maybe Elvis, who could tell?

  4. 0
    Babus ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    In a physical sense, homosexuality effects population growths. As reproduction is (according to Freud) our essential human drive, homosexuals (defined here as someone who influenced by social enviroment chooses to nullify their sexual instincts through nonreproductive means (possibly incuding the concept of unisexuality at some levels as well)) find themeselves in opposition to those neccesarily unaffected by the circumstances producing homosexual urges. That was a run-on sentence. If for instance, population in an area increases to the point that the social mechanism begins to multiply the number of homosexual individuals to help subside counterproductive growth rates, biological tendencies combined with the mechanism’s interest in preventing the non-reproductive sexualities from increasing to non-maneagable levels provide a catalyst of exclusion from normal society and awkwardness driven hatred to counterbalance that initiative. This is only meant as an example .

    If you meant in a religious sense, allowing either the social mechanism (the driving subcnoscious force of society by the way) or physical instinct to take the place of God in your decision making processes is biblically sinful by default. Being driven by sexual tendencies for any reason to any end, or to allow your subconscious dominance over your actions is the main issue here, not the actual method. A heterosexual marriage of two Christians founded in lust (not actually a marriage by some definitions) could be considered to be no different than a nonreproductive one. Marriage of any kind is actually rather troublesome in a biblical sense and while it isn’t discouraged, a warning of the ensuing hardships is made.

    You asked a question, so I answered. Hopefully I don’t end up sounding like a complete moron.


  5. 0
    Demios says:

    Hmm, I have never played SimCopter. That being said it is true that there have been “contraversial” (and by that I mean homoerotic scenes that the JT’s of the world would jump over if they saw them and blow it all out of proportion). I can think of at least one game (Persona 2: Innocent Sin) whose reason for its denail of localization is partially attributed to one of the characters being a supposed homosexual (funny thing is, they never out and out say Jun is either, it is really a “let the player decide” kind of thing). Granted that there is probably another reason for denial as well (the inclusion of Hitler and the “Nazi last batallion” as antagonists), but thats a moot point (makes me wonder how Bionic Commando for the NES got released at all even with all the changes). While I am on the subject, what the [insert cuss words here] is wrong with being gay anyway. I am hedro but I don’t see a problem with it (most people around me do for some reason, but thats the price for living in Nebraska it seems). It is essentially the “new black.” They are segregated for no reason, used biblical quotes (or distortions of them) to back it up (segregation against the blacks was affirmed by a misinterpretation of “the curse of Ham”). Angry legestlation passes laws that deny them rights that those different from them get.

  6. 0
    Anonymous says:

    SimCopter was gay?…

    SimCopter had a gay coverup and firing back in the day — who knew? Read this gamepolitics.com story showing gay themes have been a round for bit even if only in easter egg form….

  7. 0
    x(wai)x says:

    Hey at least they didnt find the strange referances in oblivion…

    Just playing the last few days, i found several sexual referances. Such as in the necromancers riddle (mage guild in chorral) and a dark elf asking about the fine for necrophilia.

    Then there is the lusty aragon maid.. None of these things as far as i know where player created either, or unlocked due to modding community.

    Of course there isn’t anything actually out there like hot coffee… yet.


  8. 0
    Yuki says:

    Slow news day dennis :p?

    Just kidding, But this is an interesting bit of history, and shows how much the world has changed. It also demonstrates how some people never change. It’s asinine to get worked up over bully, considering how many movies, tv shows, and other games have had Gay activity of some kind in them. Hopefully this whole thing blows over and just equals more sales for what is honestly a brilliant and well built, if some what old school game.

  9. 0
    Marshie says:

    Let’s hope the media doesn’t pick up on the necro-stuff in Oblivion. I can just picture it now.



    It’d be pretty funny, in the “I’m in the Twilight Zone” sort of way.

  10. 0
    Terminator44 says:

    One more thing I’d like to add that I didn’t think of before.

    It’s obvious that those who believe homosexuals are another species or something have never known an openly gay person. For instance, I live next door to a lesbian couple, and although their hairstyles and piercings make me want to gouge out my eyes sometimes, they’re fine, upstanding people just like us, and I would gladly defend their right and the right of all homosexuals to at least enter into civil unions (religous weddings are a different can of worms, one that I dare not open for now).

    As we get to know members of a certain group, and not just think of sterotypes we hear about, we inevitably become more tolerant of that group and stop listening to what certain idiots say about that group. This even applies to people you might call “conservative.” For example, Dick Cheny is relatively (at least to his coworkers) liberal about homosexuality. Why? He has a lesbian daughter.

    We’ve seen this happen all thorught history. Segregation, the Red Scare, and most recently, the scapegoating of Middle-Easterners and, to a lesser extent, gamers. If we get to know SOMEONE from any group, we can be free from our racism and fear.

  11. 0
    Demios says:


    Interesting. Before I go on I would like to say that you had well thought out points, and you in no way sounded stupid. The first part in particular had good points, but I can only partially agree. It seems to be really more of fear and groupthink. Granted an insinctive subconcious urge to filter out that which is, at the risk of sounding cruel, genetically counterproductive, is a definate factor. I forgot the name of the city, but there was some small town whose population was predominantly gay and thier laws and behaviors were (some would say unintentionally) oppressive twoard hedrosexual people. I was told said place even had “straight pride parades.” This is only something I heard secondhand though. Furthermore, as is my understanding, it wasn’t really oppressed until the dark ages. Supposedly, during the era of Rome, a relationship between a man and a woman was “neccicary” (but not frowned upon), while a relationship between 2 men was “a noble act.” I’m not gonna touch the religious POV (not yet anyway, I had to deal with the worst stereotypical fundamentalist christians earlier claiming that “SATIN[sic] IS GONNA SEND U 2 HELL 4 UR SINS” earlier on this same subject, so I’m done with that for a while).

  12. 0
    Gate Into Blue ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I seem to remember FFVII had some fairly strong homosexual vibes in a scene involving a hot tub…. Plus you could ‘date’ barret.

    Oh, and just today i was playing SteamBot Chronicles (an awesome game for RPG fans, really is), and a guy asks you to dinner in that…

    Relevance to conversation? small. Plugging those games is totally worth it though.

    Perhaps homosexual vibes is only ‘okay’ if it involves making fun of gay people, and that presenting them as normal people is totally outrageous? That certainly fits in with what you see on television.

  13. 0
    Blitz Fitness ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Even if I am hetero, I’m sick and tired of the double-standard put against anything homosexually related, as was the case here. I do wonder what moves I would have made if I were in charge of Maxis at the time. I think I would have pandered to the rioters and tell them that undue punishment was going to befall Servin, then, after the media moment, go and hi-five him instead.

    Although, let us not forget that such biases negatively effect the straight man too! After all, television allows plenty of topless males, but nary a topless female. It’s unfair.

  14. 0
    brokenscope ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Am I the only one who played this amazing game when they were 12?

    Hehehe, harrasing peds was always fun. THE MAYOR SENDS HIS GREETINGS!!

  15. 0
    Brandon ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ahhh, that brings back memories, might have to reinstall SimCopter and the Urban Renewal kit and play them.

    And yeah, I agree, homosexuality isn’t a big deal, unless you make it out to be, like a lot of people are.

  16. 0
    Babus ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hmm, seems more of a funny thing to me I suppose. Even though I may not agree with the practice of homosexuality I’m certainly not offended by its correlating imagery. The double-standard here is problematic as well. Homosexuality makes many people uncomfortartable for non-spiritual reasons, so it only takes a little pressure for one to justify the other,so to speak and start a holy war. I think that principle probably applies to a lot of perceived moral extremes actualy.

    If a male friend of mind was having a sexual relationship outside mariage with a female and I’m willing to not pass judgement upon him (though possibly discussing a concern with him), I have no right to change my course of action (or perception) if that same friend were to choose a homosexual lifestyle. Simirarily, if I am not bothered by prostitution, I certainly don’t have the right to switch into a more zealous mode when it is more convenient for my physical instincts.

    In fact, as the cannonity of non-spiritual relationships is in considerable question, a “gay” marriage, sexual relationship or associated physical contacts may not be any different than their heterosexual counterparts. Picking and choosing moral crusades based on personal tendencies is a counterproductive method to helping people and in the end itakes it enforces a mentality of self-superiority. Jack Thompson for instance, is not (at least to my knowledge) a man who struggles with homosexuality, therefore by focusing his distaste on those with a different set of problems, he becomes a hero in his own mind and his own sins mysteriously begin to recede into the closet.

    The real issue seems to be that content was added without the developer’s approval. It was funny, but as the person above me said, unproffesional. Again though, relating to the Bully controversie, many more sexual themes have been included in teen rated games and one “questionable” act, does not usually an M rating make.


  17. 0
    Shih Tzu says:

    Yeah, this would be a nice opportunity for someone to highlight past games that have included significant gay content. Things like Fable, Jade Empire, Fear Effect 2, even The Longest Journey, not to mention a number of Japanese games (although the question of whether same-sex romance in popular fiction has the same cultural significance in Japan as it does when imported to North America is probably worth an article of its own).

  18. 0
    ZippyDSMlee says:

    And god forbid some kids might be gay 0-o
    their in need of heavy brain washing!

    If fundies and others want to use their traditions to trump logic let them do it in a cave far far away fro the real world…….

    BTW gotta love their logic half dressed pixels/polygons of wemon are ok but god forbid pixels/polygons of male looking blotch’s kissing.

  19. 0
    Terminator44 says:

    Unfortunately, I’m far too young to remember Sim Copter. But yeah, that was some serious BS right there. People need to realize that homosexuality is only a big deal if you make it out to be so.

  20. 0
    aniki21 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Bully is not the first game with guy kissing built in.
    It’s just the first one in which the smooching was company-authorized.

    I’d have counted The Sims as featuring company-authorised “guy kissing”…

  21. 0
    MaskedPixelante ( User Karma: -1 ) says:

    have we really gotten to the point where people’s ‘strong catholic ideals’ are so obvious, that everything has to be HETERO HETERO HETERO?

  22. 0
    Mister Gone ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Let us not forget “Fable” plenty of guy on guy there. Plus the myriad of WWE games, with sweaty barely dress men rolling around on the floor. A deviant masturbatory fantasy if there eve was one! We need to stop these “Sodomy Simulators” before our children play them. For years these games have been training our children to be homosexual! Children can not differentiate between fantasy and reality! The experience these homo-erotic acts and gain “Gay Points” and unlock further deviations. I have no doubt that within the month we will see the bestiality that is hidden in Bully, unlocked. Now it is more important than ever to protect our kids from this kind of violen….. homosexual influence. Yes! That’s what is bad, I never said violence. Shut up! I’m gonna take your job, shut up. I’m going to report this problem to the Speaker of the House! His office, a beacon of morality, will know what to do with these sexual deviants!

  23. 0
    BTW says:

    Since somebody brought up the WWE, this is more related to Bully’s rating, but all of the WWE games are rated Teen and feature gameplay that rewards you for beating the hell out of your opponent, much like Thompson accused Bully of. In the WWE games, however, you are not in the least bit punished for violence, whereas in Bully you have to go through an annoying minigame if you’re caught (or at least run and hide in a trash can for a while, which isn’t exactly fun). Similarly, the WWE games feature the bashing in of heads with numerous weapons up to and including sledgehammers (a far cry from a Bully cricket bat), and also have “buried alive” matches where the basic point is to kill your opponent (obviously no one actually dies, but that’s the appeal of that type of match), and also have hardcore matches that present you with dozens of weapons with which to decimate your opponents. Also, the WWE games have blood in them, another feature that Bully, a teen game, lacks.

    So tell me, Jack Thompson, why are you rallying against Bully when there are other Teen games out there that are so much worse? Is it because you hate Rockstar? Is it because you’re a massive tool? What makes Bully worse than a violent, bloody wrestling game, which also happens to be loaded with so much more homoeroticism than a simple optional male to male kiss?

    And just to make it clear, I’m not against the WWE games. While I don’t watch wrestling, I’ve been playing the games for years (the fun ones, at least). I just think it’s funny that they’re rated Teen and are much worse than Bully, yet Bully gets all the heat.

  24. 0
    BustermanZero ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Umm… the game’s for 20 year olds? It’s rated E. I’m thinking his argument isn’t as solid as the ones regarding other hot issue games…

  25. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    At least the wacko Christians haven’t attacked Jurassic Park games, Darwinia, Spore, etc for pushing evolution on teh children. At least, not yet.

  26. 0
    Vladimir ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Ahh, I loved that game. I probably did see hot man-on-man action somewhere while playing, but I can’t remember. I was too busy harassing pedestrians with my spotlight and shouting greetings at them.

    I think a weirder NPC reaction than homoeroticism is when pedestrians would inexplicably rocket skywards when you harassed them like that.

  27. 0
    aniki21 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    BustermanZero Says:
    October 31st, 2006 at 11:29 am
    Umm… the game’s for 20 year olds? It’s rated E.

    Since when has the ESRB rating been anything to do with the target audience of a game? A game’s rating doesn’t denote its intended demographic, just who it’s suitable for. If there’s nothing objectionable in a game, it’ll get an E – regardless how complex the plot might be or how difficult the game mechanic compared to what young kids are used to.

  28. 0
    Picho ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Hey at least they didnt find the strange referances in oblivion…

    Just playing the last few days, i found several sexual referances. Such as in the necromancers riddle (mage guild in chorral) and a dark elf asking about the fine for necrophilia.

    Then there is the lusty aragon maid.. None of these things as far as i know where player created either, or unlocked due to modding community.

    Of course there isn’t anything actually out there like hot coffee… yet.

    Then there is the scene in Alteria Iris, where the little cat girl asks the main character to sleep with her. The main character refuses.. due to the ESRB going nuts.

  29. 0
    walewis says:

    I used to play Simcopter along with Streets of SimCity and I didn’t once see that in Simcopter.

    I liked those games becuase You could use SCURK (SimCity Urban Renewal Kit) to design the city you wanted to fly or drive through.
    SimCity 2000 was not required as back then When I was playing those I didn’t own it.

    Oh yeah, The people on Simcopter were so blocky and so unlife-like. Wow, one blocky thing and one blocky thing is kissing? Then again I wouldn’t know what it would look like.

    I need to play it again and see for myself. Unless I own a later version.

    – Warren Lewis

    btw, if anyone is wondering I am testing a username.

  30. 0
    PlayItBogart says:

    I remember hearing about that. I fully disagree with his move to alter the code like that, it’s simply not professional.

    And his “for 20 year olds” is total bullshit. I played that game when I was 10. How could a kid NOT want to play that game?

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