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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