July 10, 2003

The people who play The Sims online, at least as described in “Troublemakers in Paradise: Sims’ Mobsters,” an Associated Press story in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, are in an entirely different category from me, inept as I am on the PC version of the game.

Mobsters and “griefers” apparently have become a problem for many players, and devotees of the game aren’t too pleased. I can understand the anger of players subjected to harassment, but I could use a griefer’s help here at home, especially in dealing with the troublesome “Mimi.”

And the “griefed,” as one might call them, are fighting back:

Piers Mathieson and his wife, Jennifer, are hard-core Sims players. They log several hours most days.

After the Las Vegas couple distributed photos of themselves to friends, one griefer hacked into Mathieson’s America Online account and stole his in-game character’s possessions. Someone else posed as Mathieson and told other players that his wife had died of cancer.

“You start having to question who your real friends are, who you can trust, who you can’t trust,” Jennifer Mathieson said.

The two are founders of the Sim Shadow Government, a group boasting 1,000 members dedicated to cracking down on griefers where Maxis [the game’s manufacturer] could not.

Though the Mathiesons say they dispense justice, their online tactics can be rough. The couple say they have ransacked apartments, sent out their “troops” to urinate on others’ lawns, and once drove another player from the game.

Vigilante justice. Harsh stuff.


Post a Comment