Thursday, August 25, 2011

Nintendo Wii: My Sims - Introducing your 3 year old to occult and voodoo

My Sims: it looked like a good game for our kids to play in the summer hols on the Wii. Create a character, build a town, watch a community develop, unlock various levels, etc. etc. So far so good.

Then we unlocked 'level 3', and some odd things started going on. In My Sims, the characters who move in to your town each have a main characteristic: there are 6 to choose from. Fun, Tasty (food), Cute, Studious and Geeky were fine, Spooky we just avoided. The trouble is that if you get Spooky characters living next door to each other, guess what? They hold a seance. And they invite you to join in.

That's right. This is a game which, according to the box, is suitable for 3 year olds upwards. And the characters in it are getting together around an ouija board to contact the dead - and succeeding. Following the seance, a ghost moves in. By the looks of it, you can do this in other My Sims spin-offs, like Kingdom or Agents.

But just in case your kids aren't having nightmares by this stage, or learning what fun it is to try to contact the dead, they can go prospecting in the 'desert' area. There, they'll find among other things voodoo dolls (scroll down to the 'scary' essences). Now these may have had a makeover since I last heard of them, but the basic idea of a voodoo doll is that through torturing the doll, the person it represents is themselves tortured in a way which mirrors what you've done to the doll. Again, a lovely idea for a 3 year old to take on board.

Once I've got over the outrage, shock and sheer disbelief at this idiocy, I'll be writing to Nintendo, though I'm sure (I hope!!) that I won't be the first. It's pretty sick to have a major global brand aiming games at toddlers which normalise playing with the occult, and activities which can lead to all sorts of spiritual messes. Woe to those who cause one of these little ones to stumble.


  1. Why would you write to Nintendo? They made the hardware not the game! That would be like writing to Dell when a PC application isn't right!

    The game is made by EA (see front of box above). You could also write to the ratings people who gave it a 3+? This would probably be the most effective thing.

  2. Thanks Edward, I''ll probably write to all of the above. It's still Nintendos brand, and they market it as a wholesome family game for everyone to have fun with.

    The game itself has been out for 3 years, so the stable door has already seen plenty of traffic...

  3. Hi David (reconnecting with your new blog via those lovely beaker folk :), Isn't this just a question of reinforcing the differences between fantasy and reality, teach the nippers to distinguish for themselves as adults do (well, politicians and estate agents aside)

  4. Just found you again with new name. Am posting this on Filey Parish Blog and all twitter accounts we run from Parish. Thanks very much.

  5. I share your outrage at this marketing, though I doubt whether the overall effect is likely to be worse than the stuff in some of the Japanese-sourced cartoons on Saturday morning kids TV. But at least one can avoid those if one odesn't want one's own kids watching.

    Re Steve's comment - I think this is a good plan for older kids but I wouldn't expect to be needing to have this kind of conversation about voodoo dolls with a 3 year-old. Glad my own kids were significantly older than this when we got our first games console (well over a decade ago).

    Verifaction word is "hypnonza", which sounds like a character with special powers to make you sleep!