23 April 2009

MySims: Looting Enabled

GameSpot reports that new versions of Electronic Arts' kid-focused MySims franchise for the Nintendo DS and Wii will have looting archaeological sites as a feature of gameplay:
On the Wii, MySims Agents will play similarly to a traditional adventure game. Assuming the role of a MySims special agent, players attempt to unlock the mystery behind the nefarious doings of Morcubus, the leader of an underground crime syndicate. Players will be aided in their task by a variety of MySims characters as they perform detective work such as picking locks, hacking computers, and stalking persons of interest. MySims Agents also lets players plunder ancient ruins for antiquities with which to decorate their headquarters.

The DS edition of MySims Agents will feature a similar theme as its Wii counterpart, in which players must thwart the efforts of a ne'er-do-well who has been plundering ancient ruins in search of antiquities. Though EA did not delve into specifics of gameplay, the publisher did say that the DS game will offer 10 different minigames and a variety of interactions with MySims characters.
This is just a teaser press release, so it's hard to say what's going on exactly, but it sounds like the Wii is working the dark side while the DS version keeps it real. Regardless, a lot of kids are going to be learning about looting issues through these games.

A screenshot from the Wii version, from videogamer.com. Looks like some classic Indiana Jones-style temple looting is about to occur.

Now, I don't want to get into Tipper Gore mode here and be the morality police for videogames. The idea of looting some temples is undeniably kinda fun, whether we like to admit it or not. Videogames are also exactly the place where kids should be misbehaving and doing crazy, illegal, and violent things.

On the other hand, archaeology needs to be reaching out to game designers and offering them resources beyond this "fake Maya temple with big gold idol" kind of stuff. Where's the plan to influence the industry our way?


  1. The last issues you state are not really connected. You are advocating an advanced archaeology media presence, which isn't a counterpoint to looting the riches. Point being, having a cultural advocacy lobby is a great idea. What you need to do is hire some pulp writers & get some trashy best-sellers written that incorporate some sort of new archaeology concepts you'd like to popularize. That's how it's done! I've been wanting to loot these valuable cultural resources something fierce lately, they'd just mysteriously show up in my personal museum a couple decades from now. All for the greater glory.

  2. Is it a temple... or an ancient burial airport?

  3. @Sean - I think the issues are connected in that one of the main purposes of an archaeological media presence, for me, would be raising awareness on looting issues.

    Pulp novels?! Yes, yes, yes. Look for my forthcoming article on why archaeology is, and should be even more, a branch of science fiction.