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The story of how The Sims got same-sex relationships - in 1999

"It was a magical moment when my first same-sex Sims couple kissed. I still sometimes wonder how in the world I got away with it." - The Sims Programmer Patrick J. Barrett III
"It was a magical moment when my first same-sex Sims couple kissed. I still sometimes wonder how in the world I got away with it."

- The Sims Programmer Patrick J. Barrett III

In a new interview with The New Yorker, a programmer on the original 2000 version of the The Sims recounts how he mistakenly same-sex-marriage in the game, and why it stuck.

Programmer Patrick J. Barrett III was handed the task of implementing relationships in the game -- but was also given an outdated design doc that allowed for same-sex unions, which the team had decided might be too controversial to implement.

"In hindsight, I probably should have questioned the design," Barrett told The New Yorker. "But the design felt right, so I just implemented it." His work was approved by SimCity creator Will Wright, Barrett says, which ended the conversation: “He told me that liked the social interactions, and that he was glad to see that same-sex support was back in the game."

The system came to light at E3 1999, when EA publicly showcased the game for the first time. Two female Sims engaged in a kiss during a presentation: "You might say that they stole the show," Barrett says. He'd expected EA to kill the feature, but the publisher let it slide.

For more of the story, head over to The New Yorker.

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