NEWS - Thursday, December 23, 2004

Teen Sues Over Topless Pictures

"The Guy Game," available for about $40 for the popular Xbox and Playstation game consoles, touts "over 60 smokin’ coeds" in its advertising, which plays to the "Girls Gone Wild" set: "Real video of actual Spring Break Hotties." The problem is, the girl was 17 when she was photographed, which not only raises questions about the legality of the material, but renders moot any consent she may have given, according to a lawsuit filed Monday in Travis County District Court. In the suit the girl, identified as Jane Doe, asked that any copies of "The Guy Game" with her in it be pulled from distribution. A judge granted a temporary restraining order prohibiting Microsoft, Sony and others from selling any of the games which used the girl’s image, voice and name. The game was developed by two Austin software companies. A spokesman for the parent company of one of the defendants, Gathering of Developers Inc., declined to comment. None of the others defendants could be reached for comment Monday. The game, released last summer, consists of a series of trivia questions; correct answers give access to video and photos of women, both clothed and topless, and sometimes talking on the videos. But talking is not critical to the game: "They proudly show off their ’assets’ for your personal enjoyment." Many of the participants, including the plaintiff in the lawsuit, also are featured on a Web site for "The Guy Game," which includes their real first names, according to the lawsuit. The defendants include Topheavy Studios, the Austin corporation that developed the game. Other companies that were sued included Gathering of Developers Inc.,which designs, develops and markets video games; Sony Computer Entertainment America, Inc. and Microsoft Corp. The teenager’s lawyer, Jeff McClendon, declined to comment Monday. The lawsuit says the 17-year-old did not give a "valid or enforceable consent or release" for her photo to be used. The plaintiff has suffered humiliation, embarrassment and shame since the game has been released, according to the lawsuit. "Plaintiff is still a teenager and wishes to attend college, develop her career and be active in her community and church," the lawsuit said. The game’s developers have been getting a lot of e-mail asking about the censorship level of the game, according to the Web site of "The Guy Game," which is rated "M" for mature audiences. The site assures players that they will get to see picture of topless women if they answer trivia games correctly. "The Guy Game is the first trivia party game to feature topless nudity," the Web site says. "We consider ourselves pioneers in that respect. Sort of like the Daniel Boone of video games!"


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