Inviting users to join a "virtual fashion game," the creators of "Miss Bimbo" thought they had a hit. But soon after launching the online game in early 2008, the creators were blitzed with criticism from body image experts who said it sends a bad message to young girls about what it means to be attractive and sexy.
Developed by business partners Chris Evans and French entrepreneur Nicholas Jacquart, the game let players create virtual characters known as bimbos, dress them, groom them and even surgically enhance them.
Described by Evans as a cross between "Barbie" and "Tamagotchi," the virtual pet game created in Japan, "Miss Bimbo" hinges on users creating bimbos and then making sure they're taken care of.
"[Users] create a bimbo, buy her clothes, send her to university and love her and nurture her," Evans told ABCNews.com after the site's 2008 launch.
But critic Leslie Goldman, American author of "Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth About Women, Body Image," said, "The fact that the game is encouraging girls to get boob jobs or go to the tanning salon or nab a rich boyfriend to make them more attractive or happier is just a sad awful message. It's a horrible example to set for girls in terms of what is fun and cool and what it means to be a woman."
Still, despite the initial storm of controversy, the site is still running with the following response to critics: "We feel the press criticism was unjustified and poorly researched. We know that the site is a positive fun safe place for players to be. People can have fun and learn a lot on our site and we are very proud of our community."
If you know nothing else about video games, you know that the Grand Theft Auto franchise practically synonymous with controversy.
But Grand Theft Auto IV, released by Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games, for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 last April, raised even more eyebrows than its predecessors.
In advance of the game's release, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), criticizing a sequence in the game that allows players to drive drunk, asked the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB), which sets the ratings for video games, to change the rating from M for "Mature" to AO for "Adults Only."
(An AO rating is generally considered a kiss of death for games, as major electronics retailers refuse to carry AO-rated games.)
The Chicago Transit Authority removed "GTA IV" ads from its buses. And several politicians, including New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and parent groups that haven't even played the game voiced concern.
Despite the firestorm, the game went on to record-breaking sales. Guinness World Records announced in May 2008 that the game's launch was the entertainment industry's best-ever for one day ($310 million in sales) and one week ($500 million).
Given such success, some experts think the company doesn't mind the negative attention.
"Any of the major Grand Theft Auto [games] are always controversial," said Dennis McCauley, editor of the gaming blog GamePolitics.com. "I think the company enjoys that because it helps their sales."