March 25, 2008 -- Boob jobs, diet pills and boyfriends are the name of the game for many girls joining a new online game that allows users to do whatever it takes to become "the most famous, beautiful, sought-after bimbo across the globe."
"Miss Bimbo's" users — who are primarily teenagers but are as young 8 — create virtual characters known as bimbos, dress them, groom them and can even navigate them right onto a plastic surgeon's operating table.
Launched by business partners Chris Evans and French entrepreneur Nicholas Jacquart two months ago in Great Britain, "Miss Bimbo" has already attracted more than 200,000 users in Britain. The French version, created a year ago, boasts more than 1.2 million users.
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.
"It's a virtual reality fashion game," Evans told ABCNEWS.com. "[Users] create a bimbo, buy her clothes, send her to university and love her and nurture her."
But it's the kind of loving and nurturing available in the game that has alarmed many body image experts who charge that the site is sending a bad message to young girls about what it means to be attractive and sexy.
"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," said Leslie Goldman, the American author of "Locker Room Diaries: The Naked Truth About Women, Body Image." "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."
Virtual Game Emulates Real Life – Boob Jobs Included – Says Creator
Evans said that before now, he'd never considered the possible negative impact that game could have on young teens, and told ABCNews.com that he and his business partner are "looking into" the critics' claims.
But Evans also says that users want the game to be as real as possible – breast implants included.
"In real life there is the option of getting a boob job," said Evans.
"Yes, there are negative elements to the game. We can't ignore that life is sometimes rough. Relationships end or you can't afford the apartment you want," said Evans, who explained that earning enough money to buy a nice apartment is one of the game's challenges.
The money used in the game to buy things such as an apartment or a gym membership or diet pills is referred to as "Bimbo Money," and can be either be bought through a $3 text message or earned by users who succeed at games such as Sudoko. While users can register to play for free, the site's profits depend on users paying for the money rather than playing the games.
In addition to learning money management skills, Evans points out that there are other important lessons learned by playing the game.
"But there are lots of positive lessons that replicate messages in real life."
While feeding your bimbo too much chocolate has added virtual pounds to the animated girls' hips, feeding her fruits and vegetables will improve her health, Evans points out.
But body image guru Goldman isn't so sure that's the message users will pay attention to.
"I think we all know in life that certain things appeal more, things that make you seem more hip and cooler, and these things are aesthetically based services and goods like diet pills and boob jobs," said Goldman.
"I don't think a girl logging on one time will mean she'll necessarily get breast implants, but what a game like 'Miss Bimbo' does is add to the onslaught of images and messages that young girls get at such a young age of change this, improve that, make this smaller, make this bigger," said Goldman. "This is another tool in the arsenal of bad body image."
U.K.-based groups share Goldman's concern, and told ABCNews.com that "Miss Bimbo" is not helping to promote good body image to young girls already struggling with their self-esteem.
"It's all to do with body image these days and how young people are bombarded with unrealistic images about what's supposed to be the ideal body image," said Mary George, spokesperson for BEAT, a British organization that provides help and support for people with eating disorders. "Showing and emphasizing how body shape and sizes can be manipulated is very unhelpful."
Evans isn't worried, though, and says no matter what the message his game sends, it's unlike the user will listen to any of them anyway.
"I don't think the game influences [players'] every day lives," said Evans. "I'm not 100 percent sure that young users will rush out and get a boob job and I don't think they'll play the game and say I want to eat some vegetables, either."
"They get on to play the game and then they go off to school," said Evans.