Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Talking About Sex In Video Games

This topic comes to mind after playing The Witcher for the past two days. The game series always looked interesting and I got it on the Steam Sale(I feel this is going to spark a lot about any gaming talk I will have for a long while). Pretty much I found that this game is nothing but slaying demons and fucking women. And I love it. As I thought about it more, I wanted to talk about sex in video games and my thoughts about it. As you all know, I have no experience or clue as to why a developer would put anything like this in a game, I'm sure there are many speculations, some may be more obvious than others. I'm not here to defend that. I'm not here to scream a shouting stop to all video game develops to stop being sexist towards any gender. Just want to make that clear. Also, I'm not talking about hentai/rape/date games, I'm sticking with the M for Mature labeled games.

I like more mature themes in video games. Sex or sexual content in particular. You may say I'm thinking with my dick, but I feel the ability to have a more mature experience in a video game is a good thing. It appeals to more adult gamers so all of us that have been on board since the NES days can grow along side the evolution of games. Characters in video games, just like in any story, develop relationships with those around them. It would be stupid to think a strong attraction wouldn't come to be or be possible at all in any type of story. As in life, these things happen. So naturally, it would be expected that there is a chance that relationships could develop further into physical intimacy. Because of this, because physical relations with other people is a part of life, I'm ok with sex in video games. Not all games do this, however. You do get the sense that the only reason nudity and sex are involved is for straight fan service or just someone's wet dream to have breasts and vaginas in a game. With the development of more mature and even adult content, things like this will happen. It's like that with all aspects of evolved gaming. Take GFX for example. Some developers use the technology to make beautiful looking games to compliment the amazing stories and epics they are producing. Then there are other games that have amazing GFX but suck ass because it feels like they were made just to look pretty. The more games evolve, you'll get the tasteful and tasteless in equal portions. Lets talk about 3 games that have sexual relations in them but are kind of set at different degrees.

I mentioned The Witcher earlier. You play as a male character and you literally have sex, or have the ability to have sex, within the “tutorial” part of the game. Later on, you have sex again in Chapter 1. Then in Chapter 2, it's free range on hookers in a town that for a certain amount of money(or if you finish a quest), you can have sex with them whenever you want. Weird thing is, you do not develop any connection with these characters you're sleeping with. In fact, the male character you play as has lost his memory. When you sleep with the first woman, there is some dialogue discussing that there may have been something between the two, but there is NOTHING established. So this begs the question, is there a purpose to this? In reality, no, not really. Now, I just think it's a cool little bonus and I don't really think anything of it at all. The game reminds me of just some super violent and sexual action movie where there's blood and guts being spilled and attractive women everywhere ready for some love making and the main character is so bad ass that every monster gets annihilated by him and every woman wants him. I won't lie. This seems to be a very male oriented view of things. Seriously, all the women in this game very “chesty” even the common townsfolk. It does not serve much purpose to a woman playing this game and it is obvious that the game's main audience are teenage and up males.

Ok, all this leads to the ultimate conflict. Is sex in video games sexist towards women? Are women disrespected in video games? I think the consensus is, in any geek medium from video games to comics, NOT EVERY PIECE OF CONTENT, but overall, yes, women are represented as unbelievably attractive women that tend to be there to oogle at instead of contributing something major to whatever they are in. The Witcher especially. The Witcher was not made for women to play. It was made for men. It is sexist in which the way the women are shown artistically, I don't want to say the total package because a character can be awesome and interesting regardless of what he or she looks like. But appearance wise, yes. And I'm ok with this. Does that mean I disrespect women? No. Does that mean I think all women should be like this and this is what a real woman should be? Fuck no. I completely understand if someone had a strong hate for this game because of that though. I would have no defense for it. Now, would I say that I DON'T like big breasted women wanting to jump in bed with my character in a video game? Of course I like it. It's the ultimate male fantasy. I would be a fucking retard to deny that. If that makes me a pig, then, whatever. It's something I like.

I pretty much understand that there was no way to write this article without bringing up and admitting that women get the shit end of the stick most of the time in video games. It is really stupid how they tend to be depicted. I do think that not only women, but all characters should be developed and interesting, regardless of what they look like. That's just a general thing. And I'm totally ok with hookers, male or female, being in video games and not being developed because in real life, you don't get to know a hooker. You're there for one thing, and one thing only. But you also have to understand the superficial world we live in. If a game is targeted towards men, would it sell if the women were unattractive? Scratch that. Would a game sell if most of the characters, male or female, were considered ugly? I think they wouldn't. Video games are male dominated, it's the truth. As a company, you have to target the biggest audience(at least, I think that's what you would do. If 85% of you fan base were living toasters that demanded content that included bread, I would imagine most game developers would have bread incorporated in some way, shape or form) if you want to make the most money. This is sad, but true. Is it fucked up? Yes. But the world we live in is currently programmed that way and won't change until the barrier is broken.

Lets move on to the next game, Fable. Fable has sexual relations in it. But, unlike The Witcher where the only purpose was to just have sex and show the player a naughty picture of whoever you just laid, Fable flows along more of a meaningful idea. You meet a woman, you increase her interest in you through acts and gifts, and then you have sex. The player has the option to wear a condom or they could get an STD or a woman could get pregnant. But the main idea in Fable is that a connection has been formed and it is physically being expressed. Now, granted, Fable is super watered down but sex isn't in there for fan service or anything like that. It's treated as a part of life. It's a little more pure and not as graphic. It's totally different from The Witcher but on the other side, isn't as shocking or meaningful. You get a black screen, some noises are heard, and then you are done. I mean, I'm playing a video game, I should see something, right? And there really isn't more to the development of this because all you're really doing is giving someone gifts until a meter fills up and then you can fuck them. But the idea is there...much like everything with Fable. That game allows you to do things but you pretty much are left to have the assumption that you know what's going on. But this discussion is for another time.

Finally, we have Mass Effect. In my opinion, there isn't any other game out there that incorporates sex in the best way than this game. You develop a relationship with a character based on your actions and decisions that can possibly blossom into a romantic rendezvous. Whether your Male Shep or Fem Shep, gay or straight, you get to choose and develop the relationship you want with the character of your choice. Each conversation and dialogue tree is critical, just like trying to hook up in real life...or just trying to get in bed with someone, either way, your decisions are calculated more. The game delivers a love scene for your viewing pleasure that is not graphic but suggestive, you can pretty much put two and two together. It's not sexist in any way, seeing as how you can make love to humans, aliens, men, women; everything is covered. It has everything put together very well and the sex isn't just for lusting men, the connection is developed, it's tasteful. This is a good example of how sex should play a part in video games.

If you like the random, pointless sex and nudity that you see in games, that's fine. Nothing is wrong with you. If you have an issue with it and think it's stupid and an issue, that's fine. Nothing is wrong with you. Everyone can feel how they want, and I don't think there is a right or wrong with this, just personal preference. I enjoy more mature themes in video games, whether it be pointless boinking or developed relationships, I like it all. I like looking at super attractive women's naughty parts and I like established romance leading to physical intimacy. As we grow up more, games will grow with us. My final thought, don't take any of this personally, but hold true to yourself on your real thoughts about it.


  1. To be honest, I think video games are perfectly fine without sex. I was pretty disappointing when I finally got around to playing God of War and they unnecessarily had the boat scene with the naked women. This meant basically that I couldn't play the game while my kids were up and about. I think that sex in video games are gratuitous and unnecessary, and as you pointed out objectifies women. Call me old school, but I don't need sex creeping into every area of my life. I'm not being all holier than thou on the subject, I'm just saying that in almost every case sex adds little to nothing to games. That's not the same as saying that characters shouldn't be "sexy" or attractive; I have no problem with that. I'm not saying that games shouldn't contain relationships. I'm just questioning what the purpose of sex and nudity plays in "games". That's my opinion at least.

  2. I knew someone at my work that had the same issue with GTA V. Her boyfriend would play it and her son would be watching. Not only the nudity and sexual content, but the violence was her issue as well, so her son couldn't be around if her dude was playing that game.

    For games like God of War and GTA V though, taking away the sexual content, are very violent and probably shouldn't be played in front of children, regardless.

    You provide a great example of how sex in video games are not really a necessity.

  3. For me, Sex in games really isn't a big deal either way. You have games that go back as far as Leisure Suit Larry that focused almost entirely on trying to get the main character laid, to other games that don't have any focus on sex, but seem to find ways to throw it in regardless. I chuckled at the God of War scene when you score the two women at once. But then, I don't think that game or most any game that has sex as a theme in it, should be played by kids at all. God of War and the GTA series are prime examples. As for games like Fable and Mass Effect, I don't see sex as a necessary part of the game, but I don't see it as a forced thing either. It is something you can choose to explore if you want. I love the freedom of doing what you think is right in a game. I don't know if I have ever been offended by sex in a game, but then I don't have kids and I've never felt that I need to hide the games I'm playing... Unless they are Hentai... Which, like Tom hinted at, is a different discussion.

    I'm a guy, so maybe my opinion doesn't really capture everything well, I'd love to see some discussion from the ladies about to help us know more about the subject.

  4. A female point of view would be a great balance. Go phone in Kopii.

  5. I'm sure it depends on the game. If you're making a Nintendo Wii game you probably want to keep it G. But if that's the audience you're going for it works.

  6. If the Wii or Wii-U has nudity of any kind, would be interesting. I would probably commend them for trying to appeal to an older audience and just taking a chance. Now, it would probably be the wrong chance to take, but at least Nintendo would be doing SOMETHING different.

  7. I have to agree with you in the way Mass Effect handles Sex in Video Games, it is tasteful. It's done well. Sadly, it only works your first time through. After that, it's little more than a dating sim that you've already played. Not that that's a bad thing. A video game should make things repeatable. It's not real life for a reason.

    What's interesting though is the way things are portrayed in media. Things geared toward men tend to have things lean more toward violence and beautiful women. Things like the Witcher, for example. This is, of course, due to expected social standards in our culture. Guys, stereotypically, love this kind of thing. So, let's make a game about that. Which is fine. It happens.

    Things geared towards girls though are almost universally simulation-esque and sort of based around real life. The Harvest Moons, the Animal Crossings, and the Dating Sims. Dating Sims especially, when paired with the topic of conversation. Dating Sims are all about being more personal. Getting to know the characters. Building a relationship with them, either a friendship or a romantic relationship. This type of thing is generally a more "female" stereotype. There are other stereotypes that go along with this, but... we'll stick to the topic of conversation, since the topic of dating sims can easily go on a while. (Aspects of these are also in Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing, come to think of it.)

    As for showing the sex itself, I feel like it needs to have a point. Either mechanically or in story context. Not just thrown in there. It can be used brilliantly to show off a character trait (ex. God of War), or show that you've built a relationship with someone (Mass Effect), but if it's done just for fan service, while it doesn't bother me, I have to question why it's there. It won't make or break something for me, but it can take you out of the immersion a bit, and immersion is the most crucial thing to have in a game. This doesn't just go for games in general, but any kind of media. After all, you have to make a deliberate decision to show it. Before doing it, the creator has to ask, "What's the point?"

    My final thoughts: No one should have to say, "This isn't right" when they truly like it just because of societal pressure, and it's alright to have these things there. We have to be more mindful of "why" it's there, I believe, and hope it serves a purpose besides just "being there".