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CodenameV avatar 7:37 PM on 03.16.2010
Somethig About Sex: Uncanny Valley



I can name three AAA titles right now that have at least one scene of disturbing kissing. It's not so much the general act, it's more so that characters in games, when they meet lips, look like alien creatures! Heavy Rain, Mass Effect 2, and even Uncharted 2 all have at least one scene of kissing, and despite it being optional in two of them, it's still disturbing as all hell.

Imagine my surprise when Ethan Mars' wife (Heavy Rain) arrives home with groceries, bitches at you for a bit, then an option appears to give her a kiss; the surprise comes from the fact that the lips touch maybe once, yet they're practically making out. Ignoring the fact that their mouths look like mutated orifices for an underwater sludge monster, the fact that lips refuse to meet is just disturbing when they're kissing. I realize the moment shouldn't lose it's value because of technical issues, but Jesus H. Christ, I cannot suspend my disbelief that far.

I can still hold on to that suspending rope of disbelief as Nathan Drake is preparing to shag Chloe, because it's not even remotely grotesque in comparison, but it still very closely nears the uncanny valley. That's a problem I think people are going to have to deal with. Given the fact that Quantic Dream, Naughty Dog, and Bioware are all quite prestigious developers, I'd gamble that lip smacking just isn't going to be captured very accurately anytime soon. Hell, even sex doesn't look as horrid in games.

Speaking of sex, it doesn't look good either. It doesn't look equally as terrifying, but it lacks the smoothness we receive from film and real life. Zooming in to show me the wonders of up-close smudgy textures, and allowing me to watch a guy and gal roll around like they're a couple of fighting children means you've solidified yourself some backlash. This is all a bit overblown, because the sexual aspect to most games is quite minimal, and can, arguably be a part of the emotional connection for the characters, or some smarmy shit like that; it's still goddamn ugly! You can put a bag over a girls face, but if she's fat, what the fuck do you do then?

I reckon one could just eliminate these puke-inducing scenes... "What blasphemy! They're emotional and meaningful!" Some may cry. Well cry some more, because your imagination can ride with the idea, instead of showing us one of the most off-putting things a videogame can present. It's very obvious why sex is present in gaming, most of the time, anyhow. Publishers think that sex in games will provide sales... Ugly sex will bring in the bank...

In many cases it's tasteful, and I appreciate that. If sex remains a part of videogames, so be it, I won't scream bullshit from the top of many buildings, but in it's current state, something needs to evolve. When you see Shia Labouf and Megan Fox kiss, it's real life, so at least their goddamn skin touches, and it looks okay, even though you want the both of them deader than the movie in which they star.

When something comes so close to realism, but isn't quite there, it can very easily become hideous; Heavy Rain meets that point quite often, and so do many other games when they strive for realism. If you have a blank stick-man, you can project your own emotion onto him; if you have a real human, you can accurately have their emotions given to you. With a game, it kind of meets this middle point, especially when it cums to bumpin' uglies, where it's shit. When games meet this point, you can't project your feelings, or have feelings handed to you, because you're too busy cocking the hammer of a damn .45 and shoving the barrel so far down your throat that vomit nearly explodes before you hit the trigger.

 
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