Sex is one of the most powerful industries in the modern world. Sex conquers nearly every piece of media that it enters. There are entire books dedicated to the subject. Most of the 70’s Classic Rock output consisted of songs written to purely evoke a sexual tension. A sub-genre of film was created to simply showcase the act.
But what does that mean for videogames? Simply that in the future, we will more than likely see games that are only sex … actually, that's already happened. The better question is how do I feel about sex in my videogames?
To lay the ground work for my real-life counterpart, sex is something that frightens me. I was born and raised a Catholic boy, a title that I am now pretty ashamed of. My parents always told me, “You keep it in your pants!” and, “Think with your brain at all times!”
To further complicate the matter, girls have never truly liked me. I became infatuated with the idea of a woman in middle school, but I never confronted her with my lust. When I got to high school, depression set in and I was often simply thinking of ending my life.
Eventually I met a very colorful character and fell for her. She spoke of all the ridiculous acts she had done and I became very intrigued as to how people can simply fornicate and not have the act take any kind of impact on their character. She teased me with ideas of us being together and it simply led to me loosing a very good friend and blaming it on sex.
To me, sex is something that just ruins my life. I can sit at home at night and browse various Web sites for some kind of fetish, but it just makes me feel sick. Why and how do people commit these acts so freely (granted I am basing this off of the sick view of the Internet)?
On to the real answer: what do I feel about it in my games? I think it really has no place in the interactive medium (and Heavy Rain proves me right). Videogames often do not have sex as a means of dissecting what it can do to the human psyche. They are simply trying to sell an image that the largest demographic (Males 18-34) will eat up.
I have not seen one instance of sexual tension in a videogame that truly warranted it. When strong female characters are created in games, they often lack over-sexualized features. I find the strangest females attractive because their personalities are what intrigue me, not their “assets.”
When strong male characters are created, we almost have an inverse of the female philosophy. They are given rugged good looks or sophisticated voices and are knights of the greatest valor. The women are often shown as sexual icons in the light of evil. Their desires are meant to evoke some kind of negative feeling out of you, or a purely sexual tension that is talked down upon.
The males are shown as either having no sexual desire whatsoever or as disgusting pigs who only want sex. No middle ground exists to say, “I enjoy being with you and want to express my love.” We simply have, “NIKO, MY COUSIN. BIG AMERICAN TEETEES!”
Mass Effect tries to prove me wrong on this matter. Shepard is not a sexual deviant, but in the same instance he can be. The paths you choose in that game can lead Shepard to cause great discomfort to the other females he courts (or males if your choice is female Shepard).
Mostly any BioWare game has some kind of romance that leads to sex. My question is, “What does this really result in?” Is there a true purpose for the sexual act or is the game just trying to create a world that feels immersive?
Fighting games are at least the most blatant about their sexual references. Games like Dead or Alive know that sex is the main reason most people will play, but they don’t only flaunt the sex. You have a very satisfying fighting game built first and then character designed to be visual eye candy. It may not be very courteous to women, but at least you know that the sole intention is sex.
Street Fighter even has women with barely any clothing -- Just look at Cammy or Elena. There is no sensible way you can tell me that wearing no pants makes you a better soldier or that the reason you are wearing what is conceivably a swimsuit is because you live in an impoverished country. You were just designed to be sexualized.
I haven’t experienced a game that gives me the option of sex that actually makes good use of it. It just seems to exist as a purely voyeuristic way for gamers to get their rocks off. I’m not sure if it’s the industry pegging us as worthless nerds or not, but it certainly has no belonging in the medium.
Until our industry matures to the point where story lines and characters can be taken seriously, I will never accept sex in my games. It doesn’t enhance my experience and it certainly does not add to any kind of gameplay department.
This promoted blog was written for our March Monthly Musing assignment, "Write something about sex." You too could get promoted if you write something about sex in videogames over on the Community Blogs