No Sex Please, We’re Pixels
Posted on Monday March 22, 2010, 15:46 by David Scarborough in Infinite Lives
When delving into the epic sci-fi RPG that is Mass Effect 2, it soon became unusually clear that I was impatiently anticipating when this fantastical intergalactic romp, was going to let me do some much hyped intergalactic romping. After all, isn’t knocking boots with a bevy of otherworldly hussies what this game is all about? Anyone? I found that much amusement can be made from the different life-forms that can be wooed at your will (or with a predetermined set of button combinations) but I thought to myself; has a sex scene in a video game ever been truly justified?
I suppose it goes all the way back to childhood – 1997 to be precise – when one friend swapped a cheat code with me that would allow action heroine Lara Croft to be played in the buff. ‘Archaeologists would probably benefit from less clothing, with all that dust and stuff’ I thought (or something to that effect, I’m sure) but my efforts were in vain, as it proved to be just a duff rumour and the globe-trotting, amply tooled Ms. Croft remained within her tight sweatshirt. I’m not sure what I was to gain from this experience? I imagine it was just pre-pubescent amusement - but sex in video games seems to have offered little else since.
Sex has always weaved in and out of mainstream computer gaming but its impact has been minimal at best. It seems that while most people have buckled the preconception that gaming is a mindless toy for children, to whittle away hours on; sex in gaming reinforces this old ideology. It’s not that it can’t be used effectively but it’s that gaming as a medium can’t really utilise it to any relevant effect.
Grand Theft Auto III was one of the first mainstream games I came across that implemented it in some form, letting you get it on with a local lady of the night for a health perk. Subsequent sequels have removed the life boost, rendering it completely pointless to include sex in the first place (if anything it should surely take health away?).
Our Eastern gaming chums haven’t swayed the opinion either. Look across their titles and most of the female characters are shopping for sizes far too small in some sort of sadomasochistic section of their local Land of Leather, not to mention that certain parts of their body seem to be out of proportion. It’s hard to believe they can even stand, let alone hit a volleyball over a net. Even if it does boil down to male fantasy, what is gained from it? It’s not like it is attractive.
I find that whenever sex pops up in a game, it isn’t to propel the story forward or to add a new layer of interactivity but just to raise the odd titter or two. It usually ends up reverting me to a childlike level of embarrassment and giggles – like a child opening up the front page of their Dad’s Sun.
With the advent of motion controls, it is quite a frightening prospect to imagine where developers are thinking of going with sex in games (and you know they are thinking about it…). As of yet, I haven’t played a game that has featured sex in some form and thought ‘that really added something’, instead, it’s just a cheap giggle, the video game equivalent of a fart joke and one that has been kicking up a stink ever since. Whatever the Daily Mail Brigade says, when those pixels start rubbing together, it’s not so much ‘won’t someone think of the children?’ but ‘won’t someone think of the poor gamers who have to suffer it’.
So, can anyone justify the role of sex in video games? Maybe those same people who think Jessica Rabbit is sexy…
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Posted on Monday March 22, 2010, 16:15
Posted on Monday March 22, 2010, 16:26
I haven't played Mass Effect 2 but I can't imagine that the sex scene is any more laughable or necessary than the one in Avatar!
The thing is that sex in gaming is still in it's infancy and whilst the attempts to integrate it at the minute are quite crude [not in terms of vulgarity - for the most!] games haven't really gone into the genres that are more appropriate. I imagine that as more adult themes and genres are explored the attempts will become more refined and perhaps more intrinsic to the story.
Posted on Monday March 22, 2010, 16:40
Could "Fahrenheit" prove to be the game your looking for? Sex was present, but so to was a complex and engaging narrative with characters you could empathise with. The normality of getting it on with your lady shortly before reality takes a dive off of the top story balcony seemed to create a believable and relevant juxtaposition - ergo, sex was intrinsic to the tale. Probably... :)
Posted on Monday March 22, 2010, 17:07
Your 'efforts were in vein' were they?
Posted on Monday March 22, 2010, 19:36
An interesting artical but does this not come down to the discussion of the mid 90's regarding the need for violence in gaming (most notably pixelated blood in Mortal Kombat). Sex and violence are kin and if they are required in a game then so be it as long as they move forward the commentry of events and character development.
In short why bother asking - justifyable or not they are only pixels and all have age ratings. Idiot parents who let children play games outside of the age ratings need shooting!
Posted on Monday March 22, 2010, 19:48
Three words to answer your question as to whether anyone can justify sex scenes in computer games.
Leisure. Suit. Larry.
Posted on Monday March 22, 2010, 23:36
Depends a little on how involved the player is with the proceedings I think, and how it's dealt with in relation to the narrative.
Reading this blog, the first game that popped into my head was Uncharted 2, re: Drake and Chloe. Those two definitely get it on, but it's off screen, precursored by a cutscene indicating as much. The thing is, it's not a big deal, it's part of who those characters are (i.e. they're people who have sex with each other), and I think the way it's handled is quite mature for a game. But then, Uncharted 2 is famous for playing like an Indiana Jones movie, so it's kind of to be expected.
I think that, at least with Mass Effect and Mass Effect 2, from what I've heard anyway, (I'm a PS3, and secretly hoping the two are ported to the platform eventually), it's a little different because it's something that can be *achieved*. Whereas in Uncharted 2 it's just a part of a very linear narrative, the sex scenes in ME1/2 are essentially optional, but they became infamous amongst news media, so people discover those scenes are out there and then set about finding out how to guide their character to that point, as if seeing those scenes is the reward. That's a little less mature I think, using virtual, voyeuristic sex as a reward.
Posted on Tuesday March 23, 2010, 07:30
Duke Nukem 3d.
My first experiance of sex-in-a-game. Now when ever I see sex in a game, I just think of that and have a little chuckle to my self.
In regards to ME2, I think that had the game been as succesfully developed as was hyped, it would have actually been quite relevant. Attempting to build relationships with the characters is a large part of the game. Sadly it falls just a little short in that department, and thus the sex seems irrelevent, silly and just a little wierd!
Posted on Tuesday March 23, 2010, 10:10
You need to play Heavy Rain.
Posted on Tuesday March 23, 2010, 11:15
Lol, I wish I could play Heavy Rain but I haven't got a PS3 unfortunately.
I think sex within video games obviously is put there to be part of an engaging story, I mean even in GTA it tries to engage your character into bedding the women for some "hot coffee". Mass Effect 1 & 2 sex scenes were minor, I mean they were only have "dry" fictional sex, and anyways why should it matter I mean we have all this nudity stuff on the internet and on the TV, games shouldn't be restricted to having "this or that in a sex scene" I think that the developers have enough dignity to set the standards. And this whole issue of sex is becoming more of a issue disturbingly in the UK obviously due to easy access to media that can show it.
As long as the UK doesn't do an "Australlia" and start banning games because they're a bunch of hypersensitive retards, it's frickin mothering the nation of gamers for fricking sake!
And secondly, as long as there isn't a equiviliant of a "Epic movie" that of game that just invovles sex and horrid gameplay, I've seen what those horrible games on the Wii that come out of Japan, I mean that's terrible..
Posted on Tuesday March 23, 2010, 12:31
This just reminds me of the useless part of Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, where although you could skip the scene, you were able to be part of a terrorist group and shoot the civilians. What it comes down to is, how desensitized some people are. To some a sex scene is, just there, to others it could be an annoyance.
As terrible as, Gamer, was it brings the fact of desensitization in gaming, the human factor is no longer there and instead fantasy orientated greed takes over.
Posted on Tuesday March 23, 2010, 18:08
The sex scene in Heavy Rain was ridiculous! I won’t ruin the story on anyone, but it really seemed so forced and totally came out of nowhere (if you are familiar with what both characters were going through....sex would be the last thing on their minds...although you could argue that one character ‘used’ the other) Also, controlling your character to kiss and fondle the other felt so immature and forced into the game for recognition. I’m sure 12 year old boys who got their hands on the title love it though!
In God of War 3 kratos has sex with Aphrodite but it’s done in such a corny way that it actually made me laugh. Two onlookers get turned on by what is happening and one turns to the other and says “This is a mature rated game, Parents shouldn’t let their kids watch! By the Gods!’ (or something similar!) it really mocked the whole ‘sex in video games’ angle and brought a smile to my face.
Posted on Tuesday March 23, 2010, 22:54
I thought Dragon Age Origins was rather nicely handled: all relatively tasteful with distractingly odd music and um... realistic? facial expressions. And the first gay sex scenes in a game not made into a deliberate giggle-fest (Yeah, I'm looking at YOU Fable 2).
Posted on Wednesday March 24, 2010, 09:23
Darkwatch. There was a sex cutscene in that game - and it was intrinsic to the storyline.
Good game too.
Posted on Wednesday March 24, 2010, 09:43
what cracked me up about the GTA(think it was vice city) ability to pick up a streetwalker was that when the suspension is bouncing, you flick the camera around and the 2 people are just innocently sitting there in their seats.
Posted on Wednesday March 24, 2010, 13:50
This is a very girly answer, I know, but it's all I got - The Sims have sex in order to get pregnant. Functional but still very very funny.
Posted on Wednesday March 24, 2010, 21:22
Sex scenes in games? I don't object to them - it's generally just another chance to explore the narrative as much as possible (I'm specifically talking about Mass Effect 1 & 2). They don't add a huge amount to the game, but it gives you something to aim for - however puerile they are. They are not explicit so let's not get all excited about them.
In defence - I thought that the sex scene in Watchmen was totally pointless in terms of the story and disrupted the flow of the film, and that was explicit.
Posted on Tuesday September 7, 2010, 08:14
Sexual games are mainly for whom who want to love to do sex. In the game sence of sex and emotion too. Now as per technology such game like while you play it you will feel that you are in that position and generic viagra are the best pills to get more fun.
Posted on Tuesday September 7, 2010, 13:53
One word: Dreamweb. 16-bit sprite porn. WoOt!
Posted on Thursday September 9, 2010, 05:36
The sex-scene in Watchmen was pivotal to the theme of empowerment of vigilantism and used to show the contrast that Night-Owl couldn't get it up when he was just a normal guy.
I guess what I'm trying to say is it's about as important to the story as boxes of choclates to Forrest Gump.
Re-watch with that in mind and you should see it in a different light.