Reader Request Week 2008 #3: Sex and Video Games
Arachne Jericho wants to know my opinion on:
Sex and video games
Well, I’m a fan of each individually, that’s for sure.
As for sex in video games, I don’t have any major problem with it philosophically; the age of your average game player is the late 20s, so presumably they know about sex (at least in theory), and for those who aren’t quite there yet, the ESRB ratings should tell mom and dad about its presence, the occasional “hot coffee” slip-up notwithstanding. Yes, I know certain people are all het up about it, but, you know, certain people are all het up about a lot of things. It’s just video games’ turn.
But from a game play point of view, I don’t think too much of sex in video games; it seems rather silly at this point. It’s not even advanced enough to be creepy in an “uncanny valley” sort of way; anyone who saw the “hot coffee” minigame in “GTA: San Andreas” saw just how goofy it looked; the only way you could think of it as sexy or titillating was if you had the emotional maturity of a thirteen year old. I don’t doubt that there will eventually come a day when graphics on consoles will provide a sex scene realistic enough to be genuinely erotic, but it’ll be a while yet.
For now, gamers have to settle for “sexy” rather than simulated sex, although even then “sexy” in video games is a matter of some dispute. Lots of boys found early Lara Croft sexy because of her improbably polygonal breasts; likewise there are folks who play the Soul Caliber series just to watch Ivy jiggle about in her structurally-dubious costume, or to get a little bit of fan service when Sophitia did her little victory hop. My money for the sexiest (female) character in video games, however, is Alyx Vance, who features nary a jiggle or panty flash, but instead has a brain, some well-written empathy and is also handy with a pistol that she never has to reload. This you can file under the category of “different strokes for different folks”.
Be that as it may, I will be delighted to do without the potential cut scene in which Gordon Freeman and Alyx graphically do their part to repopulate the species in the wake of the fall of the Combine (or however it all ends), as exciting as such a prospect might be to certain furtive game players. These folks need to get their porn the old-fashioned way — off YouPorn and Danni.com — and leave poor Alyx (and Gordon) alone.
What about games where you play having sex? Well, you know. I suppose they will happen (and have happened, lame as they have been), and for those of you who will have an interest in them, a friendly bit of advice: no matter how adept you become at button mashing, if you try “up, left, left, down, circle, square, square” on a real sex partner, you’ll either get slapped or laughed at. Trust me, sex is one interactive game play experience which is better co-op, and unplugged.
(there’s still time to ask questions for Reader Request Week 2008: Post your question here.)