First rule of advertising: sex sells.
First rule of writing for T3: if I write an article about sex, you’ll all send me millions of dollars.
So let’s get to it. After all, if there’s one thing that belongs on a gaming blog all about humor and satire, it’s a pseudo-serious article about the serious issues of how sexuality is handled and mishandled in our burgeoning often demonized industry, right?
Sex hasn’t exactly been handled gracefully in games. After all, just look back to Atari’s Gotcha, the most discreet arcade game of all time, where you control the gameplay with giant rubber tits… Oh, and let’s not forget the classic debacle of 1982’s Custer’s Revenge, where you earned points by raping a captive native woman. Real classy, guys…
Even today, just about every female character in games since Lara Croft showed up to the party has been a hypersexualized, scantily clad, sex symbols. The irony of all this is that the content that often ends up in M rated games is usually the stupid adolescent shit that only appeals to 13 year olds. I mean, sure everyone likes to get their rocks off, but do we really need to be hammered over the head with characters that look like fucking cross dressing dominatrices in every game? And who the fuck thought coining the term “Jiggle Physics” was a good idea? Is there not a single woman who works in the industry anywhere? Hello?
If games are going to seriously become an art form, a respected medium with which to tell a story, we as an industry need to grow up, and come to terms with sex. So what is holding us back, anyway? The media loves to say that we’re responsible for turning their kids into gay satan-worshiping three-eyed baby rapists at every turn, so why the hell do we keep giving them more material? Not only that, but for some reason people can’t get it through their heads that games aren’t just made for children. So when you see sex poorly handled in a game, parents are going to start pointing fingers. My point is, we need to do something about this.
No to be fair, a lot of this is our fault. For decades we’ve seen nothing but jiggle physics, sex symbols, and all around immaturity when it comes to sex. Characters like Duke
Fuckem Nukem are prime examples of this. While you could argue that this is just the male game makers catering to what they perceive as their primary audience, if that’s all that we do, we’re never going to be taken seriously. We can do so much more.
Now first of all, game makers, grow the fuck up. Anyone over the age of 19 knows that there’s a difference between sexuality and sex, and that there’s a hell of a lot more to the former than just the physical form. Since you clearly have never looked at the story telling methods of any other medium ever, let me fill you in. We are talking about a vital part of the human experience, and is used to define, test, and give depth to a character. Not just for bumping uglies.
Let’s look a bit closer at how sex is currently handled in games. In Mass Effect, sex is used as a reward. Pick the right conversation options with the right characters at the right time, and you get a sex scene. Why, then, is every character for all intents and purposes asexual at every other point? How does Shepard jump from the friend zone immediately to fucking, AND WHY WON’T HE TEACH ME THIS MAGIC POWER?! I think that games need to explore a bit more about relationships, and the intimacy that comes with the territory. After all, just showing a sex scene feels immature, and playing one just feels gratuitous. Cleavage and pandering aren’t the way to go about this.
Now I’m not saying that we should suddenly ignore the 17 year old fapper demographic. After all, if games stopped making titillating characters, the lotion and tissue markets would collapse. However, for the rest of us, it would be nice to see the market grow up a bit more, and explore this vital part of the human experience. In a lot of ways, these differences are the main line separating childhood and adulthood. And maybe, just maybe, one day we’ll be able to do it without Fox News spreading their bullshit all over our faces.