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A Retrospective On Sex In Videogames 49

Thanks to GameCritics for its (semi-NSFW?) feature discussing the history of sex in videogames, intended to "excavate and document those lucky digital few who managed to get their swerve on." Games profiled include the original Leisure Suit Larry ("the father of modern 'mature' videogames... despite being a screwball comedy at heart... one of the most realistic portrayals of sex in any videogame"), and the ever-notorious Fear Effect 2: Retro Helix ("the two female protagonists [may have been] straddling each other in their underwear for the print ads, but the actual game wasn't the promiscuous orgy that ads teased.")
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A Retrospective On Sex In Videogames

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  • sex in games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by incubusnb ( 621572 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:30AM (#9081835) Homepage Journal
    it always has been and probably always will be a major selling point, even before the Gaming industry sex was used to sell everything from Magazines to soap. its just simple marketing to target the most basic of Human instincts.

    what, you gonna try to tell me that Tomb Raider had a top knotch storyline, or awesome gameplay? no, it had a big-breasted gunslinging Woman in it. even games like Duke Nukem owe some part of their success to Sex (a shootout in a Porn store... Throwing money at strippers).

    frankly, i'd be amazed if the VG industry didn't use Sex to sell games.

  • Fallout 2 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Xxanmorph ( 654953 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:33AM (#9081849)
    I'm surprised they didn't mention Fallout 2 considering what you could do in that game; get a job as a porn star (or a fluffer if you lacked the looks), use sex to solve quests and even get a girl pregnant.
    • or pay for your car upgrades with your body (as a female character, at least...) and even make the guy explode with the sentence:

      "too... much... sex..."
      dealing 9999999 points of damage :p
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:42AM (#9081874)
    Thrixxx [] makes some nasty 3D stuff, stumbled across a screenshot on usenet.
    I didnt download it because aparently it costs money and nowhere on their site they tell you how much.
  • Kids today (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @04:58AM (#9081923)
    spoiled with webcams and homemade tapes... while back in the 80s, we had to get our kicks with those slutty princesses in Defender of the Crown.

  • I remember trying that one once (mainly because of a co-worker). Well, it sucked **NOT !**.
  • by Inexile2002 ( 540368 ) * on Friday May 07, 2004 @05:58AM (#9082136) Homepage Journal
    Thinking about it for a second, it really seems like a no brainer - sex sells so sex in video games sell video games. But personally, I don't agree. Sure titles like Dead or Alive: Beach Volleyball pretty much used titillation to sell - that's really not the same as sex IN the game.

    Titillation in a movie, hot steamy sex scenes or outright pr0n is all fine. I don't really mind (and often deliberately seek out) that sort of thing... When I'm watching a movie, I don't feel at all connected to what is happening on the screen and I don't care so much because I'm observing, not interacting. If I were playing a game that involved the same thing though, the rules change. Suddenly, instead of going over to my girlfriend's house and seducing her, I'm what - getting my virtual video game avatar laid? That's pretty much just going to depress/annoy/frustrate me, and more so if I were single at the time.

    Second, video games are often a communal activity, something I do socially. But I assure you, the people I have over to play video games are not the people that I would have over to act out sex scenes with. Basically... if I want to play a little Ninja Gaiden with my little brother, I don't want to have to explain why I'm choosing a particular position or why I'm "licking her there". It's really just kind of creepy.

    Most of all though, if I wanted that sort of titillation - if I wanted to see breasts, sex scenes etc I'm sure as hell not going to pay $50 or more for the privilege. There is so much good quality free or really cheap porn out there, I just don't need it in my video games. Nor do I want it. If I found out that the new Splinter Cell or Half Life 2 game had explicit sexuality or graphic depictions of something, I would immediately question the game? Why? Is it there to sell the game? Is it there because the game sucked and they wanted some hook? What?

    Long and short, I play games at least in part for pure visceral fun and if I want pure visceral sex fun there are better outlets for it than my XBox. I'm sure there's a HUGE market for people who want interactive sex video games, but hopefully they won't touch my mainstream releases...

    Strange, I just finished writing all of that and I just thought of Prince of Persia: Sands of Time. There isn't any explicit sex in the game, but it is definitely implied. Farah and the Prince definitely 'have a moment' although it isn't explicitly laid out that they have sex. It didn't really bother me as it was tasteful, in a cut scene and really had more to do with what passed for character development than any need to titillate. Did it bother me? Hell no. Did it add to my enjoyment of the game? Not really. When I excitedly tell people how great that game was am I thinking of that scene at all? Nope. I only remembered it because of this post. They added a super sexy female character, a sex scene - hell they even had the hero slowly lose his clothes throughout the game. Did any of that affect anyone's purchase of the game? Probably not. Did it affect my enjoyment of the game? Not at all. Sex may sell in some things, but I really do think it's marginal in video games.
  • This article sucks (Score:3, Informative)

    by M3wThr33 ( 310489 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @06:13AM (#9082184) Homepage
    Really, it lacked a lot of things and mainly covered bare essentials.

    How can you leave out THE SIMS? I may not be a big fan, but it's kind of hard to miss.
  • by Myself ( 57572 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @07:00AM (#9082310) Journal
    Oh man. If these guys think Leisure Suit Larry is a "realistic portrayal of sex", I think this joke about the gaming community just makes itself.
  • by curtisk ( 191737 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @08:42AM (#9082762) Homepage Journal
    I mean, if you are going to go through the trouble or writing one, shave your palms and do some more research.

    I understand that Ultima and Larry are more well known, but if you were a serious PC gamer back in the early 90's, you had to have heard of poignant and riveting library of games from Mega-Tech []!!! :)

    Hell they don't even mention Custer's Revenge [] one of the granddaddies of video game "erotica"; term used very, very loosely

    • by h0mer ( 181006 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @09:50AM (#9083398)
      Thank you for mentioning Mega-Tech. I racked up $300 in long distance charges from calling their BBS to download the demos for Cobra Mission and Metal & Lace. What 11-year-old knows that the modem caused long distance charges?! All I knew was that boobies were there, and I would acquire them.
    • 2. Non-mainstream underground X-rated (Japanese or otherwise) games aren't eligible because they aren't accessible to the mainstream and consequently their cultural influence is nominal.

      Yeah, I would argue that Custer's Revenge had a bit more than nominal influence, but what can you do?

      • Re:Try RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

        by curtisk ( 191737 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @02:41PM (#9087392) Homepage Journal
        Mega-Tech actively advertised all their titles in many pc gaming magazines, they had the standard retail edition, and then with proof of age, you could then send away for or download from their BBS the "adult" patch, so yes, mega-tech was no Origin or Apogee back in the day, but they were not hidden underground by any means
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 07, 2004 @09:41AM (#9083294)
    With sex it's the same as with violence: We don't want to see it in full detail in a game.

    In a game you don't want to see every little piece of brain after a headshot or see a person's intestines ripped out in full detail (it's something else if the person just lies there fully intact while the monster slashes away and occassionally red spurts fly away), just as you don't want to see every detail of your character ejaculating into the mouth (or more creative parts) of the women unless the violence or sex is the only reason you bought the game. Violence is often portrayed more abstract (or would you call the gibbing in Quake "realistic"?), it should be the same with sex. That means even if you meet a naked woman she shouldn't have e.g. the naughty bits modeled, it's enough to know they're supposed to be there. Imagination can go a long way, after all we need it to compensate for blocky graphics, anyway.
  • by Singletoned ( 619322 ) <> on Friday May 07, 2004 @10:39AM (#9084101) Homepage
    Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo wouldn't let out a game that contained sex because it would be too contraversial in America and would damage sales.

    If a Mom came home and found a kid playing a game that featured a sex scene, there'd be uproar.

    You do tend to get it on the PC, particulartly in RPGs. Baldurs Gate 2 had a couple of sex scenes, as did Arcanum.
    • Because fake bullets don't kill people, fake boobs do!
    • by cloak42 ( 620230 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @03:08PM (#9087737) Homepage
      If a Mom came home and found a kid playing a game that featured a sex scene, there'd be uproar.

      One more reason that parents should be paying attention to their children's habits. If a parent came home and found her child playing a game that featured a sex scene, that mother should realize that she should have paid more attention to the fact that the game was rated M--for MATURE. If she's willing to buy a game like that for her son, she'd better realize that it's her own damned fault.

      "I'm sorry, I didn't realize that Joey's copy of 'Flaying Them Alive' had violence and nudity in it!"

      Give me a break. Parents need to be parents.
      • If a parent came home and found her child playing a game that featured a sex scene, that mother should realize that she should have paid more attention to the fact that the game was rated M--for MATURE.

        Actually, explicit sex scenes only appear in Adult-Only rated games (18+). The Mature (17+) and Teen (13+) ratings seem to include games that have Mature sexual content, but are generally rated at that level for "blood-spilling" violence rather than sex. The sexual content that appears in those games are

      • You are very correct. The mother *should* pay more attention. However she may not have bought it.

        Also, you are expecting society to take responsibility their actions. While it is a beautifull ideal, in practice it is unlikely. Do not get me wrong. Some people will. Most probably would, in fact. However it would only take one or two outrages, channeled through the media, to create an uproar.

        Imagine an average parent, who considers (him|her)self a good parent, reading headlines "Twelve year old boy f
  • by antizeus ( 47491 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:35AM (#9084890)
    LSL was just a graphical version of an earlier game named SoftPorn Adventure, which was a text adventure with what appeared to be an identical plot. Well, I'm not sure if the plot was really identical, as I only played the beginning of each game, but I was rather disappointed when I first saw LSL.

    Now that I've done some googling, I find that Sierra bought the rights to the original game. Here's something I just found regarding this: [article] []. Also, this appears to be a web-based version, though I haven't tried it: [version] [].


    • Indeed. Softporn even had actual topless women on the cover... semi-tastefully submerged in a hot tub. Then again, if you ever wanted to see Roberta Williams and some other Seirra staffers semi-nude...

      Incidentally Sierra released the game. There's a good bit about it in the Sierra section of Steven Levy's Hackers
  • by Peteroo ( 757115 ) on Friday May 07, 2004 @11:59AM (#9085193)
    ... the recent Singles: Flirt Up Your Life!--a Sims-with-sex game from Germany's Rotobee (recently released in English, though not yet in the US). I mean, that's the whole hook for writing about sex in games at this particular time.

    Along with typical Sim-ian activities, Singles permits full nudity and builds the relationship between the just-met flatmates to one that includes sexual relations. ("Chose from twelve 3D fully functional characters," reads the back of the DVD case, "and we mean FULLY.")


  • the atari title called
    custers last stand

    it was a game about a naked custer taking clothes off an indain maiden

  • by Aggrazel ( 13616 ) <> on Friday May 07, 2004 @01:28PM (#9086454) Journal

    In Final Fantasy 4 (Japan) there was a chick who would throw her dress off and dance for you.

    In GTA you can pick up hookers and get extra health... "My people make the cars and the women bounce up and down" - Fernando Martinez

    In the original Neverwinter Nights campaign you can hire a prostitute at a brothel in the first chapter, you even gotta go and get papers saying you're "clean" before they'll do it with you.

    I'm sure there are others....
    • Who has played Legend of the Red Dragon? (LORD) When I was in college, someone had a server of that set up. There was a town called, appropriately, BoneTown. There was a hooker there, and you could get an STD from her which would drain your health.
      • There was no "Bonetown" in the base game, but there were any number of IGN's available.
        In the base game you could flirt at various levels with Violet in the bar, from smiling at her up to fucking and marrying her. And of course you could marry and sex other people playing, which benefitted you with children who would save your ass in the forest.
      • In Wasteland (1988, Electronic Arts), you can have sex with a 3 legged hooker and get wasteland herpes!!!
        That was pretty cool I thought.
  • A lot of games have fan-made modes to add a bit of sex appeal to some games. Like Morrowind and their Face mods and better body mods.

    Better bodies []

    Better heads []
  • I heard the Bikes in Dave Mirra Freestyle BMXXX got some pretty sweet action, if you catch my drift. Hopefully the girls didn't catch anything.

Q: How many IBM CPU's does it take to execute a job? A: Four; three to hold it down, and one to rip its head off.