QUESTION: Is There Explicit Sex or Nudity in Video Games? Most videogames don’t have sex in them. And when they do, it’s always tamer than what you’d find in a soap opera. Really. It’s true! I don’t care what the evening news told you or how vague those ESRB descriptors are there really isn’t much sex in mainstream video games (we don’t consider porn games to be games in the same way that most people don’t consider porno to be films).
Note: This article is intended for parents and some of it contains information that’s not safe for work, or may be offensive.
There are some examples from the past. There was a silly Atari 2600 game that had Custer trying to ram a pixelly thing into Indian maidens and there was a text game in the 80′s called “Leather Goddesses of Phobos.” Leisure Suit Larry was an adventure series based on a loser trying, desperately, to get laid. But recent examples are actually harder to find. Here are the most notorious from the past couple years:
Grand Theft Auto: Hot Coffee
A silly little controversy where a game, rated M-Mature and featuring a Strong Sexual Content descriptor was hacked and the hacker found some “orphaned code” (game stuff severed from the game itself, unplayable in other words unless you hack the game yourself) showing two clothed figures engaging in coitus and oral sex. Given that the explicitness doesn’t even compare to the R-rated marionette sex found in the film “Team America World Police” and given that the descriptor covers this scene – even though it’s not actually in the game. Watchdog groups cried foul and the ESRB caved in and the game was pulled from shelves and re-rated Adults Only.
Here are the highlights:
1. You have to hack it to do it and hacking it is really hard – it’s much easier to find and get real porn online really.
2. The ESRB descriptor covered this stuff, even if the ESRB didn’t see it beforehand.
3. The “sex” isn’t that bad… and even if you still find it offensive, it’s hardly explicit by any definition of that word.
But Rockstar Games was guilty of not removing the code c0mpletely (orphaned code is common in programming) and someone found the code and everyone freaked out. The best part? Because of the coverage you can go to YouTube and watch the scene – and you don’t even have to go to the trouble of hacking the game to do it. I’d link the scene, but you’ve got to be over 18 for YouTube to show it to you. Hey, you’re a parent, go there and type in Hot Coffee to see for yourself.
God of War/God of War II/God of War: Chains of Olympus
This is a very popular game with teens and it does have a “sex minigame” in each title. Here’s what it’s about. At some point early in the game Kratos, the Spartan immortal protagonist, finds a room with two ladies lounging around. In the first game and the PSP game it’s a bed, in God of War II, it’s a hot tub. They invite you over and if you press the jump button near the bed, Kratos jumps in. Then the camera moves to the side and a bunch of button combos and stick movements ensue. Failing means the girls are disappointed, but you can try again all you like. Success makes them moan, the furniture starts to rock, and then, after a loud sigh of pleasure Kratos gets experience points. Experience points. Anyway, you don’t see anything but you hear it. I showed it to GamerMom and she thought it was a combination of funny and pathetic. I agree. Here’s the scene from GOW2, the one with the hot tub. I forgot about the peeing statue … or should I say “spurting statue.”
Mass Effect is a sci-fi role-playing game and the company that makes it, Bioware, is known for letting players flirt with some of the computer controlled characters. In Mass Effect, they went a bit further. There are lots of combinations but it’s lesbian alien love that’s been called obscene by FOX News. I think it’s extremely tame. Go ahead, watch it.
The Whores of Grand Theft Auto
I played Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City all the way through before hearing, from a newspaper reporter, that you could engage a hooker, pay her, sleep with her, kick her out of the car, beat her to death and get your money back.
It’s not a “feature” in the game, just another example that Rockstar has questionable taste at times. Here’s the reality. If you park your car next to a street walker and wait, she’ll get in and you’ll lose some cash. The car moves back and forth for a while and the hooker gets out. If you want, you can then kill her and grab some money. Now, that’s not your money you’re grabbing – every GTA character will drop money if killed. That doesn’t make it any more tasteful I know, my only point is that Rockstar isn’t encouraging you to kill hookers. Since you get a health bonus for sleeping with one (man, is that counter-intuitive or what?) Rockstar is guilty of misogyny, bad taste, and immaturity but it is notable that the game doesn’t even tell you that this is possible. It’s something you have to find for yourself. Unless you read newspapers, or, um, this webpage I guess.
There aren’t really that many other examples. Yes, female characters tend to be magnificently proportioned and overly fond of unpractical tight and revealing outfits (the same can be said of the men too, of course). But video games don’t really lend themselves well to explicit or even non-explicit love scenes. Gore is always the bigger problem.
So there you have it. An honest look at sex in video games. You’ll have to go elsewhere if you want sensationalism.
Can you think of any more examples?