The world’s oldest occupation doesn’t revolve around sexuality for nothing!
Let’s face it, we’re all sexual creatures. However, the level at which some are in-touch with this fact will obviously vary from person to person. Many are incredibly liberated with their sexuality, embracing it freely (and flying in the face of those that might find it uncomfortable). Others are very much closed off. This can come from a variety of reasons, ranging from upbringing to trauma to an unwillingness to dig below the surface level and examine what’s really going on inside. But no matter which side of the fence your sexuality falls on, it’s a driving force at the core of our humanity. There’s no getting around it.
And while sex permeates every facet of our lives and entertainment (like novels, music and movies), why are we so shocked and outraged when it pops up in our gaming?
At first it started off as a novelty. A goofy way of poking fun at the idea of combining something as old as sex with new technology. The Atari Porn titles are now the stuff of legend (thanks to my man AVGN), featuring such classics as Beat ‘Um and Eat ‘Um (I think the title is pretty self-explanatory). However, as the level of realism evolved (due to the advancements our hardware afforded us), so did the sense of moral outrage regarding explicit content. We as a gaming community have always faced challenges from those trying to sensor things like violence, sexual materials have also been met with nothing but vitriol as well. Most critics have a very black and white attitude about it. Even though they begrudgingly justify allowing some level of violence into our hobby, sex is where they seemingly draw the line. It’s a silly (and might I add nonsensical) double-standard that plagues us even today. For all our growth, modern franchises like The Witcher series still raise eyebrows when the introduce sex scenes into their releases.
When asked about how to make sex work in 2014 (without committing retail suicide in the process), CD Projekt RED Level Designer Miles Tost said, “We make mature games, for mature players (every Witcher game is for adults only) and sex is, well, a part of adult life. The key thing is not to overdo it, not to sell your game with sex. As long as you remain tactful in what you do, as long as you have a legitimate reason to put sex in your game, I think it’s quite safe to do so.”
Frankly, I’m simply amazed this has survived as a subject of debate for so long!
In many ways, I want to shake the collective and scream “GROW UP!” Naturally, if I were to point out how our industry is once again being held to a different standard (than say the film industry for example), the critics would likely respond with their tired old argument that games are interactive, movies are not. Somehow, the rationale is that depicting sexual scenes in an involved format will lead to the complete debauchery of our youth. Problem is, the images in The Witcher 3 are cut-scenes and non-controllable (much in the same way Mass Effect was presented). So yeah…tell me another one.
They say money is what truly makes the world go ‘round. While I say that might be true…it’s sex that greases the gears (try to get that mental picture out of your head now). It’s just that when I see questions like this still being asked during interviews, I really question the progress an industry like ours is destined to make. It almost seems like we’ll never break through the glass ceiling we keep bumping our heads against, in an attempt to gain level footing on par with every other form of entertainment. Pornography sites make up the bulk of internet traffic (both male and female alike), which makes it impossible that only the perverts are the ones sitting up 24 hours a day looking at X-Rated clips. Not to mention the fact that I regularly see parents letting their teens check out 50 Shades of Grey from the public library for a bit of “Summer reading.” So if I’m to understand his correctly, a scene in a video game showing off a bare breast or a naked thigh is off limits…but some light S&M reading is A-OK for the kiddies? Makes perfect sense.
Come on people…next year is 2015! We’re going to have hover boards and flying cars. This debate has no place in our future any longer.