Posted on Monday, January 14 2008 @ 21:33:05 PST
Yeah I knew that would get you in. Well I didn't lie with the title... kind of. You're not going to get any breasts, there won't be any ASCII porn or links to some of the more depraved sites of the intarweb (I've asked JCD, he won't share) and, I'm ashamed to say, there will be absolutely no hummingbird sex; I'm afraid the Covert Ops lot just will not stand for that kind of security breach.
No, what this blog is about is the issue of sex in media and in particular, games. What's this spurred on by? Well by Mass Effect of course! Ah yes, the glorious 'space opera' from BioWare that has truly captured my heart. To be honest I haven't reached the sex scene yet (although I have watched a YouTube video to make sure the rest of this blog wasn't a bunch of uninformed bollocks), but when there's a sex scene in a game that could be between a woman and a WOMAN(!) you can bet that the news will spread so far that people who haven't even heard of the Xbox 360 itself will know about it. By the way Hellfire, that was a spoiler, feel free to call me an ass. Anyway, apparently there's some boobage in one of the versions but all of the versions rolled up together in the game only warranted a 12 certificate from the British Board of Film Classification (http://www.bbfc.co.uk) so that's pretty good but the buzz surrounding this scene, which is frankly worthy of a pretty bad channel 5 late night movie (Brits will understand, at least those in a semi-decent reception area will understand), is phenomenal. We've had Singapore banning the game because of the country's 'conservative values' (this was later reversed). We've also had some other spoil sport conservatives warning parents (http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewCulture.asp?Page=/Culture/archive/200801/CUL20080111a.html) about the evil game 'feeding porn to kids', spreading misinformation about the game featuring 'explicitly graphic sexual intercourse' and being 'marketed to minors'. Hmm, I guess they forgot to double check with a little thing I like to call The TruthTM just to make sure 'graphic sexual intercourse' is actually present and that the case doesn't feature that 12 certificate I was telling you about before. I think they forgot to mention that the game also includes an extended process of getting to know the character and actually falling for them rather than just leaping under the cover to bump uglies. Curse these terrible games for corrupting the ASBO generation! But thank Kotaku (http://kotaku.com/343793/cybercast-warns-parents-away-from-sexy-mass-effect) for having some sense!
The people in the conservative article linked above seem to be forgetting about the horrors and absurdities covered in what is laughably referred to as the 'news' these days. We have a President declaring war on whatever country he points to on a map that day, celebrities showing their naughty bits getting out of a car, rakes that were apparently humans before they forgot how to eat and are related to famous people proudly displaying their overexposed ribs and 'leaked' sex tapes featuring whoever feels their popularity is waning. All of this is accessible to any kid with access to magazines, newspapers or the internet, and that's without knowing the dirty words required to get to the true filth. But no, apparently the real risk is a game that's actually targeted to the more mature gamer, not because of the sex scene but because of the involvement required to actually enjoy the game.
I know it seems that I'm kind of siding with the stuffy conservative fools there by implying kids shouldn't be exposed to that stuff. In a way that is what I'm saying, obviously young children shouldn't be looking at hardcore sex and that is something that can be prevented, but they should also not be exposed to images of war, glamorised train wreck celebrities and popularised drugs yet all of this happens on the nightly news. The point here though is that we should also not be mollycoddling them and hiding a young teenager away from the real world is asking for trouble.
So where does this leave the games industry? Probably pretty much the same place it was before to be honest. Mass Effect added so much to the genre, but the genre is (the rather ridiculous term) 'space opera' or (the somewhat less ridiculous term) 'RPG' and not 'digital porn'. We've had games in the past including sex, the most notable being GTA with its sex with a prostitute (read: rocking car viewed from the outside with no movement by either character in said car) and of course its notorious hot coffee scene with its square boobs, there's been Duke Nukem with his (clothed) strippers and Tomb Raider with the unofficial, and crap, nude patch so really there's not much difference here. I, for one think it's great that game developers are pushing the boundaries without it being distasteful to anyone but the most vehement prude and relish the thought of them twisting and turning in fear of their prissy, Victorian values being overturned by the more liberal outlook of the modern world.