Sexual Maturity for the Gaming Community

Alyx Vance

There are two main concerns at the forefront of the argument against games. The first, and foremost, is violence. The second, though much less prevalent, is sex. Contrary to it’s rarity, especially in comparison to violence, when sex is found in a video game, it often stands as an even greater insult to the perceived “delicate sensibilities” of today’s youth. Many games have come under fire for their portrayal of the birds and the bees, some rightly so (the hot coffee mod of the Grand Theft Auto series) while others not so justifiable. Bioware’s attempt to further their story through character interactions in their Mass Effect series, which allowed for players to not only gain a love interest (unhindered by old age views of hetero- and homosexuality nor inter-species sexuality) but to also have relations with said love interest came under heavy fire from the Fox News Media outlet that spoke harshly, and incorrectly, about the game “leaving NOTHING to the imagination”

But though Fox’s description went far beyond what you could actually do in the game, it leaves one wondering, even if sex was brought in to strengthen the relationship between these characters and not for voyeurism, are gamers really ready for that? Has the game industry, as a whole, progressed to the point where it can take itself seriously enough to present these adult situations and have them be taken as such? Or does gaming still carry the connotation of being for kids? It is certainly leaps and bounds ahead of where it started in terms of who is playing them, but at this moment, the industry has simply not had enough examples where sex is introduced without being taken lightly or for pleasure.

As fighting games continue to show women combatants in the most improbable outfits and “boob physics” seem to be much more important than necessary, a maturation seems far beyond the industries grasp, so much so that even games such as Bayonetta, which sees the titular character exploiting her sexuality  in bale esqe  attacks is taken as anti-feministic rather than it’s intended appreciation of the female form and its grace. However, games such as Portal, with its protagonist Chell, and Half-Life 2 with helper Alex Vance, have both been sighted for introducing strong, independent, female characters that, seemingly for the first time, are not exploited for their sexuality, a true step in the right direction for a more mature game playing experience. Furthermore, the female gaming community has begun to voice their disdain for the objectification of the female characters as sex symbols, going so far as to ask for more female character options in RPGs such as Fallout, Skyrim and the a fore mention Mass Effect series.

chell

Considering the steps being taken by Valve (with Portal and Half-Life 2) as well as the comments of the female gamers, it would be a good guess that the first place to start to bring sex into the gaming world not as a form of entertainment, but to further progress character and plot development, developers must alter their perception of female characters from paper-thin pieces of eye candy to fully fleshed out and respectable citizens within their respective worlds. Though slow, progress has been, and is being made.

However. At this point in time, considering the age of the industry, one would look upon it’s treatment of sexuality with shame and embarrassment at its sheer resistance to maturation. As the Gears of Wars and the Halo’s present female Gears and Spartans that are fully armored up and sometimes kick more ass than the player himself we can hope for a day when we as a community can be looked upon not in shame for our maturity, but with respect as a new, fully matured way to tell stories, but until then we are dragged down by our Soul Caliber and Tekken “hotties” fighting in less than a g-string and making “pain” noises not unlike sex moans.

Soul Caliber

For further reading on this subject, refer to No Sex Please.

  4 comments for “Sexual Maturity for the Gaming Community

  1. Savannah
    January 31, 2013 at 4:10 am

    The fact that Alyx Vance was fully clothed was actually the first thing that made me really like Half Life 2: the game had some dignity. Perhaps this is just me voicing my own female bias, but I cannot take a game seriously if its main female character has the illogical “boob physics” you speak of. I do find it hilarious that some game designers still add big boobies to the situation to somehow suggest that a game is of higher quality. When “Tits Magee” is on the title screen of a game I am about to play I have to wonder: if this is a selling point, then how will the rest of the game be? Was this effect created to make up for a crappy plot? Is it even worth playing if they have to do this to get my attention? I agree, it is just bad taste and bad marketing to implement women in light of old-fashioned chauvinism, especially considering the rising era of the girl gamer.

  2. mkessler
    January 31, 2013 at 11:32 am

    I enjoyed reading your post Anthony, especially since I read it in your voice and could imagine you rant on this topic as if I was sitting there and listening to you, but I disagree in a way. What you’ve presented here is not incorrect in the slightest, but you’ve taken all of this as though we as a people/society have advanced to a point that the gaming industry hasn’t caught up to. That is entirely incorrect. The over use of skimpy outfits and “boob physics” isn’t there because the gamer culture wants it, but rather it is there because normal human society (American, Japanese, Anywhere Else Games are Produced) is not “beyond” this type of sexuality. Sexuality is a normal part of humanity and biology and evolving past it would only serve to hinder the human condition. I understand the over-objectification that is present within video games, but I also know that when the gaming industry stops trying to have sexual portions within their games it would not only be a sign of advance, but also a sign of a coming demise, a loss of the over-arching physical attraction that keeps us dating, loving, and reproducing.

  3. adavis7
    January 31, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    I really enjoyed this post Anthony! I wanted more about the boob physics which you mentioned so breifly though. http://eschergirls.tumblr.com/ is an exellent example of a blog which takes apart the “boob and butt pose” (the physically impossible pose in which both of a woman’s boob and butt are drawn) and why it is so ridiculous! I agree that it is obvious resistance to maturity that can be found not only in the gaming world, but the comic world as well. This blog takes apart the ridiculous female “armor” in many mainstream games and comics. This armor is clearly not there to protect the woman “warriors” but instead to show off their outrageous gravity defying boobs. It seems insane that an industry as far along as the gaming industry would still revert back to the fifteen year old boy cop out of placing women (boobs) in games for the sole purpose of objectification.

  4. darlingchaos
    January 31, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    The thing that really gets me about sex in video games is that so often, it’s used as a selling point rather than as a realistic feature. Want people to buy your game? Throw in a sexy lady! In a lot of story lines, we actually see strong women kicking butt–think Portal, Tomb Raider, Fem!Shepard in Mass Effect etc–and that’s fantastic. And concurrently, a lot of women in video games look pretty damn hot. And I have zero problems with hot women kicking ass–Lara Croft does a good job, even though I’m consistently surprised by the fact that she can dangle by her fingertips from all those cliffs without suffering major chest pain. However, it seems like a ton of titles throw a scantily clad woman on their cover as a point of attraction to their audience–generally considered to be younger and mostly male.

    I agree that the industry continues to view sexuality as a shameful kind of thing, but they know that sex and scandal sell. I really hope we see more realistic and therefore enjoyable representations soon.

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