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