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Obsidian On Sex In Games: Simply "Part Of Human Interaction"

Earlier, we learned that Obsidian Entertainment wasn't going to offend anyone with the "tasteful yet satisfying" sexual content in their upcoming RPG, Alpha Protocol. But some say it's still unnecessary.

Not true, says lead creative designer Chris Avellone. He was asked if sex is only in video games to titillate the teenagers, and Avellone responded:

"I think it's an important step, and it's not sex for sex's sake, but it's part of human interaction that makes you more involved in the game world and your characters. Just like in the real world, sex runs the range from entertainment to a symbol of the depth of feeling between two people, and not having that reflected in a role-playing experience feels does RPGs an injustice."

And while gamers everywhere just roll their eyes when sex in games becomes heavily controversial in the mass media, we all know that much of the mainstream media hasn't realized that gaming moved beyond the realm of "toys" about a quarter-century ago. After all, sex in movies is hardly anything new, and it has been known to be essential to the plot and not merely for the sake of extra viewers. So why is it a subject at all? Well, Avellone equates video games more to TV than to film, saying sex will need to be more acceptable on mainstream TV and when that happens, "games won't be far behind."

Well, that's one way to look at it. But we'll just take the logical route: games have ratings, and some are designed for adults. Games have stories, and if that story benefits and/or needs sexual content for authenticity or realism purposes, than so be it. If it's just gratuitous, forget it. ...there, that wasn't so hard.

Related Game(s): Alpha Protocol

8/5/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (37 posts)

robinhood2010
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 10:53:05 AM
Reply

There will be people who complain about any given situation. Old women will sit and watch a TV show simply to complain about it later. WHy carry on watching if you don't like it?

Simply, if it offends you or you do not like it, do not buy it.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:00:36 AM
Reply

Sex in games or movies for that matter don't get me "more involved". It just makes me shake my head in disappointment because 9 time out of 10 promiscuity is glorifed without showing the real world consequences.

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Highlander
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:13:16 AM

Dude, you'd have a lot more credibility if you reserved the same outrage for the death and violence in TV, movies and games as you do for sex.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:30:02 AM

Once again, seeing death and violance as a kid didn't make me want to commit murder or violance. Seeing a naked woman did however make me want to explore the subject more thoroughly. Your comparing apples and oranges.

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Highlander
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:36:04 AM

And you're ignoring the fact that if you contend that sources of entertainment can change your behavior in terms of sex, then they are equally capable of doing the same thing in terms of violence.

It offends me no end that you jump on your moral high horse talking about promiscuity and yet seem to be willing to excuse death and violence in the same breath.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:44:01 AM

Your accusing me of excusing it but no where in my statment did I say it was ok. I said it wasn't the same. There's no direct link to violence on tv making kids violent but there is a direct link to over exposer to sex makes kids engage in it sooner.

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Highlander
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:00:27 PM

You just did exactly what I said. You made a causal link with sex, and dismissed such a link with violence. You can't have it both ways.

I'm done discussing this topic with you in this or any thread, your stubborn refusal to see the simple contradiction in your position makes productive discussion impossible.

Last edited by Highlander on 8/5/2009 12:01:57 PM

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:25:53 PM

Jawknee: You really need to revise your thinking.

I hold a Psychology degree and trust me when I say, there are NUMEROUS studies that prove beyond any shadow of a doubt that viewing violence in any form of media during the young, developmental stages of human development can and DOES increase aggressive behavior, resistance to authority figures, and choosing to resort to violence before trying peaceable actions.

On the flip side, while the positive correlation between sexual situations and dysfunctional behavior is also evident, it's actually not anywhere near as cut and dry. I've studied this a great deal. Anybody who says sex has more of a negative impact than violence is WRONG, regardless of personal experience.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 8/5/2009 12:26:51 PM

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:29:16 PM

Haha ok buddy. What ever you say. Don't get butt hurt because I don't agree wth you. I find it equally offensive that anytime you have a diagreement with me you put words in my mouth. I find over exposer to sex and violence both troubling just not equally.

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Ben Dutka PSXE [Administrator]
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:40:32 PM

Christ. It has nothing to do with what I say. I'm simply talking about studies, and whether or not you AGREE with them is completely irrelevant. It's not about opinion; the results are clear.

Maybe if you actually do some research on a subject before making claims, you won't look so foolish in the words you DO use.

Last edited by Ben Dutka PSXE on 8/5/2009 12:41:26 PM

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:49:40 PM

Ben, my post after your repsonse wasn't directed at you. Your post was posted while i was typing mine. I didn't see your response until after I refreshed the page. Misunderstanding.

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CH1N00K
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 1:09:47 PM

How many times did you a see a kid after seeing a violent movie though that went out and played guns afterwards, while mimicking the character? Or kids that watched wrestling want to try out these "cool new Moves" on their little brother. Or how about all the Jackass knockoffs after those movies came out?

One of the main reasons you don't go out and kill people after watching a violent movie? Umm..it's illegal and the consequences are much more severe if you get caught doing it then if you get caught having sex.

Now I am going to say that there are very few movies out there where sex has actually advanced the plot any. For bad movies, they use those scenes to make sales. For good movies they help give the audience a feel for the deepness of the relationship between characters.

In the end it's going to depend on the director, and with games it will be the same thing.

Is it necessary? Not really, they can always do "James Bond" style of love scenes if need be. Not much nudity but portrays character development and attachments. But if I see a Ratchet and Clank's: Quest for Booty: Adult Version? No thanks.

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www
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 1:51:38 PM

Lol, here we go again...

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Highlander
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:06:04 AM
Reply

Nice article Ben. I agree, although I would remind you that many people will (unfortunately) equate titillation with sex, and titillation in games is alive and well and living in the DOA series...among others.

One thing about saying that games, like movies, have ratings and some are designed for adults. The only trouble I have there is that proponents of 'adult entertainment' will use precisely that argument to push games in the world of adult entertainment. I just hope that by the time that starts to happen, the game market and media are mature enough to realize that such games are like top shelf magazines and movies that carry NC-17 or X ratings. I don't advocate their creation, but I am sure that it will happen.

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englishgolfer
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:06:58 AM
Reply

just wait until the new wand controller comes out! oh the possibilites......

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Effi
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:11:39 AM
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i see it as the author's take on sex

interesting to see wat goes on in their heads when they make it

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Phoelix
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:13:36 AM
Reply

People complaining about sex in video games forget that a ten-year-old could walk into Wal-Mart and buy the unrated version of a bunch of different movies.

And 99.9% of unrated movies are as such so they can show, ahem, breasts.

They've got something bigger on their hands than video games.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:32:57 AM

Actually they can't because Wal-Mart actually enforces the Rating system. I was ID'd for buying Terminator on blue Ray and I'm a 28 year old with a beard.

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Highlander
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:39:21 AM

@Jawknee
Not all wall-Mart locations are as good at enforcement as yours, and not all retailers are as concerned about it. However the biggest issue is parents who don't give a damn, buying M rated games and R rated movies for the home and not controlling their use. Stores failing to enforce ratings is a small part of the problem, parents failing to enforce ratings at home is a monster by comparison.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:47:56 AM

I should have clarified, from my experience they are pretty good at enforcement and I don't disagree, most of this responsibilty lies with the parents however I think a lot of these parents aren't the "gaming generation". Many of them still assume games are for kids and feel their kids a safe.

Last edited by Jawknee on 8/5/2009 11:49:24 AM

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vicious54
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:10:02 PM

Parents are pretty stupid these days. Also, from my experience retailers require ID for R rated movies and M rated games but the parent is to blame for not asking or caring why they carry these ratings.

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Phoelix
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 8:28:55 PM

UNrated movies don't have a rating. Hence, they can be sold to anybody.

They won't ID you for buying an unrated movie.

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556pineapple
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 11:50:36 AM
Reply

With this growing trend, I'm wondering when we'll get to see Princess Peach lose her "Fire Flower" if you catch my drift.

Last edited by 556pineapple on 8/5/2009 11:50:54 AM

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G_Wurm
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:08:19 PM
Reply

Only way to spice up the already horrible stories that are in video games.

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Jordahn
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:12:25 PM
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I love sex. It enhances my marriage. Too bad something so wonderful has been abused and twisted by watering down the sacred promise between a man and a woman. Now, I'm not condemning a game or anyone who condones sex in video games. When I see a real or virtual beautiful woman, I acknowledge it, but I don't lust after it which is where the real problem lies. I've seen plenty of movies with "strong" language, violence, and sex. We don't live in a perfect world, and when I engage in entertainment media such as a movie, I can see past most of the "excessive" behavior as long as it isn't condoned and glorified as righteous and isn't the main plot of the movie. And we all have personal tolerances in which we all should not judge one another for those different tolerances. But when something is just immoral it's just simply immoral. The real issue is how it's presented and for what intent.

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Vivi_Gamer
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 12:32:36 PM
Reply

i dont mind Sex in cut-scenes, though knowing its digital still makes it silly, but actually controlling sex on a game is really immoral, but that could also be said for the amount of violence in modern gaming.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 3:19:28 PM

Immoral is kind of strong, "Thou shalt not make thine digital avatars fark eachother?"

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chucknasty
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 1:59:02 PM
Reply

I think some games really do benefit from sexual tension between characters (FFVII, Bully, Uncharted). Nudity can be done well (God of War). That's about all there is to it.

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BTNwarrior
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 2:51:41 PM
Reply

Hell, as long as the game itself isn't exclusively about sex, I think sex can be benificial in making a game more realistic and more relavent to gamers.

I mean this wouldn't be the first RPG to do it, anyone remember how sex was in Fallout 2? If you played that game you probably don't remember it just as the game that had sex in it, you just remember it as a great game that had a lot of depth and character development.

Last edited by BTNwarrior on 8/5/2009 2:52:01 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 3:24:10 PM
Reply

Got to agree with this guy as games become more character driven and/or open ended and has "You can do whatever you want" style of gameplay sex just seems pretty normal to me. Obviously it has a time and a place (it wouldn't make any sense to see mario humping the princess) so what's the problem? Art, Literature, movies, music, it all has sex so why is it immoral and bad in games?

<insert righteous personal opinion here>

Anyone remember Quantic Dream's first game Omikron? You had sex in the first 10 minutes.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 8/5/2009 3:24:22 PM

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Crabba
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 5:24:28 PM
Reply

It really is pathetic that this is a controversy at all. As soon as there's a digital breast or something sex related in games (like the hot coffee thing for example) there's an outcry from, well lets face it the Hallelujah people.

What's funny is like 90% of popular games are about killing people, and somehow that's almost never a problem at all. Games like Gears of war, Resident evil, Resistance, killzone are basically all about killing people as brutally and with as much blood coming out as possible, with little to no story behind them at all, yet that never stirs any controvery.

BTW I've played violent games since I was a kid, and even (the horrors) played promiscuous games like Leisure suit Larry (call the Governator immediately Hawknee!!) and I wouldn't hurt a fly (ok actually I do but I don't think that's from watching The Fly back in the day...)

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Phoelix
Wednesday, August 05, 2009 @ 9:20:12 PM
Reply

Ben has there been a study comparing the effects of more mindless violence (GTA, etc.) to games with a purpose (you know, where you're the hero like Call of Duty)?

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___________
Thursday, August 06, 2009 @ 4:15:05 AM
Reply

meh i dont believe those studies.
i was watching R rated movies when i was bloody 10, my firs was blade love that movie an old time classic.
hell i remember playing doom and duke nukem when i was like 8.
theres allot of lebs at my tafe now there aggressive even look at them and they will bite your head off.
im sick of the media using games as a scapegoat, im surprised they havent found a way to blame 911 on video games yet...... give them time.
its BS like this is why i have to put up with games constantly getting banned.
fallout 3 got banned for having the word morphine in it.
but than i saw a epp of south park today where the 6th graders are smoking weed.
drug use in a cartoon show is ok for a M rating.
drug use in a game is not ok for a MA rating.
M has no age restrictions.
MA has a 15+ restriction.
im lost.
same with violence in underworld she slices the guys head in half and you can see his brain.
thats fine for a MA movie, but dark sector got banned because it has head removing.
im lost shouldent games and movies be treated the same?
whats MA for a movie should be MA for a game, not MA for a movie and R for a game its just stupid.
whats the difference of watching something and watching yourself do something.
i can imagine whats going to happen to saw the game, i just watched a trailer where you open a door than your head explodes. classic!
looks like another game im getting of ebay.

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Highlander
Thursday, August 06, 2009 @ 12:07:41 PM

My god, the irony of your own words is almost too much to take.

Juxtaposing your first two sentences and your last two sentences makes for some head contorting reading.

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___________
Friday, August 07, 2009 @ 10:03:48 AM
Reply

because i like something means ill do it?
seriously come on just because i say seeing some ones head explode does not mean im going to go out and do so.

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dazy
Monday, August 10, 2009 @ 9:45:35 PM
Reply

"however I think a lot of these parents aren't the "gaming generation". Many of them still assume games are for kids and feel their kids a safe."
That's crap. "a lot of these parents" with kids of an age that this matters, would probably be about my age(40-ish or thereabouts) and they damn well know better. They're parents, not morons who exist in oblivion. They watch TV, they read the news, they speak and interact with other humans, so I'm fairly certain that they are aware of the issues.

And come on people. Assuming we are the intelligent beings we claim to, don't we know the difference between TV/movie/book/game violence and sex, and actual reality? Just because I see it/hear it/read about it/play it doesn't mean I'm inclined to do it. Anyone that's that swayed by a fantasy world has bigger issues than we can fix here.

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shootu
Monday, August 10, 2009 @ 10:44:49 PM
Reply

There are ratings on MOVIES AND GAMES! End of story. Its up to the parent if they are a good parent or a DUMASS!

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