Sex Is A Part Of Games: Get Over It
Listen up, people: there's this little thing called overcompensation. You learn about it in Psychology 101; you don't need my full-fledged degree to understand the concept. I refuse to define it (if you need help, Google it or better yet, open an effing book), and I'll just assume you're familiar with the term, anyway...and there is no better explanation for all these self-righteous articles concerning sexual situations in video games.
You'll see them pop up every time a controversial game scene gets any press. The authors desperately attempt to be the rational, adult voices of reason by standing atop their soapbox and proclaiming, "we don't need that in games!" and "it doesn't make the game any better" and "we're not all adolescents with raging hormones." In response to the latter, no, you're not, but the vast majority of avid gamers are still male, and the vast majority of those males fall into the 18-35 age group. If you combine this with the painfully obvious fact that gaming is a massive multi-billion-dollar industry, the business angle is assured. It's something Hollywood has been doing for decades and to think gaming is somehow "above" that is absurd, and it's equally absurd to believe the sexual content in gaming is in some way "demeaning" either the product itself or the player. We're not children anymore; we're mature individuals who can process such information in an appropriate manner. And the rating system tries to insure that such content won't be seen by those too young to correctly process that information.
For the record, I'm not condoning the idea of creating a game based entirely around sex. ...but how many of those have there been? Like 6? This is not an issue in our industry; there is not a sudden, disgusting, uncalled-for influx of sex and filth in our video games, so stop pretending as if there is. Yes, with advanced technology and as games creep ever closer to film, you will see more sexual content on our screens when interacting with video media. "Sex sells" has never been truer, and until I see significant evidence of major "sex titles" that actually score well and fare well on the sales charts, I am not about to say there's an issue. Nobody is going to play God of War III for the breasts. Nobody. Everybody played BMX XXX for the T&A but how many "everybodys" were there? 22? That alone proves that gamers are interested in the interactive, immersion-based aspects of video games, so we needn't defend ourselves for no reason.
And lastly, let's just face it: the dude writing the anti-sex gaming article is the 19-year-old computer science major, living at home and feigning maturity in order to potentially gain the respect of others and even the interest of females. It's the same idea as two guys checking out a PlayBoy in a store and one of their girlfriends walks in, and the chick's boyfriend suddenly goes, "yeah man, how can you read this crap?" It's transparent and it's overcompensating. The worst part is this: those who are mature, secure, and well-adjusted see directly through those complaining articles. They see through them as easily as a parent sees through a child's lie ("no mom, I didn't take the candy bar," with chocolate all over his face). There may be sex scenes in games, but if the game is bad, nobody gives a crap. If the game is good, it's just there; it's hardly a focal point. This is the way things are currently and until it changes, I won't be standing on a high-and-mighty soapbox.
Common sense will recognize a problem. Overreacting to a brief sex scene or even random nudity in games is the act of someone who has an ulterior motive. Plain and simple.
7/5/2009 Ben Dutka