A Fine Line: Sex Appeal vs. Gratuity

With the maturation of the gaming community at large, sex has become a much more influential factor in modern video games. Once upon a time, Colonal Custard’s Revenge was considered racey (and remains controversial to this day, for obvious reasons), but many games now feature sex scenes as cinematics – The Witcher 2: Assassination of Kings, The Secret World, and the Grand Theft Auto series are just a few of such titles. In terms of just how graphic these instances are,the scenes range from mere implication (the oral scene in The Secret World) to softcore pornography (every sex scene in The Witcher 2 – one of my all time favorite games, but the fact still stands).

Now, I’m not one to judge sexual content. Everyone likes sex. It sells. It’s fun. But what do we, the gamers, get out of having these racy scenes? Do they really add to the finished product?

Personally, I feel that there’s a very fine line between acceptable sexual content in video games and gratuity. A tasteful implication, which is difficult enough to manage on its own, can say so much more than a graphic cinematic. I have never found myself offended by sex scenes, but I feel oftentimes that the video game industry could take a hint from daytime television and instill limits on what sort of content makes it into their games. There’s a difference between sex appeal and fan service: the former can be subtle but powerful, whereas the latter is better suited for less mature venues. All that is required to make this transition is a little more effort on the developers’ part.

“Show, don’t tell,” is a cliche for a reason. We, the gaming community, don’t need our hands held to know what’s going on; treat us like adults, and the industry as a whole will benefit.

What do you think? Do you feel that graphic sex scenes have a place in games, or should we as gamers endeavor for a more conservative angle? Keep in mind that games with these scenes are rated “MA” and will not fall into the hands of a minor unless illegally obtained or through parental consent.

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