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Sex in Video Games

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

The Devil's Advocate
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The reality of more graphic content in video games these days is that you just don't really show sex in games. Breasts are sometimes okay, a limp penis is rarely okay, but sex if usually played for jokes. With very rare exceptions (The Witcher 3 comes to mind), video games never go out of their way to portray sexual content in anything beyond a fade to black or a crude joke. This is contrary to depictions of violence in games, where graphic violence can find its way into something as lightly rated as a "teen" game, and where portrayals of violence and killing are seen regularly in games rated 'E' for everyone. Just look at the bodycount in something like Ocarina of Time, where Link kills many thinking and feeling creatures, be it out of self-defense or otherwise.

Recently, it was learned that Cyberpunk 2077 would allow the customization of your character all the way down to their gender identity and their genitals. Specifically, one games journalist who played the game early a couple of days ago provided the specifics of how genital customization would work. Players will be able to select a vagina, a circumcised, or an uncircumcised penis. They are then able to use the token slider to adjust size, and are able to select from (at the moment of this person's playing) five different patterns of pubic hair.

This already crosses a few lines games had set in terms of character customization. Just last month, the game was officially rated by the ESRB, giving us some details in terms of what exactly the game contains content-wise. One of these descriptions was first person motion captured sex scenes. While sex scenes aren't anything new for CD Projekt Red, who gave us similar content in The Witcher series, that the scenes are first person is a step further.

But to go back to the original subject:

How do you guys feel about sexual content in games? If you disapprove of it, why do you think that violence in video games should be given a pass?
 
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I mean I play a lot of games solely for the relationship aspect, part of relationships is sex I'd love for more studios to go further. Gaming is an art form and I think depictions of sex are artistic as well.

Mass Effect and the Witcher are two games that come to mind when it comes to sex in video games that I played and quite enjoyed but neither really went that far in my opinion. I'm excited to see what Cyberpunk does.
 

MapelSerup

not actually Canadian
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Violence is a main part of a large number of games, that’s for certain. Violence in a video game is usually a far cry from violence in real life, whether it be cartoony, unrealistic graphics-wise, or unrealistically ridiculous (Mortal Kombat, for example.) It’s easy to tell the difference between violence in media and violence in real life, and each one gives different feelings to the viewer. This is why I’m usually OK with it, and am opposed to anything sexual, which I feel wouldn’t have that distinction.
While I disapprove of sexual content in games, ultimately, it should be left up to the designers. It should be clearly stated on the ratings what content is in the game. Sadly, young children will probably still play. I do not know how this will play in marketing-wise; whether some people, like me, would avoid the game because of this, others might be attracted to it for this reason. Ultimately, people are free to do what they want.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Violence is a main part of a large number of games, that’s for certain. Violence in a video game is usually a far cry from violence in real life, whether it be cartoony, unrealistic graphics-wise, or unrealistically ridiculous (Mortal Kombat, for example.) It’s easy to tell the difference between violence in media and violence in real life, and each one gives different feelings to the viewer. This is why I’m usually OK with it, and am opposed to anything sexual, which I feel wouldn’t have that distinction.
While I disapprove of sexual content in games, ultimately, it should be left up to the designers. It should be clearly stated on the ratings what content is in the game. Sadly, young children will probably still play. I do not know how this will play in marketing-wise; whether some people, like me, would avoid the game because of this, others might be attracted to it for this reason. Ultimately, people are free to do what they want.
But doesn't that just meant that sexual content and violence in games are both about on the same level, but that we've just grown accustomed to the violence in video games? If Link goes and stabs a moblin in the head in a Legend of Zelda game, does the context of that violence change just because there isn't blood splurting everywhere?
 

MapelSerup

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But doesn't that just meant that sexual content and violence in games are both about on the same level, but that we've just grown accustomed to the violence in video games? If Link goes and stabs a moblin in the head in a Legend of Zelda game, does the context of that violence change just because there isn't blood splurting everywhere?
Not exactly. What I meant is that violence in media usually elicits completely different feelings than actual violence. I don’t feel that people have grown accustomed to the violence, but that we can tell the difference between it an actual violence. This is not true for sexual content. Of course, I may be wrong, please tell me if I am. While I will avoid games with sexual content, I feel they have every right to exist.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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Not exactly. What I meant is that violence in media usually elicits completely different feelings than actual violence. I don’t feel that people have grown accustomed to the violence, but that we can tell the difference between it an actual violence. This is not true for sexual content. Of course, I may be wrong, please tell me if I am. While I will avoid games with sexual content, I feel they have every right to exist.
I mean, you can still tell that a sexual act in a video game is fake. While graphics are far more advanced now than they were even ten years ago, they still haven't reached the point where games can be easily confused for reality. I would also suggest that changing the graphical style of the violence doesn't actually detract from the act itself. To continue the Legend of Zelda example, an enemy killed in the somewhat murky graphical style of the t-rated Twilight Princess may not be gushing blood, but it's still obvious what's going on and that Link is killing someone.
 

MapelSerup

not actually Canadian
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I mean, you can still tell that a sexual act in a video game is fake. While graphics are far more advanced now than they were even ten years ago, they still haven't reached the point where games can be easily confused for reality. I would also suggest that changing the graphical style of the violence doesn't actually detract from the act itself. To continue the Legend of Zelda example, an enemy killed in the somewhat murky graphical style of the t-rated Twilight Princess may not be gushing blood, but it's still obvious what's going on and that Link is killing someone.
What I was meaning by that was the feelings you get from each experience. With violence, you never have much joy or despair/guilt by killing in a video game. Sexual content generally gives people’s brains more realistic sensations than violence does, which is why pornography is used by so many people.
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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What I was meaning by that was the feelings you get from each experience. With violence, you never have much joy or despair/guilt by killing in a video game. Sexual content generally gives people’s brains more realistic sensations than violence does, which is why pornography is used by so many people.
I agree that the feeling violence elicits in a video game is important, but I think you could also apply the same treatment to sex. The tone of sex could change based on how the game approaches it, same as the violence is Ocarina of Time is different from the violence in The Last of Us 2. That being said, the violence is still violence, and I don't think that changing the tone of it to elicit different emotions changes that violence is on screen. So, I don't see why it should be normalized and acceptable, but that the standards for sex in video games are different.
 

Ragnarokio

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I think that more diversity in videogames is probably a good thing. I'd like to see a wider variety of ideas explored on both a mechanical and conceptual level and in that sense pushing boundaries and breaking down borders is always a good thing, I think.

I'm personally not a big fan of sexual content. I feel like its pretty rare that the presence of sexual content in a story feels like it contributes to the story in an interesting way rather than just being fanservice.
 

twilitfalchion

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I realize I'm probably in the minority when I say that I think sexual content and fanservice are usually just cheap ways to attract gamers when the game itself is short on substance (Fire Emblem Fates comes to mind) and that I completely dislike their presence in pretty much any game. While my first statement isn't always the case, I can confidently say that sex and fanservice can almost always be removed from a game without changing the content or quality of a game to any significant extent (apart from H-games or adults only titles).

Take the Hyperdimension Neptunia series (an RPG series that a friend of mine on SF loves) for example. The games essentially use fanservice purely for the sake of fanservice, but the gameplay is supposed to be quite good. However, because of the absurd amounts of fanservice, it's an immediate turn off to me and I will never play them. I'm sure the games are good, but because of an aspect that is completely unnecessary, I will never experience them for myself (the characters are actually quite entertaining).

I think that's the biggest reason why companies ought to shy away from letting sex and fanservice become a major part of their games. It alienates certain parts of their potential audience. Nintendo has benefited from this approach for years and I don't see why more companies don't adopt it themselves, but I'm just one guy and that's just my opinion. :shrugs:
 

Bowsette Plus-Ultra

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I realize I'm probably in the minority when I say that I think sexual content and fanservice are usually just cheap ways to attract gamers when the game itself is short on substance (Fire Emblem Fates comes to mind) and that I completely dislike their presence in pretty much any game. While my first statement isn't always the case, I can confidently say that sex and fanservice can almost always be removed from a game without changing the content or quality of a game to any significant extent (apart from H-games or adults only titles).

Take the Hyperdimension Neptunia series (an RPG series that a friend of mine on SF loves) for example. The games essentially use fanservice purely for the sake of fanservice, but the gameplay is supposed to be quite good. However, because of the absurd amounts of fanservice, it's an immediate turn off to me and I will never play them. I'm sure the games are good, but because of an aspect that is completely unnecessary, I will never experience them for myself (the characters are actually quite entertaining).

I think that's the biggest reason why companies ought to shy away from letting sex and fanservice become a major part of their games. It alienates certain parts of their potential audience. Nintendo has benefited from this approach for years and I don't see why more companies don't adopt it themselves, but I'm just one guy and that's just my opinion. :shrugs:
And while it's definitely used that way, what is it that makes including those more risque elements in video games less appropriate than including violent elements?
 

twilitfalchion

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And while it's definitely used that way, what is it that makes including those more risque elements in video games less appropriate than including violent elements?
It doesn't. It's just that I find it more offensive personally than I do violence. Others may feel the reverse to be true, or they may strongly dislike and avoid both. It's a matter of preference.
 

Quin

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I'm totally fine with the way the Witcher 3 does it, but like said above, if its done in a ****ty fanservicy way, like neptunia and xenoblade 2 ect, it turns me off the game
 

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