When it comes to the depiction of sex in any media, it is never gauranteed to be a good one. Video games are certainly no exception to this rule, and the range of scenes and games that have sex scenes in them is certainly interesting.
Videogames have long been a form of media that has had a bizarre relationship with sex, as early videogames barely had the fidelity to support characters in the first place. From the earliest days to now, sex in video games has been a constantly evolving idea.
Like many other elements of videogame design and creation, the earliest depictions of sex in videogames were extremely rudimentary. The earliest games that involved sex did not have to adhere to any sort of rating system, and as such they were free to indulge in the nastiest and most vulgar depictions that they wanted to, even if their visuals were hardly able to keep up.
As video games have matured and improved, the visuals have begun to come in line with the aim of many creators, with mixed results.
Sex scenes and romances have become an extremely common feature in a lot of RPGs, or role playing games. Bioware and their various IPs, such as “Mass Effect” and “Dragon Age” have become poster children for this trend.
Generally speaking, players are only ‘awarded’ a sex scene for completeing a long and usually tedious quest-line in these games. However, the scenes are not necessarily the most pleasing things to watch.
Since these scenes focus on close-up movement of the models, and the game usually is operating further away from the characters, these scenes tend to end up being janky and the opposite of smooth.
Speaking of janky, there has also been a fair share of outright awkward scenes, one of the most notable ones coming from the game “Heavy Rain.” The game revolves around a murder-mystery plot about hunting down a serial killer, however the tone of the entire game falls apart in this scene.
The animation in the scene is frankly not good enough for the cinematic appeal that the game strives for. The game is built to be an interactive experience with a strong focus on intimate storytelling.
The story until this point was somber and melancholy, with a suffocating atmosphere that effectively got those emotions across. That is, until the sex scene between main characters Ethan and Madison occurs.
The scene and the act of sex itself do not lend themselves well to being played out in the format of a videogame. This is painfully clear as the game prompts the player to make a series of button presses, and sucks any enjoyment or emotional impact that may come with the scene itself.
The image of a player pressing the up-arrow in order to remove Ethan’s shirt is one of the funniest and least impactful prompts that has been seen in a long time.
Another infamous moment in the history of sex in video games is the Hot Coffee mod for “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.” Made from leftover code that saw a sequence of the main character, CJ, having sex with his girlfriend the mod shocked a lot of players.
At the time, it caused immense problems for Rockstar Games, the developer. Since it wasn’t disclosed to ratings boards, the game saw it’s rating increased, and Rockstar has since refrained from sex in any of their games.
Aside from these examples of funnier or more ridiculous examples of sex throughout the medium and game industry, there is a darker trend in the depiction of sex. “Rape Day” is an infamous example of this, and generated a great deal of controversy before it’s removal from the online storefront “Steam.”
The game plays out much like the title might suggest, and is extremely callous in its depiction of the actions within the game. The creator of the game has only since doubled down on the message and themes of the game unapologetically.
An important function of sex scenes is to try and make the player more emotionally connected to certain characters, but the effectiveness of this is questionable. Given the nature of video games, the actions within a game are a series of tasks to be completed.
Sex scenes and romances are usually just another set of tasks to be completed. This does occasionally take away from the emotional impact that these interactions are meant to have, regardless of how well it is depicted.