Every once in a while comes a game that manages to shake up the entire industry with it’s brute honesty. The way the gaming industry responds to such games normally exposes a deep underlying double standard, but still falls right in line with what we, as a society, believe in. Are we, as gamers, a hypocritical group?
The game RapeLay, (for those who don’t know) is a game about a male character who stalks a mother and her two daughters and rapes them. Now clearly this is not a game that children should be exposed to, hence why the content rating system was brought to the industry. Rapelay caused a huge controversy worldwide, and was banned in several countries, with the doubtful honor of being the first game to ever be banned in Argentina. (Please don’t get me wrong, I have no intentions of ever playing the game; it’s just not my type of thing, similar to to how WOW is not my thing. And by no means am I promoting rape, or the game. I mean, I don’t always have sex…but when I do, I prefer it to be consensual) Now fast forward to Mass Effect 3, where the game included the option for a male character to romance another male, and included a gay sex scene… the gaming community had something to say about that as well.
Ok, ok ok! So far we get it, NO RAPE and NO GAYS in our video games seems to be the safe way to go, right? Well…..not quite. You see, just recently Steam removed the erotic game Seduce Me from its marketplace as it was deemed to be offensive. Now no one is really sure about the exact content of the game; from what we know and have seen of it, it does appear to be a game about 2 adults – 2 consenting adults – having sex. So what is the issue this time around? In video games, I have killed as many fictional characters as any other dictator or war criminal has in real life (I’ve been playing for over 20 years – I know, I started very young, lol). I’ve taken more head shots than any other living, breathing real life sniper has. I’ve dismembered characters, stolen their cars, set them on fire, killed policemen… you name it. If it involves violence, then I’ve done it in the game world.
Yet, only once, have I had to direct my character step by step to undress a woman and kiss her. (Spoilers, Spoiler Alert) That game was Heavy Rain, and I only got to kiss her and that’s it. Next thing I know my character was waking up. I think it was because the execs or developers didn’t want to have their games banned and decided that, in a game where we’re after a serial killer who kidnapped and killed little boys, and where I have to investigate their bodies and even mutilate my character, a sex scene would just be too much.
Every medium of self expression has crossed this minefield, that is, the human sexuality, while juggling knives. It wasn’t an easy battle, and it did leave scars, but as Solid Snakes once said “Who dares, wins!” And those industries didn’t just win, they’ve managed to educate their audience and critics alike about the pleasures and horrors of human sexuality. In the process, they’ve also managed to show that life doesn’t just consist of the polar extremes of life and death as the video game world often puts it, but is rather made up of the various emotions and transformations that create the human experience.
The Gaming Industry lags very far behind that bar of progression. One could argue that we haven’t even started. Sure we have beautiful girls with big boobs and sexy outfits in our games, but that’s not sexuality, that’s simply cosplay. We’ve explored all the many different ways one man can kill another in gaming, but we can’t even fathom the thought of one man loving another. We pride ourselves on kill counts, and gutting our opponents, but the idea of two consenting adults displaying themselves sexually on a similar level cannot be tolerated in our world?
What are your thoughts on this matter? Is gaming ready for sex? Or are we still too young and immature of an industry for such mature content?