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It’s been a while since the first instalment of Overdoing It hit your lovely faces, so I thought it was just about time to fill up your spank banks thirsty minds. If you want to check out part one of the series, you can head over to Overdoing It: Sequelmania.

I think it’s safe to say that, despite the burgeoning number of females in the gaming market, there are still enough guys around to warrant a bit of sexy time in video games. Men thrive off sexually-driven material, let’s be honest, and when coupled with the interactive nature of games, it can get ridiculously easy for developers to pop out the odd tit or two in order to increase sales.

But when does eye candy turn into mere exploitation for profit? And can we even call unclothed pixels exploitation? Follow me as I attempt to unveil how some developers are skirting the line between good-humored entertainment and full-blown pornography.

Despite Nick Simberg’s NSFW article way back in October, I can’t really remember a time throughout the nineties when I encountered blatantly sexual events or overtones in a game. Sure, they were around, and perhaps it was just my parents nudging those types of games out of my reach, but sexual themes seem to be far more prevalent in today’s gaming – and society – than they were 15 years ago.

Picking up The Saboteur last year, I was amused to discover that there were two ways that you could play the game: censored or uncensored. The Midnight Club DLC allowed you to sneak a peek at some finely formed female specimens that were (probably) made by some sweaty geek in a Hooters t-shirt.

Since I’d rented the game, there was no unique code that allowed me to unlock this feature. I felt like investigating (yeah, let’s run with that: investigating) this little extra, so I went online in an attempt to pick up an unused or universal code. Without any luck, I simply checked out the DLC in the Xbox Marketplace, only to discover that it was free for the remainder of the day. Shazam!

Of course, free boobies aren’t the only things included in The Midnight Club, but you wouldn’t know that from EA’s marketing scheme. It’s funny how something so useless as a 10-second opening sequence of a topless, pixelated dancer can create such a huge forum of opinions online. And, let’s be sensible here, you can find plenty more of that stuff (and worse) in Google Images – and it won’t cost you 400 MS Points ($5).

For myself, all of this sexy time started way back in 2003. It was an innocent period in gaming for me, filled with a sprinkling of Sam Fisher and a hell of a lot of Master Chief. Then a little thing called Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball came along. All of a sudden the number of teenage boys wearing baggy pants skyrocketed, and everyone wanted a piece of the bouncy-bouncy action.

DOAX was the first game of my generation that basically said, “Fuck it. Let’s make money off horny boys.” Team Ninja made no apologies for what they had created, and some journalists even went so far as to praise the game for its ingenuity. IGN even slapped an Editor’s Choice Award on it, and served it up with a side dish of 9.2 – really IGN? Really?

Sure, there was more to the game than simply choosing the girl with the skimpiest bikini and watching replays of every serve, but, at its core, DOAX was a poor release. How they managed to turn batshit crazy gameplay into a boner-fest for junior high kids is beyond me, but it somehow worked – Dead or Alive Xtreme 2 is a testament to that.

While these types of games go to ridiculous lengths in order to make a buck, others acknowledge the attraction of sexuality in games while still retaining their self-respect. Bayonetta managed to create one of the most alluring characters in video game history without stooping to the level of companies like Team Ninja. An attractive and nerdy protagonist had no need for ludicrously revealing attire (heresy!), and she was able to manage sex appeal without degrading her character. Dumb blondes with big knockers are no match for bespectacled, leather-clad witches, in my books.

Don’t get me wrong, Sega used Bayonetta’s attractiveness to its full extent – who could forget that infamous “ass” screenshot from a few months back? What they didn’t do, however, was come up short on gameplay. When developers and publishers decide that sex is all their games need to sell, it’s a sad day for our medium that tries so hard to be recognized alongside film, music, and art.

Let’s not shy away from the power of attraction in gaming. On the contrary, let’s use it in an intelligent and enjoyable manner that chooses not to degrade. At some point over the past few years, a line became hazy; far too many developers have been blindly stumbling over it ever since.

  1. I want to see some tatties!

    Agreed, sex in games is a great thing, but should be used to enhance the experience rather than use it to sell a crappy game.

  2. Haha, I predicted the first picture I saw when I came in here would be from DoA… you have not let me down. :)

    Good article. While I can’t speak from a woman’s point of view, I think Bayonetta’s sex appeal ends up being a lot more admirable than the design of most other women in games.

  3. I think Bayonetta handled sex appeal BRILLIANTLY, and I think the relationships you can explore in ME2, and how that is handled are really excellent as well. Games are seeing some great growth in maturity, and I love it.

    • avatar Nora

      It was nearly islismobpe to choose, so I will just go with my first gut feeling. 9 & 16. I’m a fan on Facebook! I hope your clients/fans love your contest as much as mine do I’m sure they will because your work is AMAZING! Wonderful year!

  4. Speaking from a woman’s point of view, games are blatantly sexual. It’s something I’ve noticed ever since Prince of Persia: Warrior Within, as we first got acquainted with Shahdee via a view of her ass before her face.

    That being said, when I installed my copy of Saboteur, I immediately went into the settings and chose to play the uncensored version. Why? A few flashed tits and some ass here and there does not bother me, even as a heterosexual female. Game censorship does.

    While I agree that some games have relied solely on their sex appeal in order to appeal to the broader audience of male gamers, it seems the latest iteration of games which feature scantily clad women are at least doing so with more artistic direction than they were previously.

    As for “girl gamers” who are easy offended by a boob here and some ass there, you’re playing in a man’s world. What do you expect?

  5. “As for “girl gamers” who are easy offended by a boob here and some ass there, you’re playing in a man’s world. What do you expect?”

    Amen sister!

  6. avatar Zombie Rollz

    Curtis Takaichi,

    I love sex in games regardless of how crappy they are. Which is why I like Gods Of War even more!

  7. It’s an interesting point – I think if anyone were to be offended by a little pixely nudity they should just get a life. I loved Rockstar’s approach to the matter – they included something for the ladies: a full-frontal man in one of the GTA4 downloads – the outraged male response to this cracked me up!

  8. I don’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think that women are as thrilled about male full-front nudity than men are about tits and ass.

    I like realism in games and film, so it’s not really an issue for me. I think the sort of “girl gamers” that Ashely mentions that would be offended wouldn’t be drawn to those sorts of games anyway.

  9. I loved what DA:O did with the whole question:

    Man looking for woman, check.
    Man looking for man, check.
    Man looking for both at the same time, check.

    And vice versa.

    Plus, you even got to choose the type of person you wanted to whore around with!

    I was just happy that after my 6th? trip to the brothel I didn’t catch some elusive Dwarven STD.

  10. @swallow: Male frontal nudity in games has the same effect for most decent girl gamers that female frontal nudity has. You look at it and go, “Wow, there’s naked pixels on my screen.” There’s no fapping or drooling or blow up dolls involved.

    As for the type of gamers which are interested in this.. I installed the Hot Coffee patch for San Andreas, just to see it. :>

  11. I don’t care if my character avatar is a nearly naked broad or a beeping blue square, as long as the game-play mechanics are fun it’s a successful game.

  12. I take it the gap between articles was a result of intensive reseach, Simon

  13. avatar dood

    I hate sex, nudity and ovesized things in games.. it makes me fell low, cheap, and have no respect for them, but there are exceptions, bayonetta being an example

  14. avatar catsgal

    -dood- “I hate sex, nudity and oversized things in games…” If you’re so sensitive about such “things” maybe you shouldn’t play games, in fact you shouldn’t watch movies, tv shows, lady gaga.. or step outside because you might run into “oversized things” in the real world. I’m constantly amazed on how anal, and sexually repressed Westerners-Americans are. Being bombarded constantly by images of violence is perfectly fine, but everyone draws the line when cleavage is involved. The Japanese who gave us DOAX have the right attitude towards all this, they don’t care about sex, but extreme violence is frowned upon. They just happen to have one of lowest crime rates on earth, compared to America(which has the polar opposite viewpoints) which has one of the highest. In fact some US cities are considered war zones almost. Makes you wonder.

  15. avatar ashley

    i love you sex me

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