This post will be a ramble, just warning you.
As an industry there has been a visible shift in how we look at sex, sexuality, race, gender, and so on in video games. If I am totally honest I have done my best to keep out of this petty gamer game vs social justice warrior mess as ultimately 90% of the people want the same thing regardless of which side they are on. The other 10% take the debate to another level with various threats to both sides given by both sides. These acts are deplorable to the utmost and I very much doubt any reasonable person involved, regardless of side would disagree.
Ultimately I will defend a developers right as a fellow creative to put whatever they want in their game, however creative freedom does not give you freedom from criticism. However I believe if it is a real form of creative expression you will stand by it. I shall also defend a critics right to critique a game in whatever fashion they like, I may not agree with them, but it is their opinion. I also defend a readers right to criticise that critics opinion. All this may seem fairly obvious, but to me it does seem as though people are only interested in this basic system of rights only applies when you are making a point.
I have never really found hyper sexualised games interesting, this may just be because I don’t find sex particularly interesting in general, but for some reason barely clothed females with massive breasts has never appealed to my gaming taste. However I one hundred percent understand that for many it does, my girlfriend loves them, and there are hundreds of games that have been consistently made over decades that appeal to this. Games that use the aesthetics of a character to stimulate the player, use sex as a motivator to progress in a story etc. This is fine, hell Mass Effect is my favourite game series ever and those games are one of the biggest culprits of this.
There is nothing wrong with sex in games, go for it, but it has been done before, and honestly it is boring. The same however, in my experience, can not be said for looking at sex in a different way in video games. Games have the power to bring forward emotions and darkness that is simply unattainable in other media. There are plenty of games that use sex as a motivator, plenty of games that disregard sex full stop. Both are fine, but you know what I’d like to see? Sex and sexualisation used in a different way. People frequently defend sexualisation under the term “creative integrity” however in my mind there is not much creative about doing what has been done before. What would be creative is to turn our expectations of sex in video games upside-down. Provide a new way of seeing things. Using it in different ways other than just eye candy.
I remember when the previous Tomb Raider game was revealed, and there was a massive outcry at the potential that Lara Croft might have been raped during the game. I understand why Square Enix didn’t pursue this, they have to make money, but that is the moment when I really started to notice, how little sex is used in a dark way, how glorified it is.
You have a right to put whatever the fuck you like in your games. But don’t sit there and tell me how creative you’re being because you designed a woman with barely any clothes and massive tits. Films, books, tv all explore this the darker side to sex and our society in general. Why should games not? we’re the most powerful media. But we seem so set on avoiding this, and my only theory is that people believe by games exploring this, by people asking for this, by critics asking for something different, we will lose everything else. That is simply naive, short sighted, and ultimately detrimental to the industry.
Variety doesn’t just make new games, it makes us value others too.
I don’t know, this is my first article in a long time, and was more or less just a ramble about some of my thoughts.
Let me know what you think.
Thanks for reading,