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#1 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -


#2 Edited by Animasta (14460 posts) -

I was arguing with a friend a while back about how steam wouldn't let that stupid 'sexy' card game on greenlight a while back or something, and it lead to discussing sex in games. I realized that I aint never saw a sex scene that really added to a game. Like, I'm not necessarily talking about foreplay or after, but I specifically mean the physical act of sex that involves an orgasm or two. He even tried to make the argument that it was stuff involved with Katawa Shoujo, and I never felt like I was really missing anything (I turned off the sex scenes for most of the routes). The burn victim being shy about sex... no shit? like come on. I didn't need that sex scene to tell me THAT. I don't really CARE about them, necessarily; it's not like I'm some prude and that I don't think they should have them, but I just wonder what the point of most of them are beyond being something to masturbate to.

Anyway, I was just wonderin what y'all thought about it. I mean this is about games but this can be about other stuff too.

#3 Posted by FluxWaveZ (19155 posts) -

They can add to a game just as much as movies or books can. It just needs to be executed well.

So far, I don't believe I've seen a sex scene that I've cared for in a game. That doesn't mean they should not be attempted.

#4 Posted by Akyho (1549 posts) -

As much as a sex scene in a movie matters.

I find sex scenes nothing but pushing the button of going "Hey look...its almost PORN! SEX SELLS!!"

#5 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ: but I've never seen a sex scene in a movie or book that really added to anything either; I'm more specifically talking about something that is beyond "HERE WE ARE PREPARING TO HAVE SEX" and then cut and then "OK WE HAD THE SEX NOW", if you get what I'm saying. Preparing to have sex can add the same thing the sex scene does.

#6 Posted by aznjon12 (188 posts) -

They add room for sequels featuring their offspring.

#7 Posted by Fredchuckdave (4479 posts) -

No, or at least not yet. Note the vast majority of the time they don't add anything to movies either. The Departed is a much better movie without the love side-plot for instance. I loathe fan service in general, those games that feature sex scenes thus far do so in an exceptionally immature way with the notable exception of the Witcher 2 (not that they add anything to that game, but at least they're not terrible)

#8 Posted by Sbaitso (363 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

They can add to a game just as much as movies or books can. It just needs to be executed well.

So far, I don't believe I've seen a sex scene that I've cared for in a game. That doesn't mean they should not be attempted.

Pretty much what he said. They certainly have the potential to add an emotional or sexual charge to a story, so far they just haven't.

#9 Posted by Phatmac (5686 posts) -

The Witcher 2 sex scene between Garalt and Merigold was pulled off well and it developed a stronger romance between the two. I still generally agree that sex scenes in games are weird even in story games like Dragon Age and Mass Effect.

#10 Posted by FLStyle (4396 posts) -

The only one I can think of that stands out in my mind as tastefully done and not merely a BioWare Love Interest scene or some God of War mini-game was Heavy Rain, but even then that seemed weird in the game's context, Ethan was quite injured as I recall.

#11 Posted by Hizang (8534 posts) -

Now thats some Hot Coffee.

#12 Posted by Video_Game_King (34600 posts) -

Didn't it add a lot to Hanako's route in Katawa Shoujo? It was a pretty big plot point. I mean, how would they have that later conversation without referencing the sex scene? And in God of War's case (and Katawa Shoujo's), doesn't it also reinforce characterization?

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#13 Posted by Sploder (917 posts) -

Gives me something to wank about so I don't have to turn the game off they are very convenient

#14 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

Didn't it add a lot to Hanako's route in Katawa Shoujo? It was a pretty big plot point. I mean, how would they have that later conversation without referencing the sex scene? And in God of War's case (and Katawa Shoujo's), doesn't it also reinforce characterization?

the thing is, the actual sex didn't need to be there. You can just as easily write it as "oh, hanako is being really shy about taking off her clothes for the sex we are about to have" and then cut to after sex; it reinforces the same thing without the physical act of sex.

#15 Posted by GERALTITUDE (2812 posts) -

There are lots of meaningful sex scenes in movies, but of course like all good taste it's getting rarer and rarer (grumble grumble). In games they're mostly unnecessary. At the very least they are all awkward. Every now and then a developer comes close. The Witcher is a good example of how to take a funny idea and turn the dial too far. That Geralt walks around with a deck of pin-up cards of the girls he's laid is damn hilarious. The scenes themselves are pretty well animated, but do you see what's happening here, as you read this sentence? You're going Ahhh I don't know. It's just kinda weird man! And it fucking is. I'm not sure we've ever needed to see more than what we got in The Sims. Just give me a fade to black and a funk guitar, I'll put the rest together.

#16 Posted by Vinny_Says (5630 posts) -

Only when they start mo-capping the scenes....unless they already do....in that case.....HAWT!

#17 Posted by Video_Game_King (34600 posts) -

@Animasta:

Given that it's a first person slice-of-life game, it'd be pretty jarring for Hisao to gloss over a major event like that. "I've already seen the real you, though. You didn't need to take your cloth-DUN DUN DUN, DUN DUN DUN" And wouldn't it be hard for Emi to be uncomfortable in her wheelchair without referencing the butt sex part?

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#18 Posted by MikkaQ (10224 posts) -

@Animasta said:

@FluxWaveZ: but I've never seen a sex scene in a movie or book that really added to anything either; I'm more specifically talking about something that is beyond "HERE WE ARE PREPARING TO HAVE SEX" and then cut and then "OK WE HAD THE SEX NOW", if you get what I'm saying. Preparing to have sex can add the same thing the sex scene does.

Yeah but that's kinda like having an action scene where the hero brandishes his gun, surrounded by enemies, then it cuts to them all being dead. It just feels like a cop out. You could ask "What does an action scene add to a movie?" well it's entertaining, so are sex scenes. The whole point is for it to be sexy, it can break up monotony. A lot of games just have killing killing killing killing and maybe some exposition scenes or something, a little sex keeps it fresh.

#19 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Video_Game_King said:

@Animasta:

Given that it's a first person slice-of-life game, it'd be pretty jarring for Hisao to gloss over a major event like that. "I've already seen the real you, though. You didn't need to take your cloth-DUN DUN DUN, DUN DUN DUN" And wouldn't it be hard for Emi to be uncomfortable in her wheelchair without referencing the butt sex part?

well I played pretty much all of them (I didn't play emi's and now I really don't want to) but you can allude to what happened during the sex scene afterwards and be completely fine. I never felt like I was lost just because I saw a random picture bumping up and down and didn't see the sex scene.

#20 Edited by MarkWahlberg (4494 posts) -

Yeah, not really. For a scene depicting sex to be relevant, the relationship between the two people having sex would need to be significant, and for a game to feature an emotionally mature/complex relationship is about as likely as a porno having one.

One could argue that there's a cathartic element to it, if the player has been working towards it in some respect, but again it would require a thoroughly well realized emotional build up for it to really work, let alone be necessary.

#21 Posted by Uberjannie (281 posts) -

In the first Witcher, it was a nice addition and you got them cards. But if they try to simulate sex, like they did on witcher 2, it just feels awkward :P

#22 Posted by Video_Game_King (34600 posts) -

@Animasta:

You missed out. Never shall you question how Rin shaved off her pubic hair when she doesn't have arms.

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#23 Posted by zeekthegeek (374 posts) -

The main games I think of when it comes to these is Bioware, and frankly all their relationship systems are pretty shallow and pointless, and the worst written parts of those games. So no, not really adding anything.

#24 Posted by Dad_Is_A_Zombie (1225 posts) -

If done well (maturely) then yes.

#25 Posted by Maitimo (175 posts) -

No, not as they're currently used. Most of the time they're just rewards for maxing a relationship stat.

#26 Posted by Grimhild (719 posts) -

@FluxWaveZ said:

They can add to a game just as much as movies or books can. It just needs to be executed well.

So far, I don't believe I've seen a sex scene that I've cared for in a game. That doesn't mean they should not be attempted.

@aznjon12 said:

They add room for sequels featuring their offspring.

I think one reason they normally don't hold any weight is because the character development in games that portray "adult situations" is generally lacking, so there's little to no connection with the characters involved. It's also something that's portrayed as being a "prize" of sorts. If we're looking at it from an actual literary love interest standpoint, there's hardly any emotional build to it. It's definitely a "one and done" scenario that's usually a "well, we're all possibly going to die and/or the game is about to end, and you spent game time making X number of dialog options to get to this point." There's also hardly any instances of said love interest actually being in danger; i.e. permadeath. So the lack of risk in losing said "loved one" contributes to the relationship with the character being extremely shallow, which also applies to all the characters in a game, not just love interests.

And I'm not sure if aznjon12 was being serious or not, but the prospect of offspring is one of the major factors in wanting to protect and care for someone you've copulated with.

Of course, if you're just looking for a piece of polygonal ass, then it's a moot point and it's probably not an issue for you to begin with.

@MarkWahlberg said:

Yeah, not really. For a scene depicting sex to be relevant, the relationship between the two people having sex would need to be significant, and for a game to feature an emotionally mature/complex relationship is about as likely as a porno having one.

One could argue that there's a cathartic element to it, if the player has been working towards it in some respect, but again it would require a thoroughly well realized emotional build up for it to really work, let alone be necessary.

#27 Posted by crusader8463 (14306 posts) -

If it makes sense in the context of the story then of course it does. Only fools would say otherwise. Video games are just any other story telling medium and, not to shock anyone, ever since we started telling stories with drawings on cave walls we have incorporated sex into them. It's up to the story teller to make sure that they are done well and not just thrown in to check off a box or to appeal to the 13 year old jerking off every couple hours.

#28 Posted by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

Humans are titillated by scenes of sex. Accordingly, the purpose of sex scenes is almost always titillation, no matter how certain writers or directors may try to spin it. Sometimes - rarely - sex is used as a catalyst for character development in books or movies that have particularly sophisticated character development, where for example a crazed sexual appetite or increasingly bizarre sexual habits may be used to give insight into the psychology of a certain character, and hold a mirror up to human psychology as a whole. However, more often than not, stories such as these - like say Last Tango in Paris or The Night Porter - are in some large part about sex and the way we think about it. A large part of the reason people watch movies about sex is, again, because sex interests and excites us. 

So OP you are kind of right. People tend to forget that when they say 'pff, sex in games is just immature, sleazy pandering', it's fulfilling exactly the same function that it does in practically all dramas, films and novels. As long as people continue to view sexual content in and of itself as immature, the whole discussion is kind of redundant, because there is practically no reason to include sex other than to explore humanity's supposedly 'immature' interest in it. But because I think it's a mistaken to dismiss that interest as immature, I think sex still has its place.  Just like the James Herbert novels I used to read as a teen - well-written, adrenaline-pumping horror novels with concepts that ingrained themselves into the wider consciousness, but the outrageously explicit sex scenes were sure as hell NOT about character development or any guff like that. They were about messy fucking!

The Witcher games, particularly the first one, handled sex pretty well, I thought. It's treated with levity and comedy, it's incidental, but at the same time it reflects certain core things about the main character's personality - namely that he's a womaniser who has never considered the idea of commitment seriously because he doesn't even quite think of himself as human. At the same time, the sex in the game doesn't try to pretend that it's somehow about something more than straightforward titillation - which is why I can cast an eye over pictures of Geralt's sexual conquests with their tits out, should I feel inclined. I still think there are fundamental problems with the way the medium handles suspension of belief at the moment, which hamper any believable sexual depiction.

#29 Posted by ervonymous (1226 posts) -

I've yet to see a sex scene that somehow took away from the overall experience. A cheap laugh if it's ridiculous, hats off if it actually adds to the narrative.

#30 Posted by phrosnite (3517 posts) -

No.

#31 Posted by Superkenon (1191 posts) -

Even if two characters sexing it up is an important plot point, it's never necessary to actually show it. It's a lazy writer's tool for titillation, and it's nothing but dumb to me.

Unless we're only talking about hentai games here. They'd be alienating approximately 95% of their user base if they didn't include that smut -- so it is totally necessary there. Hey-oo! Now I'd better step out of the way before the wrath lands.

#32 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -

They add as much as they do in any other medium, like any other 'type' of scene. If they aren't interesting, if they don't further characterization, plot, or even just capture your attention or imagination, or is irrelevant to the entire narrative, they've failed. Just like if there was a battle or a dialogue scene that didn't further characterization, plot, or audience interest.

The idea that all sex should be referred to but never shown is just prudery.

#33 Posted by Barrock (3525 posts) -

Sex is a part of life. So yes, it can add something to a game. Does it usually? No.

#34 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@Brodehouse said:

The idea that all sex should be referred to but never shown is just prudery.

but that's what I'm asking! I really don't care; I don't watch them for the most part, but it's not like they're offensive for the most part, just useless. I'm just saying that anything a sex scene can add can also be added just as well by the foreplay portion and the post coital spooning

#35 Posted by TheHumanDove (2396 posts) -

Violence is useless too. Let's just fold paper and make origami animals.

#36 Posted by eroticfishcake (7780 posts) -

At the very most they're useful for reinforcing a relation between two (or more!) people. Other then that I've always found sex scenes to be incredibly unnecessary regardless of the medium. As for games, for the majority of the time it just looks weird and awkward (Dragon Age comes to mind though funny enough the Mass Effect series has done a better job at them.) I'm no prude mind you, I just can't help but scratch my head times and think; "Really? You put this in your game?"

#37 Posted by Hailinel (22708 posts) -

Sure they can, if they're handled properly.

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#38 Posted by BisonHero (5661 posts) -
@FLStyle

The only one I can think of that stands out in my mind as tastefully done and not merely a BioWare Love Interest scene or some God of War mini-game was Heavy Rain, but even then that seemed weird in the game's context, Ethan was quite injured as I recall.

Still, Quantic Dream's problem is that even with all their storytelling aspirations, they are oddly juvenile in how they treat their leading ladies. Fahrenheit and Heavy Rain both have gratuitous sequences where the primary female character walks around in her underwear for no good reason. But I digress; the sex scenes in Fahrenheit were pointless, though Heavy Rain was something of an improvement.
#39 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -
@Animasta said:

@Brodehouse said:

The idea that all sex should be referred to but never shown is just prudery.

but that's what I'm asking! I really don't care; I don't watch them for the most part, but it's not like they're offensive for the most part, just useless. I'm just saying that anything a sex scene can add can also be added just as well by the foreplay portion and the post coital spooning

I can't really think of games that go beyond that level of explicitness, barring hentai games. The main goal of showing more than that would be to sexually excite the player, but animation and character modelling technology means you mostly just create awkward bumping of mannequins (which is all I considered the Heavy Rain scene to be). To make it believably exciting I think you'd need to reduce the level of photorealistic detail and make it a stylised cel-shaded or hand-drawn looking game like The Walking Dead. To make the scene about anything more than just sexual excitement you'd also have to make sure the game was deeply character driven and that the sex gives insight into some believable psychological conflict. Perhaps Walking Dead season 2 could feature a female protagonist who compensates for low self-esteem with promiscuity? Or some guy with an S&M fetish, who can find nobody who shares his interest in the post apoc world? Telltale would have to hire some better animators first though.
#40 Posted by Animasta (14460 posts) -

@eroticfishcake: honestly origins has the best sex scene and the one that added the most to the game

(and by added to it, I mean I laughed so hard)

#41 Posted by iam3green (14388 posts) -

not really. i don't think it's great. only thing that comes to mind is hot coffee mod in gta san andreas. there really aren't any sex scenes in games. there are a few things where you see an naked character but that's it.

#42 Posted by GoofyGoober (937 posts) -

I said no since I haven't played to many games besides GOW or GTA with sex scenes, and even those aren't full on scenes. I guess if they built something big around the scene.

#43 Edited by Kieran_ES (258 posts) -

Yes, absolutely.

The one I always point to (and have done so on these boards before) is Indigo Prophecy. In that game, the sex scene represents an intimate moment of escape from an outside world that believes you to be a murderer. It uses a relationship it has shown to have a history as an emotional shelter for both characters.

Mechanically, it does what sex scenes should do: it does not apply a win/fail dynamic. It maps the act of sex to vaguely corresponding movements and just allows the player to sit within a moment that is entirely separate from the rest of the game.

Not that this example is perfect. Like almost all games, the character models make things a touch awkward and no-where near as convincing as the sentiment.

@BisonHero: Although I agree on their treatment of their female protagonists, I don't see Fahrenheit's sex scene as pointless.

#44 Posted by Skillface (555 posts) -

Wow, split right down the middle.

I said no because I've never really seen it used extremely effectively. It was kind of appropriate in Mass Effect, but it didn't really seem necessary.

#45 Posted by TooWalrus (12973 posts) -

I'm not really sure sex scenes add anything of substance to games. I'm gonna say maybe they could, I suppose, but I've yet to see it.

#46 Posted by Little_Socrates (5649 posts) -

@MarkWahlberg: I find it exceptionally funny to read a statement from Mark Wahlberg saying that sex scenes are irrelevant and that pornos aren't likely to display a real relationship between the two people. Burt Reynolds would be furious.

Boogie Nights was my argument against this to begin with, so now I have an even BETTER lead-in.

In games, it hasn't really happened yet. I'd argue it's very important in many of the visual novel games because actually witnessing the act of sex allows it to stand out as more real than the fade-in/fade-out. In the case of Katawa Shoujo (a game I have not played and do not intend to play,) said act really reinforces the whole "teenagers in love enough to do something outside of the moral code" thing, and allows the player the immersion required to really engage with the character. So many of these games are effectively first-person that it'd feel strange to not be allowed to witness the culmination of everything you'd strived to achieve. Again, not that I play porn visual novels, I just understand the necessity of that part.

Again, want to challenge a lot of your perceptions on the way media can be developed? Boogie Nights.

#47 Posted by Brodehouse (9370 posts) -
@Animasta

@Brodehouse said:

The idea that all sex should be referred to but never shown is just prudery.

but that's what I'm asking! I really don't care; I don't watch them for the most part, but it's not like they're offensive for the most part, just useless. I'm just saying that anything a sex scene can add can also be added just as well by the foreplay portion and the post coital spooning

And I'm telling that's simple prudery.

In the end, do you think of narrative as just a rescitation of events or as a descriptive and involving investigation of characters, their thoughts, their feelings and their actions? If its the former, then yes, it's unnecessary to show characters having sex, just as its unnecessary to show them in any other scene. If all that matters is the outcome and there's no interest in what's going on at the moment, the narrative has already failed before clothes come off or guns come out or the interrogation scene has even begun. In addition, it's possible for things to be involving and interesting beyond even pure narrative concerns; demanding sex be shown devoid of titillation is like demanding action be shown devoid of thrills. The goal of storytelling is not to tell 'the perfect story' but to involve the audience. A story with no audience is a god with no believers.

But tiptoeing around sex like its a sacred cow is the definition of prudery. This Character Wants To Have Sex And Does (Or Doesn't!) And This Is How It Happened; you can replace the Have Sex with anything and its as relevant. Not more, not less. The question is merely if you're interested in the character and their thoughts, feelings and interests.
#48 Posted by eroticfishcake (7780 posts) -

@Animasta: Oh alright, I'll redact my statement then! DA does have better sex scenes then ME.

#49 Posted by OleMarthin (284 posts) -

To this day I can't remember playing a game where a sex scene Hade any big impact, but I have faith that it is possible to have an impact full and emotional sex scene in a game that ads to the story

#50 Posted by kerse (2037 posts) -

@Sbaitso said:

@FluxWaveZ said:

They can add to a game just as much as movies or books can. It just needs to be executed well.

So far, I don't believe I've seen a sex scene that I've cared for in a game. That doesn't mean they should not be attempted.

Pretty much what he said. They certainly have the potential to add an emotional or sexual charge to a story, so far they just haven't.

Yeah pretty much this.