In response to "Max-Level Crafters" from the Escapist Forums: I love making video game craft projects! This past Christmas I made my co-workers NES controller ornaments that were true to scale. Was a pain, but super fun. I've also made myself moogle and mithra ears for costumes, random geeky jewelry (hey, what else am I going to do with a mobo from a dead pc?) and I couldn't even tell you what else offhand, heh.
Go make something, it's fun!
In response to "Stripping Down the Nude Mod" from the Escapist Forums: Nice article, bringing up something that is in the back of all true gamers minds - somewhere in the corner, tucked away discreetly, sometimes in plain sight.
Near the end was an interesting quest - "The stripper becomes the stripped and the viewer becomes the voyeur." Instead of being erotic or titillating to the player, eventually the avatar you play as simply becomes that - a model of nakedness, a nuisance, something that was interesting for a few minutes but soon lacks its appeal. You find yourself wanting to go back to your avatar (lets say Lara Croft, for example) dressing back up in, at least, a bikini - for reality's sake at least.
...Not that raiding tombs in a string bikini is realistic in the least, but neither is climbing down a hole with your breasts flopping around.
I had never known that piece of information about Oblivion. Its the same as GTA: San Andreas, and that eponymous Hot Coffee mod. Something that is hidden, and inaccessible without in-depth knowledge of game coding (i don't know the exact terminology), causing grief to the gaming community or the developers themselves. Its the same as Hillary Clinton walking into any random American house and charging the owner for illegal possession a gun, even though he'd bought it and locked it within a gun cabinet, hid the gun cabinet in a closet out of reach from small children and had it locked with a four-digit combination. Even though the owner of the firearm has done everything possible to keep it out of his child's hands, it cant stop someone from finding out and alerting the authorities - and then its up to the authorities to act accordingly.
If people think nudity in games are a problem, then they should think about nudity in movies, nudity in trashy romance novels (which is worse, in most cases), nudity in TV, even nudity in real life...
...I'd bet Hillary (or whoever has got the 'games are bad' hard-on these days) would jump all over a censor patch for real life. 'Blurred! Feel better in the school shower, nudist colony or awkward towel/doorknob incident in your packed house with Blurred!'
Oh man, The Sims. I remember back in the day when I was 11 or 12 and I used to play the shit out of that game. Even at that age, I wondered what the point of showing the characters fooling around in the bed or in the hot tub was if they were unwilling to go that extra mile. I mean, it's one thing to try and keep a somewhat kid-friendly rating, but if you're putting sexual content like that in there to begin with, it just seems kind of silly to try and pretend to be a saint about it and, at least in The Sims, it just comes across as goofy and awkward.
Then again, I'm vehemently anti-censorship. It strikes me as just...hypocritical to write a nude scene or profanity into a story, then, in hindsight, add in a few bleeps and blurs on the off-chance that a child could be watching. Anyone young enough not to understand what is going on behind the mosaic isn't the target audience and shouldn't have been watching to begin with. Okay, yeah, I agree that it's not okay for an 8 year-old to be commenting to his teacher about how the women in the commercial for Spring Break Boobie Bonanza must be cold since they never wear shirts, but where the hell were his overly concerned parents when he was watching Comedy Central at 4 AM in the first place?
As for ogling player avatars and such, I can see how some people would find it weird if they thought of the character as an extension of themselves, but not everyone sees it that way. If I'm given the choice of playing a male or female character in a game, I tend to go with female. I get asked whether I'm gay or wish I'd been born a girl all the time, but I'm not and I don't. Part of the reason I go with girls is because the ladies are typically faster in fighting games and sometimes the reason is simply because the option was presented to me. However, when it comes to MMOs or other games where I'm likely to be staring at the same character for 100+ hours, the reason is simply because I'd rather spend that time looking at a girl than a guy.
Incidentally, the first time I ever saw pornography, it was because I mistyped the URL for a website dedicated to (non-nude) custom skins for The Sims.