Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice
A Wink is as Good as a Pixelated Nipple

Colin Rowsell | 6 May 2008 12:46
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And just like Phoebe Cates and me two decades ago, they missed the point.

On their website you'll see excited updates on DreamStripper Blackjack (hey! Strip Poker lives!), a Japanese adult dating sim called Lightning Warrior Raidy and sex-toy board games. As porn, I think this is great. But there's so much more that could be done under the IGDA's province. Videogame researcher, critic and designer Ian Bogost thought the same thing, writing a magnificent 2005 blog post from which I now steal:

"I think there are interesting and meaningful representations of sex yet to appear in games, but I'm sorry to see the IGDA call the Sex & Games project one of 'responsible, age-appropriate content development.' It should be one of responsible, motivated expression. The Sex SIG cites The Iliad, The Graduate and Shakespeare in Love as precursors for sexual content in other media. But the Sex SIG doesn't seem legitimately interested in commercial videogames that hope to make forthright comments on the human condition; rather, they seem interested in facilitating empty titillation through adult content."

We saw "adult content" and went straight for tits. Thus passeth Phoebe Cates, the game industry and ourselves.

Back from the Shadows
The Lovely Brunette and I are off around the harbor for a walk. She's got her black hat on and she sashays in her teasing way. It's funny - I've found reflections of this moment countless times in movies, books, songs, even comics. But I don't recognize any real part of our relationship or her appeal in videogames.

There's a downside to focusing on technical achievements and game mechanics, on physics engines and control methods. There's a danger when developers look at the infinite possibilities of games, chart out some small, bright territories, then ignore the shadow lands beyond. I'm not against chainsaw violence, puzzle solving, porn, plastic guitars or mad Japanese cooking. And I don't believe games should try to be films or any other media but themselves.

I don't want less from games; as I get further and further from being 13 years old, I'd like to expect more.

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There's something out there, something beyond Tab A -> Slot B sexuality, mouse clicks or button presses, that might just start to get us closer to the games we play. Something that would bridge the gap between, say, Monica Bellucci with that look in her eye and a harshly lit, bump-mapped Real Doll in a spaceship. Maybe it's as simple as a few soft words in the right place; maybe it's as unlikely as changing the direction of a multi-billion dollar industry.

Let's meet sometime at that dark corner table and see where the possibilities take us.

Colin Rowsell is a writer and strategist working out of Wellington, New Zealand. Speak in a husky voice to him on giantmonkeyvirus@gmail.com

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