Sexy Characters

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Sexy Characters

A character is sexual when one could actually picture them having sex. A character is merely sexualised if they have extremely prominent sexual characteristics but seem completely unwilling or incapable of doing anything with them.

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So once again Suda 51 shows a more 'mature' take on relationships/characters (well, sex actually), albeit in an immature minigame style. Suda 51 really needs to get his priorities straight, but I'm glad that he's willing to put a little bit of effort into the characterisation, even if a little.

Thankfully the internet flame about sex seems to have died down a little, or maybe not many people have bought Killer is Dead.

Well, I wouldn't say being sexual necessarily equates to being more mature, but more mature than being sexualised, yes.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
It's hard to tell, because his 'liking the ladies' face seems to be exactly the same as his 'killing the nasties' face.

Missed out on the chance for a terrible joke: "It's hard to tell, because his 'bumping the uglies' face seems to be exactly the same as his 'bumping off the uglies' face.

Ezio's another example. Ezio's clearly into the ladies, puts a lot of effort into flirting with them, and usually gets it returned in equal measure. And he's clearly capable of having a mature and healthy sex life, even though he does have his ladyfriends kidnapped out from under him once in a while. But in his defense, that's in the history books.

I see where you are going with this but I feel there are flaws in this train of thought. Not sure what they are, I don't really have any examples, but I believe my subconscious picked up on them. I am inclined to agree in part but the last two paragraphs made me want to disagree for some reason that I can't nail down.

I wouldn't agree that characters that have sexualised personalities were necessarily bad as some people have far larger labidos than others, at least I think that's what you were implying with the paragraph that mentioned Bayonetta... not that i'm holding up Bayonetta as a well balanced person, she's played for laughs after all.

Kudos on this article. It puts into words something I've been thinking about and trying to put into words.
Especially that bit about the sexualized characters being riddled with insecurities.

Watch any anime for 5 minutes and you'll be overwhelmed by sexualized yet insecure characters.

Thanatos2k:
Watch any anime for 5 minutes and you'll be overwhelmed by sexualized yet insecure characters.

Oh, ignorant generalizations. Don't ever change.

Tell you what, I'd like you point out the sexualized yet insecure characters present in anything made by Studio Ghibli for me.

I'll wait.

OT: just curious, am I the only one surprised that Tomb Raider didn't come up in this? By which I mean the series in general, not the latest entry specifically.

" what I think is worth a closer examination is the seduction aspect, or 'Gigolo Missions'.

As mentioned in my review, how these work is that curiously named drink of water Mondo Zappa has a date with one of his lady friends, and then seduces them by looking into their eyes a lot and strategically looking away when you want to play hard to get. And also you need to get your own blood flowing by sneaking crafty looks at her tits and thighs whenever she's not looking. Then you give them free shit until they agree to a shag."

Geee, and I was going to try that videogame, too.

So, is this one of those videogames that, as a heterosexual woman, I am not supposed to play?

Sigmund Freud did a massive disservice to psychology. Now you have people like Yahtzee saying crazy things like that knights who want to avenge their slain loved one are doing because they are "sexually insecure" (<-- what does that even mean) or some shit... *sigh*

Edit: Also, when I was fourteen, I can say unequivocally that when I was a 14 boy, I would have taken up an offer of sex faster than Sonic the Hedgehog can run with power sneakers on.

I've reread this four times and I can confidently say Yatzhee, I have no clue what you're going on about. Something about sexuality vs sexual?
Regarding the topic of sex in video games, I read an article - maybe even on the escapist - where the writer said the Mass Effect games were way more pornographic than any of the strange Japanese games or GTA styled games. Simply put, the emotional connection you made with a love interest was so powerful that the love scenes meant something, rather than banging a hooker and shooting her afterwards. Personally I think Tali or Liara are one hundred times sexier than any of the big-boobed bimbos in any sandbox you care to mention.

Anyways, can't wait for your Amnesia: Machine for Pigs review.

PunkRex:
I wouldn't agree that characters that have sexualised personalities were necessarily bad as some people have far larger labidos than others, at least I think that's what you were implying with the paragraph that mentioned Bayonetta... not that i'm holding up Bayonetta as a well balanced person, she's played for laughs after all.

He's talking about the tendency to present or characterize the dynamics of sexual desire and/or sexual interactions between genders as awkwardly adversarial in nature.

Silentpony:
I've reread this four times and I can confidently say Yatzhee, I have no clue what you're going on about. Something about sexuality vs sexual?
Regarding the topic of sex in video games, I read an article - maybe even on the escapist - where the writer said the Mass Effect games were way more pornographic than any of the strange Japanese games or GTA styled games. Simply put, the emotional connection you made with a love interest was so powerful that the love scenes meant something, rather than banging a hooker and shooting her afterwards. Personally I think Tali or Liara are one hundred times sexier than any of the big-boobed bimbos in any sandbox you care to mention.

Anyways, can't wait for your Amnesia: Machine for Pigs review.

That's more or less the complete opposite of pornographic, which is about the act itself and not about the emotions or other "high-minded" stuff. I think the word you are looking for is something along the lines of "hot".

Remember kids, you should be ashamed of any sexual drive you feel. So go and waste yourself with unlimited amounts of porn and perversions. Gotta love puritanism.

I don't know what to think in this case... Games being the interactive media we have made it to today, is no more than a few perferts away from making games where all you do is (Insert own sexual innuendo/sexual Joke/reference to the sex-genitals/coytis), with the means to do so, and before we know it: WE ARE DOING it ON THE BIG HD SCREEN!

Really... I just give the awkward laugh when a character try to make sexual advances in a game. Either the graphis is not high enough for me to believe it, there is a glitch, wrong phrase of words or another completely innocent fault in the game, that makes me unable to think of it as something that is actually happening... And it doesn't help that the character is over-sexualised to the point where he/she cant walk around without a wheelbarrow to carry around their prospective sex-flattering parts... I mean, I laugh at the situation and the way it's set up, more than I laugh at the overall attempt to act human.

Khanht Cope:

PunkRex:
I wouldn't agree that characters that have sexualised personalities were necessarily bad as some people have far larger labidos than others, at least I think that's what you were implying with the paragraph that mentioned Bayonetta... not that i'm holding up Bayonetta as a well balanced person, she's played for laughs after all.

He's talking about the tendency to present or characterize the dynamics of sexual desire and/or sexual interactions between genders as awkwardly adversarial in nature.

Ooooooooh, like being angry at a man/woman for being a man/woman despite that thats what attracts you to them.

Shjade:

Thanatos2k:
Watch any anime for 5 minutes and you'll be overwhelmed by sexualized yet insecure characters.

Oh, ignorant generalizations. Don't ever change.

Tell you what, I'd like you point out the sexualized yet insecure characters present in anything made by Studio Ghibli for me.

I'll wait.

OT: just curious, am I the only one surprised that Tomb Raider didn't come up in this? By which I mean the series in general, not the latest entry specifically.

Not to mention he seems to glance over the fact that alot of it is used for humorous purposes or the fact that 'over the top' tends to be a thing in alot of animes.

What Yahtzee said about the angry lady in the armored bikini makes me think he wouldn't like reading Red Sonja comic books. Or he did long ago, and that's what got him to that conclusion about sexualized characters.

Evonisia:
So once again Suda 51 shows a more 'mature' take on relationships/characters (well, sex actually), albeit in an immature minigame style. Suda 51 really needs to get his priorities straight, but I'm glad that he's willing to put a little bit of effort into the characterisation, even if a little.

Thankfully the internet flame about sex seems to have died down a little, or maybe not many people have bought Killer is Dead.

So, kudos to Suda 51, I think. Yahtzee did say in his Lollipop Chainsaw review that Suda's portrayal of female characters is comparatively more positive than other game devs (which is probably bad news for the industry overall).

Falseprophet:
Ezio's another example. Ezio's clearly into the ladies, puts a lot of effort into flirting with them, and usually gets it returned in equal measure. And he's clearly capable of having a mature and healthy sex life, even though he does have his ladyfriends kidnapped out from under him once in a while. But in his defense, that's in the history books.

I still get a little misty-eyed when I think of how things ended between Ezio and Cristina Vespucci. Then I cheer up thinking about how he and Sofia Sartor got together in Constantinople. There were main story missions that had you do favors for her and woo her.

Moth_Monk:
Sigmund Freud did a massive disservice to psychology. Now you have people like Yahtzee saying crazy things like that knights who want to avenge their slain loved one are doing because they are "sexually insecure" (<-- what does that even mean) or some shit... *sigh*

Edit: Also, when I was fourteen, I can say unequivocally that when I was a 14 boy, I would have taken up an offer of sex faster than Sonic the Hedgehog can run with power sneakers on.

I always think of psychology and Freud like this, teaching freud in psychology is like teaching roman/greek surgery in medical school. Its outdated and outmoded and barely relevant.

Psychology compared medicine however is still in its infancy, so we still end up being taught the whacked out theories of its original creators.Because, frankly, we don't have much to go on. ( again in comparison to medicine)

Least as an outsider that's how it appears to me.

PunkRex:
I wouldn't agree that characters that have sexualised personalities were necessarily bad as some people have far larger labidos than others, at least I think that's what you were implying with the paragraph that mentioned Bayonetta... not that i'm holding up Bayonetta as a well balanced person, she's played for laughs after all.

I would say Bayonetta is a far better example, because she never feels insecure about her sexuality and her femininity: she is sexy, she knows it and its part of her power. Compare that with Yahtzee's example of women with impossibly revealing and tight clothes that, in any other sense, behave like they would get offended if someone points it out (for example, Ivy from Soulcalibur)

That's a pretty interesting way of looking at it. It makes sense that sex represents such a big part of our culture. Yahtzee has mentioned before that sex seems to be one of the topics that games are still struggling with. I don't know if Killer is Dead is the best example of a more mature way of looking at sex in games, but perhaps it could serve as a small step forward.

I feel kind of weirded out with this EP. Maybe it's because I'm extremely repressed.

This whole Extra Punctuation really reminds me of the OXM Breakdown on sex in video games which becomes relevant now and then:

Especially the bit in that video at 2:15 where they make fun of the sex clubs in Saint's Row 3. That video also gives me the perfect phrase to describe it, of having "bit off more sex than they're comfortable chewing."

That's why I was really curious about the fact that you can get into actual relationships in SR4 (or at least have sex with team mates). I like to imagine the moment that was suggested; one designers leaning over a sketchboard, drawing giant dildo bats and bondage outfits for the game. Suddenly one of the others says "Hey, how about we actually put sex in the game?", and the first designer's eyes go wide and he accidentally pushes his pencil right through the paper he's working on. Except we're living in the 21st century (as the soundtrack for SR3 was keen to remind me), so he probably had a stylus and tablet rather than pencil and paper. Whatever.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Sexualisation is part of the same obnoxious attitude in today's entertainment media that has come to redefine the word 'mature' to mean 'violence and tits depicted with the giggling red-faced attitude of fourteen-year-olds.

Which strikes me as the exact opposite of mature.

Silentpony:
Regarding the topic of sex in video games, I read an article - maybe even on the escapist - where the writer said the Mass Effect games were way more pornographic than any of the strange Japanese games or GTA styled games. Simply put, the emotional connection you made with a love interest was so powerful that the love scenes meant something, rather than banging a hooker and shooting her afterwards. Personally I think Tali or Liara are one hundred times sexier than any of the big-boobed bimbos in any sandbox you care to mention.

Hmm...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pornography

Pornography (often abbreviated as "porn" or "porno" in informal usage) (Greek: πορνεία, porneia, fornication) is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual gratification. Pornography may use a variety of media, including books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video, and video games. The term applies to the depiction of the act rather than the act itself, and so does not include live exhibitions like sex shows and striptease. A pornographic model poses for still photographs. A pornographic actor or porn star performs in pornographic films. If dramatic skills are not involved, a performer in porn films may be also be called a model.

Pornography is often distinguished from erotica, which consists of the portrayal of sexuality with high-art aspirations, focusing also on feelings and emotions, while pornography involves the depiction of acts in a sensational manner, with the entire focus on the physical act, so as to arouse quick intense reactions.

In short, you and whoever wrote that article are factually incorrect. Mass Effect is not pornographic at all. As stated in the second paragraph, the word you're looking for is erotic, not pornographic. Mass Effect is more erotic than GTA hooker encounters or Japanese porn games.

Let's try to remember to use words correctly and also remember that we can look words up using this magical internet thing we're on to make sure we're using them correctly.

canadamus_prime:

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Sexualisation is part of the same obnoxious attitude in today's entertainment media that has come to redefine the word 'mature' to mean 'violence and tits depicted with the giggling red-faced attitude of fourteen-year-olds.

Which strikes me as the exact opposite of mature.

That's because it is. That was his entire point. If mature actually meant "violence and tits depicted with the giggling red-faced attitude of fourteen year olds", he wouldn't have preceded that with "redefine the word 'mature'".

Does anyone even understand the English language anymore? It's starting to feel like having these kinds of discussions is pointless because most of the people reading (or watching as the case is with so many web shows) don't pay attention to or don't understand what's being said and just start substituting the actual meaning with whatever they think it means and then the entire point the original author was trying to make gets lost.

Very well put Yahtzee. Definitely put in a way I hadn't been able to, and in a good way, IMO.

The whole agency with the sexuality is pretty important. Just being sexy vs being sexy in context. Stuff like that.

I wouldn't call Kratos macho.

To me macho speaks of someone who's trying to maintain an image of ultra tough, no fear, no emotion, laid back, super badass. Kratos seems like he doesn't care about his image.

Try to imagine someone trying to goad Kratos into doing something by calling him a chicken or a coward or unmanly. Do you think that would work? No it wouldn't. He might throw something at you, but he never seems like the kind of guy trying to prove something to someone else.

I mean sure he went after Hermes but that was more over the dead family taunts than trying to prove anything, plus he did try to walk away from that.

The sex act shouldn't be placed on some kind of pedestal. Its one way of being vulnerable or intimate, which is one way of demonstrating maturity. It isn't necessary and depending on what kinds of risks you are comfortable with, its unhealthy. Plus its very selective.

You can be intimate with say another sex or even another species without being sexually attracted, because you have to face it, the sex drive is using you, controlling you, it isn't you. It's telling you to go down on this Cthulhu monster. And you are like, sure that sounds like a wonderful idea, why didn't I think of that when I was four???

Neither should sexualization be backed up against titillation. Why should women cover their nipples? It seems very practical to men that men shouldn't have to. Animals get to walk around without pants on. It's all relative to the culture, and the degree to which the culture is inclined to or has risen above fetishizing this or that.

I never thought before of iron bikinis as chastity belts. You gave me food for thought. What immediately springs to my mind are cosplaying girls, half naked, who get offended upon being ogled. You are a very deep character, Yahtzee.

Shjade:

Thanatos2k:
Watch any anime for 5 minutes and you'll be overwhelmed by sexualized yet insecure characters.

Oh, ignorant generalizations. Don't ever change.

Tell you what, I'd like you point out the sexualized yet insecure characters present in anything made by Studio Ghibli for me.

I'll wait.

Totoro, of course. Can't you tell? He's gagging for it, but too nervous to tell Satsuki how much she turns him on. ;)

Other than applying to women in armored bikinis and being aimed at 14-year-old boys, your definition of "sexualized" is not like the one I'm familiar with. For one thing, I think most 14-year-old boys would happily have actual sex if anyone were desperate enough to offer it, and characters designed to appeal to them would likely be willing to have sex with their avatars if that weren't culturally taboo in many profitable markets. But that wouldn't make them any less "sexualized." The sexual aspects of their character still exist to give a cheap thrill to the player as opposed to driving narrative or making them more... well, fleshed-out, if you'll pardon the pun... as characters. That's the main distinction I see in feminist circles.

And unfortunately, as long as those 14-year-olds are the target market of most of the medium, there's always going to be that degree of doubt as to what the real motivation was behind a female character's sexuality. (Just look at what happened with Sucker Punch.) Most likely the only safe bet for any developer who actually cares enough to avoid accusations of sexualization will be to just leave sex and sexiness out of the equation altogether. The question is whether the industry will be able to make the transition from cheap sexualization to mature sexuality before social pressure forces them to resort to just "covering up."

The problem is that there aren't actual human beings in video games - there are mostly victims, some superheroes, none of the characters have much vocabulary, rarely do any have real emotion. Creatures who aren't real can't be sexy - the most they can do is APPEAR sexy - like a sad woman pretending a boob job will make her happier. Calling Lara Croft sexy is missing the point that she's an archaeologist who murderers hundreds of people and destroys the very archaeological site that she's supposed to be preserving. That's not someone I want to have anything to do with regardless of what she *looks like*. That's a failure of both the duties of an archeologist and the morality of being human. Likewise, Bayonetta is a superhero, she's not human so she ought not be sexy to *human beings*.

Developers don't take their creations very seriously. Great writers personally connect with their fictional constructs to the point where they become real to the writer - they then present them as real people in the novel, giving them and their readers the ultimate respect.

Cynical video game developers pander to what they suppose gamers want and have no respect for their characters or their players. So we get dehumanized nobles who "save the world" by being granted superhero powers by the developer - if they really respected their characters they would present them as human beings - no superpowers, real problems and having to face the consequences of one's actions, no reload function to "make every wrong right".

Consider the recent Avengers movie. The characters don't take matters too seriously, and why should they, when they are mega super-powered and have the privilege of being the protagonists in a Hollywood movie, so of course things will turn out well for them. Despite the "fate of the world at stake", it was more like they were playing throughout the film. Playing is what people do when there's nothing at stake.

Human beings deal with joy, despair, failure, hope, love, and forgiveness, for starters. Game players deal with murder strategy, inventory management, reload function judgement, fun maximization.

Compare the connection that different artistic mediums have to what it means to be human. Great books are those which make us more human. They teach us about the world and ourselves. Great movies and television shows likewise. Comic books and video games are the first artistic mediums to not be about humanity, but superpower. Games only rarely teach us about ourselves or the world. They mostly teach us what it would be like to have superpowers, to have a stellar physique despite zero gym time, to be able to go back in time to any point even after death, to not have to eat, rest, take a shit, to not have friends or family, to only talk to people in the service of saving the world, to be happy about shooting a gun continuously murdering hundreds, sprinting like the wind, slashing one's way through thousands of enemies, being declared Glorious Hero and smiling at another fake universe saved, more unreal people pleased in another plastic world.

People find beings similar to themselves sexy. Humans like other humans. Superheroes like superheroes. So if game developers want to appeal to human beings, instead of the superheroes they crave as customers but which they simply aren't going to find in the real world, then they need to put real humans in their games, just like every serious writer begins by making his fictional characters real *to himself*, before he can ever make them real to someone else.

Well, this was a bit unexpected. This is not the usual "extra punctuation" lot.

It much more serious (I mean, truly "serious" and not so much mocking about), it touches upon a real issue and treats it with very insightful and broadly encompassing arguments (lots of big words I just used there).

I must admit, you really nailed it (no pun intended). I really don't have anything to say. You covered all the bases (again, not a pun).

Although it was right in front of my eyes and I was perfectly capable of seeing it, I only now realise that in reality ALL video games simply portray sexuality through the eyes of a 14 y.o. as a de facto point of view to be expected by their audience.

Very well done. Extremely good text this week Mr. Yahtzee.

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