Keeping to the gaming theme, here’s Aleks Krotoski at The Guardian asking a very valid question: where are all the sex-based computer games?
It’s not for want of trying. Brathwaite says that when she landed a job as producer on Playboy: The Mansion, in 2005, she found there were countless games developers building titles around love, intimacy and, well, hanky-panky, but they were lost in an ocean of family values propriety, wandering souls buried under regulations and smothered by distributor blacklists, treated as “specialists” whose products only saw the light in extremely independent competitions. And so, with only the odd interruption of a virtual carnal nature, game controversies are dominated by violence. Depravity just isn’t on the regulator’s radar.
And can you imagine what would happen if it were? Just look at the furore over the scenes uncovered in the code of GTA: San Andreas. For heaven’s sake, they were two consenting (digital) adults in an 18-rated game: why did it end up such an issue that the then senator Hillary Rodham Clinton tried to get it banned? Such top-down puritanism forces creative conformity in games for fear that explicitly including sex scenes would lead to a loss of filthy lucre – when on earth has that been the case?
It does seem odd, but then computer games are a comparatively young medium by comparison to film or literature – perhaps the form just isn’t mature enough to carry it off? If that’s the case, though, developments like the interactive software/hardware combinations that run Lionhead’s virtual boy Milo suggest that the technical capability to make a sex-based game that’s going to inspire more than adolescent sniggering may finally be here. How long it will take someone to think of a genuinely engaging set of game mechanics to go with it is anyone’s guess… but I doubt it’ll be too long, despite the puritanical hand-wringing of career demagogues.