Thursday, December 11, 2008

Let's talk about sex, baby

You've probably heard about Grand Theft Auto's 'Hot Coffee' scandal, even if you don't follow games. It made news shows and headlines for months and still remains the go to poster child for why games are worse than rock and roll. There are two sides to the argument, and about a dozen sub-sides to each. From 'There's nothing wrong with it since the game was rated mature at the time anyway' to 'It wasn't actually part of the game, simply code on a disk', to 'Satan has made his most recent move to devour the souls of our youth'. But as I said, it's already been debated.

More recently 2008's Mass Effect was making the headlines after it converted the Xbox 360 into a 'Sexbox.' What I'm going to rant about today is the generality of sex in video games and how a game with a sex scene takes a much harder hit than a movie. Let's start with Subject A) the Mass Effect scene in question I now follow with Subject B) The love scene from Meet Joe Black. Now Meet Joe Black's scene is quite a bit longer and slightly more explicit, but I think you'll agree that they're fairly comparable.

Sadly, this Salarian doesn't get any play.

Mass Effect received an M rating from the ESRB for Blood, Language, Partial Nudity, Sexual Themes, and Violence. The ESRB rating of M is defined as follows: "Titles rated M (Mature) have content that may be suitable for persons ages 17 and older. Titles in this category may contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language." I would say that's fair. Meet Joe Black received a PG-13 rating from the MPAA "for an accident scene, some sexuality and brief strong language." Now the MPAA's description for what PG-13 Means is somewhat bulkier but the gist is that kids 13 and over can see it and kids under 13 can see it if it's cool with their parents. But let's keep in mind that nobody has ever in the history of mankind asked a kid if he's 13 when renting a PG-13 movie or buying a theatre ticket. If it's rated R then they do card you and SWAT teams drop from the ceiling and pistol whip you if you're lying, but that's neither here nor there.

The real Gem of the PG-13 rating is "More than brief nudity will require at least a PG-13 rating, but such nudity in a PG-13 rated motion picture generally will not be sexually oriented." Really? Because I'm pretty sure Brad Pitt just had an orgasm in that scene.
King and Rook is now officially PG-13

So why is it that games are held to a much stricter standard than movies? Because kids actually have input? It's not like they're tapping up and down rapidly to get their moves on (Except God of War, but that should have a higher rating than even it's M in my opinion). The only input the player of mass effect has on the sex scene is whether or not to have it. That's right, there is no sex scene unless you make an effort to pursue the romantic subplot. Meet Joe Black doesn't give you much choice. A dude gets bounced off a couple of cars when you're least expecting it and then comes back to life and bangs Claire Forlani. Unless you turn off the movie that stuff is going to happen.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that Mass Effect should have a lower rating. It shouldn't, It does in fact have scenes of violence and brief nudity. My problem is that parents, teachers and Baby Jesus think Mass effect shouldn't exist and that the game designers and publishers are a cult of devil worshipping heathens when any 10 year old can pay 5 bucks to watch Brad Pitt blow his wad (If he can sit through 2 and a half hours of Mr. Pitt being confused by Peanut Butter and Swimming Pools) It's a double standard and it shouldn't be.

While this may appear to be a jpg it's actually an embedded video
streaming 3/4's of the footage from Meet Joe Black

When it comes down to it there are about 30 games (not counting the slews of 18+ adult dating sims the Japanese pound out) that have sex scenes in them, and most of those simply have a screen fade to black to imply the act. Meanwhile, hundreds of movies below the R rating toss that stuff into every other scene.

So maybe before these parents get upset at what they're kids aren't supposed to be playing in the first place they should take a double look at the movies they rent for them. Iron Man, Pirates of the Caribbean, and a good many others.

Until next time, don't be afraid to sit your kids down and talk about sex,



  1. Even though I rip on the film pretty hard I actually like Meet Joe Black. It really doesn't have to be that long though.


  2. I feel comfortable saying I enjoy chick flicks primarily because I always seem manly beside Rook. His favourite movie is My Little Pony: The Princess Promenade

  3. A tip for future articles: It's very hard to read when a King and Queen are getting it on in your peripherals.

    I don't know about you guys, but I can think of atleast 3 bad jokes about Chess Pieces getting it on. (2 and a half involve going 'both ways')

  4. Wow, do those folks at fox news not know what they are talking about, that was laughable. It's very true that if it's in a video game, then holy shizzle, the world is ending, but whatever if it's in a movie.

    -Josef (that guy way up in the north)

  5. For those interested in further lewd chess puns, I draw your attention to which proudly proclaims "MATE WITH KING AND ROOK"

    So, that's muy caliente.

    Also: In accordance with XKCD's "Rule 34", which states that "if you can imagine it, there's porn of it", I give you Lovechess:

    It's chess, but they bone. NSFW, ya'll.

    Also also: The only reason I've taken to watching and re-watching MLP:tPP is it's surprise ending.

    Who knew Bruce Willis was a GHOST?

  6. OMG It's a boobie, burn it! BURN IT!!!

    seriously though,

    Well I must confess I've never actually played Mass Effect, so my opinion is a little on the uninformed side. But I watched the scene from Mass Effect you posted as well as the alternate Lesbian one, and was pretty underwhelmed.

    I think what your seeing is less about material and more a struggle with change. People always have trouble adapting new media into the social consciousness, and they rail against it. Compare what you can get away with in film next to what people can get away with in literature.

    I tend to think this is more people railing against the new then actually about moors. But every one needs to have ground to fight an argument, and the moral high ground has always been the favorite of many Christian fundamentalists and the conservative right, so it's the one they're running with. Or at least that's the impression I'm left with, I haven't done any hard research yet, something I'm going to have to look into.