Duncan’s Debates: Sex In Video Games
Foreword: Well, it seems I’ve managed to get myself into a bit of a pickle. In what I thought was an ingenious ruse to get myself kicked off The Team so that I could win Prototype 2, I decided to drop Cavie and Dean an email telling them that due to ridiculous overcommitment I wouldn’t be able to keep writing columns in my bi-monthly Friday slot as I had been. Apparently getting rid of myself is a little harder than I anticipated, though, since instead of dropping me outright they decided it would be best to rework my feature into something a little different. Preferably something which doesn’t demand quite as much of my time during the week, and definitely something at least thrice as awesome as what I have been doing. The bastards. It is thus my begrudging duty, after having had my bluff soundly called, to present you with Duncan’s Debates!
As I’m sure most of you know, we over at eGamer are pretty community-crazy people (community as in our readers/commenters/Facebook stalkers, not the show. But we do like the show too). Don’t get me wrong – we love what we do, so if it was just us awkwardly publishing articles that no one ever read we could probably survive… But surviving is just so minimalist! It’s because of you guys that we really love what we do, and getting opportunities to hear your feedback, commentary and whatever else you feel like throwing at us is what really makes it all worthwhile. In light of that, I’ve decided to try something a little different with my Friday slot. Instead of me choosing a contentious topic and ranting on about it for a few thousand words, we’re going to choose a topic and discuss it in niftily named, very alliteration-y feature which I’m proud to call Duncan’s Debates.
To kick things off with a proper bang (no pun intended), we’re going to be looking at whether or not sexual content should be allowed in video games.
At first glance it seems a pretty straightforward answer. I mean, games have age restrictions right? So if parents actually do their jobs, take an interest in what their kids could be seeing while they’re playing and regulate the games they’re allowed to play accordingly then certainly there shouldn’t be an issue? The uppity conservatives who want nothing more than to ultimately pin the Rwandan Genocide on games won’t have any ammunition, we won’t be corrupting the innocent minds of young’uns who could be negatively affected by the explicit content and those above the age of consent who want sex in their video games will be satisfied (again, no pun intended).
Then again, do we really live in such an ideal world? If the answer is no, then isn’t trusting parents to actually do their jobs properly a bit too optimistic? Certainly it’s our job to make sure that kids are protected from as much harm as possible regardless of whether or not their parents suck? And given that many more kids will end up playing these games at friend’s houses, through pirated copies and so on and so forth, do age restrictions really make this issue disappear?
Wholly apart from that issue, what about people who are above the age limit who don’t want sex in their video games? If sex in video games becomes less of a taboo and more publishers start including it in their games (because, of course, nerds like sex and sex sells and stuff), does this mean that those people will now have to pass up a game, or have their experience ruined because of it, when those who enjoy sexual content in their games wouldn’t have suffered a significantly worse experience were there no sex in their games? But then again, don’t game developers ultimately cater for the majority, and the minority will just have to man up and deal with what they’re stuck with?
Aside from all of this, we need to question the perceptions of gaming culture which sex in video games will create, and whether or not we want those perceptions. Do we want to give game critics even more arguments to annoy us with? Is that how we want to define ourselves as a gaming community? Maybe it’s all justified by how badly it’ll rile up video gaming’s critics?
Ultimately, the answers to these questions and the many more raised by the issue we’re discussing lie with you, the readers. So, have your say in the comments below – should sex have a place in mainstream video games?