Working As Intended: Sex, love, and MMOs

In the ongoing, neverending sandbox-vs.-themepark MMO debate, the folks on the side of sandboxes want one thing: more. Actually they want a lot more. They want more to do, more to see, more to experience. They aren’t content with linear, level-based, content-poor design tracks scrambling to be the next floundering WoW-killer. They definitely want more than just another online murder simulator. They want to cook and dance and explore and smelt and fish and argue and build and teach and fly and age and discover.

But there’s one thing almost no sandbox junkie asks for.

Almost no one asks for sex.

And it’s weird, right? A virtual world is at its most convincing and immersive when it includes as much to do and see and experience as possible. Most people find or seek love in their lives. Most people enjoy sex. These are things we live every single day, the same way we grow and learn and accomplish. Why aren’t they in virtual world MMOs?

That’s a trick question. They are.

Sometimes games create a platform for virtual sex. Venus Rising comes to mind. Did you snicker? I did too. Other games let players do whatever they want, and so the players find ways to make sex or erotic roleplay (e-RP) doable, as in Second Life. Really, any MMO with a chat channel has a subculture for e-RP. What’s done in public by trollish exhibitionists in Goldshire? Just the tip of the iceberg, guys. Now you know.

But let’s be clear about the people who engage in what ought to be perfectly normal activities in virtual worlds: They are pariahs. E-RPers are the laughingstock of online gaming. No one is more ostracized. The same people who consider it an affront to their senses if boob-windows and bare thighs aren’t prominently displayed for their titillation in the middle of a warzone will flip out over the idea of sex in a video game — either with a teehee as if they’re 10-year-olds who just found a dogeared Playboy or with an ewwww because stimulation outside of some rigid cultural norm is icky. Look at those freaks roleplaying lovers, they say, before embarking on three straight hours slaughtering orcs while socializing on voice chat. Romance is sorta OK as long as it’s just making kissy faces at an NPC, but let’s flip tables if another real person is involved. In-game weddings are OK, but only if they confer some sort of powerful bonus. Nearly naked pretend women for eyecandy purposes are OK, but SHUT THE FRONT DOOR if two consenting adults decide to roleplay sex via text, something so normal and mundane that it’s usually boring unless you’re personally involved.

(But sheesh, at least it’s not as boring as video game fishing.)

So can we display just a little more maturity, please? If gawking at sexualized pixels is OK, active participation in sexualized activities ought to be too. If virtual violence is OK, virtual sex needs the same pass. A strong and complete virtual world needs both, among many, many other things.

Grimdark

There is an MMO on the nearish horizon that is promising sex, but first, a story and a Game of Thrones spoiler warning (be caught up to S5E6).

The collective internet freaked out a week and a half ago over a Game of Thrones episode that featured martial rape. Sansa Stark, who never even meets Ramsay Bolton in the novels, has been married off to him in the show and is now his to torment on-screen. The reason the internet freaked out — and I really mean that; there are publications that kept their heads through five years of awkward and gratuitous adaptation but drew the line at this rape — wasn’t so much that Sansa was raped by her new husband. It was that the rape didn’t further the audience’s understanding of Sansa or Ramsay (since we already knew she was strong and he was cruel), and worse, it was framed so as to provoke a third character, Theon, to reassert himself (which he didn’t actually do). That’s all part of a trope called collateral angst, and it’s a cheap writing ploy. You throw in a bad thing to propel a character to action, and you wedge in darker and edgier elements — sex, prostitution, and in this case, rape of a beloved character — as props to frame your setting, establish that you’re hardcore and Grimdark, and prove how nasty your nasty world really is.

This is a mistake I don’t want virtual world MMO sandboxes to make when they finally grow up and start treating romance, love, and sex seriously instead of just shoving boobplate into games and calling it a day.

Too late

And that day is already approaching. Back in March, developer Illfonic announced that its gothic sandbox Revival will feature “graphic sex” in the form of an optional, censorable co-op minigame that you’ll play with other characters or NPC prostitutes in the service of leveling up your sex skill.

Sex is a cooperative mini-game. You do not control anything other than a simple mini-game during sex. In the background of the mini-game, the animations run for the sexual experience. The mini-game goes on as long as you can “maintain.” Both female[s] and males are [susceptible] to “losing” the minigame when their characters orgasm. The [number] of perk bonuses you get is based on how long you can play the mini-game successfully. However, there is a minimum threshold too. If you enter a sexual encounter and don’t meet the minimum time required for the sexual encounter, you can have a negative buff instead (sexual frustration). This minimum time is determined by […] each partner’s skill level in sex.

To be clear, while you are free to become a “prostitute for a guild or traveling group of characters,” Revival will not allow rape, sex with children, bestiality, or public displays.

Admittedly, a sex minigame in a game whose developers describe sex as a fun but “pretty disgusting thing” that’s mostly divorced from love in the game world is not exactly what I had in mind. Reducing anything to a minigame normalizes it in some way, yes; BioWare has built its reputation on romance minigames in many of its franchises, including MMORPG Star Wars: The Old Republic, for example. But in “gamifying” sex, MMOs risk turning deep and complicated human relationships into an abstraction at best and a joke at worst. And in Revival, the existence of sex (and specifically prostitution) is being used quite overtly as a proxy to establish the tone of the game and show that its devs are hardcore, which is exactly the mistake Game of Thrones has made for five seasons. I’ll let Illfonic explain:

This is a medieval time period. It is dirty, it is gross, and the people are gross within it. […] You will see a lot of features in the game that you don’t usually see in a game. Some of these are things most developers won’t touch with a ten foot pole because they are scared of the backlash. These things range from taking a shit, pissing, having sex, slavery, serial killing abilities, and more. These are not features that are in the game “just because.” These are features that enrich the living, breathing world as a whole.

I am not at all convinced that propelling my character to orgasm via a stamina minigame is really going to “enrich” my immersion or sell me on a “living, breathing world” or deepen my roleplaying opportunities. I’m pretty sure the whole system will devolve into groups systematically shagging pre-raid just to get their buffs in place because that’s just what MMO players do.

But it might be the necessary first step in solving the pervasive objectification-without-participation problem. And maybe, just maybe, if we start treating virtual representations of sex as just another game mechanic instead of something only cyber-pervs do in tavern corners and private whispers, we can shed the hypocritical Hot Coffee puritanism that still haunts the “respectable” corner of the industry that otherwise prefers to limit its brushes with sex to jiggle-boob ads, thank you very much.

The MMORPG genre might be “working as intended,” but it can be so much more. Join Massively Overpowered Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce in her Working As Intended column for editorials about and meanderings through MMO design, ancient history, and wishful thinking. Armchair not included.
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165 Comments on "Working As Intended: Sex, love, and MMOs"

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PawnInTheGame
Guest
PawnInTheGame

Sex sells! But not in video games, I guess.
In any case, this is a very good article and a good topic; please talk about it on the podcast.

Denngar
Guest
Denngar

Yeah, I have to say, Revival was originally on my watch list, but some of the reveals have really turned me off. Nothing makes a game less sexy than sex.

melissamcdon
Guest
melissamcdon

zyrusticae Or you could just enjoy Second Life right now.   ;-)

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

Werewolf Finds Dragon well rememeber it’s a lot of teens and pre-teens playing these games, and they’re all just an adult away from making their own savage little “lord of the flies” world.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

wolfyseyes 
I may have heard it form William Gibson first. But he may have not come up with the term himself. And I can’t seem to find when that term was first coined.

wolfyseyes
Guest
wolfyseyes

No need to apologize. Opinions can be discussed without requiring a resolution. Still got love, O Gnomed One. <3
And “meatspace” is definitely not my term. Not sure who coined it first, but it definitely was not me.

wolfyseyes
Guest
wolfyseyes

Wow that is….completely brilliant, actually. Well done.

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

wolfyseyes 
While they maybe a “taboo” in videogaming, that’s is only the similarities between them. I am also not sure that’s what Werewolf was getting at…of if he or she was getting, was using terrible angle of approach IMO. Hence my strong objection to it.
That said, my apologies for disagreeing here. I often respect your views and opinions, but I am not sure I can agree here. Though meatspace is a good Gibson word here. :)

wolfyseyes
Guest
wolfyseyes

They are the same thing insofar as a “taboo” in videogaming, just one is more pervasive, and both are handled pretty stupidly and with no acknowledgement of consequences. And both offered in the manner to satisfy a personal power trip.
Remember, this is in relation to gamespaces, not reality. Obviously, they are different in meatspace.

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

wolfyseyes 
He or she is conflating violence with sex, which is not only wrong, but it is entirely disturbing. Violence is not for the most part a personal thing, while sex for the most part is. So I can’t see how anyone can be right basing their position on a logical fallacy of a false comparison.
I assume you are aware this person is going on about violence as a sexual fetish?

PawnInTheGame
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PawnInTheGame

Great article, we need more like this! I’ve no idea why so few developers try to deal with sex or even just romance in their games. But they should. I often play together with my wife and it would be fun to e-rp once in a while :P

Although, I wonder how the other would feel if one of us did it with a NPC, lol! (other player: OUT OF THE QUESTION!!!)

PawnInTheGame
Guest
PawnInTheGame

Great article, we need more like this! I’ve no idea why so few developers try to deal with sex or even just romance in their games. But they should. I often play together with my wife and it would be fun to e-rp once in a while :P

Although, I wonder how the other would feel if one of us did it with a NPC, lol! (other player: OUT OF THE QUESTION!!!)

Peregrine_Falcon
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Peregrine_Falcon

Captain Electric The funny thing is that neither one of you understood what I actually wrote. Both of you responded to words that I didn’t even write and statements that I didn’t make.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

This is so easily controlled.   You make sexual encounters only possible within instanced housing.
That way nobody else sees, nobody else knows, nobody else hears, but couples can spend their “quality time” still within your game.

melissamcdon
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melissamcdon

ZenDadaist ” being A-OK with death but really squicked out by life”

That’s an awesome quote, man.

ZenDadaist
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ZenDadaist

Moondancerbb Nope, I’m currently in the office and my office is small and densly packed. :p

I currently live alone so I can say it as much as I want at home and there’s no one to care. Well, unless I scream it from the top of my lungs and then my neightbours would tell me to STFU. I could jump on on of my VOIP servers and do it, and probably get a confused comment asking for context, and then someone asking me to log in and run some instance with them :p

I would probably laugh because just standing up and shouting one random word with no context at all three times in a row is absurd.

ZenDadaist
Guest
ZenDadaist

The current culture around games isn’t anywhere near mature enough to handle in-game sex in an adult way. This comes from the current culture in many places around the world being A-OK with death but really squicked out by life. Don’t really see it changing any time soon tbh. Chainmail bikinis on boobs bigger than heads, pedo and rape scenarios abound, and ERP in public channels is about the level of most games. Don’t see it growing up for quite some time.

Can’t really do anything about it except hope that games try to present things in a mature way and hope people will follow along. I’m not sure you can really devolve sex into a mechanics-driven minigame in the same way combat is done in games.

Thinking about combat vs sex in games, how about the other side: 
Why aren’t there more games that look at the emotions and aftermath of combat? The psychology of killing people and seeing your friends hurt. Even with magical resurrection powers – surely that would cause all sorts of conflicting and lasting consequences and awkwardness. People say ‘we can’t do sex in games because FEELINGS and AWKWARD!’ but are prefectly happy to mow down a million goblins because there’s absolutely no negative backlash in terms of feelings and awkwardness. The worst is maybe messing up your reputation/faction whatever: i.e. the only error was which mobs you killed, not that you killed at all. It’s funny how games see killing as easy and sex as hard on the psyche, which is rather the opposite to most people’s lives in the real world.

skoryy
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skoryy

And I hope that didn’t come out as too prudish. I have my own fantasies as well. >_>;

skoryy
Guest
skoryy

Let me start off by linking to exhibit A as to why sex in gaming is the final frontier devs are afraid of: http://millennium-city-walmart.tumblr.com/ (NSFW, NSFL, not safe for anyone who rages at RP elitism)

Here we have a comic book game rated T for Teens with a character and costume creator that allows for some amazing creations. Let me repeat: Comic books. And what do we get overrunning the RP space? All manner of kinky stuff, most of which isn’t really inherently bad, mind you. Just a little in your face for being in a public spot. Consenting adults in gimp suits are perfectly fine, but I don’t think society’s ready for that to be regular street wear just yet. But that’s not all, as you dive further and find not even all that vaguely hidden rape play and pedo play within easy enough reach for anons to grab screencaps and post ’em to a name ‘n shame Tumblr. And again, this is in a game rated T for Teens. No sex in the champagne room.

Now imagine a game where sex is encouraged and even given gameplay elements. Just how many GMs are you planning on hiring to keep the server under control? How many GMs do you need to keep the server under control? Are you even planning on GMs? Hell, Revival says ‘no rape’ on one hand and then allows slavery on the other. Hooboy.

And that’s the real problem with sex as gameplay. When you start opening the gates to everyone’s fantasy, well, Jerry Sandusky had fantasies as well. You have to keep a line drawn, I’m not sure we’ve completely developed the resources to do so just yet.

wolfyseyes
Guest
wolfyseyes

In a lot of the RP I’ve participated in over the years, sex of the loving and lustful kind has been used from a layer of a multi-layered character all the way to the crux of that character’s existence. Overall, the inclusion of the act has made my experiences richer for it–it makes a character feel more tangible, particularly in a world where two ingot’s worth of metal equates to full-body protection and people can run endlessly without needing to pee or poop, or can sprint and go from fight to fight without going in to cardiac arrest.
I would definitely agree that acknowledging sex in a way that feels as organic as the act would make a game richer and feel more genuine, but then a lot of other aspects of the human condition need to be included. The Sims is as close as we have gotten to “gamifying” the needs of humans, from the vital functions right up to the wants and desires. I would think an MMO that acknowledges that and includes that aort of thing would be damn interesting, myself, but I also contend that the game should have an all-or-nothing approach.
Great article, as ever, Bree. Got my gears in my head turning.

wolfyseyes
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wolfyseyes

He’s not wrong. Violence in videogames is absolutely a thing, it’s just so pervasive that we’re deseniitized to the point of astonishment that a videogame would release *without* combat.

Ben Pielstick
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Ben Pielstick

Werewolf Finds Dragon Not exactly.  I could say much the same thing about fishing.  There are fishing simulations and fishing mini-games, and fishing is a fairly normal accepted activity socially in our culture in general that few people have objections to.  For the most part no one shuns you if you say you like spending your time fishing in video games.  

It isn’t all about violence, but I think violence is a slightly better analogy because of its pervasiveness in games compared to its real world seriousness which people have strong feelings about, though games often trivialize it in a way that most players don’t seem to mind.  There is no game design reason sex couldn’t get a similar range of treatment in games to virtually any other real world activity which can be simulated or abstracted to varying degrees of realism through mechanical contrivances.  The reasons I think in this case are mostly social.  You can walk into a movie theater and watch a movie depicting war, murder, torture, and fishing, but depictions of sex are highly censored and often criticized in a way that virtually nothing else is.

ManastuUtakata
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ManastuUtakata

Werewolf Finds Dragon 
What a ridiculous assertion.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
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Werewolf Finds Dragon

And yet violence is handled in the same way. Should we remove violence until it can be given the gravitas, complexity, and consequences it rightfully deserves?

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

And people aren’t crass with violence with their killing of innocent (non-hostile) animals and people? It happens in games all the time. It’s crass, but I doubt you’d be a champion of wanting to stop them from exercising their right to be violent in the most puerile ways possible.
You’re looking at this from one, limited perspective and not seeing the real problem, here.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

I don’t know. Stargate: Atlantis had two guys kissing in it bloody ages ago, and that didn’t lose watchers over it. And that was two guys. What you don’t realise is that you may be in a minority, and you may only see yourself as anything else because gamers are a noisy, pushy bunch.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

That’s a very extroverted attitude. A lot of people will write stories for their characters, they’ll put them in situations in their mind’s eye and watch how they react to different things. They’ll flesh them out and give them a personality and an identity. This is a very introverted thing to do.
If you look at tumblr, you can see this happening all the time. People write about their characters, they make them something more real. This is something that ZOS, in their cleverness, has embraced. They’ve began to feature this art on their site. And me beau, who’s a very, very creative sort… recently won first place in an ESO art contest. Why? She’s exceptionally good at telling a story with a picture.
When you can do that, you’ve become the very best sort of artist. Anyone can create a vanity picture or a static recreation of a location, that’s just work, it’s not talent. You have to have a creative spark to take it to the next step.
She did. And I love her for it. (Justlikesoup on dA, if you’re curious.)
And yes, if you look at these communities, there are instances of players placing their characters into relationships of different sorts. There’s a coupling me beau and I have of an old, wiry khajiit and an young, nimble argonian, she’s his adopted daughter and he taught her all she knew in regards to survival, and then she taught him a thing or two, too. They have an interesting relationship, they’re both butts and slightly competitive, there’s no end of snarky comments with those two around. And that’s what I mean.
It’s clearly an introverted versus extroverted difference. Those are scientific words to describe differences between brains. Extroverted and introverted brains are actually physically different from each other. The structure of your brain disallows you to see your characters as anything other than objects or pets, but your perception isn’t Universal. You must understand that, yes?
Though you treat them like meagre little things, tools to watch numbers go up, to some of us they are so much more. And when we leave a game (for whatever reason), we can even write little stories in our minds to finish up their tales and give them some kind of ending.
It’s very fulfilling.

Captain Electric
Guest
Captain Electric

Werewolf Finds Dragon I hope you’re not in the U.S.! Because if you are, move out! Move to Europe! Where they’ve embraced the…the wickedness of sex and…and women! We in the U.S., we LIKE OUR INGRAINED REPRESSION, DAMMIT! It’s comfortable, like soft silk sheets on a spring nigh–I MEAN, UH…! LIKE SHAVIN’ WITH RAZORWIRE, JUST LIKE IN CALL OF DUTY! Don’t try to sell us yer “intimacy in video games” snake oil, got dangit! I hear they got commercials in Europe with boobies! What about the children?!?! We raise ours up right over here! With good wholesome entertainment! Cuttin’ off heads, rippin’ out guts! With chain saws! And laser guns!!! And SHARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TomTurtle
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TomTurtle

Werewolf Finds Dragon I think the normalization of violence plays a large part and possibly even overexposure to the point of not attaching emotions to it in fictional settings. It is indeed a rare sight to see a video game handle violence with any real severity mirroring the same views we have about it in the real world.
Sexuality however is still so heavily tabooed in the world that even the rare occurrence of it being tackled somewhat realistically in a video game is strange. It shouldn’t be that way, but I don’t begrudge myself or anyone else who can’t help but feel uncomfortable. I save that for those who try to actively belittle sex and the people who fall into their destructive sights because of such a view.
I’d also mention that with the taboo sex is seen in a much more delicate view by many with different emotions involved that many do not give much thought to or may not wish to. I think Bree has the right idea here of there needing to be more exposure of sexuality to the point of normalizing it in people’s minds. It doesn’t necessarily have to be nudity up front in people’s faces but even the mere serious discussion of it in an accepting manner can help.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

So much yes. I’m tired of seeing sex treated like an abomination, too. It’s always baffled me. Oh, hey, I just ran what looked like an eighteen year old through because he looked like a bandit. That’s fine. ERMAHGERD A PENIS, I MUST UNINSTALL THIS NOW.
Oh Freud. If you thought it was bad back then, today’s world would’ve driven you to a very quick suicide.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

Those were the days. Having to consider the ramifications of an interspecies relationship, the cultures involved, the biologies involved, and everything else. I miss those old days. I got into a few very interesting relationships. I think one was with a dragon. It worked out.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

1. Nope

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

Genuinely interesting post. The problem with those mods, I find, though is that they’re objectifying a group that’s experienced that since the dawn of time. What I personally would love to see is nudity in games, but where both genders have very modest figures. Small breasts, small penises, reasonable waists/hips/buttocks, and so on. That would be a step forward.
We can’t look at mods exactly and say that yes, that is the way forward, because so many are created by horny men. And their motivations are incorrect. What you want is men creating the nude models for men, and women creating the nude models for women. This would create a far better situation for both parties, since neither would want to oversexualise their own gender.
But yes, I’d be entirely for (so for) more nudity in video games if it was handled reasonably. I would pay for that.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

Exactly! Yes. This is exactly the right kind of examination we need to be making!
Is it just because people are genuinely terrible and that video games and the threat provided by the laws of society is the only thing keeping most of them from going off the rails? Why do they romanticise causing pain, suffering, and loss of life, and yet demonise pleasure, happiness, and creation of life?
It almost feels like a desperate attempt to cling to a more traditional, violent world that no longer exists. Look at how people treated each other in the past. Look at, for example, how Christopher Columbus treated the natives who were so kind, trusting, sharing, and admittedly gullible.
It might be something genetic, there may just be a set of genes which we may some day come to think of as ‘The Dragonslayer,’ something to edit out of a person at birth before they become irreversibly awful. This may become necessary as I feel that there must be more genuinely awful people out there than we’re ready to accept, otherwise the world wouldn’t have such a laser focus on brutality.
Telltale is a great example. Humour wasn’t selling, so they turned to zombies and scenes of atrocity — then their sales shoot through the roof and they’re a story of success. Think on that.
The only reason I can think of as to why this is even acceptable is that there are more people near the brink of psychopathy than we ever could’ve realised. That for humanity, psychopathy may be the norm. And that there are systems created by incredibly clever people stopping the psychopaths from going nuts, by convincing them that because they like violence in video games, on television, in books, on the news, and through every other source… well, that doesn’t mean they’d like violence in reality.
(Pssst. Yes it very probably does mean that. But the conditioning is strong.)
I look at my species and despair on a regular basis.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

See, this again I would feel umbrage at. I understand your perspective, but why is it you feel this way about sex and not violence? Why doesn’t violence make you feel similarly awkward? I can’t help but channel Freud at this entire thread, because it’s so telling. The fact of the matter is is that the sex isn’t any less clumsy and ham-fisted than the violence, and yet the violence is readily accepted as real.
It’s so weird.

Captain Electric
Guest
Captain Electric

Peregrine_Falcon Half my gaming buddies are women, bub. It’s not a men’s club. Not to mention all the women who are going into video game design these days. How many, you ask?
Here’s a hint: this 21st Century of ours is going to scare the pants off of you.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

So you’re basically saying that most people are simply too terrible to accept other abstracts as game mechanics, that they’re so awful that only some kind of violence gets their rocks off. And that anything else would be laughed at solely because it’s not some kind of (if abstract) representation of violence. Well, on this we can agree. D’accord.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

Indeed! And violence is sexy. I know you’re being sarcastic, and I understand your point. I’m building on it by expressing this and pointing out that this is exactly why Freud lost faith in humanity. Kind of like I almost have!
Sadism rocks, yo! Sadism everything! But gentle sex and feelings? BAN THAT SICK FILTH!

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

I know, right?

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

You could say this about violence, too. Everything that you’ve said could account for violence fetishes that you and every power fantasy lover has. The sadism of your violence isn’t that different, is it? Why not keep your sadism to your bedroom and not inflict it upon all of us?
But your sadism is accounted for, provided to you by video games. I’m afraid that your perspective is flawed, and it’s the kind of flaw that leads to inequality. It’s a sort of one dimensional thinking that lacks the ability to see something in more than one way.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

You’d really be willing to talk with a woman and treat her like an equal? Considering that you just damned feminists like that? And considering that the only ‘crime’ of a feminist is wanting what you take for granted?
You should read my post above about types of men. It applies to you.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

Addendum: In case it’s not obvious, the point I’m making here is that one has a relationship with violence in much the same way as one has a relationship with sex. Both are horribly complicated in the real world and have their consequences. Violence, in video games, is grossly oversimplified and glorified, with none of the complications or consequences.
Sex could also be grossly oversimplified and glorified. People could just get it on without worrying about children or STDs, it could be a casual sex world in the way that so many games are casual violence worlds. It’s all about fantasies, at the end of the day. And for many people to have their fantasies (not so much me, but for many people), a lot of the details have to be oversimplified.
And that’s what’s happened to violence. If you believe violence is anything akin to video games or television, then you’ve not lived much of life. I even think I’m being generous, as the complications and consequences of violence are far, far greater than sex. I don’t mean to be mean, but you’re just not thinking enough. You never have. This is the problem that those like myself have with violent games in the first place, after all. It’s a glorification of an act that shows only one possible, very positive outcome.

And again, you could do that with sex, if you wanted. I’m not saying it’s right, I’m just pointing out that saying violence is simple is… well, ridiculous.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

Violence is only a simple act if a simple mind makes it a simple act. And often, simple minds write power fantasies which — in a rather ham-fisted way — exclude all of the complexities of violence. It’s no different than sex.
If you kill someone — what if you were misled and you killed an innocent? Now you’re an outlaw. And what if your murderhobo frenzy took out the son of an important crime lord, and they order a hit on you and your family for it. So you’re constantly hounded. What if you start to lose track of your humanity, and you become known so much so as a savage that pockets of civility start denying you entry based upon your reputation (even if you are a supposed hero)?
What of the nightmares you’d have of the faces of the men you’ve murdered? Would you become unhinged thinking about what sort of life they might have had if you hadn’t taken it away from them? What about that kid who was begging you and telling you that he was forced to do what he did by bandits before you ran him through? What if you have to deal with different forms of psychosis and mental delusions?
What if you were a soldier who couldn’t handle all the people he’d killed, and faced with PTSD suddenly suicide becomes a very real option to release you from the pain? What would you do if put in a position where you had an order to kill people who couldn’t properly defend themselves? How would you react if your faction told you that in order to prove your loyalty, you had to slit the throat of the wife of a famous general of the other faction, or you’d get kicked out?
I could go on like this.
Violence isn’t simple. People are simple. You are simple. Sorry.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

(( Continued from above. ))
There are many types of men out there, but I have to explain this in a
binary way so that it can be understood. For those that have wisdom,
awareness, and perspicacity you can find more variety than you could
shake a stick at. And for those without, there’s a whole world of
puerile attitudes, childishness, traditionalism, denial, and so on. And
everything in between, as this is as scale. But I speak of more extreme
instances.
The thing is is that the more extreme instances are
good at banding together and using force of numbers to get their
opinions accepted even when they are completely invalid. And that’s
unfortunate. GamersGate is exactly this.
If we were to look at the
extreme instances alone, it’s easy to believe that the only men playing
video games are of the more puerile, one dimensional kind. That’s
simply not true. I’m secure in my sexuality, my identity, and my sexual
identity. The problem is is that the noisy extreme isn’t, and the
very thought of confronting this is horrifying to them. Why talk, or
think, or discuss, or consider, or analyse, or have feelings with/for,
or even mate when you could go and slay a dragon for no other reason
than it’s there?
And I’m tired of having to do this.
They
won’t talk to women, and when they do it always ends badly. It’s why
statistically gay and bi people involved in marriages are statistically
more successful than straight couples. In a world so straight, you don’t
have to think. Boobies. Boobies are desirable. Women have boobies. I’ll
chase the boobies! Um. What do I do now? Uh. Uh. Uh. I’ll act nice.
That’ll work. I’m a nice guy. If I’m a nice guy… pleasure happens,
right? Good things? Sex is weird, man, but it feels good! SHIT I’M A
FATHER. I’m running away! Sorry kid, you’re never seeing me again.
There’s
a complete lack of forethought, there. They don’t want to think about
it. It’s extroverted, yes, but it goes beyond extroversion. It’s a
wilful ignorance and stupidity borne out of a fear of being even
slightly embarrassed, or removed even slightly from one’s comfort zone.
The
thing is? These people have always existed. The kind who’d go fight
bandits before they’d talk to women. Natural selection used to thin them
out, but with the nurture of society we have so many more of them
around. Since they’ve no bandits to fight except for in overly violent
video games. And they fight. And they fight. And they fight. And oh
boobies are hot. But don’t talk about touching boobies with other men, so ghey.
At
the end of the day, it’s just stupidity. It’s a lack of thought. It’s
why the objectification of women became a thing in the first place. It’s
idiots being idiots. And as a man, I apologise to all the women out
there.
Why isn’t sex taken seriously by video games? Why are
erotic roleplayers pariahs? Well, the most extreme voices out there are
‘men,’ and as extroverts they know how to band together and make
themselves look like the only voice. So scaredy-cat developers and
publishers tend to fulfil their whims. Only their whims. And the culture
is shaped by them, too, using the power of numbers to do that. It’s
hard to stand up to fifty people as one person, especially in a game
where you can be banned for making a disturbance.
I mean, it’s
hardly the fault of the fifty people, right? It’s the one troublemaker.
And I HAVE been banned for that. I won’t name names, I don’t believe in
the shame game, but still… I’ve been banned from games for being the
voice of reason. For speaking out against this.
Here’s a funny
example, just plucked from memory. I wasn’t banned for this, and it’s
not too serious. So I think it’s okay. I still won’t name names, though.
Okay, there’s one game out there, it’s a post apocalyptic
science-fiction game. It has a scientist in it that can join your party
who’s very clearly gay. I was pleased by this, but I saw on the most
used wiki resource for that game that this wasn’t mentioned. So I
mentioned it. It was edited and removed. I asked for it to be
reinstated, they asked for evidence. I gave evidence. I put it back up.
It was edited and removed again. They asked for more evidence, I gave
more evidence. I put it back up, it was taken back down again and I gave
up.
Do you see? This is how things are. It’s a culture driven by
idiots. And all you get for your troubles is that you’re either shut
down, drowned out, or banned. There’s no room for intelligence where
‘men’ are involved. (Specifically the kinds of men who’re extroverted in
the extreme that I spoke of, but you know someone’s going to leap on
that without reading the rest.)
So, yes. ‘Men’ and intelligent conduct are mutually exclusive.

Werewolf Finds Dragon
Guest
Werewolf Finds Dragon

There’s one part of this I absolutely have to touch upon.
How ‘men’ feel. By that, I mean those who think that they’re so very ‘man’ as if they need to put their insecurities on display in order to show they’re not insecure. I invite you to attempt to wrap your mind around that one. Anyway, they seem to have this utterly bizarre attitude that goes beyond seeing women as objects.
“That woman is hawt. Yeah, I like boobs. Feelings? No man, that’s ghey. What? No. I don’t want to think about having sex with her or touching her, that’s ghey. Look… look… can we just… can we… can we just stare at the boobs and stop thinking?”
It’s baffling to me, but that’s because I don’t see women as some undiscovered, foreign country. In fact, frankly, I find introverted women much easier to relate to than extroverted men, for whatever that tells you. I don’t find the functions of most human beings alien, in fact, I find the functions of most human beings boring. And yet, you’ll have ‘men’ who treat women as though they’re some great mystery, some undiscovered country that leads to endless pleasure. But, just, don’t talk about the road to eternal pleasure, ’cause that’s ghey.
Anyone else met them? They seem to be commonplace. Are you one of them?
Anyway, it is this attitude that makes it okay for boobs to be on screen, and for violent acts of gore. Though if you were to have a woman mention her menstrual period you’d probably get a GamerGate rally trying to ban your sick filth. Even more strange is that placing certain groups of people in a position which engenders empathy is strange, too. It’s okay to call a person an ethnic or ableist cuss in a video game, but force a player to play an ethnicity other than the one they were born with? Haha. You’re in for a riot, you are!
This is because most people don’t mature intellectually. They just don’t. I’d feel safe in saying that around 70~ per cent of the men I’ve met are indeed ‘men.’ By which I mean that they’re puerile, their attitude toward women is something you’d expect to seen in a teenager that’s confused about puberty, and their raging hormones have them lean heavily towards violence and power fantasies. The thing is? ‘Men’ don’t grow out of this phase. I feel that the majority of them I’ve spoken with go through puberty their entire lives.
And thus, talking about women, the biology of women, sex, feelings, closeness, alternatives to violence, progressive topics, or … any number of things makes them feel awkward. I just don’t think that they have a brain designed to handle anything beyond the very basic reality they live in. I’d have a hard time applying sapient to them, if I’m really honest. There’s a profound lack of self awareness, there. So if you confront them about any of these things, they lash out and throw a temper tantrum, they have a wobbly, and then they turn to rage in a feeble attempt to try and force you to accept them as alpha, and their opinions as correct even if they’re flawed and misinformed in every way they could be.
It’s a brain problem.
I am a man. I do not have these problems. I have grown up, and yet my inner child didn’t morph into an obnoxious teenager confused about everything who rules the roost. I feel that in my case, my inner child and every other part of me that makes up the gestalt that is me has pretty much come to terms with all the other parts and live in relative peace. But in these ‘men,’ you have an obnoxious teenager sitting on top of a makeshift throne, screeching orders and refusing to let any other aspect of such a person flourish. So they end up being very one dimensional.
There are a lot of one dimensional people out there. You can’t deny this. I’m very interesting, I know that. I have a lot of depth. I know others who’re the same. I say this not out of ego, but out of awareness. I’ve examined and accepted the various aspects of myself and I gain extra perceptions from them, it allows me to sympathise, even empathise, with positions other than my own. It gives me the imagination and creativity to see things in more than just one light. It allows me to see the world as a complex construct, rather than just being a binary instance of black and white. There are many variables. Sometimes there are too many variables, and I cannot stop thinking. Or typing.(( Continued below. ))

johnmynard
Guest
johnmynard

The disparity between the treatment of violence and the treatment of sexuality in mass media, be it a kids show or Game of Thrones, stems from the “simplicity” of the act as it relates to society. 
Sexuality is, typically, tied up with all sorts of emotional twists and turns because, contrary to what modern society would have you believe, it can have long term consequences and both partners are expected to be able to understand, accept and adapt to those consequences.  To put it bluntly, sex is messy.
Violence is, comparatively, simple act.  Usually concluded in a very short period of time, times of war notwithstanding, with much less severe consequences for the “victor” outside of any potential incarceration.  Violence, while potentially quite bloody, is not nearly as messy as sex, from a societal standpoint.
As as aside, I, personally, feel that sex has been devalued to a appalling degree in our society.  Yes, when it’s between two people who care deeply for each other, it can be a beautiful thing.  But the devaluation has changed it from something…sacred(it’s a bad word in this context I know, but I’m trying to keep it short) into something profane.  Something…less than it should be.
On topic, the sex is primarily the reason I’ve not finished any of The Witcher games, you are rolling along enjoying the story and then *blam* meaningless sex scene that takes you completely out of the narrative.  After that it’s like trying to drive a car on the water, you can try to keep going, but what’s the point?

Peregrine_Falcon
Guest
Peregrine_Falcon

As long as feminists keep whining about how men dominate the video game industry, because heaven forbid that men be allowed to do anything without women being involved, and as long as anti-video game nutjobs keep trying to blame mass murders on video games, not many companies are going to want to put much sex into a game beyond skimpy armor and the occasional cut-scene kiss.

ManastuUtakata
Guest
ManastuUtakata

Zardoz1972 
There are a number of posters who have made large and wordy posts, because we’re having what is presumed to be a mature discourse on it. I personally prefer to keep my posts short and to the point. But that rarely captures the eloquence and complex meaning some peeps wish to elaborate. But you are not obligated to read it if you find it too long. There is no need to comment on it, unless you wish to debate the issues and claims raised within.

PS: There is a delete option you can use to remove your unintentionally misplaced posts.

Zardoz1972
Guest
Zardoz1972

LOL, wrong spot. But hell yea, make it 30,000 points of damage. Mention getting laid and gamers fly into a wordy posting frenzy.

Robert80
Guest
Robert80

breetoplay RagnarTheDrunk  That’s not what the term ‘Rift’ in the Oculus Rift means… although they might get (even?) more business if it did!

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