NSFW: A Sorceress in the Centerfold -- The Changing Face of Video Game Sexuality
- By: CM Boots-Faubert
- Posted 9th May 2011
It's a Different Class In There
While many of the most desirable gaming starlets have shed their outer skins for Hef, some of the most exclusively dangerous and beautiful have declined the honor -- much to the regret of gamers the world over. For instance, while she has appeared in Playboy many times, the most famous archeologist and anthropologist in the world -- Laura Croft -- is among the wicked women who don't... Appear nude in Playboy that is.
The closest that Dr. Croft has come to the all-over is a candid pic of her in bikini on a tanning bed, taken during an interview while she was multi-tasking -- touching up her tan while chatting with the writer from Playboy.
Luba Licious, fresh from her success in Leisure Suit Larry, was a natural selection for Centerfold as she helped to usher in annual video game and game girl coverage.
Others who have drawn the line at showing skin include Farah from Prince of Persia , Alyx from Half Life 2 , and Jedi Knight Bastila, from Knights of the Old Republic , but in each of those cases their reluctance to strip down is perfectly understandable -- Farah could face serious punishment of course, and Bastila? Well, have you ever heard of a Jedi Knight appearing naked anywhere? The reluctance of Alyx is perhaps the easiest to understand -- if you have met the blokes she works with you know that they would have her pictures plastered on every flat surface in the world in a New York minute... We're just saying...
Witch Trials Down Under
That Triss Merigold decided to pose for Playboy at all is exceptional considering the trouble that she already has in some parts of the world. While Salem, Massachusetts is probably safe for her these days, she has a hard time getting into Australia, where her game was forced to be revised with what is being called a "minor edit" in order to meet the MA15+ rating there.
The edit involves a side quest in the game during which the player may decide whether to have sex as a reward for the mission -- with the Aussie version having that decision removed, and the final edit being a flat-out refusal. Perhaps if the scene has been shot on one of the many legal brothels outside of Sydney, or they had simply offered cash for the sex, it would not have had those troubles, but who can say for sure?
The most recent word from the folks at publishers CD Projekt and 1C is that the Russia version of the game will include a Witcher 2 real-life nude calender with copies of the game -- but evidently Triss could not be convinced to pose for that, and so a stand in -- Ukranian model Klodi Monsoon -- will appear as Triss. Granted, it is not the same thing, but perhaps it will help with the cold Russian Winters anyway.
The Maturing of Gaming
To appreciate why the appearance of Triss Merigold -- and other game stars -- in tasteful pictorials intended to serve as PR vehicles for their game makes sense, we have to examine the changing role of nudity in video games in some detail.
All humor aside, in the course of the past few years sexuality in video games has matured in a manner that few gamers expected in spite of the resistance to that process by some developers. Traditionally the exposure of skin in most games really was the objectification of body that detractors claimed that it was, and was indeed largely contemplated to increase sales and the appeal for teenage boys, but at some point in the latter half of the last decade that trend began to slowly reverse.
The inclusion of skin (outside of a strip bar or bordello) in video games these days is often a more realistic one, with less gratuitousness and more emphasis upon appropriate display that is more akin to that of the theater or motion picture than what it used to be in games. As that trend developed it became easier to accept for most non-gaming observers, especially when the use of skin is in context or non-sexual.
Sarah Morrison, the Tabula Rasa cover girl, is featured in the intro clip at the beginning of the game, but little was known about her back story. Her appearance as one of 2006's Top Video Game Vixens cemented her popularity.
The shower scene in Heavy Rain is a good example of how the view and approach to in-game nudity and sexuality has changed. While that scene was appropriate to the story being told, and handled in a natural and non-sexual manner, when it is juxtaposed with the infamous Hot Coffee interlude from the GTA series the distance that has been traveled and the progress made is very easy to see and appreciate.
As a gamer you only need to go back a few years to find the place where any nudity in a video game was gratuitous and obviously titillating, starting with the likes of cycling game BMX XXX , which claimed to have reviewed each video section using a standard that revolved around a number of boners, and moving on to pretty much any game with the words "Strip Poker" in its title.