Book Excerpt and Review - Sex in Video Games
December 12, 2006 Page 4 of 15
Sex as Mechanic
A gameplay mechanic is a rule of a game. A barrel that blows up when it is hit is a mechanic, as is a floor pressure plate that causes a secret door to open. Throwing a die, taking a card on your turn, or advancing three spaces on a board are all mechanics of board games. For some video games, particularly those in the hard-core market, sex is a mechanic. In the online game VirtuallyJenna, for instance, players use a variety of tools to bring a virtual version of porn star Jenna Jameson to climax. In Playboy™: The Mansion™, characters who develop a sufficiently high relationship with each other might also “get it on” in the Grotto.
When sex is used as a mechanic, it can be employed actively or passively. An active sex mechanic allows the players to directly control the action. The controversial mini-game revealed in the infamous Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas™ “Hot Coffee” mod allows players to control the avatar’s thrusting. By timing the avatar’s thrusts properly, the player can please the woman. Other games like Roboho or 3D Sex Villa allow the player to insert sex toys into virtual characters or, in the case of hardware-enabled virtual sex simulators, like those designed to work with the Interactive Fleshlight, allow a male player to insert his penis into a sleeve hooked up to a computer’s ISB port. The Interactive Fleshlight is designed by Sinulate Entertainment. By contrast, a passive sex mechanic puts the game in control of the actual sexual content. For instance, DreamStripper (Figure 1.1) lets the player choose the clothing and moves of his stripper, but he cannot actually control her body directly. Likewise, in The Sims™ 2, the player can do all kinds of things to bring two characters together, but ultimately, when they have “woo hoo,” if they have “woo hoo,” it is up to them.
FIGURE 1.1 Ensign Games’ DreamStripper.
© 2005 Ensign Games, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Sex as Reward
There are dozens of strip poker games available online, and it’s in these games that sex used as a reward is most obvious. In the first such game of its type, 1982’s Artworx Strip Poker, when a player wins a hand, his or her virtual opponent removes a piece of clothing, gradually revealing more and more. Whenever a game awards or makes sexual content available to the player as a result of his or her actions, sex is being used as a reward. The Guy Game™ used a similar tactic, but instead of cards, its mechanic is trivia questions. Players begin by selecting a sexy co-ed avatar. Then, players watch brief film clips of women being asked trivia questions. The player must guess the answers to these questions, and further, guess whether the women will answer them correctly. The better the player does, the more his in-game avatar reveals. The amount of nudity the player sees in the video clips within the game is also tied to his performance. The game initially pixelates topless nudity, allowing only top-performing players to see nonobscured video clips of the women. The Guy Game was eventually removed from the market when it was revealed that one of its participants was 17 when she agreed to participate. As a minor, she was legally in capable of giving her consent.
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