The Separation of Porn and Game

February 24thth, 2004, by Matt
I'm no Puritan, as my many years of not drowning, not hanging, and not burning women who give me an erection will attest. But the thought of one more game with added boner-inducement technology as a selling point makes me reach for the buckled shoes and knee-length breeches.

See, some game developers just don't seem to understand what the porn industry has figured out long ago. Porn knows it would be wrong to have a pool boy glance through the patio window only to spot his employer's sexy daughter (on vacation from her all-girl's college) eyeing him while lazing sideways across a recliner as she's idly talking to her very good friend— with whom she shares everything— then... having him jump across the moving platforms above the pool so they can all team up and fight aliens. They know that a flimsy premise and embellished female sexual permissiveness must segue very quickly into somebody putting something inside someone else, something non-bullet and non-sword.

But game developers who cater to those— and who themselves are— thinking with their dicks are, across the board, also too chickenshit to just make a porn game. American game developers, anyway. The Japanese are on it. So instead, you get all the pole dancing, jiggling, panty shots, and irredeemably stupid come-ons, with none of the payoff. At most, you might see two nipples simultaneously, and they'll undoubtedly belong to the same woman. Then the developers try to make up for the $40 cost difference between their game and five seconds at the local strip club with some half-assed knockoff of a game you played last year.

What is the point? I mean, most of the time when I'm playing a video game, I'm not having sex. Thus, in part of my mind, I want to have sex. Does the game I'm playing really need to do what my brain is already doing, presenting the idea of some really great sex and then not figuring out how to actually give it to me? It would be insulting if I didn't have the comfort of the knowledge that the developers annoying me with this are really desperate in more ways than one— even the developers who aren't in the seventh year of development on their first Windows game.

If you remain unconvinced, take a look at this old Fear Effect 2 ad that reader JP submitted after seeing it on famously nicknamed game journalist loonyboi's blog:

Original, actual print ad.

If this makes you interested in Fear Effect 2— or perhaps interested but with a vague sense of it being insulting towards women and therefore OK since you don't actually know many women but if you did you wouldn't show them this— you've been had. Here, look at what the ad is really saying:

Implicit message revealed, and original ass tagline upgraded to something they wish they could use.

Now I know that just about anything can be fetishized, and that there's money to be made. That's a decent theory as to why these games exist. On a fetish scale of "poop" to "stern, but secretly passionate young English teachers", flesh-toned polygons might even fall right of center. But, ultimately, even extreme softcore fetish is still fetish and still pretty creepy if you aren't into it. At Best Buy, Crying Japanese Women Farting on Birthday Cakes Volume 3 doesn't share shelf space with Pirates of the Caribbean. They may not even carry it; they keep hanging up when I call and ask. But BMX XXX sits next to Burnout, and that's just wrong. As soon as Sid Meier goes on record as saying games should no longer be considered a series of interesting decisions, but instead a series of interesting primary and secondary sexual characteristics, I'll recant. But not until then.

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