No matter if it is TV, books, movies or video games, if there is one thing is consistent with just about all of them, then it is the adage that "sex sells." While this hasn't been too much of a problem when taking the first three into account, I have heard much louder and more vocal criticism when sex appeal is put into a video game. Now why is that? I've seen plenty of hardcore violence and gore in my favorite games and where I come from nobody cares about it too much. But as soon as someone makes even a reference to sexuality, everyone is up in arms. So why the hate? Has society become so prudish that even the slightest mention of T&A in a video game is grounds for censorship? Well for my 69th article, we're gonna take a look at a few games with sex appeal as one of the main focal points and we're gonna determine if it is necessary to have it in the games we play.
It's kind of obvious (for me anyway) that Bayonetta would be the first woman on this list. She's a tall, voluptuous, long-legged British beauty that unfortunately might be described as slutty in the eyes of a less accepting individual, but is her sexuality necessary for her character? Well I believe so for this historical reason. According to this well researched video I found on YouTube, witches of old gained their power through a pact made with an incubus and then copulating with them. Sounds like sexuality would've paid quite a big part there; Platinum just had a little fun is all and sexed her up a bit more than what history would have done naturally.
Dead or Alive Xtreme
Another obvious one, but because the public outcry was much more audible. This game is described by the developers as "A celebration of the female body," but we all know that's bupkis. I am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for transparency's sake, but is the sexuality necessary for this spinoff series? Well, not really. I am willing to admit that the devs have every right to make the game however they want, but focusing almost entirely on T&A with very little gameplay makes it kind of lackluster, especially since this is supposed to be a game, which by definition is, "a form of play or sport, especially a competitive one played according to rules and decided by skill, strength, or luck." All titillation and no play makes DoAX a dull series. I guess not all games can be iconic from the gameplay alone.
Not nearly as known as the first two on this list, but it still caused quite the uproar. This series is the definition of "jiggle physics." What is the usual goal of this series you may ask? To play as one of many busty female ninjas (of questionably legal age), and beat the crap out of one or more busty female ninjas while shredding their clothes off in the process. How did this game come about, and for the 3DS as well, you might also ask? Because the creator decided that "one of the things people most wanted to see in 3D were breasts." Can't get more transparent than that now can you? Now the sexuality isn't needed for this series in the slightest, but considering that the game only came about by the revelation of "breasts in 3D," something tells me it wouldn't have sold well otherwise.
Now this is a tough one. This series has always had a polarizing view on the femininity of the main character Samus. She's a badass bounty hunter throughout the entirety of the game, but beat the game 100% or within a certain amount of time and you get to see her in her zero-suit or a full on bikini. With the way the game is presented, Samus had never needed to be sexualized, but you are rewarded with a half-naked pose of her if you do exceptionally well? I'm not saying it's not welcome, I'm just saying it's confusing. Samus is sexy, but because of her skill and athleticism, not her tits.
Metal Gear Solid
I'm not against male characters being sexualized; it just needs to be done right. Big Boss from Snake Eater, Peace Walker, and Phantom Pain is a good example of this. He's rugged, strong, intelligent, athletic, and quite the survivalist. Now technically this isn't sexualization of the male form, but he is seen as what some would call a "man's man." The kind of guy you'd want to have as a hunting partner, a drinking buddy, or just someone to accompany you to a strip club (not necessarily in that order). He's basically the ideal outdoorsman; the kind of guy that many men strive to be but rarely achieve. He is kind of a representation of an unobtainable goal, much like how many female characters are presented in games. But just because that specific goal is unobtainable, that shouldn't stop you from trying to get close.
DMC Devil May Cry
And then you have Dante. I am truly baffled at how this guy is portrayed as sexy. To me, his (modern) design gives off an aura of narcissism that just rubs me the wrong way. I get that he is supposed to be a "bad boy" and I know that a lot of women like that type in fiction, but making him look like a stereotypical douchebag with a hairstyle to match is not the best way to go. His only redeeming quality is that his personality is somewhat approachable. It still doesn't fix his hair, but it is a step in the right direction. I guess what people find sexy about him is that nude scene he had at the beginning of the game. I would take a stab that this rebranding is basically gender-swapped Bayonetta, only not nearly as lewd.
God of War
Much like how Bayonetta is sexy because she was purposefully designed to be feminine, Kratos is the masculine equivalent of that. Muscular, shirtless, and strong like it's nobody's business, Kratos is very much eye candy for a female (or gay male) audience just as much as Bayonetta is for a male (or gay female) one. Except compared to her, no-one seems to care about how Kratos is half-naked but will jump down the throat of anyone trying to defend Bayonetta's promiscuous appearance. There are double standards at work here that keep getting ignored and it infuriates me to no end. If men can be sexualized but women can't, then why even fight for equality or freedom of expression? Just let the devs make what they want and if you don't like it, don't play it.
Any Game by Illusion
Now these are just straight up interactive pornography, so the nudity and sex would need to be necessary just to get it to sell. And before you say that those games could sell without it, then think about this: Would porn itself even be considered porn if the prerequisites to make it so were absent? Yeah, that's what I thought. And considering that prostitution (and agriculture) is the oldest known profession in the world, this would basically be the "victimless crime" version of it.
If by now you're confused and wondering where I'm going with all of this, allow me to explain: EVERY SINGLE ONE of these tropes mentioned exists in other forms of media like pornography, stag films, erotica novels, hentai, and even in the news from time to time. But the fact that everyone is getting so bent out of shape because of something that is technically more friendly than violence and gore is appearing in an interactive format is making me facepalm to no end. So to them, and the people that complain about "unrealistic beauty standards," allow me to give my 2 cents on the matter. 99.9% of video games are fictional, and aren't made by the person playing it. As such, they rarely ever match the player's definition of beauty or sexuality perfectly. Just chill out and enjoy what was made before you have an aneurysm. So until then, I'll be seeing you.