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questionanswer&andrew


Rated M For Mostly Sexy

Andrew Long - May 16, '04 - 12:23 EDT

WELL, IT TURNS OUT THAT SEXUAL CONTENT IN RPGs is a big deal to people after all, so I'm going to let the letters do the talking. To that end, I will give each of them its very own microphone and juke box, in case there are any Beatles requests.




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What level is Shoe? 38
I want so badly to believe
That there is truth, that love is real
And I love life in every word
To the extent that it's absurd
I know you're wise beyond your years
But do you ever get the feel
That your perfect verse is just a lie
You tell yourself to help you get by


Score one for Derek


Hey, Cast. I think sex has been on the rise in games, but not to too much of a point. As for that Derek guy with his quarrels with BoF5 and La Pucelle, I think he jumped the gun a bit. Now, I'm a Christian too, and I agree, a fixation on sex is a bad thing. I don't think he's trying to ignore sexuality, just to not be overridden by it. I like to look at ladies. I like to think about ladies. However, this focus takes up valuable time that I could be using to better cultivate a relationship with my girl, the ONE lady that I ant to be with for my life. He's in a similar situation, I'd wager, waiting for his ONE girl, and trying to not be distracted from that quest. I really hate it when people say crap like "Well, we ARE sexual beings." That makes it sound like sexuality is man's primary characteristic and goal. Frankly, there are plenty who act that way. But it's not. man's primary goal is to "be holy, for He is holy." So we're getting nowhere when our main drive is for our own gratification. As for enjoying an abundance of intimacy with a monogamous marriage partner, that's a very good thing, the whole "be fruitful and multiply," command. Never think that God doesn't like people having sex, he olny hates the frivolity with which we treat the capacity of such a creative and intimate act.

ANDREW
Hmm.. Well, that's a fairly reasonable outlook, and it does raise a couple of points that I conveniently neglected last night. First off, I didn't mean to suggest that there isn't room in the world for monogamy; it's just that in my experience, which is admittedly in all likelihood atypical, monogamous relationships don't work out for everyone. Now, I may be slightly jaded in view of the fact that all of my mother's siblings have been divorced at least once (she has 9) and my parents themselves couldn't quite make it past 1995, but I just don't think that forcing everyone to accede to one particular form of sexuality, however much God might like it, is fruitful or possible, because there are just too many different types of people. You're right, though; sexuality should not be humankind's primary goal. The trouble is, it's pretty central to the propagation of the species, so like it or not, sex is going to be a fairly overriding concern, however much holiness, money, or science tries to get in the way.

Now, as to God liking people having sex, that doesn't trouble me in the slightest. The thing that bothers me is the sexual repression practiced by some people who interpret certain areas of scripture as a carte blanche for screwing with their kids' minds. Like I said before, people wanting to remain chaste, and then monogamous should be given free rein to do so; what shouldn't be is the notion that we're all supposed to pretend that sex somehow doesn't take place, because not only does this send mixed messages to children, it causes various and sundry delightful mental complexes which may come to interfere with otherwise healthy relationships in the future. Moreover, to villify other, equally valid relationships simply on the basis of the blessing of a God that people may or may not believe in has caused needless heartache for countless people over the centuries.

But back to the games, since that's what we're here for. Yeah, sexuality has been much more blatant, but only because of the polygons. And while some perverts will sit and drool over Yuna, Paine, Rikku, Prier, and any other polygon or anime chick, that's something that the same perverts would do wth their mental pictures of the eight bi characters found in earlier RPGs. It's all about the player, not the game. I, for one, never found Kos-Mos, in her high heals and blue, skintight spandex, attractive at all. She was a machine, not a woman. The end. Anyway, to Derek, you just stay away from whatever makes you stray, but don't put too much emphasis on fantasy. Just keep your reality pure, okay? Best wishes, Castandcrew.

Your pal, or possibly arch nemesis, Kenny the C.

ANDREW
Hey, my only archnemesis is my angry squid, and I'm happy to report he's currently lurking off the coast of Norway, out of my hair for the time being as part of our court-ordered separation. I always enjoy hearing from people with different perspectives, and while I don't agree with everything you're saying, it's certainly nice talking about it.


Balloona!


Sexual themes in RPG's, eh, Steve? I was about to say that I haven't noticed much of an increase in the amount of sexual material in RPG's. But I've been out of the video-game RPG loop for a bit now (the only RPG's I've really played since this summer have been Xenosaga, the GBA Fire Emblem title, and...Grandia...), and even in Xenosaga there's certainly KOS-MOS. So, with this increase in graphical realism, we have portrayals of the female body that are...ironically, both more and less accurate. More realistic, but more idealized. This probably doesn't do anything to help us gaming guys look at real human females as more than meat, so to speak. But I imagine there are also a lot of guys whose perspectives it doesn't do anything to hurt, either.

Truth be told, while my friend Charles was probably thinking very hard about KOS-MOS whenever the camera gave us a clear shot of her, I didn't really care. Maybe it's just that rampant use of sex in the media, but all the mystery and intrigue is gone from the female body. Maybe I'm just weird, and I go for mystery and intrigue. I dunno.

And FFX-2? Let me just say that I cannot possibly imagine the same Yuna from FFX wearing what she's wearing in FFX-2. I mean, she's kind of demure and modest and quiet. That's kind of her personality and stuff. And I've heard that in FFX-2 she uses the adjective "poopy." YUNA COULD NOT POSSIBLY DESCRIBE ANYTHING AS "POOPY." THAT CANNOT POSSIBLY BE YUNA!

Just my thoughts. I mused about the topic and let my musings take me where they would. They don't strike me as terribly insightful...or even necessarily accurate. Except the business about Yuna.

-Jackson Ferrell

ANDREW
Thanks for sharing, Jackson. Actually, the de-mystification of the female body is the one area where I don't feel quite so comfortable advocating more openness in matters of sexuality, but then again, there's plenty to be fascinated with, even after you know every inch, and hey, if you get too bored with it, you could always go after guys. I really don't think you'll ever get too bored, though; otherwise, we wouldn't have so very many dirty old men on our streets. In other news, you must now die for calling me Steve.


Mmm, mmm... That'sa spicy invective!


Well, of course, it wasn't a really vaiable option with SNES graphics, but as realistic models have proliferated in the worlds of RPGs, companies figure they'll just throw in some sexual content to make hormonal teenagers happy. Or lustful. Whichever. This trend has culminated in Final Fantasy X-2, a game which has been debated for quite some time in your mailbag...I don't have any problem with skimpy outfits, but if it's going to come at the expense of gameplay, don't bother?

RPGs has actually been rather fortunate in the pervasiveness of sexuality in video games...take what I consider to be the downfall of modern civilization (or at least modern video gaming), Dead or Alive : Extreme Beach Volleyball. Moronic drooling twenty-year-olds go out and buy this game and sit through it, pretending that their own vapid, pathetic lives could be filled with such sparklingly beautiful bosoms and whatnot, convincing their minds that it's a good game. In fact, this is the general trend with the X-box as a whole, but that's an argument for a different time...

In any case, like I said, I have no problem with sexually mature themes in video games, as long as it's properly labelled. Unfortunately, some psychopathic mother in Alabama usually outrages about one thing or another, causing games like BoF5 to get overt warnings about "Partial Nudity" to ensure themselves against any legal action. Christians in general (I'm Jewish) have a stigma about sex; it was ingrained into them a long time ago by the control-freak Catholic Church, and then split out into the various branches of Christianity from there. You all should read Da Vinci Code...not always entirely accurate, but very enlightening, especially as the origins of a lot of social customs today. Sex isn't evil. So stop treating it like it is.

- Feep "Tifa's hot"

ANDREW
Wow, you seem to have something against those moronic, drooling 20-year-olds, especially since I'm pretty sure droolers of all stripes have been buying up DoA left and right since it first hit shelves.


Answer me this!


Hello Andrew,

I found the letter from Derek interesting if not entirely new. I mean, he finds the sexual content questionable, that is his affair. However, that does lead me to wonder how he can justify playing video games of an RPG nature with their other themes.

Take magic, for example. I mean, if he is a fan of Final Fantasy, then there are spell casters in every game on the side of the hero (if the hero isn't one himself), and yet there is a clear biblical pronouncement against dealing with wizards, witches (does the phrase "Do not suffer a witch to live?" ring a bell?).

And I'm not even going to touch on the violence issue much, other than to say that I were to be offended by such things, the violence factor would be much more distasteful than any amount of sex in a game.

As for sex being in the game, I frankly could care less. If it adds to the story, then fine. If it does nothing, then it is no worse than random monster encounters that occur every two seconds of play.

Hmm, I guess I better pose you a question. Was there any movie or TV franchise put out as a video game that you thought was actually enjoyable? The closest I came to that would be Kingdom Hearts.

Sincerely,
Bri

ANDREW
Well, Derek never did say whether or not he pulled his struggle from the bible or from the religious instruction he has received, so perhaps that could explain his lack of aversion to magic and violence (and hey, Derek - if you're reading today, feel free to write in and clarify if you'd like - I'm pretty sure this letter is a little on the facetious side, but you never know). As to movie and TV conversions, the only really decent game I ever played of that type was a Game Boy Simpsons title, the name of which escapes me.


Liberality strikes


Andrew,

Honestly, I like games that aren't afraid to be more risque. A little controversy never hurt anyone, right? Video games are destined to get more and more "adult" as time goes by, there's no denying it. I can understand why religious people would avoid these games, but I also think that religion is a little too uptight. There is maybe too much adult content apparant on everything nowadays, but denying sex is pretty much denying humanity, and if people won't accept a small amount of sexual content in video games and movies, maybe they should just give up technology and live with the Amish. I'm sure you'll get more intelligent arguments than this today, but that's my two cents. Now that E3 has passed, people are talking about the PSP and the DS, and some are, of course, talking about ohter next gen gaming systems.. To me, it doesn't seem like the current has been out long enough for people to anxiously await new systems. I don't want to buy a new system, can't the new systems wait even longer to come out? Anyway, time to eat.

-neclordsword

ANDREW
That's a good point... I mean, the GBA SP is still fresh in my mind, seeing as how it only just came out last year. I guess when you think about it, though, the NDS will come out right around five years from the release of the GBA, so that's a full development cycle as far as a console is concerned. Granted, it's been much longer historically in the handheld market, but the times, they might just be a' changing.



DA LAST GRUMBLE

And that's just a taste of the fun and games I received in my inbox, but regrettably, I must get this column up in a fairly timely fashion, since otherwise they lock me in the basement and yell at me. Fear not, however; the rest of the letters will appear tomorrow in a Birthday Q&A spectacular which I will post in a secret location! For next week, meanwhile, since sex in RPGs has increased to the degree it has, some other elements have been sacrificed. What qualities about older RPGs do you think have gone by the wayside in the past decade? What else has come around to replace them? More to the point, what about these traits do you like and dislike? It's an open textbook, and there's a creamsicle stuck between the pages for you!

castomel@rpgamer.com
Andrew Long is goin' on 23.

GOOG'LL PROVIDE THE ANSWERS, YOU PROVIDE THE

QUESTIONS


Yuck. So old... so very, very old.

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