Why Are You Offended? Quit Being Snobby About Sex in Games

Sex in video games mass effect
Liara and Shepard are the perfect video game couple. Sending love hearts. (Credit: Bioware)

Picture this: dimming lights, a photo frame strewn upon the floor, a pair of worn-out snakeskin boots dusty under the bed, and two bodies rolling on the mattress. Hang on, isn't this supposed to be a sci-fi game? Isn't she an alien? What is going on? Where did the snakeskin boots come from? This ain't a western!

A few things are going on, but we're not going to get into the nitty-gritty of the scene described above (that would just be ob-scene... get it?). We can promise you one thing, though: some folks are going to be a tad unhappy. Well, screw them right? Stuff 'em. What are they good for anyway? Well, probably something – but certainly not this!

To be honest, there are probably no snakeskin boots under Shepard's bed – that doesn't suit her style – but it sounded good, so I went with it. A good way to start, considering the amount of finger-pointing that's about to be had. Why issex in video games such a taboo? Oh, and why is there such a double-standard? Why is sex so wrong, but if we grab ourselves a sniper rifle and murder a family of Krogan everything is just A-Okay. Seems a bit unfair!

There are two kinds of snobs when it comes to video game sex prudes:

The "I'm going to be morally opposed to sex in video games"

The "Garrus is a babe, why did you date Liara?"

Let's take a look at both of these arguments. First, though, let's take a moment to appreciate this: whilst it is tedious that we even need to have this conversation, at least it isn't that bogus "does violence in video games make our kids murderers" debate. Urgk. That's always painful.

Video game violence
Video games cause violence? No evidence? Damn, must be correct then! (Credit: Bored Panda)

The "I'm Going to be Morally Opposed to Sex in Video Games"

The year is 2004 (or perhaps 2005), and a mini-game has been discovered in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Hot Coffee, as the mini-game was dubbed, allowed players to have sex in-game. Shock, horror, front page headline. There you go! CNET had a pretty great headline. It'll make you laugh:

Hackers behind sex change, says 'Grand Theft' maker.

That's right! The headline doesn't even have the full name of the game. Not even "Auto". Ouch, Rockstar, that must have really hurt your pride. CNET's really showin' you some respect there. Anyway, the headline in question was about Rockstar's initial claim that the Hot Coffee mini-game was the work of a hacker... Here's a quick quote:

In a statement on Wednesday, Rockstar claimed it is not responsible for the so-called "Hot Coffee" mod. Instead, the Take-Two Interactive subsidiary said the mod was the result of "the work of a determined group of hackers who have gone to significant trouble to alter scenes in the official version of the game.

This claim was consequently proven false. It turns out that GTA: San Andreas'video game sex scene was just simply removed by the developers before launch, but left in the source code. Before you get angry at Rockstar for lying, though: who cares?

Where's the need to be offended? Most people have sex. Most people watch pornography. Pretty much everybody watches violence in television, movies, and games. For goodness sake: The Lion King, Monsters Inc. and Harry Potter are all pretty bloody violent, and it's fine. Why the hell is it okay to watch Simba literally leave Scar to be brutally torn apart and eaten by Hyenas, but if Harry and Ginny bumped-uglies on-screen, that would be an absolute outrage? Actually, now that I think about it, it's pretty stuffed up how Scar meets his demise...

If we are that concerned about children, then a movie like The Lion King should probably not be shown to kids. I mean, it's a great movie, but that only makes sense, right? Look: I'm not saying that San Andreas or Mass Effect should be played by a five-year-old. I also don't think that kids should miss out on a classic like The Lion King or Shrek. That would be a shame!

It would be irresponsible for five-year-old's to play some of these games – that's the point of rating systems like the ESRB or PEGI. It seems pretty simple to me: just don't let them play it. Now, if you did stop your kids from playing inappropriate video games, then who gives a toss about Liara and Shepard awkwardly getting it on, or the recent Hot Coffee mod in Red Dead Redemption 2?

The "Garrus is a babe, why did you date Liara?"

Well, this is a really silly argument. Garrus is one sexy beast, but Liara? It's Liara. Of course, you should date Liara. How's there even a question?

Yep, that's the entire answer. Do you want a summary? We like summarizing stuff... Here you go: everything is "immoral" if you search hard enough. It's kind of hypocritical to complain aboutvideo game sex when everything is "problematic" if you think hard enough. The solution? Use common sense, don't let your kids play GTA VI when it comes out, and chill out. Seriously. Guys. Chill.


Every week we come out with a new EarlyGame column! This is the first since I took over writing, and I hope you have enjoyed this hot-take. Check out some more EarlyGame columns, and tune in for another next week! We love writing them, and we hope that you love reading them...

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