Sex, death and games

acedia
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Post: #46
If you can think it, you should be able to show it or talk about it. The key ingrediant for making serial killers isn't permissiveness, it's repression. It's the *portrayal* of sex and violence that we're talking about, not the actual acts - and as such, when used in media they are strictly devices used to facilitate meaning and metaphor. Death doesn't always represent death, sometimes it's change, loss, acceptance. Sex can mean union, abandon, consumption - sex can even mean death, and vice versa. Just like the use of, say, mythological imagery, Marxist subtext, cultural icons or even simply the color blue... if we are to be critical of them, it should be in the context of whether they help or hinder the artist's expression. Separating them ad-hoc from their intended function and calling them 'immoral' or something, just seems like lazy thinking. There is plenty of violence in the Christian bible... sex too. It's there to add consequence to the choices of man - are we to fast forward through it?

Now, granted, things become a bit more complicated when we get to games. To use the terminology from a few years ago, every other artform is 'push' technology, whereas games are 'pull.' A filmmaker can take responsibility for what's being expressed by her work because she maintains complete control over its images. This 'control' is actually what 'art' is (or at least how we have always classically thought it to be). What happens, though, when that control is given over to the audience/player? Sex and violence can serve valid functions in art, but the *function* must come first. They're tricky to incorporate, not because they're immoral or whatever, but because people tend to react to them hysterically/emotionally, and therefore unpredictibly. When I see Nazi gibs coating the walls of Castle Wolfenstein, I see good triumphing over evil, but obviously Senator Joseph Lieberman experiences something completely different - And when games become sexually explicit, hoo boy, imagine the communicative chaos then! If you include the facility for sex in a game, what results when the player can use it for whatever function they want? At the very least, bad art.

The question isn't, should it or should it not happen, because it's inevitiable. The question is, will it be done eyes-open and responsibly, or not?

IMHO Smile
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griffin239
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Post: #47
Right, the addition of sexual content would become the focus of the game.
Even if it was only rumored to be at level 400, players would be only
concerned with getting to that level to see the sex.

Return to Castle Wolfenstein has a nude patch.
Great, the Nazi Leatherettes are naked, and the game play
remains the same: kill them all. Something is very wrong with
a person who needs to kill nude women.

Virtual sex is an eventuality though, via force feedback and other
advances in technology. I did a robot mind control expirement this past spring,
you can see how a set of VR goggles and the mind control head band could
open up player opportunities to "hit the right button", with force feedback
stimulation...this is a whole new genre of game waiting to be explored.

Pornography plays an important role in repressed/depressed societies.
Our Mommies are offended by it, or so they say, and so we are taught
to treat it as a spectaclur taboo, which only gives it strength.
Obviously there is an explosive market for it, it never goes away.

Anyone from India here? I know they have a totaly different outlook on sex
than the entire world. Would be interesting to hear that point of view.
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Post: #48
Quote:Originally posted by griffin239
Virtual sex is an eventuality though, via force feedback and other
advances in technology. I did a robot mind control expirement this past spring,
you can see how a set of VR goggles and the mind control head band could
open up player opportunities to "hit the right button", with force feedback
stimulation...this is a whole new genre of game waiting to be explored.

If I am correct, didn't the subject, man or mouse, just keep pressing the right button to keep getting pleasure till it died. I know the mouse pleasured itself to death. But wouldn't a human do the same thing?
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Hog
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Posts: 151
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #49
Quote:Originally posted by w_reade

Books, films, and paintings have all been created that deal with sex maturely, tastefully, and meaningfully, and don't feel the need to coyly hide the facts of the matter. Why should sex in a game be different? I feel that games have as much potential to illustrate the human condition as well as any other artform, and so they should be able to deal with the same breadth of subjects as the other artforms.


and of course we can't resist dealing with such material "maturely", "tastefully" and "meaningfully", or at least thinking so...

and aren't we when we call them forms of "art" just coyly hiding the facts of the matter?

Freud went as far as saying that anything, may it contain sexual material or not, actually depicts our hidden desires.
how crazy,
though i think it is justified to say that anything that contains explicit sexual material actually does depict our desires.
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Sta7ic
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Post: #50
::groans at skyhawk::
Just remember to use force-feedback -- no reason to make a half-assed product (no pun intended).
And send royalties, I'm a poor college student Smile

-Sta7ic
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griffin239
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Post: #51
Skyhawk the expirment you are thinking of involves cocaine, not sex.
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acedia
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Post: #52
Quote:Originally posted by c_dev


and aren't we when we call them forms of "art" just coyly hiding the facts of the matter?


You can't eat them, so we can't call them 'food'. Smile Art is a 'quantitative' term, not a qualitative one.


Quote:
Freud went as far as saying that anything, may it contain sexual material or not, actually depicts our hidden desires.
how crazy,
though i think it is justified to say that anything that contains explicit sexual material actually does depict our desires.


An interesting point, but Freud never meant 'desires' so much as 'drives', and he was speaking about that which we produce sub-consciously, rather than deliberately. Plus, I think you're being a bit overly-literal. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, perhaps, but an artist can choose to make the cigar anything they want, that's the whole point. The sex scene in THE ACCUSED is pretty explicit, but I would hardly call it a manifestation of the desires of the filmmakers.
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w_reade
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Post: #53
c_dev, art based on sex is not the same as pornography. Art tries to communicate, pornography intends only to titillate. If you're putting sex into a game to try to make the player's experience of the game deeper and richer, I'd class it as artistic. If you're putting it in just so the player has some titties to look at while they're playing, that's pornographic.

You can only accuse me of "coyly hiding" behind the definition of art if your contention is that "if it involves sex, it can't really be art". If that really is your viewpoint, I suspect I'll never convince youÖ however, if your argument is simply that most sexually-explicit games will not be art, then we're basically in agreement, and our only difference is that I believe non-tawdry sex games are possible, but you don't. In defence of my viewpoint:

When the first caveman scrawled a naked cavewoman on his wall, was that cheap porn? Perhaps. Certainly there exist many pornographic paintings. But to decide on that basis that all paintings of naked women are just cheap porn is logically flawed - even if Titian didn't turn up for millennia, the potential for non-pornographic nude paintings was there from the start. Likewise with games, now. I don't think anyone here has any real idea how the potential will be tapped, but it takes a woeful lack of imagination to deny that the potential exists.

Still, all this is just my view - everyone, just make and play the games that please you. If you wish to cut yourself off from all art that involves sex, it's no skin off my nose - in the end you're only impoverishing yourselves.
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Post: #54
Whew, this topic should be restricted, but it's a good debate worth bringin up.

Sex in games isn't far off at all where you'll see some... more realistic and long scenes:

A game called BMX XXX

The PS2 version (it's also available for GameCube and X-Box, uncut) has a little censorship but that's beside the point.

Games just seem to be using violence and sex and anything else controversial for their games to be sold. It may be the fact they're trying to attract the age group that buys the most games, but I think games are losing their fun value. Luckily, this game got a pretty weak rating. Games still need to be fun to sell well. I want a game with a good plot, then graphics, then good sound. If you're gonna have sex in games, it should be more like movies. A little kissing builds up but the audience never gets to see too much. But it shouldn't so extreme that you got a whole class on family life in one scene. But really, do ALL people have sex after their first date? Whenever I see a movie with some romance, there's a good chance they'll be in bed and enjoying themselves. Maybe I'm too young and I don't know about this.

Violence on the other hand...
We're getting close to a point where the gore and blood you see flying is almost undecipherable to real life. Graphics cards have come so far, reality and virtual reality are about to be synonymous. Not so close, but it isn't far off. Soon enough, headsets with a virtual gun will be the norm and bring the realism even closer. Heck, one day we may see technology that allows us to feel pain.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there will be a game that will bring more controversey. Then it probably will be accepted. Look at rock and roll music, look at rap, look at GTA, look at Eminem. They're accepted now. Even though I hate to admit, these controversies are probably going to be accepted.

Remember this though: Whatever man creates, there is always something wrong with it. Man's inventions aren't fullproof. Everything and anything can damage, hurt, kill, yet also be able to fix, repair, and help. Yet man also has the power to control what is invented. But will man do the right thing before or after the damage or help that comes with it?
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Founder
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Post: #55
Quote:how about giving the player exact instructions on when to be cuming and when to be holding back...

When I read that, I immediately saw the playscreen in my head. On the right is your score and a meter. Like in the game Snood, the meter goes up when you do badly, when it reaches the top the game is over. So in this game the meter is the male sex organ and doing bad makes the player "reach the top"... fade to "white". Ok, so what is in the main screen? Something like Snood? Some type of activity which you need to be able to control your urges? Many interesting examples based on retro-like games. My first thought was Bersek...

Little man (or women character) runs through a maze. Enemy naked people give chase or sometimes have their own fun. (please use better AI!). Your character either needs to look away, or throw clothes (birth control or anti-aspirin) at the nudists. If you happen to see the nudist the meter goes up (or if you can't stop their indicent acts). Stay too long on a level, and <fill in voluptous person's name/macho stud's name> super nuder enters the maze and gives serious chase. Perhaps like Robotron, not everyone is a nudist (enemy), so you might have some kids, priests that you need to save during each level. I think some nudists should also throw some things at you like sexy underwear, porn mags, etc. Get hit and your meter goes up a bit. Some levels have hazards like TVs showing porn movies (simple looping 4 frame anim is enough) and you will need to deactivate them. Perhaps some levels have a second floor. Female enemy wearing dress happens to be on the 2nd floor while you are on the 1st, your meter goes up. Another level is in a video store so you will need to pick up all the AV movies and throw them away. What other elements can we put in this game? Remember it must stay true to its roots which are Berserk, Venture, Robotron, FoodFight. Sounds like a fun game and a bit like a Wooden Allen movie (when he made fun ones). I'm not so crazy about looking at a male's sex organ so I hope we can make it a simple thermometer type. (But I'll volunteer if the screen size is 1800 x 1600 pixels if nobody can be our model.)

Anyhow, we don't see many games like this at all at the shareware level. Anyone willing to give it a try? I'm sure you Metal or TNT programmers could BANG out such a game in a day or two.

Figures it takes a thread with sex and violence to make all the lurkers come out from the dark. Hey David, "Don't feed the lurkers!"

Carlos A. Camacho,
Founder
iDevGames
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Quicksilver
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Post: #56
I would make that, but if my mom ever found out she'd shoot me. Plus my cutscenes would have to have very hot actresses which are very hard to get.
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Post: #57
I could make that game without any problem, but someone has to provide those gfx stuff. And of course, send me the models for "testing" before I agree to include them in the game. By the way, I like asians most, but blondes will be ok, too.
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w_reade
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Post: #58
Quote:Originally posted by cosmid
[everything I've been trying to say and more]


Thank you. I'm heartened that someone else understands where I'm coming from. It's amusing in a depressing sort of way that the thread is degenerating into a design doc for really rather a juvenile game... but I suppose I must defend their right to make whatever they like. Perhaps it's a faltering step towards what we're looking for. Anyway, changing the subject a bit:

Drawing some inspiration from the generative art discussion, I feel that one could see the artistic quality of a game in two ways - EITHER that the artwork is an individual player's passage through the game's parameter space, and is hence a collaboration between the developer and the player, OR that the artwork is the totality of the game's parameter space, which is created by the developer and simply experienced by the player.

I suspect interactivity may be a red herring here - after all, the value of art is firmly rooted in the eye of the beholder already; any appreciation of art depends upon the mental filters through which we perceive it. There is potential for us to engage with a game on a deeper level than is possible with a film, but on balance I feel that the art is essentially in the game, not the interaction between game and gamer.

Sublime experiences can come from the interaction, but I'd argue that only the most breathtakingly wonderful of play-paths could count as art in their own right - and even when they do, they are entirely derivative works. The player is only expressing himself within the constraints set by the developer, and the bulk of the credit must go to the developer.

And finally.. bad art still exists, and probably won't ever go away. Currently, I'd say that an awful lot of modern conceptual art is bad (or at least poor-quality) art because (1) without the illustrating text, it is often utterly meaningless to the average human being, and (2) even when the artist is actually trying to communicate some message, it's often utterly facile (like "racism is bad". No shit, Sherlock.).

More random thoughts...
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Feanor
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Post: #59
Whomever deleted my reply on this thread, it was my understanding that such deletions were to be accompanied by an explanation in email or a reply to the thread in question stating the deletion happened and why.

I believe that I made some very important, if disturbing, points. The fact that they are disturbing was not sufficient to remove the post. Reality is often disturbing, and it is the role of responsible people to acknowledge that.

Possibly someone misunderstood my analysis, and took it as some kind of recommendation for how to depict sexuality in games on par with violence? If so, you should have read more carefully. It was a stark examination of how they DIFFER, pointing out why sex is generally a USELESS subject to depict in games.

Amazing how blase we are about some things, and how prudish about others, most notably about unfiltered reality.

Sincerely,

FÎanor
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Feanor
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Post: #60
Quote:Originally posted by cosmid
why can't sex be PART of a game like it is in film. as an important PART of plot and character development. because human relationships are interesting.

The main reason is that "relationships" in games are not interesting, and we don't currently have the technology to make them interesting, sexual content notwithstanding.

I think a lot of people are getting distracted by sex as subject matter and forgetting about the nature of gameplay. You could have a game featuring disembodied sex organs and some people might in fact enjoy the humour, absurdity, and arousal such a game might awake, but it is a fact that they would get bored of it quickly if the gameplay was identical to some other game(s) they had already played.

Sex is a theme in the context of computer games, nothing more. Like war, outer space, swords and sorcery and sports are themes. Games generally break down pretty simply, and are very abstract except for the themes, which merely serve to create a semiotic context to allow for role playing of some kind.

Let's face it -- for all the time and effort it takes to get good at, say, being a sniper in a FPS game, you're really just moving your mouse a certain way to track a moving region on the screen with the scope/cursor. The particular images used, or the complexity of the simulation governing the timing of your "shot", are all parts of the theme. They are in no way a reflection of reality, except in the wish fulfillment of the player, and/or the social context of being good at tracking moving regions on the screen with a mouse.

"Killing" in a game is really just a matter of successful targeting, in terms of accuracy and/or number of "hits". Because the mechanics of killing a real person have a passing resemblance to this (in a simplified, cinematic interpretation), this is straightforward to apply as a theme to mouse-tracking mechanics. Sex has little or nothing in common with mouse-tracking mechanics. Maybe some pathetic attempt at working the (twelve? thirteen? remember the Friends episode: "five, two, one, five, six, seven, five, seven, seven, SEVEN, SEVEN!!") regions of a partner's body.

However, I'm sure you could find other gameplay mechanics used in different sorts of games which would jive better with sex, either the physical act, or pursuit. But it would all be very flat and very boring, unless you were somehow rewarded with sexually arousing artistic content.

As for forming sexual relationships with virtual partners, you will have to wait a long time for this to be possible. The extent of relationships in games right now is whether you use a person (ask them questions and get information) or frag them, and maybe steal from them before or after fragging them. NPCs are so far from being like people -- we can't even simulate ants properly, let alone the moods of a person. There was an attempt at a sexually explicit (if cartoony) MMORPG. I wonder how that's working out.
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