Sex as a Gaming Feature

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Sex as a Gaming Feature

Postby Angelspit » Dec 13 2008, 1:33

<img src=http://www.celestialheavens.com/homm5/images/characters/Dun_Eruina_s.jpg" align=right vspace=10 hspace=10><a href="http://www.celestialheavens.com/728">"Sex sells... regrettably?"</a> is a new Celestial Heavens special feature written by Kalah that reopens an old debate. He discusses sex as a selling point of video games, and how it has been used in the newest Heroes of Might and Magic game. He even provides an analysis of some of the sexiest female heroes, with pictures to prove his points.

Are you bothered by the depiction of women in video games? Or do you think it shouldn't be taken seriously as many video game characters have exagerated features? Hit the comment section!

If you would like to take a look at the original page visit this link:
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Postby Bandobras Took » Dec 13 2008, 3:39

A good article.

I would mention, though, that previous Heroes games had their fair share. Female Barbarians have never precisely been covered, while the Pegasus Riders of III definitely didn't cover up enough for high altitudes.

http://www.celestialheavens.com/viewpage.php?id=606

And here's an interesting one from Heroes I.

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Postby Ravenheart87 » Dec 13 2008, 8:28

Well, the history of fantasy is full of partially and fully naked women, and of course, chain bikinis. It all began with the Conan stories, where he almost always had an either cunning female warrior, or a damsel in distress as his sidekick, sometimes battling with witches. But hey, that's what pulp fantasy was about at that time, and Howard's women antagonists had always something I liked about them.
Plus, partial nudity had a reason: they were adventuring mostly in deserts, jungles and other hot places, or they just escaped from slavery, harem, et cetera...
The next step I suppose was Valleyo's and Frazetta's pictures.

Well, to be honest, I never really cared about this isssue. These are well known fantasy stereotypes, just like the half-naked body builder barbarian, the fully armored knight (who never wears helmet), and nowadays the heroic orcs (sic). Should we write about them too?

But you're right in one thing, why it's annoying in Heroes5, and why I don't like this modern "fantasy punk" art style: these women are so unnatural, they wear many thingies on them, which cover nothing, and it's unpractical too.
And I really begin to miss Erol Otus, Larry Elmore and Frank Frazetta...

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Postby Pol » Dec 13 2008, 8:55

@Bandobras Took
That Fairy is looking at Cavalry pretty fed up. And for a good reason I would add.

How it could been that you missed famed "Naga Tank" unit. With two antennas, two guns, screaming attack and full fore distractors? :D

@Ravenheart87
Actually in Conan's Book they usually don't wear anything. And sometimes are blind, mad, bathing in blood, crazy and very sexy. At the end, Conan always ignore them living for his "just a one sword and small kingdom".
(I forget, there's plenty of virigns too)

The flaws in armor constructions are however stupid. As for rest, less is more sometime for me. And pretty is pretty always! :-D
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Postby ThunderTitan » Dec 13 2008, 9:13

The problem is that sex sells even at the expense of everything else... i'd have nothing against all those pictures if they weren't the main thing their marketing strategy relied on... (uh, it's more matures because they're half naked, because mature = dumb&horny).
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Postby Deyja » Dec 13 2008, 11:16

Hmm i think people must play M&B (Mount & Blade) thy are more based on historical & functional like armor & other stuff then making a woman look like a sexual object for in the game.

lol but still i don't border if thy do things like cohan the barbarian types of womans its funny too see.

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Postby Ethric » Dec 13 2008, 11:50

Mount and Blade? It certainly sounds naughty. Or maybe it's just me :D

As to the article, it's not an issue of sex in games nowadays, as such. There's always been sex and boobs in games, it's just easier to get the point across with modern graphics. And yes I guess more are doing it because it's easier to get the desired effect. But the notion has always been there. Of course, fantasy combat babes stands out because the halfnakedness doesn't make any sense logically.
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Postby rdeford » Dec 13 2008, 18:08

Yes, it is a good article. It echoes many of my own thoughts. But I question the validity of the premise that sex sells. Rather, I would say that sex adds a few sales, but it is not a significant factor and it irritates me when game designers devote a lot of effort to it in lieu of other design elements. Imagine for a moment a chess set carved in the actual likeness of naked men and women. It would still be chess, a good game that has endured. Yet, I maintain that most chess players would eschew this version in favor of the classic medieval abstractions of most chess sets. After all, they come to the board to play chess. If they wanted to see sex, they would go elsewhere. We me personally, that's why I was disappointed in the Dungeon faction in H5. Unfortunately, unlike chess sets, I cannot get a different version of the H5 with a more appealing and reasonable looking Dungeon faction.
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Postby darknessfood » Dec 14 2008, 0:53

Nice article Kalah. The only way that a women can survive attacks of men is the act that they (like you pointed out) have very little vlothing and the attacker stares at the rack and just misses :P...
You can either agree with me, or be wrong...

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Postby Kalah » Dec 14 2008, 3:42

Did anybody notice the "enought"? :D
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Postby Deadguy118 » Dec 14 2008, 6:09

These cliches exist because people want them to. Just read any male-oriented fantasy series ever and you will find many an erotic or arousing description of women. (I'm looking at you Robert Jordan!) That's because the author knows who he's writing for and acts accordingly.

The same works for video games. When was the last time you saw a girl in a video game with less than C cup breasts? Exactly. The 18-36 male demographic is the main audience for video games and so therefore they are catered to.
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Postby Asheera » Dec 14 2008, 12:04

Well just for your information Kalah, the Blood Fury is a 90% copy of the Witch Elf from Warhammer (which was around before any video games ever existed, I think)

Here:
http://mythicmktg.fileburst.net/war/us/home/images/armiesofWAR/darkelves/WitchElf/witchelf-look-03.jpg

So this doesn't happen only in video games.
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Postby Pol » Dec 14 2008, 12:40

They do have a spare hand? :D

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Postby Elvin » Dec 14 2008, 13:42

For some reason this article reminds me of dark messiah ;) I pretty much agree, while I don't mind some sexual hints, having them implemented in a stupid/blatant way or having the whole game saturated by such a theme is just cheap and immature.
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Postby ThunderTitan » Dec 14 2008, 16:38

Asheera wrote:Well just for your information Kalah, the Blood Fury is a 90% copy of the Witch Elf from Warhammer (which was around before any video games ever existed, I think)


Actually the 80's even had a video game crash... granted, it was all 8-bit and down, but they where video games...
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Postby Dragon Angel » Dec 14 2008, 18:43

That sex sells is undeniable. And you can see it nearly in every sector of society. Albeit in different forms depending on the context: from the generous-racked characters we are commenting, to the fit and fashionately dressed clerks in a brand-clotes shop, to the young and efficient secretary in the front desk of any company (or the 'perfect' models-employees on any of its brochures)...

"Proper" (and by proper I mean focused in your target) sex is a cheap eye-catch. And it is generally accepted (unless noticed by a puritanism/p.c. lobby). "Realism" is not really such a factor as any other eye-catch would be also unrealistic (that is the reason they are eye-catchers).

As others have noted, mainstream fantasy has always been focused to the "young guy high in hormones" sector, and therefore "sexual fantasy" is highly enrooted in the genre. And it is not only matter of modern-age Conan -- you can go to middle ages (actually, renaissance) literature for plenty of ("Horny") Damisel on Distress topics and sexually explicit scenes.

The dark elves (at least from Salvatore's Drow) have always been the pinnacle of sexuality on fantasy (and the reason is firmly based on our cultural roots: as the greatest evil religion focuses in women is sex, an evil matriarchate should look as sex-focused as possible).
Warhammer (and therefoere Heroes'V) drow depictions overemphasize the sex topic, but not differently to the way the XXXL armors on knights overemphasize the "civilized society = full-plated warrior" topic, in example. I would not deny "selling sex" was not a factor in drow design (or drow inclusion), but I honestly think it was not the main factor in the way drow female units look: there is much coming from before.

Other thing its how female heroes look, and that is probably influence of single-women fantasy drawings (i.e. Royo's). I mainly don't mind in-game (thanks to the fact chest is usually not shown in the portrait), but I agree it has been overused, specially in cases like Nur shown above, or female dwarven heroes.

Fortunatelly, I rarely notice this when I am playing, as I am not looking for it there, so I do not find on it such a big issue. At least not more issue than felling embarassed when you enter a clothes shop and you have to ask a sexy clerk, or when you are arranging an appointment with a secretary... while what you are really thinking is if it would be possible to ask her a date.
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Postby darknessfood » Dec 14 2008, 22:59

Kalah wrote:Did anybody notice the "enought"? :D


Yeah I did. But I didn't dare to say anything, else the grammar nazi pops up :D...
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Postby jwallstone » Dec 14 2008, 23:34

Right on Kalah! I agree with you entirely. I have the same thoughts as you about this. Each time I see some random female with entirely impractical attire, I shake my head and think less of the designer/artist that put that in there.

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Postby Willow » Dec 15 2008, 6:37

I disagree with your article. If you're going to argue against overt sexuality in games, you should do so from both sides, not just harp on the semi-naked females. Personally, it doesn't bother me that much and I think a lot of it fits into the fantasy-trope. There are many cultures in history who didn't consider clothes all that important.

Just look at the Native Americans, for instance, especially the cultures of the Yucatan and surrounding area. The Mayans weren't exactly known for their extensive wardrobe... they pretty much wore loin-cloths into battle. African cultures are similar. Women where traditional skirts (no top) and men were loincloths, even today. Why do you automatically assume it's sexual? I can understand the Dungeon faction is overly sexual compared to the others, but maybe it's supposed to be an important part of their culture, who knows?

As for Nur, djinns are usually at least semi-naked. Galib doesn't seem to where anything from the waist up. The Sylvan heroes Vinrael and Talanar also don't seem to wear too much.

And then what about the creatures? The Academy's colossus wears a loincloth, which you can see underneath if the camera passes in a certain way. Rakshasas also just wear a loincloth and the Dungeon Minotaurs just look very hairy and therefor cover their bits. Sylvan Blade Dancers are also semi-nude and the Dwarven Thane just wears a kilt.

Nudity isn't something new to culture, and I think in the case of Heroes it can be easily explained in terms of the fantasy tropes in which it's used. As for modern games like Need for Speed, yes there I agree it can be out of place. But as for Heroes, I don't think it is a problem at all and should be taken into context for the culture it is depicted in.

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Re: Babes, Sex & Video Games

Postby ThunderTitan » Dec 15 2008, 7:26

Willow wrote:>>The Mayans weren't exactly known for their extensive wardrobe... they pretty much wore loin-cloths into battle. African cultures are similar. Women where traditional skirts (no top) and men were loincloths, even today.<<



Well no one said anything about having the slaves in skimpy battle gear...
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