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Considering that there were entire decades during which females in video games were treated as prizes to be won or poorly rendered spank material (or both), it doesn't seem like it'd be all that controversial to point out gaming has had a bit of a sexism problem. It's not just the obvious and superficial character stuff, like how they thought we couldn't root for Lara Croft unless she had huge pointy breasts; there are entire missions and storylines so cringe-worthy that it's hard to believe they didn't get vetoed at the idea stage. For example ...

The Witcher -- Collect Tacky Cards To Remember Your One-Night Stands


The Witcher 3 will go down as one of the greatest games that lets you have incredibly uncomfortable-looking sex on a wooden unicorn ever made. But while the latest incarnation and its predecessor have zero qualms about showing nudity on-screen, the original took an alternate approach to titillation.

There are over 20 sexual encounters in The Witcher, and in every one the camera discreetly pans away from the action while the sound of a voice actress half-heartedly pretending to enjoy sex plays. But don't despair, horny gamer! When the deed is done you're rewarded with a "romance card" emblazoned with a saucy image of the girl you were just with.

Or a nightmare-inducing image.

You can look at the cards whenever you want to remind yourself of the magical evening you had with memorable characters like Nurses, Half-Elf Woman, and Town Hall Clerk. It creates an insulting "Gotta Catch, Fuck, And Then Ignore 'Em All" attitude toward the game's women, because what chance does monogamy have in the face of a video game collectible?

This town has a very unusual form of bureaucracy.

To further embarrass fans into wondering if maybe they should have gone to their friend's party instead, you get to get it on with mystical creatures like a Wood Nymph and have a foursome with vampires, and not the sexy kind.

They're the nightmarish, gravity-defying kind.

They aren't sustained romances or even casual hook-ups at ye olde bar. Pickup artists have a less denigrating view of female sexuality than whoever designed these encounters -- multiple women will drop their old-timey trousers immediately after you rescue them, because nothing turns a girl on like surviving a rape attempt. Others will sleep with you in exchange for insultingly trivial gifts. One trades trysts for tulips, and you can use flowers from the dead body of her old lover that's lying on the side of the road. We're guessing a lot of the programmers' relationships didn't survive the long hours of development, and they found some weird ways to work through that.

"Who's having threesomes in front of horribly diseased men now, Susan?"

The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim -- Take Time Off From Slaying Dragons To Do Some Slut-Shaming


Anyone who spent even a little time playing Skyrim has a story to tell of their epic deeds. Maybe they'll regale you with a tale of battling mighty frost trolls high in the mountains, or tell of how they forged a magical sword that's powered by the souls of their fallen enemies. They're less likely to brag about the time they slut-shamed a woman for sleeping with too many dudes.

In the city of Riften you meet an innkeeper named Haelga and her niece, Svana. Svana complains that Haelga has been sleeping with some of her customers in the name of Dibella, the goddess of love. She's unamused that her aunt's getting more action than she is, so she charges you to find proof that she's sleeping around and "rub her nose in it," because Svana is bad at phrasing. You immediately agree to help her out, because it's not like you have anything better to do in a world in the middle of a dragonocalypse.

That's right after she calls her "disgusting." You're kind of saying more about your own
hang-ups than anything else, Svana.

Haelga, being the sentimental sort, gives her partners a "mark of Dibella" to remember her by (they're basically commemorative sex tokens), and your job is to steal them. If you're stealthy enough, you can simply pickpocket the marks, because there's no better way to prove that a woman is a creep than by breaking into people's homes and stealing their possessions. If stealth isn't your style, you can charm or intimidate the men into admitting they enjoy having sex. All three immediately throw Haelga under the wagon by blaming her turbo-sluttiness for confounding their judgment, though their love letters beg to differ.

"Wonderful nights of mutual passion? Not in my Skyrim!"

You then show the marks to Haelga and tell this single business owner to stop having sex with whomever she chooses, or else the populace will learn about it and run her out of town in a puritanical outrage. Once this shameful harlot is put in her place, you can return to Svana and be rewarded for embarrassing her promiscuous aunt, and Riften can go back to being a city where sex is a grim duty. Another mighty quest completed by the hero of Skyrim, one the bards will sing of 'til the end of time!

"Press 'X' to call her 'Hoelga.'"

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Policenauts -- Shoot Your Way To Sexual Harassment


Policenauts, as we've told you before, is essentially Lethal Weapon ... In Space! The colony where you do your detectiving is populated by a variety of colorful characters, including a fellow cop named Meryl Silverburgh, who will be recognizable to any Metal Gear Solid fans in the Internet house (the game was made by Hideo Kojima, who brought you that franchise).

Meryl is known as the best shooter on the force, and she's so confident in her skills that she agrees to let you feel her breasts if you can beat her target-practice score (we have the same outstanding offer for anyone who can design a prettier Animal Crossing house than ours). It's not easy to beat it, but if you pull it off Meryl will rather blithely let you molest her.


A brief but lovingly rendered animation plays in a game that otherwise relies largely on static images, and her breasts inexplicably make animal noises when they bounce. We're guessing that's either an obscure Japanese joke or a sign that no one involved with the scene had ever touched a woman before. Either way, your character will be as baffled as you are.

They asked desperately of all women.

That's just one of many scenes where the hero, a word we're using in a very loose sense here, takes the slightest possible excuse to get all molesty. While aboard a spaceship, he chats up the stewardess to learn about how their special outfits are designed to keep them healthy (and braless) in space before repeatedly grabbing her chest and legs. You know, to learn more about her clothes. At least her breasts don't bray like a wounded elephant.

"I have literally no idea what one feels like."

Supposedly during development there was a conversation about where to draw the line on breast touching, a conversation we weren't aware happened outside of porn. Kojima was apparently annoyed by the limits that were set on him, which makes us wonder just what the hell Policenauts was originally about.

Vampire: The Masquerade -- Bloodlines -- Help Stop A Zombie Horde With Your Vagina


As the title implies, Vampire: The Masquerade is about werewolves. There's enough backstory to make Anne Rice look like Stephenie Meyer, but basically you play as a modern L.A. vamp caught up in the politicking of the creatures of the night.

At one point, you're given a quest called "Pimpin' For Romero." Romero is a human who serves vampires by fighting zombies who keep popping up at a cemetery. He asks you to cover his shift while he visits a prostitute, because, as The Walking Dead taught us, getting your dick wet always takes priority over battling shambling harbingers of the apocalypse.

"But you know what else ain't pretty? My testicles right now."

As a male vampire, you have two options. You can agree to help suppress the zombie uprising and sate Romero's libido, which launches you into one of the hardest and most frustrating battles in the game. Or you can fetch a prostitute, convince her that there's nothing dangerous about following a creepy stranger to a dilapidated shack in a graveyard in the dead of night, and let Romero enjoy some female company in the comfort of his own zombie-brain-splattered home.

But if you're playing as a lady vampire, you can bypass this whole dilemma with your vagina. What woman wouldn't want to pimp herself out for a few experience points and some free shotgun shells? Well, first, there's the fact that Masquerade's vampires don't enjoy sex or produce any liquid other than blood, so brace yourself for some very dry necrophilia. To make matters worse, Romero talks like he's responsible for creating half the angry corpses in his graveyard. First, he calls you a striking piece of ass after having known you for all of five minutes, and then he asks if you're interested in the "old naughty tango." Try to restrain yourselves, ladies.

To be fair, Mary Magdalene used the same line on Jesus.

At this point, battling the monstrous hordes of the undead sounds preferable, but if you agree to sleep with him he'll sound genuinely and understandably surprised before smoothly recovering to make a terrible dick joke.

Wait, so we can bite your dick?

One fade to black and a few disturbing grunts that sound like they were recorded in an echo chamber later, and you've earned yourself the world's most shameful experience points. But at least now you can come back whenever you want and suck his ... blood. And probably get STDs from it.

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Harvest Moon 3 -- Playing As A Woman Traps You In 1950s Gender Roles


Harvest Moon is all about running a farm, wooing a local, and starting a family, so it's essentially Rural Idaho: The Game. You can usually play as either a boy or a girl, but if you decide to drop the Y chromosome in Harvest Moon 3, the developers make damn sure to share their feelings on women in agriculture.

It's fine for a game to have gender-exclusive abilities, but here it's about as lopsided as pitting Master Chief against Cooking Mama in gladiatorial combat. The boy has more stamina, which means that on every single day the dude can accomplish more on the farm, while the girl has to quit early to rest up and fix her hair. And only the boy can upgrade his farm tools to make them more efficient, because the only tool girls can figure out are the ones in the kitchen, right?

On the Game Boy, the real trick is figuring out which gender you're actually playing as.

But, while playing as a girl makes the game harder, it's the relationship mechanic that really mashes the potatoes (that's a farm expression, right?). If you play as a boy and get married, the game will continue as normal and you'll eventually raise two children. But if you get hitched as a girl, it's Game Over.


Uhh ...

You immediately pump out a baby in a cutscene, and then leave all that tedious manual labor to your husband so you can watch daytime TV for the rest of your life. Because even in the magical fantasy world of video games it's impossible for a woman to have a family and a career.

At least you get a beautiful ceremony out of it.

Scott Elizabeth Baird can be found rooting for the White Walkers on his Twitter page.

Skyrim doesn't just make you slut-shame. It also can give a host of other personality problems. Check them out in 5 Personality Flaws Skyrim Forces You To Deal With. And for more ways to make your children sexist, look no further than 5 Ways Kids Toys are Shockingly Good At Teaching Sexism.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel to see more ways the world has gone rampant with sexism in 5 Bizarrely Specific Sexist Stereotypes in Modern Ads, as well as watch other videos you won't see on the site!

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