Playing video games and having sex are no longer mutually exclusive, but they still can't come together to have even more fun, which is a tragedy, since that's exactly what both of those things are for. And that still hasn't stopped people from desperately trying to stick sex in wherever it'll fit. Which worked pretty well as a production strategy for humanity, but doesn't work quite so well for games.
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"Honey, you've got to stop trying to enter the Konami code down there."
I've already seen how video games suck at romance, but now it's time to get on with the action: I've reviewed five sex-simulating video games, comparing their mechanics to the real thing, and if someone could travel back in time to my 15-year-old self to tell him that's my job now that would be pretty sweet.
X-Man is a game where you can have sex if you can get through a maze festering with crabs, scissors, and teeth -- which is pretty realistic if you're having unprotected sex with people based on their ability to navigate single-path mazes. After a few years of that, the guy's dowsing rod would look like the main mast of a sunken pirate ship, and the woman's festering labyrinth would only have teeth so that she could cry "For the love of all that is holy, run."
That pink thing is either teeth, or a man who's worked out how to suck himself. Either way it prevents having sex with someone else.
Survive the psychological ordeal of STDs, vasectomies, and vagina dentata, and you're "rewarded" with the world's worst sex scenes.
We used more pixels censoring it than they did animating it
Anyone who could extract exciting ideas from these blocky shapes was too busy watching infinite free orgies in the clouds outside. And the blocky shapes beeped and chirp with every thrust. It's about as sexy as setting an alarm clock on R2-D2, if the buttons were on his underside between his legs, and ends in an explosion noise when the timer hits zero. Anyone who played an Atari 2600 knows the explosion noise -- the console only had three sound effects -- so anyone playing X-Man was forever cursed to hear gaming spaceship detonation and high-speed car crashes as awful orgasmic release.
On the upside, the Atari 2600 controls were a joystick with only one button, which was always set to "fire." It couldn't be a better hardware representation of male equipment.
Atari via Wikimedia Commons
And at three inches, it was distinctly unthreatening/flattering.
All that said, the sex scene involved monotonously thrusting in one position until the inevitable countdown and ending, which means it's a brilliant simulation, but only of terrible sex.
#4. God of War
God of War is infamous for its sex scenes. Not infamous in terms of national protests or reactionary laws, but in terms of "being really bad," and "no, seriously, we get the whole male power fantasy thing but these really are hilariously bad."
"We are literally programmed to do nothing but gawp near-nakedly at how manly the player is, and even we think this is dumb."
The third-person button-alternator (weak attack, strong attack, weak-strong-win) suddenly forcing you to sit through a sex scene is bad enough, but now there's a quick-time test to make sure you're paying attention. You have to press buttons as they appear to earn a bonus.
"SQUARE BUTTON! Yes, you are sitting there watching your PlayStation pretending to have sex. TRIANGLE! How does that feel? CIRCLE! You feel good about your life right now? Because we hired these voice actors to make sure you don't. SQUARE, OH YEAH SQUARE. WE'RE GENUINELY GETTING OFF ON THIS!"
The first game had the camera watch a vase shaking and shattering at a climactic moment, because destroying antiques is as close to nuance as God of War can get. In the second game, the camera slides off to watch a nude baby statue urinating with more and more pressure, which someone, somewhere, somehow thinks is less worse.
Sony, you might want to talk with that person.
The third game misses the point by moving away from the nude bodies to look at two more nude bodies. But these bodies are both female, so hey, it still is technically missing a point.
Hope you don't ever play games, straight girls!
Instead of frantically hammering or wiggling (classic amateur mistakes), God of War's sex mechanics mean you have to look elsewhere, concentrate on something else, watch out for the right moment, and then do something to keep things going for a bit longer. That's not just sex, that's simulating a man trying to keep the sex going, looking around and thinking about other things to avoid finishing too early. SQUARE means "Name everyone in his favorite episkyros team." CIRCLE is "embarrassing memory of that time the gods tricked me, again."
Despite your best efforts, and their insistence that Kratos truly is a god of both love and war, it still only takes almost exactly only one minute. Kratos banging is a tragically literal quick-time event. They took the fantasy of having sex at the touch of a button and made it awful in every possible way.
It might be realistic in our world, but it's completely inaccurate in the game world. Kratos is such an insanely pressurized expression of masculine frustration, if he ever achieved release, it would be a cross between Krakatoa and the end of Ghostbusters. He wouldn't need a Kleenex, he'd cloud the atmosphere and block the sun for years, bukakkeing Apollo to create a sexual winter for all humanity, and, ironically, forcing us all to huddle together more often to keep warm.
#3. Grand Theft Auto "Hot Coffee"
The Grand Theft Auto "Hot Coffee" controversy was the most imaginary sexual panic since WookieFan69 worried about catching carpet mites from his fan-fiction. Rockstar North released discs containing code for an unused sex mode. This caused a national controversy, and the game was pulled from shelves, despite the fact that any kid capable of extracting that code from their PlayStation was one step from weird-sciencing themselves a fully simulated sex partner anyway -- or, more likely, had read about it on the Internet, in the one tab that wasn't already full of quite extraordinarily graphic porn.
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"My, I wish I'd known about that back when I still had hips!"
The sort of idiots screaming about the "Hot Coffee" mod should have been praising it as abstinence education. Any kid looking at this would have thought "This sex thing doesn't look like it's worth the bother."
If that can be counted as sexual, we need to R-rate origami right now.
The player has to press up and down to find the right rhythm, which is nice, though with the extremely limiting assumption that it's the man that does all the work (certainly possible, but not a desired goal). There's a button to change position without interrupting the thrusting, which is considerably easier than trying that in the real world. You'd think a video game console would know it's hard to move to a different place without disconnecting everything.
Howard Shooter/Dorling Kindersley
"It takes three port connections and a mains power supply to turn me on, baby."
There's also the deeply flawed assumption that both partners will automatically come together, which is a greater video gaming lie than getting up and running after being flung 40 meters by a car crash: it makes things more fun, but ignores both physics and physicality. Besides, if you're trying to sex with GTA aiming controls, you'll end up spinning wildly and accidentally impregnating the sock drawer.