September 30, 2005 5:01 PM PDT

Adult-oriented video games prospering

Before the scandal involving sexually oriented scenes in "Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas" broke in July, much of the criticism aimed at the video game industry focused on the rampant violence found in countless titles.

But when the hidden, X-rated "Hot Coffee" scenes were discovered in GTA, touching off a storm of indignation that made headlines across the country and raged all the way to Congress, not everyone thought the brouhaha was an all-around disaster for the industry.

"I think 'Hot Coffee' had one good side effect..." said Brenda Brathwaite, chair of the International Game Developers Association's sex special interest group, or Sex SIG. "It woke up millions of people to the fact that there is sexual content in video games and that they should pay attention to the ratings (given to games by the Electronic Software Ratings Board). People who knew nothing about games knew about 'Hot Coffee.'"

News.context

What's new:
Though there have long been video games with sexual content, many people are only now discovering that fact, in the wake of the Grand Theft Auto "Hot Coffee" scandal.

Bottom line:
Millions of people are beginning to understand that many games have mature or adults-only content and parents should be extra careful to read and understand the ratings on games before buying them for their children.

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Indeed, the GTA scenes were just the highly publicized tip of the adult-oriented video games iceberg. In fact, there are dozens of games that address sexual issues, sexuality and sex itself, ranging from Cyberlore's "Playboy: The Mansion" to Sierra Entertainment's "Leisure Suit Larry." Downloadable nude "skins" have even been created by third-parties to (un)clothe characters in Electronic Arts' best-selling "The Sims."

And while some people--particularly politicians--may find the existence of adult video games a worthy target for criticism, others feel that when properly labeled as "mature" or "adults-only" by the ratings board, such games shouldn't be treated any different than other forms of media, such as movies, magazines and the like.

"I think there are different standards that are applied to our industry, particularly by nongamers," Patricia Vance, president of the ratings board, told CNET News.com in August. "I think most of the time that's based out of (people) just not being familiar with the facts and not being gamers themselves."

Partly because of that dynamic--as well as to help developers of adult-oriented games coordinate efforts and find a community of like-minded people--the IGDA's Brathwaite created the Sex SIG. And though it officially launched in August, it had been in the works for months.

"The plans were under way, but it was announced shortly after the 'Hot Coffee' scandal broke," Brathwaite said, "so it was very timely. But we didn't plan that."

Brathwaite was a natural choice to run the Sex SIG. When not running the group, she's the lead designer on "Playboy: The Mansion," which stars a sort of "Sim Hugh Hefner"--players take on the persona of the Playboy magazine founder and live out his everyday, sex-soaked life in and around his famous Los Angeles mansion.

Of course, Brathwaite's game and "Leisure Suit Larry" are far from the only adult titles available. There's also porn star Jenna Jameson's "Virtually Jenna," numerous strip poker games, sex-charged versions of "Tetris" and "Wheel of Fortune" and many others.

Though no specific sales figures exist for mature and adult-oriented games, Brathwaite estimates that they account for 12 percent of all

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18 comments

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Imagine That!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Imagine That
Posted by stgoehn (11 comments )
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Imagine That!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Imagine That
Posted by stgoehn (11 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sex vs violence
it amazes me how we in the US ar so uptight about nudity and sex, i.e. "hot coffee" and the superbowl "wardrobe malfunction" yet movies like Event Horizen, in which a guy TEARS OUT HIS OWN EYES, only get an R rating
Posted by god2600 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
sex vs violence
it amazes me how we in the US ar so uptight about nudity and sex, i.e. "hot coffee" and the superbowl "wardrobe malfunction" yet movies like Event Horizen, in which a guy TEARS OUT HIS OWN EYES, only get an R rating
Posted by god2600 (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I'm surprised it's not more prevalent
Considering the fact that porn has pretty much financed the growth of the internet, I'm shocked that the gaming industry hasn't cashed in on this source of revenue.
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
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I'm surprised it's not more prevalent
Considering the fact that porn has pretty much financed the growth of the internet, I'm shocked that the gaming industry hasn't cashed in on this source of revenue.
Posted by Jim Harmon (329 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Duke Nukem3d
Remember the one level with strippers dancing? If you went up to them and hit the space bar he'd say "shake it baby" and hold up a buck... that was great... this kind of stuff has been going on forever, why is it such a surprise now?
Posted by tocam27 (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Duke Nukem3d
Remember the one level with strippers dancing? If you went up to them and hit the space bar he'd say "shake it baby" and hold up a buck... that was great... this kind of stuff has been going on forever, why is it such a surprise now?
Posted by tocam27 (16 comments )
Reply Link Flag
12 percent or 0.1 percent
You make two percentage references on each side of a statement. Leads one to think it could be 2.4Billion in total sales of adult-only titles rated by the ESRB. It's a big difference.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
12 percent or 0.1 percent
You make two percentage references on each side of a statement. Leads one to think it could be 2.4Billion in total sales of adult-only titles rated by the ESRB. It's a big difference.
Posted by zaznet (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sex Machine Game
Virtual Reality Sex Machines are now available. A male sex game / machine let's men interact with Nurse Nikki on screen to engage in virtual reality sex with this animated character. <a class="jive-link-external" href="https://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911" target="_newWindow">https://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911</a>
Posted by lance39 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sex Machine Game
Virtual Reality Sex Machines are now available. A male sex game / machine let's men interact with Nurse Nikki on screen to engage in virtual reality sex with this animated character. <a class="jive-link-external" href="https://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911" target="_newWindow">https://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911</a>
Posted by lance39 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sex Machine
Virtual reality sex machines are available now. Interaction with both a sex device and an on screen nurse Nicci. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911" target="_newWindow">http://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911</a>
Posted by lance39 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sex Machine
Virtual reality sex machines are available now. Interaction with both a sex device and an on screen nurse Nicci. <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911" target="_newWindow">http://www.pleasuremenow.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&#38;ProdID=2911</a>
Posted by lance39 (10 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What ever happened to Duke?
I remember NukeEm 3D was pretty good for when it came out. (The dollar was kinda amusing) But come to think of it, when did people get so uptight about games? Granted I know most of the people who are against certian games and wanting to classify them with adult movies and magazines are most likely non-gamers themselves. Note that the problems arose from 3rd party mods, and that main game developers gate punished for it? If that's the case, someone could come up with a mod to make all the chess pieces in a simple board game be pole dancers, should the company who made just CHESS have to rate their game mature? What if a 3rd party mod came out to make a kids game a bloodbath?

The time should not be spent on legal issues with the intial developers and forcing shelf removal, but to put a message out for parents to monitor their kids. A lot of parents seem to want to be able to give their kids video games, internet, tv, and movies so that they don't have to be responsible for them. For those parents that do still actually raise their children, watch tv and play video games with them, and talk to them about the violence, good job.
Posted by xandersturn (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What ever happened to Duke?
I remember NukeEm 3D was pretty good for when it came out. (The dollar was kinda amusing) But come to think of it, when did people get so uptight about games? Granted I know most of the people who are against certian games and wanting to classify them with adult movies and magazines are most likely non-gamers themselves. Note that the problems arose from 3rd party mods, and that main game developers gate punished for it? If that's the case, someone could come up with a mod to make all the chess pieces in a simple board game be pole dancers, should the company who made just CHESS have to rate their game mature? What if a 3rd party mod came out to make a kids game a bloodbath?

The time should not be spent on legal issues with the intial developers and forcing shelf removal, but to put a message out for parents to monitor their kids. A lot of parents seem to want to be able to give their kids video games, internet, tv, and movies so that they don't have to be responsible for them. For those parents that do still actually raise their children, watch tv and play video games with them, and talk to them about the violence, good job.
Posted by xandersturn (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DataFlirt
I think new ideas like the sex chat game at www.dataflirt.com, is something we will see more of in videogames. Erotic multiplayer games that are not so much a game as online "one night stands"...
Posted by Lisabu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
DataFlirt
I think new ideas like the sex chat game at www.dataflirt.com, is something we will see more of in videogames. Erotic multiplayer games that are not so much a game as online "one night stands"...
Posted by Lisabu (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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