The video game industry has come a long way since the “hot coffee” incident in Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. These days, developers are ever ready to put interactive sex front and center in their blockbuster franchises.
And the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) is finally taking notice. They're starting to treat adult-themed video games like R-rated movies, where sex, violence and language are used to immerse the audience in the story, perhaps a concession to surveys showing that gamers brought up in the 80s and 90s with 8- and 16-bit graphics are expecting more mature storylines.
The past decade has seen its fair share of game developers catering to the demand for more realism, including addressing the issue of sex, but we've compiled the 10 most important examples of recent video games pushing the envelope—and acceptance—of coitus in M-rated video games.
God of War
Cruising the seven seas with twice the fun.
Sony now has a high definition version of God of War 1 and 2 available on one Blu-ray Disc, so this is the way to go if you’re looking to catch up on the franchise. The original God of War introduced sex mini-games to the masses. Kratos finds two topless women in his bed aboard a ship, which makes any voyage less treacherous. Players have only a shaking vase above the bed and on-screen instructions to follow during coitus, but making said vase fall and break will result in an orgasm of red orbs that can be used to level up magic and weapons.
God of War 2
It’s all good clean fun.
In God of War 2, Sony once again offers Kratos a pair of buxom beauties because when you're the god of war, one just isn't enough. This sequence takes place in a pool, where Kratos takes a break from mass murder to relax in another button-based mini-game that replaces the vase with a stone statue of a boy peeing water into the pool. As Kratos pleases the women off-camera, the statue gets closer to exploding with streams of water flying everywhere. Oh, you clever/horny developers, you!
God of War 3
Is that a dagger in your loincloth or are you just happy to see me?
God of War 3 director Stig Asmussen almost didn’t include the sex mini-game in this final chapter of Kratos’ adventures. But, gamers looking for a less-pixelated romp will be happy to see Aphrodite in all of her glory. While getting mythological with the goddess and correctly pressing the corresponding controller buttons, two naked maidens swoon accordingly nearby, nodding approvingly at the ravaging going on before them. This is what Sony means when their ads say the PS3 "does everything."
God of War: Chains of Olympus
Lighting a candle has never been such an adventure.
While Sony Santa Monica was working on bringing Kratos to PlayStation 3, Sony unleashed Kratos on its portable system. The new adventure introduced sex to the PSP with a mini-game involving two topless maidens and a nearby candle. While Kratos is keeping busy with the two girls, the camera shifts to a phallic candle that rocks and shakes as the gameplay ensues and the moaning crescendos. Once he’s climaxed, Kratos, armed with red orbs, continues on his way.
Does this make me look fat?
Leave it to French developer Quantic Dream to push the boundaries of interactive sex. The photorealistic film noir thriller puts players in control of four different characters in an intertwining story. Every aspect of the adventure relies on the choices a player makes, including whether or not to kiss and make love during the various sexual encounters. Keeping players in control of the action, the PS3 controller is used from foreplay on to keep gamers “engaged” in the on-screen action, which includes nudity. Being French, this game features both male and female nudity. Outside of the sex scenes, this game stands out because it’s a truly original story that evolves differently based on the choices a player makes.
Mass Effect 2
Is a female really nude when she’s covered in tattoos?
Developer BioWare found itself under media scrutiny with its first Mass Effect role-playing game, which allowed players to experience interspecies lesbian romance with blue aliens before Avatar was even a twinkle in James Cameron's eye. In the sequel, BioWare cut out the nudity, but kept in the sexual exploration. Given that players have a choice of creating either a male or female protagonist in Commander Shepherd, the game offers different love options, but requires players to woo paramours with dialogue before getting under the sheets. Mass Effect 2 remains open to intergalactic coupling, and some of the alien options are anything but sexy, at least by Earth standards.
Lust isn’t quite the same in Hell.
Dante’s quest for his love, Beatrice, is anything but chaste. After all, during the Crusades the warrior killed without thought and had sex with a prisoner to free her family. But once Dante enters Hell, the sex really gets nasty. This interpretation of Dante Alighieri’s poem, “The Divine Comedy,” serves up a Lust circle of Hell filled with topless shade minions in high heels, tentacles protruding from their stomachs. Dante gets to feel up one demon before mowing through an onslaught of sexualized warriors. There’s even a large bluish boss demon whose penis is exposed. Both breasts and the aforementioned penis have been equipped with the latest videogame physics. While there’s plenty of skin, this demented take on lust won’t turn you on. And if it does, you know what’s waiting for you below.
Dragon Age: Origins
It’s getting hot in here, take off all your clothes.
BioWare offers a myriad of sexual encounters in its new fantasy epic role-playing game (RPG), but the sex scenes have been cut short of skin. Likely because of the media hailstorm that the Edmonton-based developer underwent with Mass Effect, the sexy girls of Dragon Age: Origins make love with their underwear on. That’s not to say the game’s free of controversy: Players have the option of having sexing up any number of their companions. This being an RPG, players will have to woo their conquests with a ton of dialogue and gifts before getting the chance to see a brief scene of a woman in underwear. Talk about realism!
How do you say, “ménage a troi”?
The Saboteur stands out for two reasons: It’s the last game from the once-acclaimed Pandemic Studios ( Electronic Arts shut it down last year) and it’s also the first game to offer nudity for an extra five dollars if you bought the game used. The extra content opens up a basement laptop area in the Parisian strip club Belle de Nuit. Players assume the role of Sean Devlin, a race car driver turned saboteur. He used the strip club as his home base, which means there are always topless girls around when you’re taking a break from killing Nazis. Anyone who borrows this game from a friend or buys it used will get strippers with tassels covering their nipples.
Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony
Who you calling gay?
Don’t let the title fool you: This downloadable adventure for GTA IV puts players in control of the very heterosexual and virile Luis Lopez, “Gay Tony” Prince’s right hand straight man. Throughout the course of the game, Lopez gets lucky with the ladies in bathrooms, back rooms and even the front seat of a convertible with the top down. Much of the action takes place at the nightclub he runs, Bahama Mamas, but unlike the controversial “hot coffee,” these are non-interactive sex scenes. And there’s very little nudity, just very blatant sexual favors performed by a variety of street hookers, strippers and other women that you wouldn’t take home to mom. Or would—who are we to judge your mother?