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Something about sex: It is very dark. You are likely to be laid.


The modern age of gaming has made great strides to evoke an emotional response from the player, taking cues from mediums such as film, music, literature, and…art. While it isn’t uncommon for a game to find moments of hilarity, emotional gut-punches, or haunting nostalgia (why yes, they are limited to those three categories), they still stumble when attempting to portray sex. But it’s not necessarily the medium that is the limitation; movies and books are just as awkward when it comes to sex. Typically, a sex scene in a movie is either implied/off-camera, or a montage that cross-fades scenes of what sex might look like. When a movie has enough gumption to go all out, people regard it as porn. Books do a little better, but again, they tend to gloss over sex for fear of being labeled as a dimestore romance novel.

Most games are not able to do any better. A majority of them very lightly imply that sex has been had, a few go a little further and are generally blasted for it by various media outlets. Sex is an experience that cannot be imitated with camera shots or suggestive words. You can mimic the actions, even motion capture them, but you’re just making porn. You can write dialog copied directly from two people actually having sex, but you’re writing a harlequin romance. Arguably, the most important aspect of intercourse is what goes on behind the scenes: the emotional bond, so to speak, and of course, the pleasure. This is something that cannot be accomplished when the player is either a camera in the room, or in the first-person pairing up with a computer. That said, in my years of gaming, there was one title I frequented where sex was prevalent, important to character development, and most importantly, entirely believable.

If one were to take a glance at my console collection, they’d notice a generation gap: I don’t own a PS2 or Xbox, and my Gamecube library is fairly minimal. From 2000 to 2002, I barely touched my console systems. I hadn’t sworn off gaming entirely. Rather, I was engrossed in what I still consider the best roleplaying game I’ve ever played. The game was a text-based MUD (multi-user dungeon) named Rogue Winds. Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of it – I’d be surprised if it ever had more than 100 players. For those unfamiliar with the concept of a MUD, the image below is basically what a player is looking at. Based on text-based adventure games of old, purveyors of this obscure form of gaming had to enter in predefined commands. This meant typing things like cast ‘magic missile’ goblin, enter door, say ‘how’s it going’, and the like. The game had a vast variety of worlds to explore, quests to complete, skills to hone (such as combat, forging, alchemy, leatherworking, etc), spells to learn, and most importantly for the purpose of this article, sex to be had. What follows are my experiences with a game where sex was not only possible, it was a staple. If I could I would include original logs, but again, an uninvolved player surveying them degenerates their original value to porn.

Before I continue, it’s important to address the character barrier. Or rather, the question everyone whom I’ve described this experience to has posed: how did I know the person on the other end wasn’t the guy shown above? The simple answer is that I didn’t know, didn’t care, and neither did most of the other players. Because we were attempting to roleplay our characters as realistically as possible, sex was a regular occurrence. In other words, if I just wanted to get off, I’d be out on AIM vomiting ‘A/S/L?’ in all directions, not crafting elaborate characters who may or may not get laid from time to time. So what did the sex entail? Well this is where it gets interesting. There were a few predefined commands (among a large collection of stored, non-consequential actions called socials) such as caress, kiss, fondle, massage, and the like. For the bold there were also a set of xcommands, such as xthigh, xkiss, and xstroke for the naughty occasions. But these were only utilized by the lamest roleplayers, and only as a lead-in by the more creative. Like all the best roleplaying moments in Rogue Winds, the sexual actions were created on the spot using the emote command; for instance, emote traces his fingers along the subtle outlines of [character]’s back, while his lips lightly make contact with the back of her neck.

That example is actually quite tame compared to what was standard. Vanilla sex, as some called it, was a bit of a rarity. You have to consider that this was a fantasy world, with heavy influences from Tolkien and Moorcock. There was a plethora of races available, troglodytes, merfolk, lizardmen, angels, werewolves, zombies, wraiths, pixies, dragons, centaurs, quicklings, slith, and many originals crafted up by the world designers (called Immortals in-game). Beyond the complications that would arise from say, an ogre and a pixie becoming romantically linked, each character might have some kinks and twists. One memorable encounter was when a character of mine, a reckless ariel pyromancer, crossed paths with a water nymph who had a touching fetish. Within this game, their bizarre sexual mishaps were stepping stones in character development; in a modern console title, this sort of behavior would never pass.

This game was not just a flimsy vessel for cybersex. There exists a different variety of MUDs that serve that purpose. Roleplaying was heavily encouraged by players and admins alike. Characters had feuds, waged wars, made friends, performed concerts, had mental breakdowns, and entered relationships. Some characters eventually married, others just trolled around for booty. Many even went as far as to have offspring, which began as custom items (there was a Change magic spell that could reshape an item into whatever the player wished) carried by the parents and eventually became full-fledged characters. And those who couldn’t have sex due to physical challenges found other means. For a time I played a psychic elven huntress who fell for a wraith who had been banished to the dream world, and was unable to physically manifest. Because her talents allowed her to make a connection to the dream world (and I mean that literally, dream walking characters could not interact with the waking), they made love on the astral planes.

Unfortunately, on-rails stories cannot replicate this sort of roleplaying. That’s the thing, a game like Final Fantasy XII or Mass Effect may have an amazing story and great gameplay to back it up, but the player is not truly roleplaying, they are following predefined paths. To the credit of the RPG game genre, it has successfully worked around many of these limitations. However, sex will always be that awkward little moment, not only because a game that involves prewritten dialog precludes any chance at meaningful intercourse, but also because sex is still a taboo. If WoW were to having something akin to say, a transgendered drow granting sexual favors to a pixie if she gives him beauty tips or two dragons flattening a forest in the midst of their destructive lovemaking, available to players, there would be a shitstorm. The other obvious hindrance is the overt lack of maturity. Given what the average Live player sounds like, it’s a fair bet to assume that even if a game allowed this behavior, it would be severely trolled – just ask anyone who has tried any given MMoRPG’s “roleplaying” servers. And that is what this all comes down to: maturity. The game industry isn’t matured enough to allow for a proper introduction of adult content, and the average player typically isn’t mature enough to accept said content. Because of this, something about sex will always be just so generically that.
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About Dr Light ate your Magiciteone of us since 8:24 PM on 05.12.2009

I mostly enjoy retro games, but not entirely for the challenge. I like games to be a mix of a book and a movie in that they are visually stimulating but still allow the player to fill in the voices and other elements with their imagination. I'm weird and awkward, which really makes me stand out among gamers.

Outside of video games, my other great passion is music. I'd consider myself a metalhead because it is what I gravitate towards most. My collection also boasts healthy helpings of shoegaze, dream pop, darkwave, visual kei, neofolk, neoclassical, classic rock, prog rock, classical, and of course, video game soundtracks, along with smatterings of whatever else has caught my attention.

My favorite games include:

Bit.Trip series
Blazing Lazers
Bucky O'Hare
Castlevania II, IV, Symphony of the Night, Order of Ecclesia
Cave Story
Chrono Trigger/Cross
Cthulhu Saves the World
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
Final Fantasy IV, VI, VII. Theatrhythm
Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon
Gargoyle's Quest
Illusion of Gaia
Kirby's Adventure
Link's Awakening
Lords of Thunder
Lost Odyssey
Megaman II, III, V, X
Mother 3
Resident Evil 1, 2, 3
Rocket Knight Adventures
Seiken Densetsu series: from Final Fantasy Adventure to Legend of Mana
Shadow of the Colossus
Silent Hill 1, 2, Shattered Memories
Super Mario Galaxy 1 & 2
Tales of Symphonia
Threads of Fate
To the Moon
Tower of Heaven
World of Goo
Xenoblade Chronicles

Xbox LIVE:Trevoracious
Steam ID:drlightateyourmagicite


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