I probably shouldn't ask, but here goes

So - chatting with an editor about some story ideas (prefer not to name the outlet at this point, but it’s not a gaming mag/site.) We were talking about computer games and interactions and ratings on games, appropriateness of games for different ages, and so on.

As we discussed sex and violence and adult themes in computer games, he asked me if there were any games on the PC or consoles that had an adult theme, particularly relating to sex and sexual interactions, that treated it in a non-comic, non-juvenile way. I mentioned some that came to mind, but they treated the sexual interactions in a pretty abstract way. My answer was that I think what you’re looking for is much like are there any serious movies in which there is explicit sexual activity portrayed on screen as a key part of the movie (but is not a “porn” movie.) I could only think of one or two of those.

ANYWAY - he asked me to think about an article on sex and sexual topics in games in general but with a focus on games where it is treated in a serious and adult manner, and where it is a core part of the game. My problem - I can’t think of ANY games that fit that category (for example, something like The Witcher in which you occasionally can work your way up to a tryst which basically ends up being a fade to black and a playing card memento didn’t quite meet what he was looking for.)

Are there any?

Hmm. Perhaps Catherine, for Xbox 360 and PS3?

Well, there’s always Rapelay.

(Link is to Somethingawful, but it is an example of the extremely rare occasion where they produced something truly entertaining.)

You’ll find a lot more of that sort of thing in Japanese dating sims, etc. I can’t think of any serious western games with sex integral to the gameplay or story.

There’s The Path, but that could be used as a perfect example of abstracting around the actual sex, even more so than something like Leisure Suit Larry.

That was the first that came to my mind too.

The Witcher 2 approaches sex in the most adult and non-corny way I’ve seen it in a game. The first one - eh, not so much

I would also suggest Catherine, but it might not fit the parameters considering how often he said “computer games,” unless you want to classify PS3/XB360 as extremely closed computers.

If you’re looking for games that treat that as the central theme, there isn’t much of anything outside of some indie/experimental stuff and Japanese relationship sims. For instance, there was that one educational sort of thing a while where petting a virtual rabbit was some kind of metaphor for female orgasm or something. I can’t find it at the moment. (Edit: Found it. Lapis DS.)

As was mentioned, Catherine does some of those things, but while it doesn’t exactly play it for laughs, it does some very strange things that bring it outside what I’d call a normal serious approach to the subject. It’s worth talking about though.

It’s hard enough to find anything that treats the subject at all, let alone as part of the core mechanics.

I’d recommend the IGDA Sex SIG, but I don’t think it’s been very active in quite some time. I can poke around for some other articles, etc that I’ve collected over the years, but I’m pretty confident that what you’re looking for doesn’t exist.

Speaking of the IGDA sig, you should ping Brenda Brathwaite (Romero), who founded the sig and probably knows the most about how games deal with the topic.

Anna Anthropy is a sexually- and sexuality- motivated game designer, you might find her work (both games and writing) relevant.

There aren’t any. The medium – and arguably its audience – hasn’t reached that level of maturity yet. Yeah, there are plenty of games about fucking, but it’s all porn. Hey, we’ve only had about 30 years and three generations of nerds to work on it. Movies have a 100 year head start and prose has thousands :)

Catherine, sure.

There is a whole genre of Japanese hentai games, and a small sub genre of that which is actually treats things in a fairly serious way: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/issues/issue_108/1315-Heart-wrenching-Hentai

Does Tender Loving Care count?


Keep seeing this game mentioned a lot in this thread. It’s actually very juvenile, if you weren’t aware.
This post is a public service announcement to young awkward nerds - do not bring this game up in any serious discussion regarding relationships.

The guy at winter wolves games does western dating sims that might possibly fit the bill maybe?

The Path is pretty much all about female sexuality, but done entirely as metaphor.

Rape/dating games are a whole genre in Japanese games.

I’d second this. I’d say your article would make more sense if it were about the lack of any kind of adult treatment of sex in games.

Well, the sensibility in Catherine may be more grown up than usual, but the characters are pretty juvenile, so I wouldn’t choose that one as an exemplar.

I can’t think of any other game that has erotic content that isn’t childish – or perhaps the appropriate phrase would be “dedicated to the male id”; and most are just silly.

Of games with sex that aren’t entirely focused on porn, I think some of the worst are the ones that pretend they are addressing the subject in a mature way, like Bioware does, but which really are awkward, stumbling, and weak. In contrast, Fallout 2’s silly sex encounters are at least amusing, while the Dragon Age and Mass Effect fully rendered scenes are just embarrassing.

If you put sex and erotic content aside, and just want to talk about relationships, there are some bits in the Persona series that are more mature than the industry average, anyway, even if the relationship gameplay is simplistic, and other relationship stories in the same games are still rather childish.

What about the old text adventure games? Did any of those ever get into sex? I never played any but they seem like a more likely vehicle for that kind of thing.

Was there any sex in that weird pigeon game that Angie had the thread about a while back? :P