Sex lies and video games
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Sex, Lies, and Video Games. A brief overview of the controversy generated by violence and ‘adult content’ in digital games. By Ben Evans. Violent Video Games. Typical violent genres FPS/TPS (First/Third Person Shooters) RTS (Real-time Strategy) Horror/Survival. First Person Shooters.

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Sex lies and video games

Sex, Lies, and Video Games

A brief overview of the controversy generated by violence and ‘adult content’ in digital games

By Ben Evans

Violent video games
Violent Video Games

  • Typical violent genres

    • FPS/TPS (First/Third Person Shooters)

    • RTS (Real-time Strategy)

    • Horror/Survival

First person shooters
First Person Shooters

  • Notoriously violent, gory & in your face

  • Advances in computer graphics fuel the realism of the violence and gore

Third person shooters
Third Person Shooters

  • Allows the user to see their


  • Can be just as violent

Real time strategy
Real Time Strategy

  • Not as “In your face” Violent or gory

  • User often decides the fate of characters in-game

Survival horror

  • Rely on building suspense

  • ‘Alone in the dark’ feeling


  • “Ultra-Violent” stealth TPS game where the object is to kill gang members as violently as possible

  • If the player uses the PS2 USB Microphone feature, the player can use the sound of his or her own voice to distract in-game enemies. This in turn added a new twist to the stealth elements, as the actual player would have to refrain from unwanted noises such as talking, coughing, etc. or risk creating inadvertent "in-game noise".

  • Banned in New Zealand, Australia, Germany

Manhunt further controvercy
Manhunt: Further Controvercy

  • From

  • “Warren Leblanc, 17, repeatedly stabbed 14-year-old Stefan Pakeerah after luring him to a Leicester park to steal from him on 27 February.”

  • “Stefan's mother, Giselle, a research nurse, had to leave court when the evidence in the case became too harrowing. Following the hearing she said her son's killer had mimicked a game called Manhunt, developed by Edinburgh-based Rockstar North, in which the players score points for violent killings.”

  • However:

  • “A Leicestershire constabulary spokesperson said: "Police investigations did not uncover any connections to the computer game.”

  • “The motive for the incident was robbery.”

Stefan Pakeerah

Warren Leblanc

Violence and video games
Violence and Video Games

  • Mark Griffiths

  • Nottingham Trent University

  • “The one consistent finding is that the majority of the studies on very young children—as opposed to those in their teens upwards—tend to show that children do become more aggressive after either playing or watching a violent video game. However, all of these come from the use of one particular research methodology (i.e., observation of children’s free play).”

Is violence necessary
Is Violence Necessary?

  • Not really, but adds to lusory aditude.

  • More intense/exciting sometimes = more fun

  • “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”

  • Still, should be marketed to more mature audiences.

Games with adult content
Games with “Adult Content”

  • Life Simulation:

    • Sims, Sims 2, Singles, Singles 2, Playboy the Mansion

Leisure suit larry
Leisure Suit Larry

  • Adventure game

  • Involves sex, nudity, drugs, alcohol

The nude patch
The “Nude Patch”

  • From Wikipedia: “This is a software patch designed to modify software, usually a game to allow the user or gamer to see the character in the nude. The first such patch was designed for Duke Nukem 3D. Lara Croft, the voluptuous heroine of the Tomb Raider series, was the one to popularize, or promote, the nude patch”

Hot coffee
“Hot Coffee”

  • “All the contents of this mod was already available on the original disks.”

  • “But all this material is completely inaccesible in an unmodded version of the game… this material is only accessible after willfully applying the hot coffee mod (or something similar) to the game.”

For more controversial titles
For More Controversial Titles

  • See this wikipedia article:

    • List of Controversial Games

Enter the esrb
Enter the ESRB

  • The Entertainment Software Rating Board

  • Mission:

    “To provide consumers, especially parents, with reliable and valuable information about the age suitability and content of computer and video games so they can make informed purchase decisions.”

  • From

How are games rated
How are games rated?

  • The ESRB Rates games based on a video representative of the gameplay

  • After “Hot Coffee,” they instituted a $1 million fine for any developer or publisher that withholds footage from the ESRB in an attempt to garner a more favorable rating

  • From

Is adult content necessary
Is Adult Content Necessary?

  • No

  • However, the current stance in the U.S. seems somewhat backwards.

    • We seem to covet violent media, and shun sexual content

    • Which is really “worse”?

      • Both can be presented in better or worse ways

  • In the end, the decision should rest with the parents