Videogame porn?

MCT

Few people have never played a video game. Whether the game is old school, like Mario or Zelda, or new, like Call of Duty or Grand Theft Auto, it is clear graphics have improved over the years. In addition to graphics, something else has changed – sexual content.

According to MSNBC in 2005, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) “called for a new law to punish video game retailers who sell violent or pornographic games to teenagers and children.”

According to the Entertaining Software Rating Board, there are seven categories when rating video games.

A “C” rating means that the game can be viewed by children ages three and up. “E” rated movies are for everyone six and up. “E 10+” games are for everyone 10 and older. “T” is for teens 13 and up. “M” is for mature, and means the game can only be played by people ages 17 and up. This is the category that starts to include sexual content. “A” rated games are strictly for adults ages 18 and up and typically have intense sexual content. When a rating is pending, “RP” appears in advertising prior to the game’s release.

In 2005, the National Institute on Media and the Family released its Tenth Annual Media Wise Video Game Report Card. The survey, done on 657 students from fourth to 12th grade, showed that seven out of 10 children played “M” rated games. Sixty-one percent said they owned their own “M” rated games, an increase from the 56 percent in 2003. Almost half of the children, 45 percent, said they have bought “M” rated games themselves, compared to the 37 percent in 2003. Fifty-five percent said they purchased their “M” rated game with a parent present. Sixty-five percent said the same in 2003. Sixty percent said at least one of their favorite games were “M” rated.

How did it all start?
According to a timeline by the Science of Sex Web site in 2006, sex in video games started around 1973 when Atari released Gotcha. The company replaced the phallic joystick control with two pink breast-like rubber trackballs. In the late 1970s Multi-User Dimensions released the first instant messenger chat room, which included private chat rooms where online sex would take place.

In 1981, Sierra On-Line released Softporn Adventure where players had to seduce three virtual women. By 1987, they released Leisure Suit Larry. The objective of the game was to get Larry out of trouble by, again, seducing women. The game has become a series of games such as Leisure Suit Larry: Cocoa Butter and Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude in which the character is no longer Larry but his college-student nephew; the plot remains the same – “score” with beautiful women.

In 2004, Rockstar Games released Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas where the player reestablishes a street gang to avenge his mother’s murder. In 2005, an additional piece of software was introduced named Hot Coffee, which contained hidden sexual content.

Junior Chris Noble said he has played Grand Theft Auto and other games, and has seen the sexual content in them.

“To the limits,” Noble said. “In a portion of (Grand Theft Auto), someone found a loophole . that gave you access . to certain camera views and it was pretty raunchy about it.”

According to VideoGamer.com, Grand Theft Auto IV, scheduled to be released April 29, won’t have Hot Coffee-style sex mini-games. Even though the main character, Niko, will still have to seduce them and take them back to his place, all the sexual business will be done “off camera.”

The controversy surrounding sexually implicit video games made Utah consider its own video game legislation.

How do retailers avoid getting into trouble?
Junior Brandon Pierson, who works at a video game store, said his workplace doesn’t carry any Adult-Only rated games, only below “M”-rated games and identification or parental consent is required at the time of purchase.

“It all depends on who (the parents) are,” said Pierson. “Some parents you can tell don’t know but just say ‘yeah let me buy whatever they want’ but I’ve seen parents objecting to other games that have less (violent/sexual) content. It depends on how strict the parents are.”

Noble said that the sexual content in video games was “all for marketing,” as sex is used to sell many things, and “video games are just starting to now adapt into that too.”

He said he buys video games that suit his interest.

“I buy games I would normally be interested in, and if they have (sexual content), … I just ignore it and keep playing . I just played the game anyway and just kind of blocked it out.”