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July 28, 2009 / Joe Osborne

Coffee Talk: Can Sex Add to Video Games?

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The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) recently released its rating summary for Bioware’s upcoming RPG Dragon Age: Origins and we’ll just say it’s… somewhat jarring. According to the ESRB, the title will not only include the expected relationship meta-game that Mass Effect featured, but a brothel in which players can shack up with men, women, transsexuals, and even (brace yourselves) animals. It should go without saying that the title received an M rating.

Now, Bioware has toned down its sex scenes since the troubles of 2008, but something akin to a brothel mini-game deserves some discussion. Now don’t get me wrong, I have no issue with some lovin’ in video games, but it should at least enhance the tone of the storyline whether it be comedic, dramatic or anything in between. The sex scenes that were the result of the relationship meta-game in Mass Effect, while optional, tastefully enhanced the dramatic nature of the title’s plot by bringing its characters together romantically. We’ll have a bit more discussion and some questions for you, loyal readers, after the break.

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Now, I know what you’re thinking: Relax, Joe, Dragon Age: Origins’ brothel feature is purely for comedic effect and shouldn’t be taken so seriously. I totally agree, but the issue is whether features like this truly add to what one could imagine is Bioware’s ultimate goal: an engaging and interactive story. Would I roll on the floor in laughter (ROFL, for short) after witnessing the character I’ve guided through the most dangerous of battles walk into a brothel only to be greeted by a farm animal in the room he paid for? Of course, but would it really add to my appreciation of the story Bioware has created? Probably not, but it would be damn funny.

While, this news will most likely have major media outlets in an uproar when the title releases (or at least give them something interesting to rant about), we want to know what you think. Do you think sex can add to a mature themed video game? Does it enhance the storyline for you if put into a dramatic context (Final Fantasy X comes to mind)? How do you feel about sex in video games that is included for purely comedic effect in vein of the God of War and Grand Theft Auto series? What do you think could be the future for the depiction of sex in video games? Let us and the rest of our fellow Geekadelphians read your two cents.
(Images Via Rock, Paper, Shotgun and Joystiq)

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