Conservative Site Charges "Explicitly Graphic Sexual Intercourse" in Mass Effect

January 11, 2008 -

The Cybercast News Service, a conservative site, claims in a report published this morning that best-selling Xbox 360 title Mass Effect contains "explicitly graphic sexual intercourse."


The charge seems to be based on a well-known episode in the game in which there is a romantic liaison between the player's character and an NPC. However, in our view, it's quite a stretch to describe what appears onscreen as explicitly graphic sexual intercourse, which generally denotes hard core pornography.


Mass Effect is far from that.


However, a lawyer (no, not that lawyer) quoted in the article specifically refers to the game as porn. From the CNS piece:


The game is "clearly marketed to minors," Cathy Ruse, a lawyer and senior fellow for legal studies at the Family Research Council, told Cybercast News Service.


"There are cultural implications for feeding porn to kids in this way," ...Ruse said.


In describing the scene, CNS writes:


The playable character can become romantically involved... This storyline culminates in a cutscene in which the characters copulate in full digital nudity.


The article also quotes Bob Waliszewki, described as a media specialist with Focus on the Family. Waliszewki seems especially troubled by the fact that two women are involved in the love scene: 


Unfortunately, Mass Effect... even goes so far as to allow homosexuality to be on par with heterosexuality and heterosexuality outside of its proper context of marriage.


Attorney Ruse also painted the love scene in the game as porn in the legal sense:


Most states have what's called 'Harmful to Minors' laws on the books that say that selling sexual material that a jury would deem 'patently offensive to minors, which lacks literary, artistic, political or scientific value.' ... might be prosecutable.


We need state and local prosecutors with spines and backbones to prosecute some of these companies that are violating the law.


Regarding CyberCast News Service, SourceWatch reports that:


Cybercast News Service (CNS) is a subsidiary of the conservative news monitoring group, the Media Research Center (MRC)...


Media Research Center Inc. is a conservative media watchdog group run by president and founder Brent Bozell. The Center... is funded by larger right-wing foundations...


Brent Bozell is also the founder of the Parents Television Council.


Here's the video. Do you find it to be "explicitly graphic sexual intercourse?"





Comments

@steven
"the industry needs to come up with it’s own stories to feed the public "

You mean retort from the industry bigwigs, preferably with cold, hard facts?

Somehow, I think the best way to damage their case is to expose the other controversies people like these have probably earned outside their misguided critique of gaming.

Mudslinging, if you will.

The one question you got to ask are about these critics.

Are they getting any? They could just be taking their frustrations out on the rest of us for their lack of "gaming skills".

Sorry I cannot type this with a straight face.

@twin-skies
i dunno.
i don't have the answers.
People need to be made more media- and techno-literate

short of some sort of 'super-size me' about claims against videogames and their truth i can't see how to really convince public opinion, such is the power of the whole moral-decline 'narrative'. especially when the right controls a majority of the "authoritative" channels.
i don't think mudslinging is the answer.

maybe we should just take up arms. :)

(i mean we've all had enough training for it by playing doom haven't we? JT says so.)

Where is this full digital nudity? Aside from a blue side boob shot and a blue ass shot from Liara I didn't see anything else. Once again Moral Morons trying to force their views on everyone else under the guise of "Save the childrens!". No matter what you morons say, this game is not marketed to kids, the M on the box states that. M is for Mature, not Minors.

"Unfortunately, Mass Effect… even goes so far as to allow homosexuality to be on par with heterosexuality and heterosexuality outside of its proper context of marriage."

Nothing illegal about that. I can see why people would be upset about this, but I don't see it holding any water in court.

@Bill

i love the wine metaphor.

“Unfortunately, Mass Effect… even goes so far as to allow homosexuality to be on par with heterosexuality and heterosexuality outside of its proper context of marriage.”

They forgot to mention that by allowing you to play as a character of the opposite sex the game is promoting transexuality, possibly the ultimate perversion of the human form :) and what about the whole inter-species alien sex? there's whole new levels of untapped moral outrage right there...

@bill
I once sent a letter to one of these sites explaining in a calm, rational way some of the facts they had got wrong in an item they had published. I got an email back (which had clearly been sent to a number of people who had written in) calling me a liar and containing other pieces of right-wing bile. I was then sent a 'newsletter' every now and again containing vitriolic attacks on various persons in the public eye who didn't share their world view. i'm not doing that again!

You know I'm quite sick of people stating "Clearly marketed to children" without even attempting to back it up with any evidence. I suppose they are just banking on the fact that soccer moms don't want to be informed, but frightened.

Oh, so it wasn't *him*..

@Bill

Oh, my bad I missed that last part. :P

@steven

You have just clarified just what sort of founding these sort of crazies have with regards to reality.

Thanks for the warning. Now shall we send their link 4chan so they can be ridiculed in full?

"I say we nuke the site from orbit." - Ellen Ripley

You'll see racier on TV-14 shows and PG-13 movies.

Well that looks no worse then a PG13 movie or a show on FX.

"Clearly marketed to minors?"
"Full digital nudity?"

Um.... no??

I think it's funny that homosexuality is called out over sex with an alien...

@Bill, great letter, well spoken!

@Erik

that's because soccer moms don't want to be informed. consider how much information bombards them every day, if you want to catch their attention, it has to either give you aids, rape your husband, or turn your children into murderers who will disembowel you in your sleep.

They have to be crazy. This is the love scene from Top Gun practically, and I saw that when I was ten for goodness sake.

Problem is that these ignorant fools still see video games as the Atari machines in the local pizza shop, or worse yet that they are all just Super Mario Brothers on the NES.

As for being marketed to children... Let's see, the commercial that they ran before the release had Commander Shepard deciding whether or not to help the planet under attack from the Geth, but ended up denying the help request and doing a hard drop onto a hot LZ on another planet invaded by the Geth.

Ok, saying that is marketed to children is like saying the beach landings on Omaha Beach in Saving Private Ryan is marketed to children, or like saying the scenes of combat from Blackhawk Down is marketed to kids. Almost all of us are smart enough to say "You're kidding right?", but some of these people refuse to actually think for themselves and not look past the 'good-facts' they are given instead of the [b]real facts[/b] of the matter.

@Cauldrath

Actually, you don't have to have relations with the Asari Consort at all. It's rather easy to, unless you play through as Renegade then your choices basically cause it to happen.

It doesn't even actually show them making out, the alien female isn't even having an orgasm from the sounds of it.

I wonder how they're going to prove all of this. I wonder what their game plan is.

1. Bioware is located in Canada. The most Cathy Ruse and her group can do is push for boycott or fight to have the game banned from the states. i may be missing something here so please feel free to correct me on this one.

2. Prove that the game has explicitly graphic sexual intercourse. Of course, they're going to have to show the judge the clip that we can all see on youtube. hm...

3. Prove that this game is being marketed towards minors.

4. Prove that the scene lacks artistic/literal/political/scientific value.

Honestly, I don't see how they're going to win this one. I don't even know why they trying to win a case as difficult as this. We can defend this game in court better than they can attack it. It's disturbing how some adults think that they know everything there is to know about a game based on that one scene...

If anything, the article should have been more clear on how Cathy Ruse came to the conclusion that this game was being marketed towards minors and whether or not if they actually played the game fully.

Very funny. So is there going to be actual legal action taken against Bioware? Maybe the distributor?

Acctualy, I would say that Mass Effect markets itself to minors with the Sex scene in a "forbiden fruit" effect, because if they didn't the kids might see threw all the shiny things and bloom and see how meh the actual gameplay is.

Cripes, all you see is a little skin. This certainly isn't making the people involved in complaining about this look good. Plus, its sci-fi. Religious issues about the non-marriage heterosexuality and homosexuality shouldn't constrain a fantasy setting. Someone set up some rat traps using copies of Gia as bait and we'll take care of them.

Letter to the Editor _ Sex in Video Game Makes Waves Through Industry
-------------------
Dear Sirs,

Let me preface this by saying that I am 37, a parent, hold a full-time job and play video games when I have spare time.

While I have not yet played Mass Effect, I did watch the video of the supposed "graphic sex" and I honestly have to wonder if any of you have.
There was no "full digital nudity". I didn't see anything in that scene that I haven't seen on television on, say, Law & Order. The scene lasts under a minute, no frontal nudity was shown and it's so dark you can hardly see anything anyway.

More importantly- the game is rated M and is clearly labeled on the box as "Mature" and "17+". I, as a tax-paying, voting adult, would like to express how tired I am of politicians and watchdog agencies screaming about M rated games being marketed to kids without a shred of evidence or a single example given to back up that claim. How is it being marketed expressly to children? Where? When? How? Or do all anti-game activists assume that video games are only played by children and therefore are all automatically being marketed to children?

You may not have noticed- there's a war going on out there. People are starving. Children die because of lack of medical care. The welfare system is a mess, social security is in trouble... there is hardly a lack of real issues to focus on. Can we possibly turn our attention to some of those actual issues rather than inventing new ones?

*signed my real name to the letter, but I'm not copying it here because it pisses J.T. off*

Yeah, thats really graphic. *Rolls eyes* Ugh. whoever wrote this article is a moron.

Well... to be fair... this is the same country that blew their tops over Janet Jackson's nipple.

just more pesudoreligious nonsense about sex being somehow intrinsically wrong

I love it when idiots try to trump up a non-existent issue.
It's so cute.

does anyone wanna be pednatic and say theres no homosexuality in the game......


after all asari ARE monogendered....

you guys are dumb, homosexuals are here to stay.

@GryphonOsiris

I was playing through as a paragon and got the scene without gaining any renegade points from that mission. I think I may have had some renegade points from accepting the mission from the crime syndicate to kill the other members of the syndicate, but that was it. I'm sure it's easy to avoid if you know the triggers or just skip the mission entirely, but it really should have asked and given a chance to say yes or no. I probably would have picked yes anyway, but I would rather have been given a choice on a moral matter like that in a game which advertises itself on making moral choices.

to be fair, this isn't a grossly anti video game comment from these people, in other words they would be just as appalled at the scene in a movie as well (as is evident if you look at some of their movie reviews in the link that Myrpok provided)

they are just a strongly Christian group that objects to pretty much every thing (their comments that Spirited Away is inappropriate due to it's strong ties in eastern spirituality had me chuckling)

in otherwords, while the article is filled with lies and gross exaggerations the group is not really anti video game, they are anti all media, you have to at least give them credit for consistency

Oh my god! I'm blind.

"(their comments that Spirited Away is inappropriate due to it’s strong ties in eastern spirituality had me chuckling)"

Can you link this story? I tried searching their site, but it is a total cluster bomb of misorganization and I couldn't find it. Thanks.

@ecogrady

http://www.pluggedinonline.com/movies/movies/a0001333.cfm

though not the exact same site, it's run by the same religious groups

You're... you're kidding right? Fumbling around in the dark is hardcore pornography?

The sex scene in Golgo 13 (NES) was more explicit than this.

I always wondered how Shepard would explain to the other two party members that he was going to know the Asari consort 'inside and out'. I mean does he just say, "Here's 50 creds, go take a long lunch and meet me back here in an hour."?

Ah the questions we don't ask when playing an RPG.

@Cauldrath
As to how you did it got it on Paragon, I'm at a loss. I took all the top options and she didn't so much as give me that wanting wink. Oh well, ended up getting it on with Liara, so that counts for something I guess.

As for the Syndicate woman that wants you to take out her former partners, if you refuse the mission she still gives you the locations, and you can end up convincing her to turn herself in if you have enough charm, and gives you lots of Paragon points.

I guess people assume Rated M means minors now.......

I am shocked and appalled that GamePolitics would fill its articles with the shameless pornography shown in the oh wait, it's loaded now. This is too explicit for an M-rated game?

Dear Conservative Liar

Thanks for the free marketing pamphlet for our M rated game.

While you're at it, please also make advertisements Jade Empire and Knights of the Old republic, which also featured same sex relationships - a human rights achievement we in Canada are very proud of.

BioWare.

Rated M for mature.

Discussion over.

Apparently Ruse has never seen a Bond film. The nudity in that clip is the same as the kind you see in a PG-13 film. I guess Ruse thought PG stood for 'Possible genetalia' and 13 meant the size of the woman's- GOOD NIGHT EVERYBODY!

If I didn't know what they were doing from everyone saying it, I'd be wondering wtf was going on

1. How is this game clearly marketed to minors? It has an M rating (15 in the UK).

2. How can that be even considered porn, let alone explicitly graphic?

3. How is homosexual sex worse than heterosexual sex? sounds a bit homophobic to me.

12 in the UK actually. Anyway, I think a 12 year old is old enough to see about 2 seconds of bare arse.

are you dumb or you don't understand the RATINGS of the game?!?!?! If your 11 kid buys this game, who's fault is it?!?!? Ever asked why the game has ever been sold to a kid, even its strictly says that are only M rated?. Ask the person which sold it to.


It'i you parents who produce next-gen of terrorist kids, because you don't fuc**** know how to properly raise them. You leave them be so, you buy them guns or even beat them at home. And when they get laid at their age of 13 you cry like a baby, because they didn't use condom? When did you sit down with kids and talk to them about sex, how its important in our life and how the fu** you don't blame TV programs , that have 5000x times more violence and sex.

Clearly your religious ideas are acts of terrorism, so don't blame others for your actions!

A couple of things these dumbasses need to know

1. MASS EFFECT IS NOT FOR KIDS! If a parent chooses to buy a rated M game to children then that's their decision.

2. I have unlocked that scene and it is nowhere close to porn in anyway. The most you see is a hand.

3. Do you guys even know what the hell you're talking about? I doubt they even looked at the scene. Or they don't know what porn is.

4. "Is clearly marketed to minors" huh? I didn't know that the "MATURE" rating means that it was made for kids. Oh, probably because it isn't. The most marketing I've seen for the game is the praise by the video game community that it's getting and a couple of commercials shown LATE at night.

5. "The playable character can become romantically involved… This storyline culminates in a cutscene in which the characters copulate in full digital nudity." Uh no. There is a little nudity but not "full" as you say.

If that's his idea of “explicitly graphic sexual intercourse", I'd really, really hate to have his kind of love life...

(although any kind of love life would be an improvement for me...*ahem*)

I've never played it, but last time I checked the only explicit thing on this game was the words +17 on the box.
 
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