New Book Digs Into the Past - and Future - of Sex in Video Games

October 6, 2008 -

While video games generally catch more heat for violence than sex, there have been a fair number of lust-fueled controversies in game land. Now, Playboy tech writer Damon Brown documents them in his new book, Porn & Pong: How 'Grand Theft Auto,' 'Tomb Raider' and other Sexy Games Changed Our Culture.

Salon has a lengthy interview with Brown who starts with Custer's Revenge and touches (appropriately, we might add) on everything from Leisure Suit Larry to Hot Coffee and beyond. Not one to leave out the online crowd, Brown includes a section on game-related cybersex:

One of the things I write about is the first documented cyberspace rape in a text-only environment called LambdaMOO. A user found a loophole that allowed him to control the actions of other players. He could make one player hurt or have sex with another player and so on. The malicious user went rampant through the game universe, forcing players into sexual acts, and was repeatedly kicked off the game, but he always managed to come back under a different user name.

The Playboy writer also explains his theory of why most protagonists in sexually-oriented games are male:

Most of the creators of these games are straight, most are white and a portion of them are Asian. [Game designers] want to have a protagonist the player can identify with and, on a different level, the designer himself can identify with. People identify with Larry, because everyone's been desperate and had those moments where they can't pick up anyone, or they want to be Niko Bellic, this awesome tough guy who can maintain five girlfriends across the city of New York.

In the future, Brown sees erotically-charged games becoming much more, um... interactive:

Our grandchildren are going to have amazing sex lives -- I can't think of a better way to say it. Connecting vibrators and other types of tools to the computer and getting pleasured by a professional or a long-distance lover is a brilliant idea. It will connect people in a much deeper way than the Internet or a webcam that's going 15 frames per second...

 

From talking to people at the Adult Entertainment Expo in Vegas in January, I understand the basic idea is that teledildonics will take off in a mainstream way any moment now. I'd say within five years it's going to become standard equipment for a lot of people.

UPDATE: Over at Edge Online, editor Colin Campbell has an entertaining whinge at the entire subject of sex in games. Best line:

Words like teledildonics leave me dizzy with nausea.
 

22 comments

Author: Gamers Part of "Dumbest Generation"

August 20, 2008 -

A controversial new book fingers video games, television, and digital communications as culprits in the author's indictment of modern youth culture.

The book is The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don't Trust Anyone Under 30) by Emory University professor Mark Bauerlein. Canada.com has a lengthy interview with the author:

Something insidious is happening inside their heads. Young Americans today are no more learned or skilful than their predecessors, no more knowledgeable, fluent, up-to-date, or inquisitive, except in the materials of youth culture.

What then, Canada.com asks, does Bauerlein make of the widespread involvement of young people in the Barack Obama campaign?

...if it turns out that we have 75 per cent of young people voting in this election, then I will be happy to say that my comments about civic apathy were wrong. But if inspiration proves to be their only motive and their participation falls in later elections when an Obama is absent, then my initial suspicion will be correct. We need a diligent citizenry, and not merely a momentarily inspired one.

The book's description on Amazon says, in part:

The Internet, e-mail, blogs, and interactive and hyper-realistic video games promised to yield a generation of sharper, more aware, and intellectually sophisticated children... we assumed that teens would use their knowledge and understanding of technology to set themselves apart as the vanguards of this new digital era.

That was the promise. But the enlightenment didn’t happen. The technology that was supposed to make young adults more astute, diversify their tastes, and improve their verbal skills has had the opposite effect. According to recent reports, most young people in the United States do not read literature, visit museums, or vote. They cannot explain basic scientific methods, recount basic American history, name their local political representatives, or locate Iraq or Israel on a map...
 

183 comments

Grand Theft Childhood Authors Respond to U of Michigan Prof's Criticism

June 30, 2008 -

In the preceding GamePolitics article we covered University of Michigan Professor Brad Bushman's criticism of Grand Theft Childhood.

The book, written by Harvard researchers Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson, downplays the effects of video game violence on adolescent behavior.

We also contacted the authors for comment on Bushman's attack on Grand Theft Childhood. Dr. Cheryl Olson shared these thoughts (and provided several of the links):

I don’t mind other researchers criticizing my work as long as they don’t engage in personal attacks... Brad Bushman is absolutely entitled to air his views.

 

Unfortunately, Dr. Bushman has some of his facts mixed up. In the 2001 Surgeon General’s report on youth violence, exposure to TV violence was actually near the bottom of the list of influences on real-world violence – so low that it was relegated to an appendix!

 

He theorizes that teens are more likely to identify with video game characters than TV or movie characters. That’s plausible, but I could just as easily argue the opposite; boys told us repeatedly in focus groups that they enjoying taking the bad guy role in a video game specifically because they don’t want to behave that way in real life. Also, because video games require active control and participation, players are constantly reminded that the game is merely a game.

 

Dr. Bushman’s statement that video games directly reward violence is only partly accurate; anyone who actually plays video games knows that players are not always rewarded for acting violently, and in fact are often penalized immediately or later on (even in parts of Grand Theft Auto IV). The content and consequences in video games are extremely varied, which is one reason that studying their influence is so difficult.

 

Finally, regarding his experimental study of Dutch teenagers playing a game for 20 minutes in a lab: Those teens are fully aware that no researcher will allow them to act in a way that causes permanent physical harm to someone. Dr. Bushman may be a bit too credulous – a view that is supported by a quote from that Surgeon General’s report.

Co-author Dr. Lawrence Kutner added:

47 comments | Read more

Game Violence Researcher Rips Grand Theft Childhood Book

June 30, 2008 -

While Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson's recent book Grand Theft Childhood has given cheer to video gamers (and the video game industry), a longtime media violence researcher strongly disagrees with the authors' conclusion that violent games aren't all that bad for younger players.

In an op-ed for the Detroit Free Press, University of Michigan professor Brad Bushman writes:

Kutner and Olson’s advice to parents is particulary puzzling since their own data suggest that such games are linked to aggressive behavior... Although laboratory experiments can be used to establish cause-effect relationships, they quickly dismiss most lab studies as artificial and invalid.

 

I strongly disagree. Consider a laboratory experiment I recently conducted... Boys about 14 years old were randomly assigned to play a violent or nonviolent video game for 20 minutes... Next, they completed a noise blast task, with the winner blasting the loser with a noise...

 

The boys were told that inflicting higher noise levels could cause “permanent hearing damage” to their partners... These boys were even willing to give another boy noise levels loud enough to cause permanent hearing damage...

 

Violent video games are not the only risk factor for aggression, or even the most important factor, but they are definitely not a trivial factor...

Bushman was among the authors of the American Psychological Association's 2005 resolution which held that there is an increase in aggression following violent video game play. Bushman also participated in a 2007 study which found correlation between violent Biblical passages and aggression. He is also one of controversial Miami attorney Jack Thompson's expert witnesses in an Alabama lawsuit alleging that an 18-year-old's murder of two police officers and a dispatcher was motivated by playing Grand Theft Auto.

42 comments

GP Book Review: Halo Graphic Novel

September 26, 2006 -



Halo Graphic Novel

-reviewed for GamePolitics by Matt Paprocki

Transcending the world of video games, Halo is a cultural phenomenon.

While the days of seeing video game characters plastered on boxes of kiddie cereal are becoming less common, their more grown-up progress into other mediums is becoming commonplace, like movies and books. Thankfully, the Halo Graphic Novel exists in a realm free from director Uwe Boll’s influence.Entrusted to the hands of comic masters Marvel, this beloved Xbox franchise is in the best of hands.

While a slender volulme, the Halo Graphic Novel is jammed with four separate stories. Multiple authors and artists contribute their work to craft this gorgeous book, including the likes Simon Bisley, Brett Lewis, and Moebius. According to his bio, Lewis doesn’t even own a TV, but was so gripped by the paperbook novelizations of the Halo universe that he ended up contributing some of the graphic novel’s most vivid writing.

21 comments | Read more

 
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WonderkarpConster, I was quoting Anita Sarkeesian01/24/2015 - 10:39pm
ZippyDSMleeodd its not wanting to post half the time 0-o01/24/2015 - 10:21pm
ZippyDSMleetest01/24/2015 - 10:21pm
ConsterWonderkarp: did the US actually bomb Japan back to traditional values? My history lessons were eurocentric, so I wouldn't know.01/24/2015 - 9:39pm
ZippyDSMleeeffect like confusion,ect. QTEs are a gimmick that can easily be shallow because you are looking to mess with conditioned responses and nothing messes with them more than random gameplay changes..01/24/2015 - 7:58pm
ZippyDSMleeWonderkarp: They tried to be natural with God Of Wars QTE’s, sometimes it felt random which I hate the most in QTEs. The way you interface with gameplay (press X to get X result) should never rely on randomly generated mechanics unless it’s a status01/24/2015 - 7:57pm
Andrew EisenI've passed your comment on.01/24/2015 - 5:45pm
Neo_DrKefkaHey GamePolitics staff can you guys work out the way the ads are delivered via mobile? Sometimes any attempt to do anything on this site automatically forwards you to download "Flappy bird" on a shady site or another thing. It just hijacks my Safari01/24/2015 - 3:47pm
WonderkarpI feel like the only good QTEs were the ones in the God of War series. I dont know why though.. maybe its the visceral carnage01/24/2015 - 1:13pm
ZippyDSMleeprh99: QTEs are dumb I ever understood the need for them outside being cheap and wanting to pad mechanics with scripted events that use only a few buttons.01/24/2015 - 12:58pm
InfophileAnd a more detailed breakdown of expenses here: http://imgur.com/L46SUMw01/24/2015 - 12:42pm
InfophileFor anyone still complaining about where the funding for Tropes vs. Women went: https://www.dropbox.com/s/q4z6qa561roidh5/femfreq_annualreport2014.pdf?dl=0 (page 16) Not that this will actually stop claims of fraud, but it's good to have a counter.01/24/2015 - 12:38pm
prh99Linux kernel patch breaks Witcher 2. Apparently it was a wrapped Windows version instead of native port. http://m.slashdot.org/story/21270301/24/2015 - 11:12am
prh99I am not a fan of QTEs. Toggle joystick to break away from an enemy is ok...01/24/2015 - 12:26am
Goth_Skunk@WonderKarp: *fistbump*01/24/2015 - 12:00am
ZippyDSMleeIts like they took the fiction from soemthing else and tried to impose it on the Turok IP 0-o01/23/2015 - 10:14pm
ZippyDSMleeuhg I mean they did not need the dumb story and needed more unreal crazy combat.01/23/2015 - 10:13pm
ZippyDSMleestyle gameplay not generic shooter stuff.01/23/2015 - 10:11pm
ZippyDSMleeI loved what they were trying to go with in 3 but it was rather messed up and buggy. Evolution is a typical corridor shooter of the time. The newer Turok is half right they just needed the non-super realistic grim dark story and more crazy Unreal style ga01/23/2015 - 10:11pm
Wonderkarpshe going to do a video on how America Bombed Japan Back To Traditional Values Next? Or one on how Toxic Masculinity in Culture causes Shootings?01/23/2015 - 10:10pm
 

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