Bad Sex Awards for games: 5 scenes that’ll make you go “eww”
It’s that time of year again. The Literary Review has revealed the shortlist for its annual Bad Sex in Fiction Award, and the rest of the day was spent snorting milk out of our collective noses to lines such as:
“Her mouth was intensely ovoid, an almond mouth, of citrus crescents. And under that sling, her breasts were like young fawns, sheep frolicking in hyssop – Psalms were about to pour out of me.”
I actually have the book that’s from on my desk, and it now feels like it’s leering at me over my laptop. Anyway, literature may be able to get inside our heads, but it’s got nothing on games when it comes to terrible depictions of sex. Here are five of the worst (and a few bonuses of good sex).
Omikron: The Nomad Soul
It would be easy to fill this list with David Cage games, but I’ve limited myself to two. This particular clip is somewhere deep in uncanny valley, fully-clothed and features a weird monster hallucination. Pretty standard sex, then. The game itself is a bit of a narratively ambitious mess and features David Bowie. Again, pretty standard sex.
Seaman was a very strange Dreamcast title where you looked after a human-headed aquatic pet. The seamen can mate in the game, which involved hooking up fleshy tentacle suckers and exchanging… something. I like this clip because it’s grainy and completely silent, which lends the human/animal hybrid motions an air of quiet dignity.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
This one is very famous. It is also very unsexy. Seaman is sexier than this. The Hot Coffee mod for GTA: San Andreas added a sex minigame where you manage an excitement meter while engaging in partially-clothed polygon mating. It caused a lot of controversy, with Senator Hillary Clinton even launching an investigation into the mod. The facial expressions are pure Aphex Twin.
Fallout: New Vegas
I can’t decide if this is the worst or the best sex scene. It’s definitely one of the funniest. It involves a clunky robot giving you “pleasure” – make of that what you will. Just watch it. But not at work.
Called The Indigo Prophecy in the US, Fahrenheit is another David Cage game that tries to do a lot of interesting things with storytelling and half succeeds. Towards the end, there is an overlong sex sequence, clearly intended to be a tender climax in the relationship of the two main characters, but ends up an awkward fusing of moaning, dead-eyed marionettes. It doesn’t help that the guy is a zombie by this point.
Bonus: The best sex in games
While many games get sex wrong by crudely aping film, there are games out there that engage with sex and relationships much more successfully. Nina Freeman’s charming and smart How Do You Do It? puts the player in the role of an 11-year-old girl, first exploring the concept of sex with Barbie and Action Man.
Freeman’s latest game, Cibele, similarly takes a more emotionally complex look at sex. Anna Anthropy’s Dys4ia looks at questions of gender and sexuality, and AAA titles like Dragon Age and Mass Effect have sexual relationships very much built into the structure of the game.
While I’m at it, Cara Ellison’s S.EXE column at Rock Paper Shotgun is a definite go-to if you’re at all interested in sex in gaming. She’s also made a game “about good sex that goes bad”.
It’s called Sacrilege and you can play it here.
Do you have any more suggestions for good or bad sex in gaming? Let us know in the comments. And keep it clean, or else we’ll make you watch some more terrible games.