Editorial by Kurt Knudsen
With the news about Playboy – The Mansion in the works one has to wonder whether or not more companies are going to start to develop games marketed towards a more mature audience. There are quite a few games that have been developed in the past for this audience; one of the most notable would probably be Leisure Suit Larry. And with another installment of the LSL series in the works it seems that these types of games do have their niche in the market.
These games always seem to stir up some controversy regardless of the platform. The main issue discussed is whether or not this is appropriate, mainly since younger kids can still get their hands on games. This has been seen in cases like Grand Theft Auto 3, which has been under fire for quite some time. But this game is different, since it explicitly states ‘Playboy’ and perhaps ‘Nudity’, I doubt parents would pick this up for their 14 year old son for his birthday. Putting these games on the market in stores such as Electronics Boutique and Software Etc, still gives younger kids the chance to purchase it. You can’t guarantee that every store employee will read the ESRP, or care, and stop the child from purchasing the game.
We all know sex sells, and it sells very, very well. It is all over, in magazines, TV, radio, and has been in video games for quite a while. Businesses use this tool wisely to boost their sales to the male, probably ranging from 14-25, since that is the prime age range. Past video games have put sexy women in tight fitting clothing, usually offering a wide variety of camera angles. A prime example would be Dead or Alive – Beach Volleyball. Even the commercials made it apparent that the only reason they made this game is to sell it to horny teens.
But making games based off soft core porn; is that going too far? In my opinion, no, it isn’t. This is probably due to the fact that I don’t have children, if I had any my opinion may be different. But let’s look at things from an objective point of view. Regardless of whether or not you have kids, let’s say you do, especially in the range of 10-16. If you came home to find your son playing a game that is based on taking pictures of nude celebrities, how would you feel? The most probable answer would probably be, outraged. Who is to blame? You, the parent? Perhaps the developer, Cyberlore? Maybe the publishers, Groove Games and ARUSH. There really isn’t anyone to blame, why? Well as the parent you probably told you son that you didn’t want him to play that game, but do kids ever listen? I know I didn’t. You can’t blame yourself for your child’s decision. You can’t blame the developer or publishers because they have put warnings all over the box and in the game. Plus it is marketed for the older audience; I doubt the programmers at Cyberlore want their children playing their own creation. Instead of trying to pin the blame on someone or something perhaps you should sit your child down and tell him, or her, why you didn’t want them playing this game.
What does the future hold for games like these? I’m guessing they will be welcomed with open arms by the youth of our countries. While a lot of people will be outraged by them, they will sell because they are based on such a basic strategy that has sold so well before. Even if the game doesn’t offer top-notch graphics or an interesting game play, consumers will want the game simply for the thrill of seeing pixilated babes.
I can see the companies, developer and publishers, coming under fire in the near future. Based on what I read the console editions of the game will be somewhat limited as to what they show, which is probably a good thing. The PC editions will most likely offer full nudity or at least a lot more than the PS2/Xbox counterparts did.
Playboy – The Mansion offers much more than just snapping photos of some half naked beauty. So the chance of the developers putting in a password protection is quite high, just depends on whether or not they have thought of such a feature. If it is on the game would simply clothe the women in some sexy lingerie, and it would still sell.
As for my opinion on the whole matter of nudity in games, I welcome it. Why? I don’t know, perhaps it is a break from the norm, perhaps it gives me something else to play for. I know I am not the only one here who has played an X-rated version of Tetris, or perhaps Strip Poker. I just think these games should be monitored by retail stores and parents. It would have been the greatest feature if the gaming consoles included a password protection when you first purchase the system. This password is embedded in the game and when it detects a mature game it will limit the game on what it shows the player, unless the password is entered. Having such a low-level password scheme prevents kids from removing it from their memory card, if that’s where one is saved.