Chris took the position earlier this week that nudity in gaming is viewed in overly hostile, negative light. To be fair, there are times when that is undoubtedly true. The problem is that there are far more times when the criticism that video games receive for the type of nudity they display is completely warranted.
I have no problem with nudity in general. I’m no prude, nor am I a pervert. If a game or a film has nudity in it makes very little difference to me. To me, what makes a difference is the quality of the overall content. For instance, the picture Chris used in his article (shown below) is bad nudity. Well, ok, it’s not actual nudity, but it’s the kind of suggestive material that I associate with bad nudity. It’s completely disproportionate, pointless, and borderline grotesque. It’s also the exact type of content that makes females feel like outsiders in the gaming world. This type of content, whether the body is shown completely naked, or covered with a skin tight outfit isn’t the kind of content that I enjoy, nor is it the kind of content that I think helps make the case that video games are art.
Video games are a point in where they should start turning that corner from novelty to respected art form. To a large degree that is happening. There are plenty of games, from The Last of Us to Spec Ops: The Line that invoke emotions, change our perspectives, and let us experience something truly interesting. Games like Dragon’s Crown feel like a step backwards in the “games are art” debate. What truly irks me though, is that as a broad generalization (pun intended) games look more like Dragon’s Crown, than they do like Diablo 3.
Tasteful nudity is completely possible in video games, but it’s almost impossible to discuss nudity in games without framing the debate with the multitude of exhibits wherein gaming nudity is completely gross. Dragon’s Crown might be a great game, but I really wouldn’t want to be caught playing it. It makes me look (and even feel) like a weirdo. I know there is porn that looks an awful lot like that game, and if you enjoy that stuff, I really couldn’t care less. Have at it. But we’re not discussing porn habits, we’re discussing games.
Like Chris said in his article, nudity in games is viewed very similarly to the way violence in games used to be viewed. At some point enough games will come out that are viewed as art that the tide will turn on the whole nudity thing, but until then it seems like games that feature unnecessary nudity, or even overly sexualized versions of non-nude women are just making games look bad in general, and that’s not good for the industry.