Video Games Must Stop Trying to Be Sexy - It's Not Working - News

by VGChartz Staff, posted on 22 August 2010 / 9,204 Views

Disclaimer: This article is the work of one writer, and does not necessarily reflect the views of gamrFeed or VGChartz.

Can video games really be sexy?

Let me skip to the end of this for you: they can not be sexy.

Your line is: "But Keith, what about Bayonetta? The Tomb Raider series? Uncharted? Olivia Munn?"

Ok, that last one is incredibly sexy, but she’s a real person who plays video games, she is not, despite her two-dimensional appearance, a video game herself.

Sorry, video game technology isn’t where visuals can really be sexy. They can’t really do the job of sexiness. People spend far too much of their time around human people. Fake people in video games simply can not compete. Seeing an attempt at sexy in a video game is almost like the vague memory of sexy. When video games attempt sexiness it reminds me of a 12 year old trying to smoke. They think they’re looking way cool and grown up, and all that cool feeling is doing for them is making them even more childlike and awkward. You want to say, "No no no! Give me that before you hurt yourself. Jeez."

Sometimes a video game can be genuinely scary. Eternal Darkness: Sanity’s Requiem was flipping scary. The Fatal Frame series was flipping scary. The bit in Dead Space with the candles and the singing? Yeah, that bit. Flipping scary. Sexy? Never. Scary sometimes.

At best video game sexiness is ironic. Or hilarious. At worst it’s hideous and creepy. If there’s one thing that is directly oppositional to sexy, it’s hideous-creepy. 

Therefore listen here developers: stop trying to make video games sexy! Just focus on making video games playable. No one will be able to duplicate the ironical sexuality of Bayonetta, so don’t even attempt that. That’s definitely a skill that no one else has unlocked.

Earthworm Jim is a perfect example of what developers ought to be doing. It’s not about the graphics, although the new HD upgrade looks great, it’s about gameplay. I know that gameplay is the hard bit, and its much easier to render a couple of boob shaped objects, but the gameplay is the important bit. ModNation Racers is also safely in this niche. I love the visuals of the game. They stay well within the bounds of what video games do well, which is to create a new kind of visual representation of reality, instead of trying to imitate actual reality.

An effective story would be nice, but attempting to juggle all those components: graphics, sound, motion control, and reward systems is very difficult, and effective storytelling is a delicate thing, not subject to the fussy whims of technology. If I want a reliably good story, I read a book by Neil Gaiman or Michael Chabon

Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was basically the opposite problem. No attempt at sexiness here, and I understand the ironic nature of their 8 bit gameplay, but it just never worked for me. I was never on the right z axis to be able to pick up an item, or close enough to it, or able to do any of those things consistently enough. 

Another place double 'D' jublies should not be is in a fighting game. Dead or Alive series, I'm looking in your considerably mammaried direction. Unless those things are armed with missiles, or another couple of fists, they really don't belong in a fighting game. I know I'm not the only male driven somewhat nauseated by the jiggle. 

About the only genuine sexiness that I can safely point to in a game is in the Gran Turismo series. For me, there is no finer moment than the title screen in a Polyphony Digital game.

Thoughts? Comment and share. :)

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bratkitty (on 23 August 2010)

I have to respond to this article with a question: Should Skin-a-max stop trying to be sexy because it's all b.s.? Should women with hard core plastic surgery stop trying to be sexy because parts of their bodies aren't real? Or how about the ads you see in magazines? Those are as much a representation of beauty courtesy of photoshop as they are real people. Hell, Playboy's flat out photoshopped out belly buttons on women. Actually this article reminds me of an article on Kotaku a while back: This article shows the original design of Faith vs. an edit a Japanese gamer did to the design to better suit Asian tastes. Why? Because they felt the original wasn't attractive enough. This then sparked a big East vs. West debate in regards to what is considered visually attractive to each region in videogames. Videogame visuals start with artists and designers who are tasked with creating a game that is visually appealing to its market. Therefore art imitates life and we then find what the general populace finds attractive, and sometimes sexy, in the products we consume. This has happened all the way back to Venus of Willendorf ( and there are infinite examples of representations of attractive women depicted as much for eye candy as anything else in art history. You may not think the Wikipedia article I linked to was all that sexy, but I'm sure it got Cro-Magnon Man all hot and bothered. It's debated as to whether it was a fertility idol or simply a beauty icon. Either way, it's a representation of sex appeal at its time. None of the Vargas Girls are real, for that matter. ( However they were a hot item during WWII. Obviously it boils down to taste, but I think most people are genetically hard-wired to find certain shapes and impressions attractive. In this case I would have to disagree with this article.

Ratix240sx (on 23 August 2010)

kthsdlr (on 23 August 2010)

@ SorynArkayn - Excellent points, sir, but I don't think I'm ready to hang up my typewriter yet. @ Squeakthedragon - Yours is probably my favorite comment here so far. You've summed up my arguments very well.

.jayderyu (on 23 August 2010)

hmmmmm, squeakthedragon get's my sentiments exactly. Appearance in other mediums than real life is more for impression association. If your not picking up the intended visual impression that seems more a lack of capability on the writers part. Not the gamer developers. The fact that the writer seems to get more aroused on cars more than females is also in question. Theres OLD handrawn pornographic art from a 1000 years ago. I assure you that todays standards that's not sexy. But it's not about the quality it's about the visual cues.

FullMetalMerc (on 23 August 2010)

so you would rather look at ugly fat women in games, i dont think lara croft could do what she does if she gained 2oo or even 100lbs

gurglesletch (on 23 August 2010)

This article highlights my thoughts exactly.

sauss (on 23 August 2010)

For a article that everyone seen to dislike, It is one of the most commented.

Squeakthedragon (on 23 August 2010)

Sorry but, this article is a huge nerd rant and it makes the author sound like a kid who's afraid of women - especially with the Gran Turismo quip at the end. Using Bayonetta as a graphic image also suggests that you don't even grasp Bayonetta is a vicious satire of oversexualization of women in video games. It's very true, in point of fact, that females are used shallowly in video games in order to try and appeal to perceived stereotypical audience of testosterone charged teenagers who have never gotten close to a real girl and have sweaty fantasies about them. However, that is a problem with how female characters are portrayed, especially in terms of their personality. Some female characters are also badly designed and modeled, looking a mockery of a "sexy" woman rather than the real thing. (Ironically, Bayonetta isn't one of these, as part of the gag is that her character is expertly designed and rendered to exude eroticism - then her harsh personality cuts sweaty otaku off at the nads. Christ, half the subplot of the game is her being unimpressed with an awkward wanna-be adventure geek.) Overally, you seem to have a personal problem with people relating to fictional characters with "serious" emotions such as attraction - this is common back-and-forth troll fodder on the Internet after all, where virgin tough-guys pretending to be super studs mock other virgin tough-guys for fapping over Kasumi the Ninja Chick. None of that means however, that a fictional visual representation of a female (or a male, if you swing that way) cannot be attractive.

hyperhealer3 (on 23 August 2010)

I don't know if I agree with you... I don't appreciate the "sexy" characters in video games, but I don't know if animators and art directors should stop trying. I will say this about Bayonetta, it was a good game, but it was just downright embarrassing to play this game as a 38 y/o heterosexual male. It sits on my shelf unfinished. I know what the developers were trying to do, but it was just too flamboyant for me.

Wandamaximoff (on 23 August 2010)

tell that to DOA lol i think computer games charictors can be sexy!!!! just dont take them too seriously...... Lara was hot! bayonetta more funny sexy.

WarmachineX (on 23 August 2010)

Dislike!! Wrong, Keith. Sex sells and that has been proven time and time again, especially in Japan. If you don't like Dead or Alive, then you don't have to play it.

SorynArkayn (on 23 August 2010)

The writer of this article is a presumptuous ignoramus. He claims that video games can't be sexy because current technology can't make the visuals appealing enough? BS! 80 years ago audiences considered BETTY BOOP to be sexy. Wonder Woman was criticized for being too sexy for decades. Then there was JESSICA RABBIT, a DISNEY character who was deliberately sexy. In video games, there have been countless sexy femmes: from Chun-Li to Lara Croft to Tifa Lockhart (and virtually every Final Fantasy babe) to the DOA Girls to Alyx Vance to Nariko and finally to Bayonetta. Video game technology has NOTHING to do with whether video game characters can be sexy or not. Here's link I found after typing "sexy video game babes" into Google. The FIRST link that popped up: All of those female video game characters were designed to be sexy. And they are sexy. Keith Sadler should never be allowed to publish ANYTHING ever again for writing something so presumptuously stupid, pretentiously biased, and patently WRONG as this ridiculous article.

TragicHero (on 23 August 2010)

1 Word: Cammy.

vito197666 (on 23 August 2010)

Alex Vance. That is all.

kthsdlr (on 23 August 2010)

@ tripleb2k and @Mr. sickVisionz Right on sirs! @almcchesney - Your dedication to GT5 is noble . . . and creepy.

almcchesney (on 22 August 2010)

idk, the chick in the first pic is sexy but i will say one thing, nothing makes me harder than the newest screens of GT5!!!

tripleb2k (on 22 August 2010)

I will not say No to eye candy. Sometimes it's a bit over the top, almost funny but who cares. When you become picky over 'sexiness' in games, you need a break from gaming.

Mr. sickVisionz (on 22 August 2010)

I had a blast playing Bayonetta and DOA so I'm not sure where I fit on this. Like the article says, it's all about the gameplay and DOA is a very solid fighter and Bayonetta is a GREAT action game. The sexy stuff in Bayonetta came off more like comedy to me and I think that's how it's supposed to be taken. DOA is too fast paced for me to every actually be focused on cleavage during a match so I can't really call that one.

DuckmanR10 (on 22 August 2010)

This article, incorrect.

oniyide (on 22 August 2010)

@SIAVM I think the closest thing we have to that is SOul Calibur underneath the impossible huge breasts there is a very solid fighting game

pbroy (on 22 August 2010)

BTW, Nathan Drakes sexy ass makes me want to squeeze the shit out of them too. His freakin grin can make straight men gay!!

siavm (on 22 August 2010)

That is the one thing that is wrong. They are sexy. It is just how they use sex to sell the game the game rather than have a strong product behind it. Now when sex and perfect gaming meet that will be something.

pbroy (on 22 August 2010)

Sexiness works for me. I buy games I normally wouldn't buy just for the hot females in them. Sometimes I don't even play the games. Just knowing that I own something with a hot chick in it completely satisfies me. Somebody please fire this write.. he has insulted my manhood. My sperm are currently boiling with anger. >__<

oniyide (on 22 August 2010)

nothing wrong with sexy characters in games, my prob. is when they put in to the forefront, IMHO Bayonetta was nothing more than DMC with a chick, nothing wrong with that but ive had my fill with DMC games so putting a "sexy" chick like that does nothing for me. He hit the nail on the head with DOA, im a fighting fanatic. Hell i played Bloody Roar just the other day. My prob with DOA is you cant take it seriously as a fighter or a game when they throw their anime girls in your face. THis tells me they have no confidence in the game itself and try to lure horny young boys to it. Instead of improving game mechanics they make a volleyball game??? They wonder why Tekken has been kicking its ass for years. (sorry bout the rant, I really dont like DOA)

disolitude (on 22 August 2010)

The writer of this article needs to differentiate between sexy and stylish. Its not the same and one is much more welcome than the other in videogames...

HernanDroid (on 22 August 2010)

Hey, Eternal Darkness was not scary at all ! Sometimes it was even funny ! XD, I recognize the huge story it had.

mortono (on 22 August 2010)

I'm not turned on by cartoon characters, which is what many of these video game characters look like to me. Maybe it works for some people but I just don't get it. Besides, I don't play games to get horny... that's what the internet is for.

soulsamurai (on 22 August 2010)

I'm just gonna disagree with this article altogether, not only is your idea not even considering the opinions of others you also had a jab at another topic at hand with story telling. I honestly would not be surprised if Keith Sadler is pen name for Roger Ebert. On I side note I don't know how many times i've heard the comment from a friend when a good looking game character came on screen," Dibs."

Flow (on 22 August 2010)

Disagree with the article, but yeah... lol opinions

d21lewis (on 22 August 2010)

Oh, and for the record, Eternal Darkness was never scary at any point in any time. It just messed with your mind a lot.

d21lewis (on 22 August 2010)

What the hell is this guy trying to do? Kill me? Sexy female video game characters are my bread and butter! Just because he's gay doesn't mean has has to ruin it for all of us.

Ostro (on 22 August 2010)

There's an okay sense behind this article but putting Bayonetta on top and into the sexy line is the biggest fail I have seen this year. People who think that game is supposed to be sexy don't know nothing about games, especially from Japan ("At best video game sexiness is ironic. " oh really? hint hint). But of course, everybody is the ultimate "core player" (whatever that is supposed to mean) here so go ahead..

hagelt18 (on 22 August 2010)

I have to flat out disagree. But this all depends on whether you can find art work attractive (Whether it's 2D or 3D). Some people think it's weird, others just let loose and enjoy it for what it is. That's just my personal perspective. From a larger perspective, why do you think the tomb raider games ever really sold to begin with? It could not have been for the game play...No matter how nerdy you are, if you are straight and like video games, you should always appreciate a good set of tits to play with.

arcelonious (on 22 August 2010)

All I know is that Bayonetta is an awesome game. It's definitely still one of my favorite games that I've played this year.

Mr Khan (on 22 August 2010)

I very much disagree on these points. I once made a thread regarding this, about whether it was "wrong" to find non-real pornography/erotica to be hot (stuff like hentai and related materials), and you seem to be someone who sits on the side of that debate saying yes, it very much is. I however am a great fan of hentai, so i find sexiness in videogames to inspire a certain positive ambiance, so long as its fitting with the theme (the over-sexualized Daisy in Mario Strikers Charged for instance was rather jarring). While its certainly non-essential (gameplay is king, people), it doesn't hurt, either, like any artistic decisions, or other peripheral stuff like HD or 3D And Olivia Munn is not sexy.

chocoloco (on 22 August 2010)

This man must like fat chicks!!!

Rawnchie14 (on 22 August 2010)

I highly doubt that making games not sexy would improve the games you feel aren't good enough for you. It's mostly the art design in where this shows any effect, which in turn does not affect game play. I also don't get where you think that it isn't working - because you aren't impressed, therefor they have failed? I personally thought Bayonetta was pretty good - and I know I wasn't the only one. I don't think them making her "sexy" dragged down the game. What a silly conclusion. I also don't get the assumptions that people won't find video game characters attractive since they spend enough time around "real"people. This is obviously a fallacy and a misunderstanding of the world around you. Material exists for people who do not think the way you do - since, surprise surprise, people have the ability to think differently and for themselves. Sorry but this wasn't well done, and should be an opinionated blog post if anything. Let people buy what they wish, if you don't like it don't buy it. But we all know that won't matter.

mundus6 (on 22 August 2010)

Sex sells, its no way around it. That said, i have never bought a game because it has sexy characters, i bought Bayonetta cause of the gameplay, the sexiness is just an added bonus =P.

dunno001 (on 22 August 2010)

Personally, I'd love to see it happen, but we all know it won't. There are enough gamers that are... easily persuaded... by said graphical features, most of which I'd hazard a guess are under the legal age to buy a Playboy (or similar magazine of choice). And those numbers sell games, even games that are, well, crap. (DoA Extreme Beach Volleyball, anyone? I've heard reports it can be played with 1 hand...) To me, what makes matters worse, is that it's become more evident in a larger swath of games. Team Ninja appears to be trying to up the sex appeal of Samus is the latest example that comes to my mind. And, topping it off, it's all one-sided. I can see why some people don't mind the occasional fanservice, but then you have people like me, who are more repulsed by it. Games with good looking, scantily-clad guys are in very short supply. But maybe it's because we're not shallow enough to buy a game for that alone, unlike, going back to those underaged boys on the other side...

66jzmstr (on 22 August 2010)

Keep "sexism" out of video games? I'm all for it. Keep "sexy" out of video games? Not going to happen. I only see the opposite trend happening. I seldom find video game characters sexy, but I must admit doing a double-take when seeing Sheva and Excella when the RE:5 trailer first came out.

zuvuyeay (on 22 August 2010)

don't want to live in your world thanks, i like my sexy video game ladies

elmerion (on 22 August 2010)

Mmmm i dont like this article. First, videogame characters can be sexy in the same way movie characters can be sexy i just cant picture someone thinking that characters like Samus or Nova aren´t sexy, because its a lie Second, videogames arent about gameplay, sound, graphics, or story. Games are about content and experience, there are many scrolling shooters out there, there are many labyrinth games out there and there have been many plataformers with cool graphics, music and story but only a few games are really popular because they are well crafted experiences Third, you should read Malstrom´s blog his articles are pretty interesting and they can explain you quite easily what makes and not makes a videogame from a business/gamer point of view

Aiddon (on 22 August 2010)

Not the best article, but let's face it most videogame women aren't "sexy". Literally the only videogame heroine I can think of that is sexy without being strawman "sexy" is Aya Brea. Because, y'know, sexiness is a FAR more complex idea than god-friggin-awful characters like Bayonetta want us to believe.

Kenryoku_Maxis (on 22 August 2010)

Might as well try and tell movies to try to stop being sexy. Both are trying to hit the same market, and succeeding. Don't blame the people producing the content. Blame the people buying it.

Spedfrom (on 22 August 2010)

I could be fine with videogames not being sexy. But you argue we should quit videogames if we want a good story? In a medium where one can be made to interact with, control or simply follow the story? In a medium with games such as Eternal Darkness, Sanitarium, Heavy Rain, Metal Gear Solid, Mass Effect? You lost all credibility at that point.

haxxiy (on 22 August 2010)

Bad article. I can wish for videogame characters to be sexy and still that means nothing to real life and my desire for real people. It's nothing like me (and most of decent people I guess?) are looking to videogames as substitutes to real life or even porn. It's just good to have aesthetically pleasant characters, and that's it.

Khuutra (on 22 August 2010)

I didn't find an actual argument in here; this isn't so much an editorial (if we accept that "editorial" means a series of statements supporting a single perspective) as it is a loose coalition of barely related sentences that has no single aim.

r3av3r2k1 (on 22 August 2010)

yeah pretty bad article this is much more suited as a forum topic then an article and bayonetta is a stylized sexy chick

Denouement (on 22 August 2010)

This guy makes it sound like video games are trying to take the place of real women. What a retard, video game sexiness is just to get young boys to buy the game, and it works... how can this even be disputed?

naruball (on 22 August 2010)

Weak article indeed. This belongs to GamrConnect, as there is no news or any argument.

Cueil (on 22 August 2010)

Tali is the sexiest thing ever!

Zlejedi (on 22 August 2010)

I can only agree about hilarously oversized boobs not fitting into fightning game. But the rest of article is weak . And sounds like autor never played Heavy Rain or Hevensly Sowrd. And Bayonneta is bad example as she is grotesque.

Chrizum (on 22 August 2010)

I'm sorry, the only thing the author is saying is "games can't be sexy!", but there isn't one single argument to be found. Weak article.

fighter (on 22 August 2010)

Lamest article ever...

Jaos (on 22 August 2010)

It all happens in your mind, and you either get a b***r or you don't.

specialops787 (on 22 August 2010)

Celes FFIII (6)

binary solo (on 22 August 2010)


GooseGaws (on 22 August 2010)

What? This seems to be just a random collection of thoughts, and hardly creates a compelling argument against the potential for a game to be "sexy." And is Earthworm Jim really worth calling out as an example of good gameplay? A game design that hasn't changed since 1994 where you can't even jump and shoot at the same time? I must admit though, I always thought Jade from BG&E was kinda hot...

hiroko (on 22 August 2010)

soo soo wrong

AFFLICTION (on 22 August 2010)

Men are visual creatures so sexy images stimulate us

zardigan (on 22 August 2010)

well, I like sexy in my games :)

kain_kusanagi (on 22 August 2010)

All the hentai addicted men in Japan just boycotted VGchartz.

kthsdlr (on 22 August 2010)

@tehsage: We're curing feline leukemia, one lulz at a time. :)

tehsage (on 22 August 2010)

I'm not going to lie. I have no idea what the point of this article is.

kthsdlr (on 22 August 2010)

Way harsh, Los. Also, not quite as lucid an argument as everybody else.

Los (on 22 August 2010)

I think Keith Sadler just dosen't like women. He is all about the man-boobs.

TopCat8 (on 22 August 2010)

I agree with you that sexiness does not work in fighting games. It works in other genres though. For example, I think that one of the sexiest games is the Sims because you can make the characters look exactly like you want them to, and do whatever you want them to do.

Alderxian (on 22 August 2010)

I liked Bayonetta's 'sexyness'; it was part of her personality and is in part what made her stand out from the generic protagonist. She can definitely be called sexy and I don't get why is it 'ironic'. Also, even though you don't like that personality in video-game characters it doesn't mean they should stop making them.

Fufinu (on 22 August 2010)

Play Heavy Rain :)

Stats87 (on 22 August 2010)

Not a VG character, but I don't care what anyone says, Jessica Rabbit is a babe. or... Jim: Did you see 'The Little Mermaid' on TV yesterday? Ariel, she's so hot! Oz: She's a mermaid dude. Jim: Yeah, but not when she's on land.

axumblade (on 22 August 2010)

@kowhoho, There have been a few articles on it but there is a disclaimer that says that this article doesn't necessarily reflect the views of VGChartz or gamefeed. :)

kowhoho (on 22 August 2010)

I disagree completely. How many "Top 10 Sexiest V-Game Female" articles have been written, several of them on this site?

kthsdlr (on 22 August 2010)

@severance That's a good point.

kthsdlr (on 22 August 2010)

@The Ghost of RubangB The Dark Queen of Battletoads is the sole exception in the universe to the rule that polygons can't be sexy. Scott Pilgrim bashing? Eh, just a jab. It was mentioned as counterpoint to jublies. The females in that game are basically indistinguishable from the men, lacking secondary sexual characteristics.

dhummel (on 22 August 2010)

I don't think you understand what "ironic" means.

The Ghost of RubangB (on 22 August 2010)

You better not be talking shit about the Dark Queen from Battletoads. Otherwise, I agree. And what's with the random Scott Pilgrim-bashing?

Severance (on 22 August 2010)

i think they CAN be sexy and the same time be interesting, you see? , games like Heavenly Sword are a great example, the characters are great looking and all , but they are not stereotypical sex symbols and have a personality , while other games such as Bayonetta , they're just trying too hard to make her sexy and shes a one dimensional bi@$!, if you don't mind me saying there are also the characters that aren't supposed to be "Sexy" but you fall in love with because of the personality , a bit too geeky but true :-P