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New York Times Reports

Which Is Worse in a Video Game: Sex or Violence?

By now, it shouldn't surprise you that the cornerstones of the hugely successful video game franchise Grand Theft Auto are sex and violence. The San Andreas version's hidden sex scenes even spurred a class-action lawsuit, where offended buyers could sue, but what the lawyers in this case were most surprised by were how few people actually cared about the scenes — only 2,676 filed claims (of the millions of GTA consumers).

Maybe they were more perturbed by the senseless killings of innocent randoms? Of the dialogues I have heard on GTA, more people cite the extreme violence of the game as what bothers them, over the tasteless sexuality portrayed in the game. While I'm a little more disturbed by people using avatars to mindlessly blow the heads off others, I also wouldn't want my (imaginary) young kids watching sex scenes in their games (especially in the nature of GTA; you know what I'm talking about).

A few months ago, I did a poll asking whether sex and violence in games bothered you or not, which turned out to be somewhat of a three-way split among, "Yes, it does," "No, it doesn't," and "I love sex and violence!" Now, I'd like to find out which is the worse offender. So, you weigh in: Which bothers you more, sex or violence?

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puddlesworth puddlesworth 8 years
Sex is worse than violence
metrostylee metrostylee 8 years
Yep, still no option for "Who Cares?"
colormesticky colormesticky 8 years
Neither upsets me. Violent and/or sexual video games are rated M, and as an adult you should be able to choose for yourself whether you want to play that type of game or not. Even the NES had a few nudie games, but good luck finding them.
bingkaycoy bingkaycoy 8 years
There's always violence in video games---99 % of them I think. So what's the point?
macgirl macgirl 8 years
Hmmm, I think I may have answered incorrectly as I chose violence. I'm actually not offended by either and enjoy them in my video games. I would say that the violence is worse in video games overall, but again you have ratings. My son will never get away with playing something age inappropriate in my house as I know what the ratings mean.
kristyrk kristyrk 8 years
I don't mind either, only because I know that it's just a game. If I did mind it, I wouldn't buy it! You would think that peeps would do their homework on a game before plunking down 50 bucks on it!
CrazySexyCool CrazySexyCool 8 years
Which is worse in video games: sex or violence? You misspelled that word there Geek, it is actually spelled b-e-t-t-e-r. For the record, I find it ultimately offensive for that purple dinosaur in Doom's Barney Mod to even be present in the game. This is a game that rewrote the book on good quality violence in its day, and this is what we reduce it to? I big purple dinosaur that proclaims its love for me over and over while I demolish and punish it in the most gruesome ways the game allows. I know what you are thinking though, and unfortunately the Doom makers and/or the Barney Mod makers did not bestow upon us the wonders of Sex like GTA's makers have. Cause I would bend that purple freak over like a wh*re with a gastral-intestinal disorder. But alas, since this feature is not present I will do like any intelligent red-blooded American redneck would do... No not sue... not start a class action law suit at its offensiveness... not start a blog a b*tch about it... I will simply replace the "Parts for my Mustang GT" on my Christmas list to Santa this December with "Lewd sexual contact in the next version of the Barney Doom Mod".
krispetine krispetine 8 years
I don't really have a problem with either, as long as the game is marked with the appropriate age ratings. Then it's up to parents to make sure their kids don't play games they are not supposed to play. As for the sex - I don't really see the point in having it in a video game, but the average 13 year old probably knows how to find much "worse" sex-scenes on the internet anyway..
Tech Tech 8 years
OK, we're getting way off-topic here; the poll is about whether you yourself are offended more by either sex OR violence in video games in general, not whether the lawsuit is valid, or even GTA for that matter.
darkangel2305 darkangel2305 8 years
metrostylee :jawdrop:
metrostylee metrostylee 8 years
First off you shouldn't let your kids play games rated "M." Secondly I think geek should stick to what she does best, review macbook sleeves.
Raxi Raxi 8 years
Honestly, I can't see the issue with either. Any game that does tend to promote an excess of violence and sex is rated M for a reason. Any person who files a lawsuit under the guise that it was offensive and they didn't actually expect it... well, they clearly never did any research into the game itself. C'mon, it's called GRAND THEFT AUTO. It's not baking apple pie with your grandma... but it's a GAME. It's never to be taken seriously. If parents didn't do the research before buying it, it's their own damn fault. Oi. *steps off her soap box*
Rachiepop Rachiepop 8 years
In my opinion one is just as bad as the other. Sex is legal (with limitations) but violence no matter how you look at it isn't. Just the same both are influential in games. While I don't believe that a video game is what drives people entirely to violent acts I don't doubt in some cases it doesn't give the already disturbed ideas. It's all going to depend on the depiction of it though. Take The Sims 2, the sex in that is done in a comedic manner with a romp under the sheets where as there are other games that have much more raunchy depictions. Same with violence you have games with comedic violence then those with grotesque and pointless violence. In my opinion the GTA games are all around rotten.
Tech Tech 8 years
I actually was referring to the lawsuit involved — in which lawyers appealed to GTA:SA buyers soliciting them to sue (if they felt offended) over the hidden sex scenes. I said I wouldn't want my fictional young kids being subject to sex or violence. To back up my gamer cred: I own GTA:SA for the PS2, and although now I feel like I haven't seen all the sex there is to offer in the game, I have seen the avatars take hookers into cars and have their way with them, saying "colorful things" all the while (yes, have seen, not have done, for I'm a little prudey about my own avatars!). It's funny when you're an adult, but I'm sticking to my guns in saying that I wouldn't advocate it as being great for little kids.
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 8 years
To stand up for Geek here, never did she say that she played it. I think she was referring more to the lawsuit in action and what you feel is worse in video games. Not that any are bad, but what are worse to put into video games. And though yes it is rated M for mature, there are idiots who do let their kids play it, and also play it around their kids.
looseseal looseseal 8 years
I don't know why fictional sex and violence is considered such a terrible thing. Aren't there plenty of actual violence and unsafe sex in the world to worry about? As for the "kids will see it!" angle... kids are not the only audience for video games. It's the parents' job to monitor what their kids play with, not the rest of the world's responsibility to bubble wrap the world. The video game industry even is even considerate enough to put ratings on their games even though they're not required to by law. I picked "another answer", but if I HAVE to get rid of one, I'd get rid of sex in video games. Not because I have any problem with sex - it's just that video game violence is preferable over real violence. Whereas real sex is preferable over video game sex.
DukesUp DukesUp 8 years
I'm actually starting to question geek's "gamer cred" on this one! I thought you were a fan of all games, not just sugary happy smily ones! I'm really quite surprised about your take on GTA. And I agree with TsuKata, the sex scene in GTA:SA wasn't anything your kids couldn't see on any daytime soap opera. They are out of school now, right? Do you know what soap your kids are watching!? And GTA:IV's sex related scenes are again, all optional, and again, less offensive then what you can find on any soap.
kcwebgirl kcwebgirl 8 years
we are used to violence and sex so it's hard. my kids would not so much as see a cover of this game if i had my way, but i would prefer that we didn't continually wet people's appetite for senseless violence and affectionless sex.
TsuKata TsuKata 8 years
I should also add that I have a copy of GTA:SA with the Hot Coffee enabled, and it's...well, it's not much of anything write home about. I've seen things more sexually explicit on a prime time sitcom. I feel like it's one of these things that people get up in arms over because they imagine it being worse than it is, without having seen it themselves. Having said that though, I should also mention that GTAIV does have some pretty explicit things. You can visit a strip club (there's pasties and g-strings but that's the only things hidden) and get a lap dance (the controller vibrates when the on-screen stripper grinds on Nico). Then the stripper takes a bunch of your money, and unlike some previous GTAs, you can't get it back. :)
ChicBookFiend ChicBookFiend 8 years
I'd say sex, since children and adults seem to enjoy the violence in video games. It seems like the more pain and gore, the more fun for them. But of course, it is the parents who have to set the limits and content. I for one wouldn't let my 4-year-old nephew play with a game that contains either explicit sex or violence, especially the former.
TsuKata TsuKata 8 years
I second DukesUp's comment. I answered "Other" on the survey because...well, why are either of them bad? GTA is a game solely marketed and designed for adults and thus it features adult concepts and adult vices. I'm an adult, and when I play a game about the gritty criminal underworld, I want it to have grit! I hate it when games sugarcoat (no pun intended) their theme. When people are shot, their bodies don't flash and disappear. Not all women are princesses, and not all men are heroes. Even a good person in a bad situation does bad things. That's all part of GTA, and I think it's a valid part of the game. It kills me that people STILL view video games as being for kids, despite numerous reports that the primary buyers of video games are in the 21-29 demographic. You don't take your pre-teen kids to see Die Hard or Scarface, right? So don't buy them GTA! It's that simple.
DukesUp DukesUp 8 years
I'm sorry, but it seems as if Geek hasn't really played the game. If you had, you'd know that the sex AND "random" violence is optional. The only people you have to kill are the people you are contracted to kill - cause it's a shooter. Oh, and the only sex thats in the game is - you guessed it - optional. The "hot coffee mod" that you're talking about from San Andreas is a scene you have to HACK into to see. It's not something people just stumbled upon while playing. And if your "young imaginary kids" were able to hack into a scene from GTA San Andreas, I would be more worried about the fact that they know how to use hackers tools, and your parenting skills if they were able to have access to the game alone in the first place. Sorry to be so harsh geek, but it's true. You should probably get the whole story or at least play the game first. :)
hkmarks hkmarks 8 years
It's interesting that sex freaks people out more than violence does in the media, when in reality it's the other way around. I have a much bigger problem with sexist attitudes or unrealistic body images being modelled by video games than sex in itself. But it's an art form. If the VG makers are more interested in titillation than storytelling or character development, whatever. More power to 'em. Really realistic violence makes me a bit queasy, especially in realistic settings (ala GTA). I've seen some young kids emulate violence, and while it doesn't really worry me in the long term, they do become a pain in the butt for a few hours. I prefer to see kids playing non-violent games. I've always loved hand-to-hand combat games (and martial arts movies) though, so what can I say?
SkinnyMarie SkinnyMarie 8 years
Sex, only because it just seems to have no point in being in a game. Shooting games have been around forever. I just think that sex in games is for pervs.
Le-Luxe Le-Luxe 8 years
There is always violence in video games so I said sex.
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