I was a huge God of War fan back in the PS2 era, but now that I am only sporting a 360 as my current generation console, I’ve been looking for something to fill the void. I recently played the Dante’s Inferno demo from Xbox Live to hedge my bets on buying the game. Though the gameplay itself has a fair amount of Kratos-like ass kicking, there was another element to the game that really put me off, gratuitous nudity.
Nudity is a powerful tool in story telling, there’s no doubt about that. Movies often use nudity, in brief instances, as a form of shock value. It is often a point in the story where things turn very serious, like a passionate love scene, or something more violent like rape. Nudity can even be used, to tremendous effect, in comedies such as films like Knocked Up, giving new meaning to “full frontal nudity” or embellishing on the awkwardness of sex and pregnancy.
In video games, nudity never seems to grow past that awkward childish innocence. It’s like a small child who has just witnessed a penis on another person’s body, and you have to remind them that it’s not polite to stare. Cut scenes linger on the breasts for an uncomfortable length of time, and more polygons are spent on the shape of a characters bottom and chest than on their face. We hear the excuse of using nudity in games to fit the period of the game, but films have found a tactful way to introduce nudity and sexuality without turning it into a 2hr orgy. If we continue to follow this trend of adolescent soft-core porn and refuse to grow up, then it will be of no surprise when we look back on games and ask why the media doesn’t support us as a relevant art-form.