Come to think of it, this post is going to cover the same ground as something I did years ago, when I was just a little baby blogger. Just, saying it now in a different way. So consider this the HD Remix of one of my most popular for probably the wrong reasons seminal posts of why and in what situations sexiness can be good.
Sexuality is awesome, isn’t it? It grabs people at a very instinctual, emotional level, it brings people together, and makes us feel whole. It makes us healthier physically and mentally, it gives us drive and energy, and it feels so innate to us that most consider it a significant part of our identity and our society has adopted a rather complex set of cultural practices surrounding sexuality. It likely comes as no surprise, coming from the world’s sexiest man as determined by a survey of myself and my mirror, but to me, sexuality is a marvelous thing to be celebrating.
Media producers often work sexuality or titillation into the works they’re producing. This is not a new phenomenon, it’s been going on for hundreds of years. Just think back to all those classical paintings you spent way too long staring at back in middle school. And it’s no wonder why. We’ve got an instinctual draw for it, and it’ll capture or attention in a way that little else will. And it works on an instinctual level, just like we react to the simulated intensity of danger or the fear of horror, so too do we get a thrill from sexiness when it’s coming through our screens, canvas, or pages. And in contrast to what many may say, I’d posit that that’s a good thing that we can get that hook in us when we wish.
Which makes me wonder why so many creators get it so wrong.
Recently I was playing Oneechanbara: Bikini Zombie Slayers, which is part of a strange and eclectic collection I call “Games I own because of the women I’ve dated”. Which also includes the first three games of the Hitman series, Onimusha, Final Fantasy VII Dirge of Cerberus, Dynasty Warriors III, the entire Fable series, Syberia II, the Wii version of Oregon Trail, and the absolute bane of my existence, Fur Fighters. I’m coming to realize that my ladyfriends have some really mixed tastes. Not sure what that says about me. Anyways, in this case, as you can probably tell by the title, this is a total fanservice game. It exists to put scantily clad women in front of you. And yet I found the sexuality there really wasn’t working for me. It’s kind of a middling game without it, yet the sexiness, I found, actually dragged the experience down. I was wondering about that. I’ve played a lot of other games where I enjoyed the sexuality there or felt it actually uplifted the experience. And it got me thinking back to what made the difference there.
And that got me thinking back to that post I mentioned above. And, you know, almost six years later, I still stand by that post. I occasionally look back over my old writings and find something I may not agree perfectly with now, but that one, that still holds up completely. But the thought still remains in my mind, of the differences between the works that do their sexuality right and those that don’t. And I’d like to explore that here, today. I’m not going to walk in my own footprints and re-make those same statements I did years ago, so check that post if you’d like some background on this whole deal. But I would like to delve into that concept again. This time, let’s take a look at how it works specifically, comparing and contrasting a few examples.