With the recent excitement surrounding the inclusion of full-frontal male nudity in Grand Theft Auto 4's downloadable content, we take a look back at the best and worst nude moments in recent gaming history.
Why limit the list for recent games? Because games only recently started giving us the real goods, that's why. This isn't the film industry, where you can dredge up grainy black and white clips from the beginning of moving pictures, featuring naked women who may have been acting horribly and soundlessly but were definitely women. No, our first gaming nudes were just blocks with extra blocks up top.
Instead, we look back over the last two gaming generations at the good, the bad, and the ugliest in video game nudity.
God of War - Sony, PlayStation 2
After the opening moments of the very first God of War game, you're treated to the sight of two topless women, laying on a bed. This of course is completely historically accurate. In ancient times, nudity didn't carry with it the taboo it does now, so it is perfectly normal for a game centered around ancient Rome feature its fair share of topless women. Rather than condemn God of War as porn, I took that moment to praise it for its attention to detail.
Then I had a threesome.
Mass Effect - BioWare, Xbox 360 and PC
What? There's no nudity in this pic you say? Well of course not. There was barely any nudity in Mass Effect, but the inclusion of a romantic sex act with a brief flash of naked breast was enough to cause Fox News to denounce the game on national television, making themselves look like complete idiots in the process.
Age of Conan - Funcom, PC
Massively-multiplayer online roleplaying games have long turned to the simple cloth bikini as a way of rendering a female character without equipment, but that didn't work for Funcom's Age of Conan team. With all of the artwork floating around depicting barbarians carrying, rescuing, or just basically loitering around half-naked women, Funcom decided to give topless a chance. Thirteen year-olds around the world salute them, with their boobs.
Afro Samurai Namco Bandai, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
As a big fan of ninja, I'm generally hard pressed to imagine anything even better than a ninja. Ninja are the perfect weapons - silent, deadly, and odorless as well, before anyone decides to take the first two adjectives to their natural conclusion. Yep, nothing beats a ninja in my book. *looks up* Okay, one thing beats a ninja.
The Witcher - CD Projekt, PC
While CD Projekt's acclaimed PC roleplaying game The Witcher kept its sex scenes clean, each conquest increased the player's collection of racy female trading cards, which essentially is what women amount to in most sword and sorcery tales. They were just a bit more honest about it, that's all. Incidentally, I contacted CD Projekt regarding the upcoming console version of The Witcher, Rise of the White Wolf, to see if the nudity would remain intact. Tom Ohle responds: "It's probably a bit early to say. We're certainly hoping that we can retain the content and deliver the game the team originally envisioned." Go team!
Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude - Sierra, PlayStation2, Xbox, PC
Magna Cum Laude was a shameless attempt to cash in on one of adventure gaming's most beloved characters, taking the fun, racy, and adorably tasteless gameplay of the original Leisure Suit Larry series and replacing it with what amounted to mini-games for boobs. Note that only the PC version showed actual nudity, with the console versions remaining "tastefully" censored - you know, for the kids.
Image courtesy of Softpedia
Playboy: The Mansion - Ubisoft, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC
Playboy: The Mansion was one part The Sims, one part Porn Mogul. The game allowed players to step into the slippers of a young Hugh Hefner, building the business, shaping the famous Playboy Mansion to your desires, photographing naked women, and of course....sleeping with them. Some of the elements of gameplay in the title weren't all that bad, but not good enough to wash the dirty mental picture of an aging Hefner under a hot blonde out of your head.
BMX XXX - Acclaim, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Gamecube
To this day, no one is quite sure whose idea it was to merge the entertaining gameplay of Acclaim's Dave Mirra BMX series with naked women. The game was originally intended as a normal BMX title, but poor initial review scores caused something in the company's collective brain to snap, resulting in bikes and breasts, living together, shouting profanity.
The Guy Game - Gathering, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC
The Guy Game barely counts as a video game, having more in common with the sort of boxed DVD quiz shows you were likely to find in toy stores in the late 90's than an actual interactive video game experience. Featuring video clips of actual women who get actually naked as you best them at trivia questions, most gamers simply Googled "boobs" with the search filter off instead.
Of course there are plenty more where that came from. We're just touching on the most memorable as far as we're concerned. Feel free to share your own uncomfortable nude gaming moments in the comments section.