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The History of NSFW Games and Why There Are So Many of Them

NSFW games haven't always been welcomed into mainstream media, but a recent upswing begs the question-- why have they become so acceptable?

Nowadays, suggestive themes in video games wouldn't make the majority of players bat an eye. It wasn't always so accepted, however, as many creative leaps and cringe-worthy scandals had to take place to get to this point.

Once a very secretive topic, sexual themes are now an openly normal part of many cultures around the globe, but as with all movements, it was born from humble beginnings.

Where it All Began

This intimate genre started in the 1980s when an American developer, On-Line Systems, released a text-based game named SoftPorn Adventure for the Apple II. The game was so popular that despite the massive amount of piracy, from what I assume was because of shyness or embarrasment due to its suggestive nature, it still sold over 25,000 copies. 

This sparked a revolution of sexual-themed games including Japanese developer, Koei, who produced a series of provocative adventure and role-playing video games which were so well-received that it became one of the most famous software companies of its time. 

The First Video Game Scandal

While the introduction of NSFW games seemed to be driving an upswing, the infamous game developer, Mystique, didn't receive as much positive feedback as its predecessors. 

Mystique was an offshoot of the pornographic company, Caballero Control Corporation, and the president was quoted saying "I just don't believe adults want to shoot down rocket ships."

Mystique only put out 3 games for the Atari 2600 before going out of business, Beat 'Em and Eat 'Em, Bachelor Party, and the notorious Custer's Revenge

The first two games mentioned were sexual spin-offs of other popular games, and have been noted to have less-than-stellar graphics and gameplay. However, the most notable controversy was over the third game, Custer's Revenge, which developed an uproar for its theme of General Custer, a cowboy wearing only a calvary hat, a bandana, and boots, dodging arrows to utimately make it to an equally nude Native American woman tied to a pole on the other end of the screen.

The industry was in an uproar, as many Woman's Rights and Native American spokespeople came out to say that the suggested theme of the game was sexual assault and it promoted attacks on Native American women. 

Atari eventually attempted to sue the developers, which resulted in Custer's Revenge being pulled from circulation, but not before selling over 80,000 copies. 

The Ball Kept Rolling

Despite the first controversy in NSFW video game history, the genre began to take off in multiple different directions. 

The concept of love simulation began as a derivitive of a game called Dōkyūsei, by Elf in 1992. Before players reached any sexual themes in the game, you first had to win over the affection of the girls, thus launching an entire sub-genre of role-playing. 

Many other types of games began to emerge, such as visual novels, which allowed gamers to play through stories. This began with famous Japanese developer, Leaf, with multiple dark storylines involving sexual assault, death, and homicide. The games received amazing reviews because of the impressive writing, music, and story-telling, as opposed to the crude nature of Custer's Revenge.

The Scandalous Began to Become a Part of Life

With the normalization of suggestive themes in video games over the course of two decades, cultures around the world began to accept the nature of provacative titles. 

Alongside video games, the media in general began to become more open-minded. Although no television couple had dared to even share a bed until 1940, the loose genre of "Jiggle TV" began around the same time as NSFW video games, which TIME magazine called "family-style porn, a mild erotic fantasy that appeals about equally to men and women."

In the 1990s, when scandalous video games were on a upswing, steamy scenes were also first introduced on television via NYPD Blue on ABC. This suggests that not only were raunchy video games on the rise, but sexual themes were all in all becoming less disgraceful as the years went on. 

It's No Longer a Big Deal

As the video game community, and mass media in general, began to open up to the idea of sexuality, we began to see many more doors open up.

In one instance, we saw Sony, who was once very openly against nudity, debut the exclusive title God of War, which featured a playable sex scene between the main character and a promiscuous goddess.

Players Can Now Make Games More Sexual

We also began to see players playing on the open source modifications for games which was made apparent during the Sims, when players created a way to remove the censorship of characters showering and the infamous hot coffee mod for Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.

The hot coffee mod began as an inaccessible mini game for the Windows platform, but then was discovered when the hot coffee mod was released. Players were able to visibly participate in intercourse when a girl invited the main character into her home. It picked up so much steam that the developers began to come under fire by lawmakers and politicians who began to petition for the game to be pulled from shelves and re-rated for mature audiences.

To Sum it All Up

NSFW themes in games have grown from non-existent to absolutely everywhere in the span of the last 30 years.

As society in itself has begun to warm up to the idea, we started to see nonchalant topics everywhere we look, which makes past controversies seem almost laughable.

It's also worth noting that the growth of the adult industry has brought many easily accessible porn parodies of popular games including Biocock Intimate and Bayonetta.

All in all, with the growth in video game development technology, as well as sexual themes becoming the norm, it's no wonder we've seen an explosion of NSFW games on the forefront of modern gaming.

 

Published May. 3rd 2015

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