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Canada No. 1 in hard-core sex video gaming

MONTREAL — When it comes to hard-core sex video games, it seems Canada leads the way.

Brenda Brathwaite, a game designer and professor at Georgia’s Savannah College of Art & Design, says “Virtually Jenna: The Official Video Game of Jenna Jameson” is the “state of the art” in sex games. The game is the brainchild of Vancouver entrepreneur Brad Abram, president of XStream3D Multimedia Inc.

“Probably the most hard-core title comes out of Canada,” Brathwaite told a seminar Thursday at the Montreal International Game Summit.

For “Virtually Jenna,” Abram essentially took the same personalization software that allows programmers to put star athletes into sports games and used it to bring porn stars to life on the PC. His cyber-sex world is graphic, with almost nothing left to the imagination.

“That’s where it (the genre) is going, made by your fellow Canadians,” Brathwaite said after screening samples of the game.

Brathwaite, a 24-year veteran of the gaming industry and author of the book “Sex in Video Games,” is no prude.

“I probably have more porn than all the guys in this room added together,” she told her audience. “You write a book on sex, you collect this crap.”

Her argument is that sex is part of movies, literature and art, so why not video games.

“In any other medium, if they said ‘you can’t have sex,’ artists would be outraged. They would stand up and say ‘To hell with you … don’t tell me what I can do. This is my creative freedom.’ “

Brathwaite joked that if “Brokeback Mountain” went through video gaming’s rating system, “it would be two guys sitting on a bench talking about how they possibly liked each other and it would still be rated M (for Mature).”

“The M rating in video games is so much lower than the R rating in movies,” she added. “What’s acceptable in an R-rated movie is not acceptable in an M-rated game.”

M games are rated for 17 and older. AO is Adults Only, for 18 and above, but only one per cent of video games are AO-rated.

The sex in mainstream titles, where it exists, is pretty tame, Brathwaite indicated.

“The stuff that you see in ‘GTA 3’ (‘Grand Theft Auto 3’) as far as sex goes, you see in (TV’s) ‘Happy Days,’ ” she said. “Truly. There have been ‘Happy Days’ episodes when somebody’s in a car and the car moves a little. That’s what people see in ‘GTA 3’ when you get into a car with a woman.”

But sex has often found its way into games unofficially, she said, noting that hackers have managed to inject adult material into almost all PC games. And entrepreneurs have even designed vibrators that attach to game controllers.

The next avenue for sex in games is massively multiplayer online (MMO) PC games, Brathwaite said.

“There’s lot of stuff going on in virtual worlds, lots and lots. If you’ve ever played an MMO and you see two people lying down side by side, they’re not just tired” – they’re having cyber-sex.

Brathwaite calls “Second Life,” an online community set in a 3-D world, “the absolute granddaddy of emergent sex.”

“When you give people tools to create whatever they want, they create penises and sex, that’s what they do.”

MMO games that build in the potential for eroticism are coming, she said, with virtual worlds allowing people who have met online to talk safely.

“It’s sure as hell safer than going to a (real world) coffee shop with the dude,” Brathwaite said.

In other MMO games, players have protested over inequity in their make-believe world.

In “World of Warcraft,” gamers launched their own Pride march and even a gay cruise when game administrators objected to someone who wanted to form a gay and lesbian guild. The administrators eventually changed their position.

During her presentation, Brathwaite listed off reams of games with degrees of sex in them, from “God of War” to the family-friendly “Zoo Tycoon” (the goal is to make zoo animals happy so they reproduce).

And while there are some games for gays, Brathwaite says she constantly hears from women “Where’s the sex game for me?”


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