I noticed something really odd last night, thought I might comment on it here; after playing Mass Effect 2 and romancing Miranda (voiced by and modelled after Yvonne Strahovsky, who plays Sarah in the TV show Chuck), I watched a new episode of Chuck last night. The first time I saw Sarah on screen, the little part of me that is my manly manliness sniggered to itself "hehe, I've seen her bewbs!" (from ME2, sort of). I didn't find this thought odd until a little later in the episode, when Sarah was parading about in her underwear.
Any of you who've watched Chuck may know that this isn't a rare occurence either, and that the underwear in question is invariably skimpy. It hit me at this point that I remembered the virtual encounter with her digital counterpart much more vividly than I had any of the times the actual actress had been strutting her stuff in far more revealing attire, and this slightly blew my mind.
So mostly today I've been considering the psychological effects of games compared to films/TV in a new light, and how much easier I found it to identify with an interactive digital environment than a real-life (albeit filmed) one. I haven't come to any sweeping conclusions on the subject, but it shocked me that Yvonne Strahovsy's assets were the trigger to such a big re-evaluation of some strongly held beliefs...
Also, it's led me to wonder about the perception of adult themes in the two different media; Chuck isn't a watershed program strictly, yet even it has much more explicit content than Mass Effect 2 (BBFC rated the game 15, PEGI rated it an 18!), and it involves actual footage as opposed to 3D graphics. It recalls the so called controversy over the first ME game's inclusion of a "sex scene" with an alien, which was pitifully tame and actually pretty corny in reality.
So here's what I wanted to get other people's views on:
The standard of censorship of adult themes in games is probably still suffering from the medium's association with children (gaming is still widely seen as a kids' pastime), but television and film both flaunt sex, violence and the likes to draw in viewers. This situation exists despite the fact that it is technically more difficult for a child to get an age-restricted game than it is for them to be watching TV after the watershed (for instance switching to BBC3 at nine pm on Sundays for Being Human will probably lead to the kid watching sex scenes or something very violent or bloody, whereas the same kid would have to fork out £30+ to a retailer who would break the law by selling a game rated too high for their age).
In the light of these obvious double standards, does something need to change, and if so, what? I understand that changing the perception of games as childish is nigh on impossible, but changing the censorship standards on one or both of the media is something that could be addressed by the authorities in question. Personally, I'm undecided at this point, mostly due to the shift in my perception of the effect of immersive versus spectative entertainment, and though my background leads me to lean towards saying that things are unfair toward gamers at the moment, I'm also wondering if a cautious approach to extending adult themes available in such a medium is actually a wise approach.
In any case, I can say with certainty that Ms. Strahovsky's breasts are the most thought-provoking pair I've ever encountered in my tenure as a young male (read: boobie expert).