Wherever you fall in the gender spectrum, you probably know what proceeds "GTFO" when you're playing online. There's a weird trigger for some male gamers out there, a bizarre response to finding out that the player on the other end of an infinite number of connections happens to be female: they want--nay, demand--to see skin. Maybe, to these gamers' minds, there's no serious reason that a female gamer is online, so why not troll and harass them until they either A., show some skin, or B. GTFO.

New York-based filmmaker Shannon Sun-Higginson takes a look at this phenomena in her recently fully-backed documentary, "GTFO," which has exceeded its $20,000 goal by a cool $13k.

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Ill Doctrine: All These Sexist Gamer Dudes Are Some Shook Ones from ANIMALNewYork.com on Vimeo.

Hey you, about to anonymously comment about how misandry is totally a thing you have to deal with: watch this.
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Seemingly indefatigable group's spokesperson calls homosexuality "the biggest threat to the empire" in a recent radio address.
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Last week, I got a look at "The Sims 3" for the first time.

To be honest, I hadn't played "The Sims" since the release of the "Nightlife" expansion pack* for "Sims 2"; it was then I had the sudden realization that I should go outside and experience a real "nightlife."  (This is coming from the person who would later become a regular "World of Warcraft" player, so you can guess how that prospect turned out.)

Anyway, during a demo at a PR office in New York City, associate producer Lyndsay Pearson, ran down a few saucy, new details about the game that makes staying inside seem worthwhile: Read More...

"Alpha Protocol"'s dialogue system doesn't just offer a variety of ways for player-character Michael Thorton to get missions.

It can also help him pick up women. That is, if you select your responses wisely.

When I saw "Alpha Protocol" at E3 last week, senior producer Ryan Rucinski told me that there are "a lot of love interests" for Thorton to choose from. There are several factions in the game that you can ally with or fight against, so the women Thorton meets can become collaborators or enemies. As a government operative, the player can acquire missions and assistance from the ladies Thorton's wooed. But piss them off -- by dating other girls, for instance -- and there's hell to pay.

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There isn't much in the way of "Adults Only" content on consoles. Games dealing with sex and drugs are most often left to the indies on PC.

That doesn't look to be changing too much, even with Microsoft's new Community Games initiative. Microsoft told me they aren't setting rules, but the ESRB's guidelines are a good rule of thumb.

"It's not exact, but a way to think about it is anything that would have been M-rated I think we're fine with," said Chris Satchell, Microsoft's new chief technology officer for Xbox. "Things that would have been AO…that's probably not what we want from the service. That's just not what our platform is about."

He didn't rule out games with edgy themes, though. "There's an awful lot of breadth there, and it's really just about accurately describing what's in your game more than saying we can't do it," said Satchell.

What Community Games titles definitely won't have access to, however, is achievements. "Achievements is currently not available to the Community Games," said new XNA head Boyd Multerer, before teasing possible future plans. "We'll always be looking at ways to improve the service."

Do you think the Wii sex game that Stephen talked about yesterday would fly on Community Games?

Niko Shoots A Woman -- From IGN's 'Ladies of Liberty City' VideoDid you hear about IGN's "Grand Theft Auto IV" montage that exclusively featured clips of the game's lead character having sex and shooting the women he had sex with?

You won't see it on IGN any longer. The gaming giant says it messed up and is taking it down.

"IGN's goal is to show our users all aspects of popular games on the market," an IGN spokesperson just informed me by e-mail. "In this case, we crossed a line in how we portrayed some aspects of the game and we've taken this video down."

Yesterday, I discovered that IGN had made a video called "Ladies of Liberty City: Very Bad Things" that showcased just two elements "GTA" is notorious for and that some critics say is entirely what the game is about: sex and shooting women. This is how the video was teased on the site:

IGN Teases Its 'GTA' Sex and Violence Video

The video was a collection of "GTA IV" gameplay scenes. It starts with a montage of pole-dancing and lap-dancing. That's followed by the drive-by shooting of a woman, then a visit to a strip club.

Footage of an acrobatic lap-dance is immediately followed by a scene of the game's protagonist, Niko Bellic, gunning down a scantily-clad woman in the middle of the street.

Etcetera.

Why would IGN make a video like that?

  • Did they think sex and the killing of prostitutes is an excellent combination for a video?
  • Did they not think that but think their audience would give a video like that a lot of hits?
  • Were they simply reporting the facts?
  • Were they being ironic? ("Enjoy" the working girls, indeed.)
  • Or did something just go wrong?

I reached out this morning to a spokesperson for Fox, which owns IGN and, after several hours while the video remained online, was told it's now been removed.

IGN has made many other gameplay montages of "GTA," but this is one I didn't expect them to create. It already was making a poor impression (clips of the now-removed video can be seen at those links).

What do you think? Did IGN just do critics of the game a favor? Or was this pure "GTA" reflected back, warts and all?

Indigo ProphecyWe've seen society's reaction when a game seemingly steps over the line (see: Hot Coffee). We've also watched legislation to restrict video games come and go.

Adam Thierer, First Amendment champion and director at Washington D.C. think-tank The Progress & Freedom Foundation, believes the industry should show caution when introducing games rated AO by the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) into the mainstream.

But what would happen if Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo suddenly allowed Adults Only-rated games to be released? Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria?

"Whether any of us care to admit it," said Thierer in a recent blog post, "the fact that AO-rated games are currently kept off the major consoles and off the shelves at some major retailers (ex: Wal-Mart and Target) is probably the most important thing holding back a full-on legislative assault on video games."

The aggressive legislation proposals in the wake of Hot Coffee weren't a "full-on legislative assault on video games" in Thierer's eyes.

And is he suggesting that game makers disregard the potential of adult content out of fear?

"I am in no way advocating that the industry hold off in terms of allowing complete creative expression," Thierer told Multiplayer in an e-mail exchange.

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Brothers in ArmsWant more sex in your games? More violence? What's culturally acceptable here might not be kosher somewhere else. But that pendulum swings both ways.

I recently spoke with CD Projekt, the folks behind "The Witcher" about sex in their PC game.

As a follow-up, I've been talking to more game developers about their reasons for pushing for more extreme content or holding back.

Gearbox Software's Randy Pitchford proved the most outspoken of the bunch, and suggested a bigger issue was at play: territorial differences in their reactions to sex, violence and language.

This presents an interesting challenge to developers interested in having their games appreciated on a world stage, and one not very different from the obstacles CD Projekt faced in bringing their adult-targeted RPG to the United States.

"My experience has been that different audiences and territories seem to have very different tolerances for content that tests their standards of decency," Pitchford told me in an e-mail exchange covering everything from sex and violence to "Samba De Amigo" and monks playing "Counter-Strike."

Pitchford's company has been best known for the "Brothers in Arms" series of World War II-based shooters. While they don't feature much sexual content, there's violence and colorful language abound. That may fly in the US, but that doesn't mean the rest of the world necessarily comes running with open arms.

Every country has its own idea of what's acceptable, said Pitchford.

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First there was "Mass Effect." Next there was the Fox News' report on the game's alleged "Luke Skywalker Meets 'Debbie Does Dallas'" themes. Then came the subsequent fallout.

So at Game Developers Conference last month I asked the founders of "Mass Effect" developer BioWare how they'll handle love and sex in future games

Their response:



As with all MTV.com videos, it is not available to anyone using computers with IP addresses in Japan, the U.K. and Canada (sorry Ray and Greg!).

Here's an excerpt for people who can't watch the video:
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