Laid Bare

I’ve been playing a lot of Saints Row the Third lately, and found the nude patch on Steam. In this case, it’s actually a decensor patch. A proper nude patch takes a character that is clothed and swaps out a version of her (or him, but usually her) in the buff. Nude patches have been coming out at least as early as the first 1996 Tomb Raider in which Lara Croft is even more angular than the box art.

Some of us gamers are lonely, lonely men. To be fair, though, talented lonely, lonely men. Shoddy nude patches might indicate a wishful musing, but really good ones take work and obsession. Pygmalion is not alone.

A decensor patch, on the other hand, is specific to games in which characters already get naked. In The Sims, individual sims sit down at the toilet and take baths and showers, and do so in the bare. Particularly outgoing ones will enjoy a hot-tub nude, much to the shock and dismay of more modest sims. When such incidents of indecency occur, the game puts up a pixelation screen so that old gamers aren’t offended, and young gamers aren’t corrupted.*

Nakedness happens in The Saints Row, but not bathroom shower nakedness. Drugged-out sex-slave nakedness. Though without the sex. But also streaking for points and profit.

Most Saints Row nudity happens in the changing room. (That is to say, actually trying on clothes. Sims do other things in the dressing booth.) There are numerous clothiers, and fashion is something of a big deal in the game.(Though they call it customizablity.) In SR2, there is a convincing ascent as the Boss starts in Convict Orange, swaps over to cheap street clothes and eventually can afford proper business or evening wear as budget allows. It’s less of a rise in SR3, as clothes are cheap, but the Boss has to find the three specialty stores (Sexy lingerie and fetish wear, Emo plus Hot Topic and Costumery, respectively) in order to perfect a look.

The problem with the whole pixelation-mosaic thing is that it draws the eye. It draws my eyes like crazy, and is more freaky than any titillation I might get from naughty bits, or disturbance I might get from a conspicuous lack of naughty bits. In the Sims, everything would be fine until the YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO SEE THIS mosaic blob would pop up, and crap, he’s naked again. In contrast to that, the fact that no-one actually dropped their drawers when they pooped was a neglegible concession.

SR3 is even more conservative than The Sims about nudity, which is odd for a game rated M-17. (Contrast to Sims 2‘s teen rating because of sex and babies and gay love.) Some of SR3‘s anti-nekkie precautions are actually kinda creepy:

A sexy shirt / pants combo makes a conspicuously good match of the 60’s era sci-fi jumpsuit unzipped to the navel. If braless, the game will auto-correct it for you, and you have to don the outfit, and then doff the brassiere.

The same with panties. An experimental Bare-to-Breakers outfit (cap, running shoes) was furnished with underwear post hoc. The panties showed up immediately on the saved outfit. The bra appeared a bit later, once I returned to it at a different dressing site.

The Oktoberfest Dress will pixelate if worn regimental. It’s one of only two cocktail dresses in the whole game. (And there’s only one evening gown at all. The Grammies 2000 Jennifer Lopez Versace. That one.)

Also, all the open-bottom clothes are rendered with a shallow concave base of the dress which hides any underwear or lack thereof. (To be fair, this probably reduces necessary computation time than creating clothes with both an inside and an outside).

It’s impossible to find one top and one bottom with matching patterns with which to make a viable two-piece swimsuit. There is one pattern match, and the color filters are such to make the colors off. Maybe Volition wants us to skinny-dip?

Homies, enemies and civilians get a number of footwear items (shoe-and-stocking combinations) that run higher than the calf. Even garters with garter belts. None for the player. There’s only one thigh-high boot.

I may not be getting to a particular point. My wishes for future Saints Row titles (other than more stockings, more skirts and…well more stuff with which to look hot) would be that censorship screens and anatomic correctness could be features the end user could adjust in the game settings.

After all, we’re (supposedly) grown-ups here. Everyone playing should be prepared for an R-rated experience. If they can see people get blown apart with blood and gore, they should also be able to see the occasional naked people bits, even if no-one does any typical naked-people things with them.

Speaking of which, you know what else would be cool in Saints Row?

* A friend of mine was in Berlin when she was a toddler. Not long after she moved to Texas, she was expelled from kindergarten for bringing pornography into class. It turns out she had brought a German fashion doll to class for Show-and-Tell (very possibly an actual Bild Lilli Doll, the precursor to Barbie). The doll was anatomically correct, because Germans are into precision and not afraid of nipples nor vulvae nor pubic hair. But visible naked doll features were enough to freak out Texas Kindergarten teachers and get a child expelled from school in the early 1970s.

In The Sims 2 men have vague nipples, but women do not, and both are sans primary sexual characteristics including pubic hair or genetalia. Given that The Sims series is the only prevailing doll-house game we have (please, please, someone else make another!), there’s a very strong fan base who want anatomically correct Sims with a wide range of pubic features and grooming styles (Wikipedia, but NSFW).

Image is the cover art Friday by Robert A. Heinlein one of two first-edition covers. Acryilc on Watercolor Board by Michael Whelan in 1982. ISBN 9780345309884 Worth reading!

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