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BioWare’s latest game Mass Effect has been subject to a great deal of criticism lately by the conservative online community. Unfortunately, it has been completely uninformed criticism.

The best quote from conservative blogger Kevin McCullough’s The “Sex-Box” Race for President? His statement that Mass Effect allows you:

to engage in the most realistic sex acts ever conceived. One can custom design the shape, form, bodies, race, hair style, breast size of the images they wish to “engage” and then watch in crystal clear, LCD, 54 inch screen, HD clarity as the video game “persons” hump in every form, format, multiple, gender-oriented possibility they can think of…

I spot at least seven errors in that quote alone.

Conservative bloggers and their ilk have been up in arms over the sex scenes (particularly the lesbian sex scenes) in the game. It doesn’t seem like they’ve actually played the game, or even seen the YouTube video, because what they’re complaining about is short and barely worthy of the title sex scene. All these people are now up in arms about censoring the game and taking action against BioWare.

Apparently these people do not consider video games to be protected under free speech.

This may recall to some the decision of French game-maker Quantic Dream to release their game Fahrenheit rebranded as Indigo Prophesy in the United States (sort of ironic, considering we are really the only ones who use Fahrenheit instead of Celsius), sans sex scenes and some other content. Fahrenheit was far more graphic and had actual interaction during the sex scenes in the game. Oddly enough, the European countries which have had issues with some of the more bloody and violent games coming out of the US had no issue with Fahrenheit’s so-called explicit content.

Even if Mass Effect (or any other game) actually did contain virtual pornography, “sodomy” or otherwise, it would most currently be protected under the first amendment because, guess what, it is a form of expression.

The blog CYB3RCRIME3 actually did a somewhat recent post on the implications of a virtualization of child pornography and the legality (not the ethicality, creation of even virtual media of that sort would be absolutely bad and wrong, legal or not) of such an enterprise and recalled a Supreme Court decision stating that “the First Amendment does bar U.S. law from criminalizing virtual child pornography, i.e., child pornography the creation of which does not involve the use of real children but is, instead, based on computer-generated images (CGIs).” If that sort of trash is protected then poor Mass Effect is getting way too much flack for a sex scene that is more tasteful then the average PG-13 movie.

If BioWare deserves any criticism for the sex scenes in the game, then it should be because, though there are a number of opportunities for lesbian sex scenes, the man-on-man action is oddly absent.

Curse you BioWare, stop discriminating against male homosexuality! *shakes fist*

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