Intimate scenes are hard to do in the best of circumstances. Film has been a medium far longer than video games and even there it is often very clunky, poorly-written, and occasionally has the opposite of the intended effect: turning you off to the rest of the plot. When it’s done right, it can be great and when it’s done horribly, it can be great, but most often there’s an awkward or unnecessary middle that a lot of media tends to hit. That can often be bad even for those hoping for a good romp, destroying the mental image of what laid in store for a cheap, painfully-executed mess.
Here, we’re going to look at 20 lovemaking scenes in games, not because they’re good or bad, but because they’re really, really awkward. It’s amazing what that single emotion can achieve, sometimes inspiring hilarity, ire, or perhaps even elevating the storytelling when done with expert care. Since most video game sex scenes are bound to have some element of awkwardness in the way it’s conveyed — since, you know, it’s hard to make a scene work in a medium all about giving control to the player without becoming adult film — there’s a lot of case studies in how to do awkward sex, and each one is unique in its own way.
If you’re not really into the awkward stuff, and would rather just take a look at some voluptuous ladies, we also have a list for that.
20. Become a Creepy Gigolo in Killer Is Dead
Killer is Dead has probably the tamest “scene” on this list — nothing gratuitous, just a simple cut to white. The real offender is the painfully cheesy, quite icky mini-game, aptly titled “gigolo mode,” that you must endure to get to that “payoff.” It’s not to say that you can’t make a decent game about picking up women — the first Leisure Suit Larry shows that — but everything about the way it’s done here is creepy.
No words are exchanged from the protagonist, who tries to fill up a questionably-designed “guts” meter by sneaking a peek at women when they’re not looking. It’s notably out of place, and when Suda, the creator, was called on this by Eurogamer, his answer basically boiled down to “that’s Japan for you.” Justifiable market reality or not, it’s still weird and gross.
19. The Coffee Isn’t Hot In GTA: San Andreas…
Gamers old enough to remember Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ release probably also know about the Hot Coffee mod that made it one of the most visible AO-rated video games of all time. For all the fighting over whether or not that rating was deserved, or whether the game was breaking the moral fabric of the USA, very few people actually bothered to talk about the content itself beyond stating the most obvious.
Even for 2004, Hot Coffee was a really poor substitute for adult films, with the scene playing out more like bashing two dolls together in a very obviously stilted union. While no doubt some enterprising gamers found a way to get their rocks off to the motions, it’s only gotten more awkward with age, really leaving you to wonder what kind of arguments we’re having now might look ridiculous in a few years.
18. …And Getting Up Close in V Isn’t Much Better
More to the previous point, it’s even more ironic now that GTA V offers VR-friendly hookers for first-person sexual stimulation simulation and it barely makes a blip on the radar. It’s worth noting that even GTA IV’s use of hookers didn’t get the kind of negative attention given San Andreas. So it begs the question, what exactly makes virtual shenanigans so appalling to some — or creepy to all?
To start, while there’s no semblance of control as in the original mini-game, nor is there graphic nudity, the in-car endeavors are very eerily realistic, venturing somewhere between voyeurism and the uncanny valley. The scenes in V are almost enough of a lot of things not to be awkward — almost realistic, almost distant, almost self-aware. But in this case, getting close only makes it weirder.
17. Singles: Flirt Up Your Life Is A Sims You Never Wanted
Hopping in bed is arguably the goal of Singles: Flirt Up Your Life. Sure, there are some people out there who are really just into it for the virtual hugs and chores, but most people playing the game are ultimately trying to… reach completion. Of the game, that is. And only the game.
This can be proven by the sheer fact that Singles is so very reminiscent of The Sims series, a much better life simulator, down to the stylistic choices for the task bar and various needs meters. But if you’re hoping for some sweet, sweet hanky panky to trade off for what borders on copyright infringement, you’re most likely out of luck. Though there are exceptionally graphic scenes in the game, hence the AO rating, the participants look nothing more than lifeless husks, barely above smashing barbie dolls together. Not really gross, just very lame, making you wonder what life choices led you to playing.
16. Everything In Leisure Suit Larry: Magna Cum Laude
Earlier, I praised the original Leisure Suit Larry for being one of the few examples of a game of questionable conceit making something that is actually pretty great. In fact, I went so far as to put it in my top controversial games. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
A series that was once in on the joke enough to find that sweet spot of smart and sexy, descended into something more readily resembling self-parody with Magna Cum Laude. The subtlety of that joke is approximately what you can expect for the rest of the game; many of the raunchier portions trade sexiness for humor, as with one case in which you dress up as a tree. Sound funny? It’s not. It’s just weird, Larry. Really, really weird.
15. Dodge Your Dad’s Privates In South Park: The Stick Of Truth
Most people were expecting Stick of Truth to take things to the extreme. However, in some ways, the medium of video games can be more ethically restrictive than television, but Trey Parker and Matt Stone showed with one single scene just how much you can stretch this particular mode.
What antics comes to mind in a shrinking person story? A frenetic search to undo the undo the change? Maybe peeking into the crevices of the house to get places? While both those things occur, the main answer to pop up in the minds of Parker and Stone was simple: get a front-row seat to your parents doing it. But they didn’t stop there; The Stick of Truth has you quite literally maneuvering past your dad’s titanic swinging junk while in battle against gnomes. Man, that might be the weirdest sentence I’ve ever written.
14. Saints Row IV Almost Lets You Have Keith David
Film and TV buffs probably know Keith David from his myriad of roles, stretching over many genres, from the decidedly downer Crash to the hilarious Community. Gamers will know him more for his equally iconic voice roles in games media, including Captain Anderson in Mass Effect and the Arbiter in Halo. But for all his roles, very rarely does he take a romance-able one…except as himself.
In Saints Row IV, after a cataclysmic alien invasion annihilates Earth under your presidency, there are very few humans left to get primal with. Luckily, you have several choices aboard your spaceship, including the nerdy Kinzie, long-time Saints member Pierce, and even a robot “fully equipped to pleasure.” In fact, only one member of the team is not romance-able: Keith David. And boy, is it hard to watch the rejection, growing harsher and longer each time. Better luck next time, David fans!
13. Your Ghost Likes To Watch In Beyond: Two Souls
For all of the games David Cage, founder of Quantic Dream, has made, Beyond: Two Souls is probably the least outwardly critiqued. Sure, it goes back to his weird quasi-fantasy roots with the whole “ghost entangled in your soul” thing — hearkening to the absolute masterpiece of comedic horror that is Indigo Prophecy (more on that later) — and perhaps the quirkiness of Heavy Rain made it a better overall game, but you can’t fault Cage for not learning. Except with sex scenes.
It really wouldn’t be a David Cage game without an awkward sex scene and Beyond: Two Souls delivers on an absolutely bizarre one. One of the main mechanics is that the ghost I referenced before is always with you. Well, it’s also with you when you’re getting freaky, and that’s just weird. Please no ectoplasm.
12. God Of War III Pleasures Aphrodite With QTEs
Few games want to give you a feeling of power like the God of War series. You have, by the end of it, quite literally left a dismembered field of Gods in your wake and done a whole lot more crazy stuff. So it’s quite fitting that in the latest iteration, to up the ante, you’d have a corresponding scene that pits your sexual prowess against the literal incarnation of beauty herself: Aphrodite.
This in itself wouldn’t be too weird, except for two things: one, the game has you actually participate fully in the act with QTEs and two, the screen pans to some onlookers as you engage in your carnal pleasures. Taken together, it’s a very odd visual: you’re ostensibly going to town on Aphrodite, wiggling a little stick, while two girls watch and giggle. It’s all just a bit disconcerting, even if it does stroke more than just the ego and, on repeat viewings, it’s only more ham-fisted. Please dear God, not literally.
11. Pyramid Head Needs Love Too in Silent Hill 2
Pyramid Head is one of the most iconic enemies in all of video game history. The terrifying and aptly-named monstrosity first entered gaming consciousness with Silent Hill 2 and, though he has become a staple of the title, he’s at full horrific form in this appearance. In this psychologically thrilling iteration, Pyramid Head has opened up many questions about his inception: did he mean to represent protagonist James Sunderland’s perception of his inner faceless self or did creator Masahiro Ito really just want a creature without a face?
Whatever the reasoning, one thing very few people actually want to see is this monster “getting physical.” Even fewer (and really, shame on you if you’re among them) want to see him doing so with the disfigured nurse enemies that recur in the game. He’s a classic gaming antagonist, but come on, get a room!
10. Geralt’s Unicorn Fetish In The Witcher 3
The Witcher 3 is among the best games of this generation and possibly one of the best ever, mostly because of the high-quality depth of its content. No matter whether you’re referring to the story, the enemy variation, the monster hunting mechanics, or anything else, you can pretty much guarantee it’s going to be thought out.
So it’s no surprise then that there are multiple coupling scenes in the game, even with a special scene made specifically for if you get too frisky. The weirdest one, though, is undoubtedly the one hinted at in the very beginning of the game: a scene involving Geralt’s favorite sorceress, Yennefer, and a life-sized stuffed unicorn.
9. Dragon Age Campfire Voyeurism
BioWare are no strangers to odd relations — seemingly all of their games having some kind of exotic partner or another — but even without considering the…interesting pairings that Dragon Age allows, the scenes themselves are often odd for one reason or another. Dragon Age 2, for instance, got the textures and models right (for the time) but everything else wrong: the undergarments, the pillow talk, yuck.
But the rendezvous in its predecessor, Origins, is even more memorable due mostly to its aftermath. After you snuggle up by the campfire with your preferred cut-and-paste partner — weirdly, though the animations are not all that great, they are the same regardless of who you’re romancing — you come to realize that the entire camp has been right around you, seeing and hearing everything you’ve done. Video games really have a thing for voyeurism, huh?
8. F.E.A.R. 2’s Terrifying Impregnation
Alma, a supernatural being angry for being subjected to torture by a greedy corporation, is hardly the ideal partner. She’s got that creepy Grudge vibe going for her, if you’re into that, but the rest of us would probably rather stay as far away as possible — if not due to her unpleasantness, than certainly for safety. That’s why the ending of F.E.A.R. 2 is seemingly so out of left field.
Becket, the protagonist, has fought against Alma throughout the game, trying to quell her rampage lest reality itself be torn apart. In his last-ditch effort to stop her for good, he begins seeing visions induced by Alma of the two getting freaky, while fighting off a crazed visage of Keegan, a former squad member. The twist is that there is no twist: Becket did impregnate Alma, as she is seen holding her stomach in the game’s final moments.
7. Gross Injured Heavy Rain Lovemaking
David Cage returns for his second entry on our list, this time involving the most meme-worthy games of all time: Heavy Rain. Why Cage felt it necessary to include an extended lovemaking scene immediately after the main character was injured and then potentially (depending how the game played out) killed a man in the time-limited search for his son is beyond me. Maybe he just wanted to make it seem like a movie, because we all know how much it adds to that medium.
In any event, the final product is nothing short of a body horror master class. The poor voice acting — due in part to the fact that many of the voice actors are French — and truly ill-fitting animations, particularly the long holds on the mouths, mesh perfectly with the complete lack of relevance, and questionable contradiction to the plot, to create a terrible, unnecessary, and yet oddly hypnotic scene packed full of emotions.
6. In The Closet In Wolfenstein: The New Order
Wolfenstein: The New Order is by all means a very different entry on this list. The quality is very high, the story is pretty good, and while it’s not afraid to get gritty (though less so in Germany), it’s not so over the top that it gets gratuitous. Until, that is, you get to the sex scene in a broom closet.
There had been a few scenes already in which you got to see Anya Oliwa doing the deed, so by the time you get to the very cinematic, multi-angle closet fun time that seemingly comes out of nowhere, it just gets a little much. The quality is nice, but the context just puts it at odds with your expectations and the story. It’s probably meant to be somewhat funny, but it’s hard not to sympathize when one of the characters says: “Again with this shit? What’s wrong with these people!”
5. Far Cry 3’s Citra Really Likes Snuff
How far would you go to get some good old-fashioned lovin’ in the woods? The truly heroic protagonist of Far Cry 3 resolutely answered: “murder all my friends and then be stabbed to death.” Those first world struggles!
The ending to Far Cry 3 is so starkly dissonant — essentially, “is the character a complete piece of trash or not?” — that it would be weird enough without the whole murder-for-sex trade up. With it, you can only feel a sense of awe for how weird this whole adventure has gotten, figuratively becoming what you hated in one of the most obvious ways ever: you start off trying to save your friends, then you kill them. Even then, it’s hard to enjoy your prize, as she stabs you while you’re getting it. Awkward! At least there’s karmic justice, I guess?
4. SIE Gets Forceful In Alpha Protocol
A lot of video game sex scenes put the player in control. That’s kind of the thing about video games, after all — player input. It’s what makes some of the very things on this list so awkward, what with the power fantasy and all. But while player input is essential to unlocking SIE’s sex scene in Alpha Protocol, GamesRadar even going so far as to call it the “hardest sex scene” both in its nature and in unlocking it, there’s a twist; SIE is very definitively the one in control.
If you manage to get to this scene, one that many players have tried in their attempt to truly emulate James Bond (and get all the girls), SIE will give you a ride you won’t soon forget and it’s kind of weird. Maybe you’re into that, I’m not judging, but per the usual video game standard, it’s certainly a very out-there, deviant case, hence the achievement you unlock from it: “Savage Love.”
3. Ride To Hell: Retribution Ruins Sex Forever
Everything about Ride to Hell: Retribution is horrible. The graphics are abysmal, the titular riding is horrendously broken, and the narrative elements which might otherwise possibly save it are even worse than the gameplay.
And yet,in spite of this buffet of horrendous game design, it is the sex scenes that most offend the senses. Not only does it slap you in the face if you dare to ask for even a semblance of sense prior to the shagging — oh and, of course, it’s practically the only function women serve in the game — but it also is an assault on your eyes. I’m not sure whether it’s a further nod to the dev team’s incompetence or simply a blessing that the scenes occur fully clothed, though it’s probably both. Clothes or not, they’re downright painful to look at, and completely pointless anyway, wasting time that the game clearly so dearly needed.
2. Awkward Is Adorable With Mass Effect’s Garrus
Most of these scenes on this list have been awkward in the pejorative sense, with either a lack of graphical substance, technical prowess, or narrative coherence ultimately rendering scenes that are supposed to be arousing utterly dreadful. BioWare, however, turned the trope on its head, making Mass Effect’s resident charming, if wacky alien, Garrus, extremely awkward purposefully in order to make the eventual love scenes all the better.
And boy did it work; the scenes feel realistic, in-character, and add depth to the self-evidently odd situation of Turian-human relations. Garrus goes through the rounds of trying to understand what makes humans tick, which prolongs the inevitable just enough to make the coupling effective, even lifelike, and dare I say sensual? That might be up to taste, but the good writing is apparent.
1. Guitar Serenade In Indigo Prophecy
Oh Indigo Prophecy, what a modern marvel you are. You’re so full of completely nonsensical plot twists, racial stereotypes, and mostly unrelatable characters, and yet you have such a charm about you. I’m not sure whether David Cage struck out or hit paydirt with you, though you’ve still managed to remain relevant, so that’s…something?
For all your flaws, you always manage to pull me back in, especially with your creepy, inconceivably hilarious love scene. Like that dumb teenager at a party who pulls out his guitar to play “Wonderwall,” you’re so self-assured in your terribleness, that I almost have to root for you. Almost. But I just can’t get over how much this feels like a group of 30somethings thinking about how best to write video game foreplay. Maybe that’s part of the appeal, but you are undoubtedly the most cringe-inducing romantic scene I’ve ever seen.