Re-posted from http://gamepolitics.livejournal.com/153822.html
Is there a Hot Coffee-like sex sequence in Squaresoft’s T-rated Final Fantasy VIII?
Although a discussion thread has – ahem – probed the subject for several weeks on the Sex & Games forum of the International Game Developers Association website, it seems like all parties now agree that the scene in question is strictly decaf.
The controversy sprang up when Tom Allen, executive director of the National Academy of Video Game Testers and Reviewers (NAVGTR) thought he spotted a brief Lewinsky moment between FF8 characters Rinoa and Irvine about halfway through the game. You can see the video sequence here. The moment in question occurs at about the one-minute mark. A slo-mo version of the footage is also available.
The story was kicked around on the IGDA board for more than three weeks until it became clear that Rinoa was bent over laughing, not, well… just not.
So how does a tempest in a teacup suddenly surface over an RPG that was released in 1999?
Interesting story, that.
“When I played the game for the first time back in 1999, I noticed it then and thought it was a (Lewinsky),” Allen said. “I was covering games for a television show back then so it was normal for me to record footage… When (IGDA member) Brenda Brathwaite proposed that NAVGTR have some sort of adult games category, the discussions with the IGDA sex SIG folks got me thinking about that scene from Final Fantasy 8… So because of all this, I wanted to find the footage. The original 3/4″ tape is gone but I knew I had transferred everything to VHS first. I looked through my catalogue archives and did not find it. One day I was watching television and my eyes just happened to fall upon a nearby shelf where I saw the words ‘Final Fantasy 8’ in large letters…”
The video footage is far more ambiguous than the full-on Hot Coffee sex animations, a fact which Allen readily acknowledges.
“Yes, it is ambiguous,” he told GamePolitics. “For six years it never occurred to me that Rinoa is bending over from laughing so hard, as opposed to giving Irvine a party in his pants. But I think this material still proposes an interesting question… it really brings into question the impossible task that companies of hundreds of artists and programmers face when they have to disclose anything remotely questionable to the ESRB.”
“If the political climate is such that these hundreds of employees will have to start documenting every time they want to add some sexual innuendo, there will never be creative freedom to develop something of a sexual nature for retail just because of the sheer amount of documentation it would require. Could you imagine PA’s on a film shoot having to write everything down every time an actor improvises in a slightly sexual way from the last take, just to report it to the MPAA to keep the politicians off our backs? Is this a free country or not?”
“The game industry has trapped itself into a system that will be a long term liability, and the fact that GTA’s content was slapped with a rating that is MORE age restrictive than NC-17, for content that would easily pass for R in the film world… to me foreshadows worse controversies that are less about the content and more about politics, which is why we have to start talking about this now. The ESRB now has the effect of the Hollywood blacklisters, and politicians need to understand that this system is a set of guidelines, not a food label from the FDA.”
In the interest of full disclosure, GP must reveal that he is a delegate to NAVGTR.