As I was searching through YouTube looking for naturist content, which is quite a rare thing to find, I might add, even on a video sharing platform that seems to have an infinite amount of everything, I came across some unexpectedly interesting “naturist” content. I put “naturist” in quotes here because for most viewers, I’d imagine, the video has nothing to do with naturism and everything to do with ogling pretty young women. I am talking, of course, about “nude mods” for video games. Typically, I am not a fan of these mods, as they have been made exclusively to titillate young male gamers. You can tell the intent of the mod by the sexy poses the characters make, and by their—almost always female—grotesque and unrealistic proportions, usually in and around the genital and mammary areas. I honestly don’t find Lara Croft’s blocky textures, or nipples that can cut through diamonds, or penises that can be used for bludgeoning instruments, very appealing, or interesting as a storyteller. But as technology has progressed, so have nude mods, not just in how detailed and realistic the bodies look, with the muscles flexing beneath the skin and sheens of glistening sweat, but in the way some programmers have opted for more believable physiques.
The best example of well-proportioned nudity I’ve seen so far is from the open-world adventure game, Horizon Zero Dawn. Clearly, someone put a lot of love and attention into this, a level of artistry that isn’t to be mocked. Of course, the cutscenes and gameplay, modded from the original to remove Aloy’s clothing, is far from perfect, since the modder was limited by what was in the game. It makes little sense that the heroine, Aloy, is the only naked person in any of the scenes, and that none of the fully dressed NPCs she interacts with notices her nudity. It also doesn’t make sense that she’d be running around in freezing weather without any protection. No doubt, the modder cared nothing for naturism or positive female representation, and that his (or her, it’s 2021) only wanted to stare at a pretty young girl’s ass. If this were a Feral Girl game, based on my upcoming book, I’d put Thelana in a more tropical climate, and maybe have her wearing some furs for the snowy regions, like she does in the book. Maybe she could even suffer from environmental damage, like Link does in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? It could make for a fun mechanic, having to hunt and skin animals to make clothes. If Thelana were to interact with an NPC, they would be naked also, or, if they were not Ilmarin and unused to her presence, I’d have them question her nudity. Maybe sneaking around civilization, like Hedonia, which would be hostile to public nakedness, could add another layer of depth to the game? Still, watching a video like the one below is exciting for me (and not for the usual reasons) as it showcases what the future of gaming might look like, and what a fully CGI Aenya film could be, or even, someday, an uncensored Ages of Aenya video game. My nephew just so happens to be studying game design so . . . it could happen.