They may not look it, but video games are surprisingly prudish. Despite all the heaving bosoms and shirtless dudes games seem to be filled with, very few of them go the whole nine yards for the full monty. So when a game actually shows some skin, it's notable/shocking/kinda weird but in that way that makes you want to see more.
Whether the nudity is for an 'arty' scene or just the byproduct of a stark custom character, the following games present our heroes the way they were born: as specially designed, unclothed models. There's nothing shameful about nakedness, and playing as these video game characters will give you a chance to let it all hang out with pride.
The cyclists in... BMX XXX
Back in the early '00s, you couldn't throw a skateboard without hitting a sub-par extreme sports game, and while Dave Mirra Freestyle BMX was nowhere near terrible, it certainly didn't live up to the high bar set by Tony Hawk's Pro Skater. What do you do to spice things up for your flagging franchise? Well, if you're Acclaim, you make the most logical decision you can: fill it up with boobs and hope for the best.
If you're looking to do some sick flips off a ramp while staring at some polygonal mammaries, well, you have some very specific tastes, and do I have the game for you! In BMX XXX, you can create a character and give them skimpy outfits (or none at all!). Nevermind the fact that the bike saddle would probably hurt like nothing else - this is all in the name of titillation, caution be damned! You're even 'rewarded' with grainy FMV of some stripteases for completing each of its stages. Needless to say, Dave Mirra wasn't pleased and sued Acclaim to get his name taken off the title. Plus, it turns out that a crappy game with naked women is still a crappy game, and no amount of T&A can hide that.
Bayonetta in... Bayonetta
At first glance, Bayonetta doesn't look any less dressed than your typical female video game protagonist: skin-tight suit, a little cleavage, some back showing - that's downright puritanical compared to some. Then, as you play, you realize something: Bayonetta's not wearing clothes. She's covering her skin with her hair.
This is made perfectly obvious when Bayonetta pulls off some of her most devastating attacks. Her flowing locks leap into action, growing and writhing until they turn into a massive hair demon. Bayonetta then stands in a suitably fashionable pose as her naughty bits are covered just so while said hair demon goes to town on whatever abomination that needs to be destroyed. Apparently, this works even when Bayonetta gives herself a shorter pixie cut, though it's best not to think about how all of it works.
Raiden in... Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
The Metal Gear Solid series has been springing unexpected nudity on gamers for years - Snake's first 3D outing slipped in a pixelated butt, as the unfortunate Johnny Sasaki was stripped of his clothes by an escaping Meryl Silverburg. Metal Gear Solid 2 increased the naked stakes in a big (well, average) way by making an unclothed Raiden playable for a small portion of Sons of Liberty.
After the conclusion of the Big Shell portion of Raiden's campaign, the white-haired hero finds himself captured and stripped of all items and clothing, save for a pair of dogtags. After he's mysteriously freed from his restraints - he can hop back onto his shackles where foreground items tastefully cover his privates - Raiden now has to sneak by a few guards while in the nude. Even though he can't free his arms to handle any weaponry, the soldier's acrobatic moves aren't hindered one bit. For mastering the ability to cover his junk while doing a jumping cartwheel, Raiden's brief foray into nudity is commendable.
The Eaters in... Beat Em and Eat Em
In the first of three nudity-driven games by developer Mystique, you play as a pair relatively normal-looking females (the 'Eaters'), both of whom are unclothed. It's a sort of perverted take on Kaboom. This '80s title is notable in that it's the only game yet made where you control multiple nude characters simultaneously.
However, you have to imagine that there was at least one meeting where Mystique's developers debated whether you should, instead, play as the 'Beater' of Beat Em and Eat Em; a character who doesn't appear to be more than a head, torso, arms and a penis far larger than any other part of his uncovered half-body. In the end, an agreement was likely reached to make everyone nude, so that anyone playing is guaranteed to control at least one naked character.
Ethan Mars and Madison Paige in... Heavy Rain
Even though the male and female protagonists in Heavy Rain end up having sex, you can't control either during their actual tryst (unlike in Quantic Dream's previous game, Fahrenheit / Indigo Prophecy). You are, however, able to command them during separate shower scenes before the two meet up. They both shower! They have so much in common!
As the game opens on Ethan's then-ideal life, among the first activities you perform is drying all of Mars' moons after his morning shower. Shortly after that is a similar scene featuring Madison, though this one's inclusion is up for debate. Yes, you're able to turn off the shower as she stands naked under the water, but since the scene is later revealed to be a dream sequence, it's debatable whether you control her true, nude form. At least that explains why she's not using soap.
Jodie Holmes in... Beyond: Two Souls
Geez, David Cage certainly has a thing for shower sequences, huh? I guess nothing else gets you into the mind of a character quite like slowly moving your hand across a couple of knobs and quietly standing under some falling water for a few seconds. Understand Ellen Page's plight as her water heater shuts off far too soon. Feel Emotion as she realizes she needs to pick up more conditioner from the store. Immersion!
A little known fact about video games: the only surefire way for games to transcend consumer entertainment and become art is to include a fairly tasteful (but completely unnecessary) shower scene. Soon, film will be replaced with nothing but digitized actors standing under a virtual spigot, and we'll have finally reached the future of storytelling.
Larry in... Leisure Suit Larry (series)
Despite a questionable attitude towards women, Larry is actually a refreshingly honest protagonist. All he wants is sex. There's no pretence, no violence, no malice - just lust. And while that leads to plenty of jokes and awkward moments where Larry almost (but not quite) gets his end away, it also leads to nudity. Loads of loads of nudity.
Larry gets naked in almost every game, often spends a decent amount of time in the buff. It's worth noting that you actually play Larry Laffer's nephew in Magna Cum Laude, which means the nakedness is cross-generational. That's weird, I know. Perhaps my favorite example of Larry's aversion to clothing is when he's left drunk and nude in the bar, in MCL. Fun times.
The monsters in... Rampage
Rampage combines everyone's favorite giant monsters in one game. You've got a Godzilla-like named Lizzie, a King Kong-like named George, and a giant werewolf named Ralph (huh I don't remember a giant werewolf movie). Anyway, you're knocking down buildings, eating random citizens, swatting planes out of the sky you know, being a general nuisance. But there's one thing you don't realize until the very end as you're reaching for your next quarter - all three characters are buck naked the whole time.
Yep, when you finally lose all your health, your massive monster shrinks back down to human form, covers his or her privates, and quickly shuffles off-screen. Which, of course, means that they've been running around with their junk hanging out the whole time. I'm sure your hapless victims really enjoyed that eyeful of gorilla dong they got before being crushed to their deaths under a pile of rubble. Though, if you think about it, a giant gorilla wearing underpants might be more ridiculous.
Donkey and Diddy Kong in... Donkey Kong Country
Animals don't wear clothes (seriously, they don't, so stop trying to put your dog in a sweater), so it's always funny to see how certain cartoon characters get anthropomorphized. Of all of Nintendo's games, Donkey Kong Country perhaps features the most egregious violation of public deceny laws, as none of its characters seem to own a pair of pants.
They clearly understand the concept of clothes, though. Donkey Kong's got a tie, Diddy's got a shirt and hat, and King K. Rool has that sweet cape. But despite all that, everyone's nether regions continue to flap in the warm jungle breeze. Maybe everyone in Kong Kountry is just cool with letting it all hang out.
The Bachelor and Bachelorette in... Bachelor Party and Bachelorette Party
This is probably the least memorable of Mystique's clothing-free jamborees, but the nudity is just as strong. The Party games are like Breakout with genitals, as you use a paddle to bump a naked person against a wall of bodies of the opposite gender. If you're playing Bachelor Party, it's a naked dude tossed against a batch of females. In Bachelorette Party (a companion game published by Playaround), a lady is thrown into a pile of dudes.
It's no surprise that developers toned down the naked playable characters for quite a while after this pair; the premise of this game (a paddle pushing nude characters into each other) made absolutely no sense. In comparison, the other Atari naked parties are downright coherent.
Your character in... Rust
Rust might be the only game where it pays to be in the buff, rather than clothed. While you start without clothing and aim to acquire it, there's a faction within Rust known as the Penis Brothers that roam the world in the buff. If they find you, they'll present two options; strip down to nothing and join the unclothed faction... or die.
Did we mention that this game is multiplayer-only? Yes, the Penis Brothers are not a construct of Facepunch Studios; each, er, member of this faction is a person who's logged onto Rust and decided to dedicate hours of their time to furthering the cause of the Penis Brothers by running around digitally nude and killing the digitally clothed.
The hero and heroine in... Burning Desire and Jungle Fever
From the asses... er, ashes of Mystique's dirty trilogy, developer Playaround sprung forth with a new trilogy of two-in-ones where your on-screen representation is stark naked (usually using the same character models from Custer's Revenge, and swapping gender roles in the alternate versions). Arguably the most complex combo is Burning Desire and Jungle Fever, where a helicopter dangles your naked hero/ine above a nude captive surrounded by fire and cannibals.
The way each game plays is... pretty distasteful. You use the most inappropriate secretion possible for each gender to put out the fire while dodging rocks lobbed by the hungry cannibals (not a sentence I ever thought I'd write). Once the fire's gone, the captive will escape by grabbing onto your most prominent, dangly part. Apparently all of the rope on the helicopter was used to tie your character to it, so none left to rescue the hostage with.
Kane and Lynch in... Kane & Lynch 2
Kane & Lynch has always been a grim, gritty, grimy, and altogether greasy series. Unlikeable heroes, wanton, misanthropic violence, and men with receding mullets. It could not get more foul. Unfortunately, IO Interactive refused to believe that universally self-evident fact, and so decided to scale things up quite radically part-way through the second game.
How radically? The escalation of unpleasantness follows roughly the same arc that saw World War One start with bolt-action rifles and WW2 end with a nuke. At one point, the flaccid, middle-aged flesh-lumps that the game calls protagonists are stripped naked and tortured with Stanley knives. Upon their escape, were treated (oh lucky us!) to a whole sequence in which we control the still entirely-exposed, bleeding leads, bobbling round like sweaty, earthbound meat-balloons. Their dangling, bloody junk is mercifully pixellated out, but by that point the courtesy is merely akin to sprinkling cinnamon on a turd sandwich.
Your character in... Saints Row (series)
Saint's Row turned into a full-frontal nudity simulator so gradually, most members of the hysterical mainstream media didn't even notice. In Saint's Row 2, stripping your created character of all clothing is a completely optional experience, as you can play 100% of the game while covered-up. As the series moved on, however, wearing 0% clothing became more vital to getting the most out of Volition's open-world series.
In the two most recent Saints Row games, you need to partake in a series of 'Diversions' to fully complete the game, and there is a strict birthday suits only dress code. One of the required actions is 'Streaking', which means running around in public for over 600 seconds wearing nothing but your burning shame. Fortunately, there's a pixelated layer keeping those 10 minutes from being really awkward. Saint's Row 4 goes full monty with required nudity in the main campaign, as you have to strip down to nothing in order to sneak onto an alien ship. I'm not sure why exactly, but Metal Gear Solid has taught us that nudity and stealth go hand in unclothed hand. Oh, put your shirt back on, Fisher.
The X-Man in... X-Man
No, I'm not talking about Wolverine, although he does spend a lot of time with his shirt off. This lone, sex-driven game published by Universal Gamex puts you in control of the eponymous X-Man. He's a mysterious, naked man in a perilous search for intercourse, navigating a maze in an attempt to find the correct path to pleasure. Aren't we all?
X-Man's assortment of foes (scissors, crabs and teeth) has me convinced the developers intended him to be buck naked at all times, because those obstacles pose much more of a threat to a man with his junk hanging loose and free. Since you continue to control X-Man as he takes part in one of three sex mini-games, the point is kinda moot; you're controlling a naked character for the sake of controlling a naked character.
Ajay Ghale in... Far Cry 4
Kyrat is a dangerous place, filled with dangerous people. Be careful who you trust, or you'll end up with your balls to the wind, facing down a horde of snarling tigers and guards armed to the teeth. Wait, what?
There's a mission where you meet the kooky British junkies Yogi and Reggie, and they shoot you up with a strange drug, cart you off to a battle arena, and throw you inside, sans clothing. You even get a sneak peek at your dongle as they chuck you to your supposed doom. Luckily you still have your knife - don't worry, it was given to you, not hidden, erm, inside of anything - so you'll have a sporting chance to get your clothes back.
If you're still searching for more naughtiness, check out this set of articles. We've got The Top 7... Reasons Video Game Sex Will Always Be Weird and the Top 10 Most Controversial Video Game Sex Scandals.