I often find myself haunted by an observation from former PC Gamer editor Samuel Roberts on The Back Page podcast: there is no sight more unwholesome than that of an adult lit only by the light of a computer monitor. That supremely gruesome vibe is only maximized if someone you love ever has the misfortune of walking in on you when two "choombas" are bumping uglies in Cyberpunk 2077, or, god forbid, you're Naked Raiden getting choked by his stepfather who was also the president in Metal Gear Solid 2.
I have always been tactical about approaching such content when sharing a house with someone else, but there have been some close calls. I turned to the PCG staff and forums to find out about the times someone stumbled in at just the wrong moment.
Has anyone walked in on you during an embarrassing moment in a game? Here are our answers, as well as some from our forum.
Lauren Morton, Associate Editor: Like Ted, I was always quite tactical about my BioWare time while living under another's roof. These days I can do what I damn please and romance whoever and whenever in the privacy of my own office.
Though I do sometimes wonder if my partner is going to come ask for my help with dinner while I'm mid-Yakuza. It's not like there's actually anything unseemly about me watching four tattooed dudes rip their shirts off at the top of Millennium Tower but, well, you know.
Mollie Taylor, Features Producer: Ugh, I'm about to expose my whole ass here.
I'm no stranger to games that err on the side of degeneracy, and yet somehow I was totally clueless about Senran Kagura's reputation. I was on a bit of a rhythm game shopping spree back when my PS Vita was my prized possession, and picked up Senran Kagura: Bon Appetit dirt cheap in a sale.
The thing is, I used to play my Vita on my hour-long tram journeys to college. Yeah, see where this is going? I booted up Bon Appetit and, uh, perhaps I should've vetted it beforehand. There were a lotta boobs, a lotta butts and a lotta conspicuously placed whipped cream.
Unfortunately, I realised that the game was NSFT (not safe for trams) around the exact same moment the conductor leaned over my shoulder to see what I was playing. I looked at him. He looked at me. He asked something along the lines of "What the hell is this?" and I embarrassingly fumbled my way through an explanation. We somehow became quite friendly after that, cool guy.
Richard Stanton, Senior Editor: Love Bayonetta. When that game came out I played it constantly, gradually mastering the incredible combat system and having the time of my life. My partner at the time wasn't much into videogames, and walked into the room while I was finishing off a boss. In Bayonetta, the eponymous witch's hair becomes a giant hell monster that proceeds to chow down on whatever unfortunate boss you've just beaten, in a very graphic way.
Also very graphic is the fact that, as her bodysuit is made of her hair, Bayonetta cavorts around while all this is going on, with strategically placed strands of hair (just about) obscuring her bits.
So there I was, sitting in front of a giant flatscreen with a naked woman pole-dancing, while hunched over the pad hammering the X button (to make my hair monster eat the boss better). My partner looked at the screen, looked at me, said "pervert" and walked back out. We're no longer together. But I still love Bayonetta.
Phil Savage, UK Editor-in-Chief: Sometimes the Yakuza series is a lot, OK?
Robin Valentine, Senior Editor: The thing I'm always most self-conscious about someone walking in on is character creation. There's something very embarrassing to me about someone witnessing me spending an hour crafting my little person down to the finest detail, while the digital doll stands there frozen, often in their undies. How can it not come off like I'm realising some sort of pathetic fantasy, where I'm sculpting an ideal form I either wish I was or wish I could bone?
Slumped in front of my PC in a sweaty t-shirt and boxers, staring blankly at the screen with my mouth half open, while I carefully tweak my avatar's gleaming six pack or nervously adjust the boob slider; my own face pale and unshaven as I meticulously sculpt the perfect jawline on a head I'm going to cover with a helmet within 10 minutes of starting. How can that not look perverse? At the very least any observer has got to be thinking "Why is this guy so obsessive about the bridge of an imaginary elf's nose?"
Whenever someone has started watching me during this intensely private process, I've gotten complete performance anxiety, and either just quickly settled on a look I secretly hate and resent, or made some excuse to quit the game entirely. I've no idea what this very specific hang-up says about me, and frankly I don't want to know.
Andy Chalk, US News Lead: I don't have any comparable stories to share but, uh, holy cow, Robin.
Fraser Brown, Online Editor: I was going to say that this has never been an issue for me because I have no shame, but after reading Robin's answer I now think we're all sweaty perverts and I feel deeply embarrassed. Thanks, Robin!
From our forum
XoRn: I'm drawing off of a repressed memory here, but my dad walked in basically the same moment I unlocked the romance sequence with Miranda in the engine bay.
Him: "Hey, whatcha playing."
Shepard and Miranda making out.
Me: "Uh. Mass Effect 2."
Him: "...This is a game."
Miranda jumps on Shepard and unzips her skin tight body suit revealing her bra and chest.
Me: "I think I picked the wrong option."
Him: "Sure you did..."
DXCHASE: When I made this video here [Editor's note: a very NSFW video of a Ken doll anatomy-having nude man in Kingdom Come: Deliverance], my son had walked into the living room where my pc was at the time, its good they didn't show anything.
ZedClampet: Apparently when my daughter was little she used to sneak downstairs and watch me play games (I always wore a headset and had no idea she was doing that). There was violent/gory/horror stuff that I wouldn't have knowingly let her watch, but nothing that I would consider embarrassing.
There's not really anything embarrassing in the games I play except for my own ineptitude. My wife once watched me not be able to find my way out of a room for about an hour. Now that was embarrassing.