In Defence Of Gimps And Dildos

Ex-Epic designer Cliff Bleszinski recently gave his thoughts on the future of the Saints Row series. “Keep the crazy action and game mechanics. Lose the gimps and dildos and purple suits,” he tweeted. “The SR team is amazing. Dildo holds them back. It’s immature.”

“Make an open world game that’s more Michael Mann / HEAT / Collateral / Training Day,” he said.

Well, I disagree, Saints Row is unique because of the gimps and dildos: take them out and you will be left with another game trying to to be Grand Theft Auto. We already have Grand Theft Auto, we don’t need another one. “Once you put a dildo in your game it doesn’t matter if your controls, pacing, graphics are all great. You’re ‘that game with the dildo,'” he continues.

saints row dildo

Yes, Saints Row is that game with the dildo. That’s exactly what it is, if you mentioned “the purple dildo bat” everyone knows you are talking about Saints Row. You cannot buy that sort of marketing and brand recognition and you certainly wouldn’t get it in a ‘Michael Mann / HEAT / Collateral / Training Day’ type of game.

And on “dildo holds them back. It’s immature” – yes, and? Have you never laughed at a fart gag, Mr B? “Yes, I think the dildo is hilarious. (I also had a big dildo as a prop in our wedding’s photo booth.) It doesn’t help industry perceptions,” continues Cliffy. Dildos are ‘funny’ in the real world but immature in gaming? That doesn’t make sense, you cannot be amused by real ones but digital schlongs are regarded as silly?

Absoloutely everything ‘offensive’ in Saints Row is there for comedic purposes. Attacking an enemy base dressed as gimp is funny, not sexist, childish or demeaning. The game mocks and lampoons other ‘serious’ games – for example Zimos, the oldest pimp in Steelport is introduced not as a streetwise hardman but a human pony, the tables turned with him being the sex slave.

[drop2]Most magazines and websites ‘got’ Saints Row The Third and awarded it high scores – it has a Metcritic rating of 84. The one dissenting voice was, yes you guessed it, the rather uptight Edge magazine. They highlight the number of missions featuring whores and say “we’re not saying the creation of something in which women only exist to be sold, killed or fucked shouldn’t be allowed, but what does it say for gaming as a type of entertainment?”

It’s a valid question but does seem to miss that Saints Row The Third features many strong women characters, in fact many more than you would usually get in video games and they easily held their own against the men. The Call Of Duty franchise has has very few female characters, COD2 had Rifleman (er, woman) Pvt Anya Ulyanova but she was an NPC, the series has never featured a playable female character.

Also Edge fail to note that there are just a many male gimps in the game as there are ladies of a dubious persuasion, Saints Row The Third is an equal opportunities pervert.

I am sure Cliff had the best intentions with his tweets but suggesting we all ‘grow up’ is rather naive. Yes, we still have Dead Or Alive’s pneumatic bosoms and Bulletstorm’s atrocious swearing but we also have the unique storytelling of Heavy Rain and Journey. The last thing we need is another straight-laced guns and gangsters game, gaming needs to diversify not homogenise, if it doesn’t we’ll be left with nothing but Call Of Duty clones.

The gaming industry needs to re-adjust after the events of last year, there were too many scandals and missteps and the U.S.A.’s magical ability to change a discussion about gun ownership into a hate campaign against violent games is not helping. Too many people are overreacting to the slightest hint of anything remotely scandalous and we all need to step back, take a deep breath and remember that these are games, fantastical words built for our enjoyment.

I agree that the gaming world does need to grow up, and growing up means not being offended by a giant purple cock bat. It means embracing the wide and varied world of gaming: you may not agree with everything you see and play but that doesn’t make it any less worthy.

I appreciate that I have a slightly higher tolerance for the weird and bizarre, once you’ve seen a seventy year old man wandering around a nightclub naked apart from a set of pink fairy wings then little can shock you, and there are always going to be ultra conservatives who rage at anything that is not following the exact letter of their chosen religion. I think a fair majority of gamers, and certainly the readers of TSA, are mature enough to have a good giggle at an overweight man dressed in a pink tutu slapping people in the chops with a purple cock bat and not be offended.

With the greatest respect, what needs to change is Cliff Bleszinski’s rather outdated view. Saints Row is unique and should stay exactly how it is, childish, silly and a hell of a lot more fun than most other games, dildos and gimps included.



  1. And this is why I love TSA.

    We play games to avoid ‘growing up’.

    At least I do :)

  2. Really loved Saints Row 3 and really disliked GTA 4. The stories and gameplay in SR3 were just so over the top and fun, would be disappointed if they tried to be more serious.

  3. I am so glad someone made this point. That is exactly what i thought when i heard his comments.

  4. Well said TC, I can see what he’s saying, but he really just needs to see the funny side to it.

  5. Good read. Cliffy B is a prick and always will be.

  6. Great article TC, it’s amazing how people’s sense of humor can just fail them, dildos and bondage makes Saints Row what it is. And congratulations on legitimately using ‘dildo’ twelve times in one article, thats inspirational deviancy.

  7. Exactly right. Not every game has to push the boundaries of what the medium can do, and if you look at film or TV, for every Oscar nominated film, there are dozens of schlocky rom-coms or The Hangover, which does nothing but provide a little escapism.

    Do they hold back the perceptions of the film industry? Not in the slightest.

    • Tef and I have been giving SR3 some seriously well-lubed love as of recent. The silliness, childishness, crassness and general exuberance of the game is exactly why it should exist. As a fan of GTA it takes a little getting use to but it’s a very good game. The first outing smacked of them trying to enter the GTA arena but they learnt very quickly not to take on the juggernaut franchise that Rockstar North’s is. They’ve cleverly carved out a lovely, smutty niche for their tomfoolery and long may it continue.

      I’d be gutted if I couldn’t have a car-load of female gimps turn up with automatic weapons to help me take out the spazoids from the other gang.

  8. Never played Saints Row, but now I might just have to buy it. It looks like fun

  9. Exactly nicely written. San Andreas had gimp suits people took it seriously

  10. Great article, TC!
    I agree with every single word in this article.
    Hell, I bought Saint’s Row The Third exacly because it is what it is: over the top dildo bat shit crazyness. I’m not interested in GTA or games that try to be GTA, so SR was a breath of fresh air in the genre and I hope the people behind the sequel keep the essence of the game the same.

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