I am not opposed to nudity in gaming as long as it enhances the entire experience and is integral to the storyline. In addition, I think that it's fine in a "tongue-in-cheek" context. Sometimes unecessary nudity can be funny, but it can also backfire when placed into a serious storyline.
I've noticed that people define "gratuitous" differently when it comes to nudity in video games. So, here's a list of some of the games people have labeled as such. I do not agree with some of the things listed, but I want to hear your thoughts about these scenes as well.
Warning: This article contains videos with nudity.
1. Grand Theft Auto V
Aside from the usual nude strippers, Grand Theft Auto V dropped a bomb by giving gamers a glimpse of Trevor's penis. Some people say that it was unnecessary and random to show it, but Trevor's a really crazy character who doesn't put much thought into things to be fair. Interestingly, Japanese players have a version of the game that doesn't show his penis and pretty much cuts seconds off the cutscene.
2. BMX XXX
Here is a perfect example of a game capitalizing on strippers and nudity to drive up sales. It is commonly believed that Acclaim decided to sell the game as a raunchy BMX game when they realized that the game was going to be sub-par. What better way to make up for the investment than adding sexual themes and nudity in it?
The game is notorious for letting players have topless female characters and live-action clips of strippers.
3. Godfather II
Does it count as gratuitous if there is nudity in a strip club? I often see this in people's lists, but maybe it's because it doesn't really add anything to the game. In the video, the second stripper the character talks to is topless and they talk dirty to one another. This game wasn't entirely a hit with the critics, so maybe they took a page from Acclaim's book to recover some cash.
4. Playboy Mansion
If I could describe this game, it would have to be me calling it a horny version of The Sims. I've actually had the opportunity of playing this game since it was lying around my house. Players can direct a photoshoot with the bunnies and women are topless. You can also have parties in the mansions wherein your guests blatanly have sex. Of course, you can too! No fade to black and blurry images in this game.
I think the sex and nudity was the only pull this game has. There wasn't really anything compelling with its gameplay in terms of managing the Playboy brand.
5. Dead or Alive: Xtreme Beach Volleyball
While full nudity can only be achieved through mods, there is actually a swimsuit in the game that allows you to see the girls naked if you let them wear it underwater. I am not sure if I read this somewhere or if we discovered it for ourselves. It's also funny how there are swimsuits that don't really look comforable. I remember seeing a bikini that was as thin as a string. A clever attempt to avoid it being considered as full nudity.
I was actually surprised that some gamers actually considered this scene gratuitous. I thought that it was appropriate, but thats just me. Triss isn't fully nude though, but she is indeed topless. My friends actually thought the part wherein she was magically removing her clothes. I didn't take any offense to it, but what did you think about it?
7. God of War
I have a confession to make! I've never actually played any of the God of War games. I've heard that the nudity and sex scenes don't really contribute much to the story. However, the game reminded me of shows like Game of Thrones or Spartacus so it didn't really seem ill-placed to me. Perhaps, it was a little too excessive?
8. Indigo Prophecy
There's nothing offensive about the sex scene in Indigo Prophecy, but I will admit that it feels rather awkward and unnecessary for its time. It looks like a bunch of pixels bumping uglies instead of two people sharing an intimate moment. I would be okay with it if it was a movie, but it's not. Perhaps it would look a lot better and fit more if they waited for the graphics to improve.
9. Saints Row IV
While Saints Row IV is undeniably a self-aware parody, that doesn't mean that the nudity in the game is necessary for the game to be the funny. In the early parts of the game, you have to escape a spaceship barenaked. It's kind of ridiculous since a normal person would probably find a way to clothe themselves. It was a "WTF" moment for most players but it was still entertaining nonetheless.
10. Leisure Suit Larry
People often think that Playboy Mansion and Leisure Suit Larry belong to the same echelon of adult themed video games. I personally feel like the latter is worse and more vulgar than the former. The whole game is gratuitous in my opinion since it seems to primarily focus on sex and nudity. At least the other game has a photoshoot mini-game included and you had a brand to run. I could be wrong and these two games are just as needlessly explicit.