The great thing about Lamentations of the Flame Princess is that it is an unquestionably adult game and there’s no need to agonise over whether to include gratuitous sex and violence, not that I do particularly anyway.
I think part of the problem when it comes to this sort of content is the interchangeability of the terms ‘Adult’ and ‘Mature’. You can’t know – very well – whether you’re getting something that that is serious and grown up or is a cavalcade of blood and tits. Just to confuse matters you can also have things that are both.
Let’s try and give these a better definition then.
When something is ‘Adult’ let us say that the content it has in it is the sort of thing you wouldn’t necessarily want kids looking at. Nakedness, sex, ultra-violence, pornography, that sort of thing. It’s not saying it’s bad, but that the content can be uncomplicated. Sophomoric one might say if one were being uncharitable.
When something is ‘Mature’ let us say that the content in it is ‘serious’. That it is the sort of thing kids may find deadly boring. Politics, relationships, ‘grown up’ stuff. This is kind of nebulous, it’s like the difference between comics and art, literature and genre fiction, the subject of much debate. Still, this is a good starting point.
Of course, the existence of ‘Adult’ material also allows greater exploration of ‘Mature’ material in the repercussions of sexual relationships, the aftermath of violence and so on. It’s perfectly possible for something to be both ‘Adult’ and ‘Mature’.
My aim in, hopefully, making Machinations of the Space Princess will be to hit the ‘Adult’ button hard enough to let the ‘Mature’ part take care of itself through play. My model is the likes of Heavy Metal/Metal Hurlant, adult (if not always mature) continental comics and magazines.