Playboy strips down girls of gaming...again

October's gentleman's rag will feature sirens of cyberspace in the buff for second year running.

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The debate over the portrayal of women in games may never end. Some take offense to the unrealistic body types, and others love them. Many of gaming's most famous heroines are top-heavy, hourglass-figured females imagined by a population of character designers dominated by males. It all truly began with Tomb Raider's Lara Croft, whose ability to navigate the precipices of an ancient civilization was second in popularity to her own precipices.

For all gamers who took a gander at a digital dame and thought, "She could be in Playboy!" a pictorial last year in an issue of the magazine that Hugh Hefner built confirmed just that. Several gaming icons, including BloodRayne and Mileena from Mortal Kombat, shed for the spread.

The success of the issue, which also included articles on the industry and picks for the holiday season's top games, prompted Playboy to go for round two. According to CNN's Chris Morris, eight female game characters will once again rerate themselves as AO for Adults Only in October's issue of Playboy.

Scott Alexander, senior editor for the magazine, told Morris, "Last year, we were selling a new concept [to publishers]. The response we got last year and the huge promotional bump resulted in companies lining up at our door. I literally had to turn away six or seven publishers."

So which lucky video vixens will be baring all in the issue? Jacqui, a cheerleader from Midway's Blitz: The League will be in her god-given under-armor. Carla Valenti from Atari's Indigo Prophecy, who plays a detective solving a rash of murders in New York City, will cleverly deduce that she's nude in the issue. Capcom's Darkwatch will offer two beauties, the arresting Cassidy, a blonde deputy in the Old West, and Tala, a vampiric femme fatale who also appeared in last year's pictorial when Darkwatch was still under the watch of Sammy Studios. Alexa, a reporter from VU Games' 50 Cent: Bulletproof, will, to quote 50, not only "party like it's her birthday," but party in her birthday suit.

Rounding out the octet will be characters from Sony's God of War (who likely already appeared nude in the game), Namco's Hellgate: London, and, fittingly, Hip Games' Playboy the Mansion: Private Party.

The pictures will appear on eight trading cards, four of which will be printed in two different versions of the magazine. When positioned together correctly, the eight cards form a ninth picture.

Playboy has been tapping into the growing gaming market in recent years. In addition to Playboy: The Mansion, which puts the sin in Sims-style gameplay, the empire has offered downloadable pictorials formatted for Sony's PSP.

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