Gentlemen, you can surely all attest to the nork-centric nature of video games. We’ve seen utterly superfluous bust size sliders, sexy sexy-sex scenes with sex in (complete with marvelously-endowed slave women) and distressing damsel rescuings-amundo. The medium has been beset by allegations of misogyny, primarily from sanctimonious newspaper guys that wouldn’t know a video game if somebody slapped them in their self-righteous bollocks with the disk.
No amount of brain-bleach will expunge that image, so we shan’t dwell upon it. Instead, let’s hasten to the annals of gaming to explore this sordid, (sometimes) unwarranted reputation.
Fighting games, we’d venture, are the witchhunt’s most frequent target. The shenanigans of Team Ninja and their notoriously tit-tastic Dead or Alive franchise most pertinent among them. Much as we all revel in an ogling session, the ladies herein have had their sexuality exaggerated to the point of obscenity, of caricature. Interviews with the developers suggest that there’s a market for humongous impossi-boobs that jiggle like jello trampolining on the surface of the moon, but the merry middle finger to realism remains. Indeed, alongside this gesture, fighting games have choreographed a whole shit to you, realism dance number to match, complete with jazz hands and all manner of theatrical frolics.
This was sufficient in and of itself to invoke a shitstorm of righteous media vengeance. Elderly readers of the Telegraph lost monocles when the errant eyepieces jumped from their faces in their outrage. Parents wrote Won’t SOMEBODY think of the children on their lawns in their own shit, and mailed a photograph of the resultant unpleasantness to the offending companies (this could well have happened). Nevertheless, there is a certain skewed equality still evident in such games. Even the most inappropriately-attired (and proportioned) fighting femmes -Street Fighter’s Cammy, Soul Calibur’s Ivy et al- have the very same proclivity for groin-punching that their testosterone-tastic male counterparts do.
The skimpy outfits (Look at my ass! Look! At my ass!) can be preposterous, but we are reminded that women need not be coddled. They are not vulnerable, piteous entities to be safeguarded by us dudely dudes. They have an equal capacity for badassery and/or psychotic violence, regardless of how much improbable boobarama they’re displaying in the process. The likes of Princess Peach may beleaguer Mario with cries for help, but wouldn’t you if a ten-foot ninja turtle kidnapped you and transported you to his seedy sex dungeon to have his ghastly, deviant way with you? We rather think you would. In addition, she is there for our delectation in Super Smash Bros, mashing Bowser’s giant lizard ballsack into a sad, hurty mess with a frying pan. Have that in your rectum, stereotypes!
Furthermore, actual female lady-types have been known to venture into the protagonist role, and perform it with aplomb. Samus Aran’s inaugural appearance in the NES Metroid was testament to this; only in a fleeting ending graphic did we determine her gender. Granted, this was achieved via some light capering in a bikini. Lara Croft, too, has remarkable athletic prowess and general cohones to rival anything Nathan Drake does in the Unchartedfranchise, though her jiggly jubblies are as acclaimed as her many talents. RPGs are often the arena in which female party members are less of a hyperventilation-inducing deal.
Much of this business is exacerbated by the attempt to cater to the ‘core gamer,’ frequently defined as a guy of 30 or so. Sometimes he has an ass of monumental proportions, semi-fused with an office chair that he hasn’t risen from since 1989. Sometimes he doesn’t. Most pertinently, though, sometimes he’s a little more discerning.