By Damir Halilović on June 27, 2010 7:20 PM
Sex sells stuff and that's no secret. I don't see anyone complaining about it... so I will do it. And before you scream "BRITTISH!" at me, let me say that I have nothing against sex, quite the contrary really. What I do have a problem with is forcing it into places where it doesn't belong.
"But sex makes everything better!" you might say. If that thought did cross your mind, please take a sharp object (a blunt object works as well, but you need to be very persistent) and remove your brain from your skull and go hand it over for adoption. The problem is as follows - game A is awesome, with engaging characters, epic storyline and marvelous gameplay. Then, one year later, the development studio decides that they can increase the sales of the second part by increasing the boob and ass count of the game by 40% while simultaneously decreasing the average cloth amount of every female (and male for political correctness) character in the game.
A splendid example of such an approach would be the newly announced Mortal Kombat sequel. While one could argue that the girls in Mortal Kombat never were that subtle to begin with, this new installment takes it to a whole new level. Was this necesary? Does it increase gameplay value at all? Would the game be rated less and / or sell fewer copies if the outfits weren't as... lacking? The sad truth is that the answer to all those questions is "yes". However, one might say that it's "just an outfit" and that it doesn't have any relevance to the actual game. While this might hold true for this particular example of a fighting game, it fails miserably at other places.
Take a serious female character from any game, say
Aeris Jade from Beyond Good & Evil. Jade is, by all accounts, a decently fleshed out protagonist, a ray of light in a bleak world in which the game takes place. Now ask yourself this - would you be able to still take her seriously if she was wearing half a bikini throughout the game? I thought not. Now again, don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing against fan service... when it's justifiable. At some points however developers just drop all the pretense and give people tits just for the sake of doing it. And that's where my bullshit alarm goes off.
Once a developer goes out of the way to turn the female characters of a game into skimpy sluts, thereby reducing their value as characters, and thereby the value of the whole plot, that's when people need to start worrying. There are too many RPGs to count that are guilty of this particular offense, but one need to look only at the below image from the upcoming action RTS Kingdom Under Fire II to see the problem in action.
I don't even want to start arguing about how such an armor is completely unfit for battling hordes of axe wielding barbarians. The problem is that she, no matter how awesome, deep and complex of a character she ends up being, will always have the whore brand right there on her forehead, making all possible arguments she might have null and void, and eliminating the chance of anyone paying attention to anything but her OH MY GOD those are big-ass melons!
In the end, just as with most things that are wrong with gaming, it's us that are at fault. But this time it's not because we're stupid, or greedy, or don't know what we want, but simply because we're humans. We're a bunch of exploitable horny humans who will shy at nothing to get our daily doze of gazongas. One might wonder if it really is a problem at all, because games might get dumbed down, but they'll still be enjoyable because hey, tits ARE awesome. Perhaps books are the only intellectual entertainment left untainted by the corruption of human desire.