Is Oversexualization Ever Detrimental To The Games Themselves?
It's the one topic that just refuses to go away, sticking to headlines like bikini glue (that's a real thing btw).
It's sex, or more specifically the oversexualization of characters in video games. People are titillated by the possibility of an NC-17 rating on the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey, partial nudity is of course cool on magazine covers, and you won't catch any self-respecting beer commercial on air without its bikini babes. But as soon as a video game tries to cash-in on sexuality it's all hands on deck.
People against gaming automatically use it to say how sleazy and juvenile this artistic medium is and gamers themselves align with one of two camps. Those camps seem to carry the titles “This is an outrage!" and “Everybody should get over themselves.”
Recently we've seen a lot of buzz over the . . . proportions of the Sorceress character in Dragon's Crown, some varying opinions about gigalo missions in Killer Is Dead, and even knee-jerk reactions to Square-Enix's decision to increase the bust size of Lightning in their new Final Fantasy effort. Perhaps the most interesting news on this front of late is Hideo Kojima's stroll down sexy lane with the character Quiet in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
While I'm not one to force my views on anyone I do think I understand that there is a stark difference between how the west and how Japan views the topic and we should respect that when talking about Japanese games. More importantly though I'd just like to ask if you all think that oversexualization of characters (men or women, both are prevalent) ever actually act as a detriment to the video games that host them?
Do the bouncing bosoms of DOA5 detract from the solid fighting mechanics? Did Juliet's hyperactive sexuality drag down the fun factor of Lollipop Chainsaw? Did the sale of swimsuits for Final Fantasy XIII-2's heroes cheapen the game? Maybe you thought Bayonetta herself could have been more suggestive and less blatant and that would have made it an even better game.
Personally I find that more often than not the highly sexual components of video games are just another part of their charm. Whether it's adding to the over the top nature or the distinctive character design it may not be necessary but since when were games about necessity? Just as you are unlikely to find a man or woman in a fantasy film wearing sensible armor over their chest or a female FBI agent in much more than a tank top on prime time TV you are also unlikely to find the goods on display in a game completely in line with reality. Are those pieces of entertainment any worse for being unrealistic?
Some might say that things just go too far in games, but I think what we see is in proportion to the medium. In other words since the characters are made by artists from the ground up instead of culled from casting couches you tend to get somebody's fantasy person. Most importantly though I can't think of many times when it just damaged the game.
Feel free to disagree with me in the comments below. Tell us if you think all this sexiness can be detrimental to the games themselves. Oh yeah, and check out the full picture of Quiet, you might want to see the bottom half before you respond.
Related Game(s): Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Killer is Dead, Dragons Crown
9/6/2013 7:53:04 PM David D. Nelson