Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sometimes, I hate my hobby

I'm a gamer. I love computer games, and I readily defend them from ridiculous insinuations. But then, sometimes, there's this:
You know, some people just don’t get art. Yesterday, a number of websites reported on a special collector’s edition of the upcoming zombie-game sequel Dead Island: Riptide. Available now for preorder in the United Kingdom and Australia, the “Zombie Bait Edition” comes with a few extras commissioned by the studio, Deep Silver. The package includes special artwork and a steel case to protect your copy of Dead Island from the elements. Oh, and there’s also a scale model of a nubile, bikini-clad woman’s dismembered corpse. ...

In this “grotesque take on an iconic Roman marble torso sculpture”—an actual thing said by an actual human being who works for Deep Silver—the limbs aren’t just gone. No, their gory absence suggests a struggle. This anonymous woman’s limbs and head were ripped from her, presumably amid spurts of blood and a few prerecorded voiceover-booth moans rendered in sparkling 7.1-channel surround sound. ...

You’ll notice, too, that every part of the figure’s body is mangled except the breasts. A couple of the gashes on Oh God, You Just Know Someone Is Masturbating To This Right Now come close to the boobs, but they stop short, out of solemn reverence. This is in keeping with the long game-industry tradition of honoring huge bazongas above all (and honoring the ass, too, if there’s any development time left over after programming the huge bazongas). ...

The gore serves as a complement to the misogyny, because without that face and those limbs to distract the viewer, a clear point of focus—boobs—can emerge. It’s so elegant how it all fits together. You know in A Beautiful Mind when all those numbers and equations are connecting together around Russell Crowe’s head, like a dazzling crystal? This is like that, except with hating women instead of math.

The final touch of grace is the nationalism element. The statue comes in two versions, one with the Union Jack for U.K. buyers and one with the Australian flag for those Down Under. Thus Deep Silver quells any lingering queasiness with the soothing balm of patriotism. We can all rest easy knowing that while this woman tits may have met her tits end, she died tits for tits queen and country tits tits.

This guy - and it is a guy writing this, and a gamer - hits the nail right on the head. And that's the thing which saves the game industry. There's all too much of this kind of thing - and all too many misogynistic adolescents (of any age) who see nothing wrong with it - but there are also people who object.

There are also people who write brilliant pieces of criticism, and there are plenty of people who agree, and... sometimes they have an effect. Deep Silver has apologized and is, at least, rethinking the whole thing (whether this means canceling the gory promotional statuette, though, isn't clear).

That's what I like about my hobby - one of the things. I'll give another example of that in my next post.

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