Thursday, 6 December 2012

Tricking Perverts into Playing Great Games

I'm going to go out on a limb here and I won't be disheartened if nobody backs me on this, sexuality is a confusing place, for everyone. I don't mean the often misconstrued and badly represented, do you like boys or girls kind of confusing; I mean the weirdly repressed, suppressed, untalked of, ever present and just ocassionally terrifying world of individual sexuality that exists in everyone behind this thin veil that we call society. Now I'm not going to try to weigh in on this and try to solve any of society's problems, sexuality is difficult and tricky for everyone all the time, that's a fact. What I will say is this though, a lot of people complain about sex in the media, usually on the grounds of decency, exposure or simply just 'think of the children'. But I have come up with what I think is a much better argument - everyone is a bit fucked up and money grabbing ad men aren't exactly helping the situation.
I typed 'Sexually Confusing Advert' into Google. Here's a tip, don't do that

Now, before I creep any readers out by mentioning the word sex again, I'd like to steer this neatly into video games. The depiction of alluring women in video games is a subject that has received a lot of coverage over the years, many essays, news articles and research proposals have attempted to delve into the heart of the problem, proclaiming that it's wrong, exploitative, emotionally damaging, potentially dangerous and perhaps worst of all, largely ignoring the sizeable heterosexual female gamer market. But here's the thing, I didn't care. Not because I disagreed with any of these points, or just loathe reactionary news stories by 40 something journalists who never picked up a control pad, but simply because most of the games that were being lambasted totally sucked noodles. If they want to use Lara Croft's pixelated assets to sell more copies of Tomb Raider, fine, the gameplay is still dull and the platforming is horrible to manage, I ain't buying it. But recently the problem of using sex to sell games has washed up on my prudish shores and that's because of the recent trend of genuinely excellent games that are steeped in sex and perversion for pretty much no reason at all.
Well of course it's an article about Bayonetta, look at the title

 Two titles that I've recently devoted a lot of time to are the games Bayonetta and Catherine, both fantastic games for very different reasons. Bayonetta is one of the best god of war/devil may cry type beat-up-demonic-monsters games that you're likely to find. And Catherine is an intensely complex, multi-faceted and unique puzzle game....uh, and a disturbing dating simulator. And there's the problem, every time you pull off (wahey) a successful move in Bayonetta you are 'rewarded' with pretty much all of her clothes coming off - her clothes are made of her hair, which is also her main makes sense in some weird way if you play - and equally in Catherine, every time you reach the summit of another challenging level you are 'treated' to a (no joke) twenty minute interactive erotic story about a detestable, pathetic protagonist and the ludicrously proportioned women who throw themselves at him.
Sorry Zeta Jones, first Google result goes to cartoon Catherine
For the record, I have nothing against dating simulators, I think they're boring, but so is Tiger Woods Golf and nobody gets given grief for enjoying those games. And perversion is also nothing I'm against, morally or otherwise, in fact as I alluded to in that disturbing opening paragraph, I think we're all perverts in our own individual ways, like lots of precious dirty snowflakes. I wouldn't even call these games perverted, that would be to wrongly marginalise the people who enjoy that content within them. The problem is simply putting sex where it seems completely unneeded, in every sense of the word, simply because, hell, both of these games happen to be incredibly difficult. When I manage to perform a seamless combo in Bayonetta, I'm not pleased because I got a glimpse of arse, I'm happy because the fight itself was an incredible challenge. Even if arousal was something I was looking for from my Xbox  It'd be like trying to maintain an erection whilst solving a Rubik's cube, it can't be done (submit your videos directly to YouTube and link me).
Why are you so happy? Your other hand had better be on another rubik's cube
Sex and terrible games go hand in hand, and rightfully so, companies love selling them, people love buying them. But sex and great games have no place in bed together. The worst thing is, I'm now in the horrible position of loving both of these games uncontrollably; the conversation is always the same: "Man, have you played Bayonetta?" "ooohh Yeah, isn't that the game where she..." "Yes! Fine! But it's also really really good despite that, please try it" I have to spend the first 5 minutes trying to explain that I don't sit at home sweaty palmed and drooling; sometimes I even try writing an incredibly long article about it. But as I find, time and time again, the harder you work to convince people it isn't true, the worse you end up looking by the time you're done.

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