Monthly Archives: June 2012

Lollipop Chainsaw’s Revolutionary Camera

We’ll start this week with a couple of humorous things. First, we would like to share some search terms people have been using to find this blog using the WordPress bulleted list function:

  • ninja gaiden 3 where rachel and ryu has[sic] sex
  • ninja gaiden sonia sex ryu
  • ninja gaiden sex
  • ninja gaiden rachel sex

In conclusion, if you want some cheap hits on your blog, then just type up a few words about a buxom video game female and let the floodgates of erotic fanart connoisseurs open.

The second thing we would like to direct your attention to is this trailer for Dead or Alive 5 introducing a new character named Rig. He’s a Canadian tae kwon do practitioner, but that doesn’t matter when his trailer is this hilarious:

The first fight is a typically melodramatic scuffle between Rig and the assassin Christie. The second fight is a much better one between Rig and former pro wrestling champion Bass. It’s much better because the fight is caused by Rig pointing out the impracticality of having a motorcycle on an oil rig, to which Bass responds, “Now apologize for insulting my baby!” Bass then proceeds to hit Rig with his stomach. Simply outstanding. Words cannot describe how happy writing like this makes us.

Boob physics, shmoob physics. Characters like Bass are what defines the Dead or Alive series.

Now on to more exciting things, like Lollipop Chainsaw and why it’s not a sexist throw-away. We were heartened yesterday to read the excellent Talking to Women about Videogames editorial by Jonathan Holmes on Destructoid. Although he kind of stole our thunder with some of his points, it’s excellent to see someone with as loud of a megaphone as his talk about this subject as well!

ANYWAYS, let’s start by talking about the camera in this game. It is a fairly average camera for a third person action game and shares a lot of the issues that are common with the camera in this genre such as jumping around, moving to fast or slow, or getting stuck behind walls and other geometry in the game world. We’re not worried about that though…it comes with the territory of a third person action game.

What we’re interested in is what the game will not allow you to do with it, which is check Juliet out. If you’ll remember back to our post about Rachel in Ninja Gaiden Sigma, you can do some Real Pervy Shit with the camera in that game. Observe:

Here’s some text from my original post:

Did you wonder at her jiggling bosom? Did you witness her ass, partially revealed? Did you marvel at how you can change her hair cut and color to suit your tastes? This is what people are complaining about when they say that women are objectified in video games.

Be aware that this is not an uncommon ability for the camera in a game of this nature. We’re not ashamed to admit that a small portion of our 8th grade video game career was spent manipulating the camera to look at Lara Croft’s polygonal physique from all angles.  This is a Long Standing Issue for video games, and while it isn’t necessarily the Source Of All Evil that some people would have you believe, it maybe should not be something you can simply expect from a third person game with a female lead.

It’s a good thing the Internet came into it’s own during our teen years. Otherwise, we might actually think boobs were supposed to be shaped like a triangular prism.

This all brings us to the camera in Lollipop Chainsaw, a game in which you’re simply not allowed to look at the private areas of your character. A couple of things:

  • The camera is fairly zoomed out to give you a decent view of the action going on in the game and it doesn’t zoom in as aggressively if you stick the camera between Juliet and a wall and have her run at the wall. See the Rachel video above for an example of this.
  • If you try to look up Juliet’s skirt she actually covers herself up and looks embarrassed. See here:

    An achievement, cleverly called “I Swear! I Did It By Mistake!,” can be unlocked by doing this. This ensures that for a gamer who is interested in unlocking all of the game’s achievements, Juliet will inevitably make you feel like a pig at some point.

This is also the only instance we can remember where the player character actually seems to have some agency over what the player does rather than the other way around. It lends a level of realism and empathy to Juliet in a way that you just don’t see in other games.

In the intro for the game, the first thing Juliet says is this:

Welcome to my bedroom. Don’t think me letting you in here is an invitation for any funny stuff. Not that I have a problem with funny stuff. Especially not if you really like the person.

Clearly, Juliet does not really like you, and this camera business is an excellent example of the in-game mechanics supporting what the character does during cut scenes. Juliet is completely devoted to Nick, her boyfriend, and if the player were able to look up her skirt (with her boyfriends head right there on her hip!) it would be, in a word, weird. As a result, the developer’s took great pains to see to it that Juliet sticks to what she says and doesn’t let the player engage in any Funny Stuff.

Nick doesn’t even like it when his creators look up Juliet’s skirt for a promo shot.

Our word count is getting high! We’ll hang up our typing pants for now, but prepare for more later in the week!

We’re Cooking Now

We have achieved a great thing this weekend:

Here it is a little closer:

That’s us with our loyal hound posing over the corpse of Ninja Gaiden Sigma‘s very hard mode. The Master Ninja difficulty, highlighted in these photos, is available! We’re one step closer to Ninja Gaiden Legend status, and it’s all thanks to our epic expressions.

Lollipop Chainsaw is Magical

We have the good fortune of being related to an excellent sister/boyfriend combination who got us Lollipop Chainsaw last week as a bit of an early birthday present. Having played through it in it’s entirety on normal mode this week, we can safely say that is Magical, and like all Magical Things, it is full of rainbows, stars, and hearts.

However, it is also full of something else, being that it is a game about a chainsaw wielding cheerleader with her boyfriends living head affixed to her hip on her quest to stop a zombie plague. It follows that there are a plenty of panty peeks, cleavage shots, cusses, and ultra violence. We have been dismayed to see that many video game critics and commenters on the Internet are getting hung up on this fact and get stuck talking about how pandering and immature it is. We are here to tell you that this is not the case!

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As an aside, we’ve wondered in the past why, in most video games, if there is a theme, it is approached with the grace of a brick flying through a window. It would seem that it is because most people are only willing to take things like cheerleaders killing zombies at face-value. This is just fine. We understand that not everyone wants to delve into games quite as deeply as we do. However, these same people then go on to whine about the fact that the legitimacy of the video game as an art form is not recognized by the general public. Well, friends, if you’re unwilling to look beneath the surface of a video game like this one, then why do you expect your parents to see video games as anything other than the reason that you haven’t mowed the lawn yet?

Philistines.

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Lollipop Chainsaw is, at it’s core, about objectification. It goes without saying that it has things to say about the sexual objectification of women (there is an achievement for trying to look up Juliette’s skirt), but it goes on to comment about the objectification of everything in our society. Jim Sterling scratched at this a bit this week in an essay on Destructoid, but we’d like to go a little deeper. This could get lengthy, so we’ll probably have to make this in chunks.

To start with, let’s look at Juliette, because she has a lot going on. That way too, but we’re talking about the other, more symbolic sort of way:

Juliette Starling

Supastah.

Juliette is the protagonist of Lollipop Chainsaw. We’ll let the game’s intro video speak for itself:

So she is sexy and acrobatic and ditzy and blonde. A dreamy, idealized yellow haired sex monkey, if you’ll allow.

There’s the player staring at Juliette over the course of the game, but the enemies and NPCs make no secret of the fact that they’re staring at her too. Here is a list of some, but not all, of the things we were called over the course of our adventure:

  • Bitch
  • Fucking Bitch
  • Slut
  • Fucking Slut
  • Whore
  • Fucking Whore
  • Cunt
  • Fucking Cunt
  • Slag
  • Fucking Slag

You get the idea. We can remember two specific sentences from the game, both from Juliette’s classmates after we rescued them. Here’s one:

Male Classmate: “I’m going to masturbate to you tonight!”

Bear in mind that after being rescued, Juliette’s classmates always give her copious sums of money. So that’s nice. At least Juliette’s classmates pay for their porn.

It makes Isis Love sad when you steal her copyrighted materials.

It’s clear to see that the other inhabitants of the game world see Juliette, and by extension the player, as little more than a sex toy. This, we think, is clever! In a time when every game blog everywhere is exploding because of how sexist and rapey video game culture is, a game comes along that actually calls it’s (we’re going to presume here, but bear with us) male player a slag. A fucking slag even. That is not something that most male video game players have probably been  through before. The sexist pig has been placed in the character of a sexualized female. How does the player respond to these insults? They saw the perpetrator in twain with a chainsaw.

Eat that, sexist pigs. YEAH.

More to come later this week!

Everything We Like is Sexist: SSFIV AE’s Cammy

The Great Nun Garroting Debacle of 2012 gave us an idea for an ongoing series that we could turn to when we’re having a hard time fishing for topics to write about. Everything We Like is Sexist will look at things that we like that may or may not be sexist and we’ll just take some time and decide how we feel about that.

This is not an effort to trivialize the rape culture and misogyny that is prevalent in the gaming community and just about every other community in our society.  This will just be an Examination of Particular Things, hopefully semi-non-biased. We’re not entirely sure what the voice of these features, or indeed this blog as a whole will be, but let’s find out!

So let’s start with what some might call Easy Pickins. Let’s look at the things my main in Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition can wear when she fights. Or, some might cleverly say, the Lack of them. Her name is Cammy. Here’s her default costume:

So that sort of makes sense. It’s not modest, but Cammy certainly doesn’t have to worry about ripping her pants. We’ve always been puzzled by the fact that you can see her rippling abs through her leotard, but not her nipples. There must be some secret padding in there or something. Also, the back is a thong, so that’s nice. We don’t know that from seeing it in battle. We know that from her intro video. Here’s a capture from it:

You just got thonged friend. This skippable video plays at the start of every fight featuring Cammy. There really is no explanation for this other than T & A. Just A really.

Let’s look at her other costumes. Here’s her Alt 1:

Nothing is less revealing than bundling up for a cold day. Unless you forgot your pants and are still wearing that thong. Oh well. Better luck next time.

Here’s her Alt 2:

This is her M. Bison costume. We believe this one is our favorite. Surely those pauldrons will shield Cammy from many blows, and her shins are near impregnable. Also, that sense of style pouring forth from that hat is unassailable.

Finally, her Alt 3:

This is just silly. Cat woman? Cat burglar? Cat girl? There’s a thing with Cammy and cats throughout Street Fighter and it’s never made any sense. If you’re a brainwashed assassin, surely you would be a negligent cat owner. We appreciate that the physics of her pig tails has been applied to the cat tail, so we still get some cool ancillary movement from her model.

Is Cammy’s character design sexist?

She’s certainly usable and is ranked among the top 5 characters out of 43 on most tier lists, so it’s not like she’s just eye candy. Cammy doesn’t have any saucy one-liners; she gets away with saying things like “Mission accomplished.” However, she definitely is eye candy. She’s got a bit of a lolita thing going on with the pigtails and the small bust. Also, that inescapably well defined ass. The camera hits you over the head with her fetishized rear at the start of every fight.

We are not members of the school of thought that believes that objectification and fetishization inherently create sexism by themselves, so we’re going to say  that Cammy’s design is not sexist in our opinion. She has no stereotypically feminine or sexual qualities apart from her rear end, and that pervy camera angle at the start of each fight isn’t enough to make her a complete sex object with no other function within the game world.

So the first issue of Everything We Like is Sexist will end, in fact, with us saying that Cammy, who is a video game thing we like, is not sexist.

Hate The Sinner, Not The Sexy Latex Nuns

First this week, a plea from us to our numerous readers:

Do you have artistic talent? Do you completely lack artistic talent? We would appreciate you contributing an image(s) to use as our header image. Here’s what we’re looking for:

  • 990×180 pixels. Anything submitted would have to be cropped to this size by us or you.
  • Cat (the animal)
  • Joystick (the video game controller)
  • You Make It With Creativity and Effort
  • We Use It With Your Permission
  • No Lewd or Offensive Things

We’ll take scans, MS paint drawings, photos, etc. We’ll pay you in friendship points. Credit would be given. Our vision is to be able to use WordPress’s “Random Header Image” function to have random header images, but we need more than one header image to do that. It’ll be great for everyone involved. Please help!

This week, the Internet introduced us to this trailer for the upcoming Hitman: Absolution.

This has people upset. There’s lots of words like “rape culture” and “sexual violence” being thrown around, but we’re not entirely sure why. However, upon watching it for the first time, we thought it was Outstanding. I mean shoot. Nuns with rocket launchers. After seeing how angry the Internet is, we were beginning to believe that we might actually be a bad, desensitized person who hates women. To allay our fears, we showed the trailer to our wife, who also thought it was Outstanding.

Does this mean we’re both bad people? We don’t think so.

We are a pretty big fan of exploitative 70’s cinema. Pam Grier or Sid Haig* on a cast list is like an Awesome Guarantee. It is our estimate that we watch at least one movie about all-female work camps with a sadistic warden each month. The plots of these movies largely involves a group of women being subjugated and sexually abused for the first half of the movie and then acquiring an armory’s worth of assault rifles and serving up some comeuppance for the second half. These movies often take place in a dirty, hot place just after a rain so that there are lots of mud puddles for the bikini clad heroines to fall into. They are low budget affairs and the acting is typically horrible. Grindhouse movies are cheesy schlock and they know it.

Pam Grier is great.

A more modern example of this genre is the excellent Bitchslap. Here’s a scene that displays all of the best things about grindhouse. Note how the buckets of water just appear from nowhere. It’s magical.

We’re bringing all of this up because it is our estimation that that is exactly what this trailer is. Admittedly, we haven’t played a lot of the Hitman series, but the one memory we carry around of those games is a level where we had to infiltrate an S & M bar by killing a submissive to steal his clothes. You could kill everyone or not, but stealth is boring, so we killed everyone. Dominatrixes, masters, and submissives all came at us with guns and whips and we mowed them all down. This is just not a series of games that we associate with being clean or understated. You can complete levels through total stealth or massive carnage. It’s up to you.

That trailer is certainly not as offensive as the shitty live action Hitman movie.

Clearly, both the nuns and the titular hitman in the trailer have opted for massive carnage. It’s just so over the top and stagy that we can’t imagine a person actually taking it seriously. That, some might say, is exactly the problem, but like a grindhouse movie from the 70’s, you know what you’re getting when you load up an M-rated trailer for a game called Hitman. It’s going to be gratuitous and over the top. We firmly believe that you can stop with any notion of it being reasonable when the center nun takes out a rocket launcher. Where was she carrying it? Does she have a typical video game character magic inventory, where stuff appears for her out of nowhere because her person selected it from her inventory? Why didn’t she opt for her flamethrower or laser?

We’ll grant that the nuns are in sexy BDSM clothes that are impractical for battle, but that doesn’t automatically make it “rape” when the hitman kills them. There is nothing sexual in his fighting maneuvers. He doesn’t teabag the corpses  or cop a feel while he’s strangling them. The hitman is all business. He even goes so far as to show them respect and close their eyes at the end.

Further, the argument that it’s too easy for him to kill them doesn’t hold much water for us. OF COURSE it’s relatively easy for him to kill them. He’s the invincible hero of a video game where he stars as a one man army. For our money, they still do a pretty good job of roughing him up before they die. It’s pulpy, over the top violence for violence’s sake, and that’s exactly what this franchise is about to us.

We do not believe that this is indicative of “everything that’s wrong in the games industry”. Look to the economics of the industry and it’s dependence on AAA titles. Look to the parents of the 11 year old asshole who kindly tells you to ride a fat cock when you kill him in Halo. Look to the YouTube comments on fighting game videos casually throwing the word “rape” around like it doesn’t mean anything. These are the problems with video game culture. Schlocky over sexualized violence hasn’t brought down the movie industry in 50 years, and it’s certainly not something for the video game industry to worry about.

Further Reading

Male Members of the Ninja Gaiden Sigma Monster Community

We are now at a point where we’ve put over 90 hours into Ninja Gaiden Sigma over the last two months. We’re almost at the point where we can start Master Ninja difficulty and we’re pretty pumped up. During this lengthy time with the game, we have noticed that along with Ninja Action and Rachel’s boobs, there is also a lot of penis imagery. For all of the talk about how many boobs and scantily clad ladies are in this series, everyone seems to have missed all of the phalluses, and we think they shouldn’t. Let’s take a look:

Worms

You fight these worm guys three times during the regular game. They come in electric and fire versions. They’re particularly notable in terms of video game penis iconography because they kind of turn into vaginas around the mouth area like some kind of sentient hermaphrodite sex organ. The electric version shown here also has some spiky teeth at the end and we can’t decide if that reminds us of Se7en or Teeth more. As an aside, you first fight one of them, then two, and end with a fight against three. Kind of like a hardcore porno called Demon Penis 13.

Ogres

Ogres were our inspiration for this post. We couldn’t find a screen of these guys from Sigma, so the guys shown here are the Xbox version. Still, look at that low res erect penis. You can’t see it here so much here, but they protrude quite a ways from their pelvises. The weird thing is that the bulge is actually under the skin, like the ogres are wearing some kind of full body chastity belt. We do not know how that works, but it sounds inconvenient. Can they only have sex when they molt or something? Does fighting with this comparatively tiny latex clad man really arouse them this much? Maybe they’re part of a dinosaur fetish fraternity or something. No wonder they spend all of their time trying to beat us with their massive clubs.

The Bone Dragon

“The Bone Dragon” sounds like either a kitschy adult novelty or an obscene tattoo, but he is actually the boss of chapter 7. It’s hard to see on this sort of tiny image, but he actually seems to have a penis bone coming out of his pelvis bone. This has led us to suspect that his name has nothing to do with the fact that’s a living dragon skeleton and more to do with his formidable stamina in the bedroom.

Dynamo & Alternator

In a rare moment of modesty for the modern Ninja Gaiden series, two bosses called Dynamo & Alternator have vinyl cushions for codpieces. Also, sticky on a hot day.

Hydracubus the Tentacle Fiend

If you’ll remember from our Rachel discussion, this fairly common subject of erotic Asian animation gets his goo all over her.

The Military Radio Tower & Train

At the end of chapter 11, Ryu dismantles the military organization by blowing up their Radio Tower with explosive arrows.  That done, he receives the best piece of advice ever:

The military’s communications are down and their organization is in shambles. Now is the time to escape the base. Resistance around the train turntable is low and it is the perfect time to steal a train. The rail runs through the Dworku district.

IT IS THE PERFECT TIME TO STEAL A TRAIN. We wish someone would say to us sometime. As in, “James, the traffic on I-90 is awful. It is the perfect time to steal a train,” or, “Wow, you sure were great on that conference call James. It is the perfect time to steal a train.” We have dreams.

So Ryu steals the train and immobilizes the military by destroying their two phalluses.

The Palace of Zarkhan

You can see it a bit in this video at 1:05. The final destination in the game is a palace that is little more than a column of bones stabbing into the earth. You might even say boning the earth.

Weapons

This is kind of too easy, but all of the weapons are swords, sticks, guns, horns, claws, or teeth, so there’s a lot of Stabbing, Shooting, Beating, and Immolation. You know, like hot sex.

So that’s all the penises we could think of just now. We weren’t smart enough to make list beforehand or anything like that, but this is pretty comprehensive. Your one stop source for monster phalluses, you might say.

Thinking back to our thoughts on how female sexuality is viewed as a bad thing in this game because it will get you killed through distraction, male sexuality is bad because it will outright club you to death. In the NGS world, sex and lust lead to violence and pain, or at the very least an obstacle to your progress as a person. Further, the player’s mastery of Ryu’s phalluses, in the form of his weaponry, allows them to progress through the game. That makes this game the only cool abstinence campaign that the world has ever seen.

Thanks to MyCheats for all of the images!

Further reading:
Intro to Gender Criticism for Gamers: From Princess Peach, to Clare Redfield, to FemSheps. by Kaitlyn Tremblay on Medium Difficulty