Sometimes I have to wonder if it’s really just an obsession. The video game industry is in a weird spot right now where it has to decide how it wants to grow up. When we’re looking back, Movies, comics, television, music etc have all gone through this period where they’ve had to stand up to some kind of ideals for how their medium should be portrayed.
Games are not a special case by any means, it’s the medium ‘who’s turn it is’ to go through this process. But this is the thing that makes it weird: The complaints directed towards video games, are often in correlation to the mediums before it. The core component to a video game is it’s gameplay. Gameplay is often times never controversial. I know in the back of my head I should be thinking about shooters, and how that is often the center of controversy. But that’s more of a study in the mental health and stability of people, plus bad parenting.
The controversy nowadays is how video games are depicted as sexist, misogynistic. That’s totally fair. Let’s be honest here, video games are a boys club. Virtually everything we play is a hero story were you casually murder hundreds of cannon fodder, to save your wife/mother/sister/girlfriend/world/yourself. So a lot of the worlds that we play in are often visually depicted that way. So equal opportunity in the male power fantasy, is this thing where woman have large, gravity-defying boobs or share too much skin, or they act provocatively.
Right now, if you type ‘Controversial game character designs’ into google, you get this lady:
I would also love to add, she is already being cosplayed. (maybe that’ll help put it into some kind of perspective?)
David Ellis, who works for Halo people, said “Don’t care if this gets me in trouble. This character design is disgusting. Our industry should be better than this.“
Can I go back to my initial sentence where I think it’s an obsession in complaining? There’s a certain bias that I have towards art. I don’t cry fowl to how a character is designed, if they work with the world they inhabit and establish who that character is. Metal Gear Solid is a fantastical Universe where it’s key figures have crazy designs. If sexism is the biggest problem? There’s been far more scenarios that happen at the expense of male characters.
The reason why I can’t bring myself to lighting a pitchfork over it, is because you’ll be surprised by the amount of women out there that embrace this sort of thing. There are those who would dress up as characters that I normally used to scoff at. You may also be surprised by the amount of women out there with an extensive artwork portfolio, filled with work that would take a picture like that one step further. But you don’t hear about them, because people would rather point their finger at men over it.
Nobody stops and asks Stefanie Joosten what she thinks. After-all, she’s the model and voice, of the character. To be honest, for as big as games are, this is an amazing step for her. Quiet is her likeness, Quiet is a real person. It’s not up to you to declare what this person is supposed to look like. If she had a problem with it, she’d have done something herself. She doesn’t need you to tell her that what she’s doing is wrong if she can tell the difference.
Games have hit the point where they can look realistic enough, where they can start acting like movies themselves. We are going to head into a direction where actors will be hired for who they are, and be more than just a voice. So if you start complaining about something like that, you’re in turn complaining about every other medium that was well ahead of video games all over again.
So then let me present you with this question, “Is the core of a North American society still sexually repressed after all these years?”