Thought of the Day: Boobs in Games and Modern Art

Takashi Murakami 's Hiropon

Seraphina Brennan at Massively writes a plea for people to stop complaining about the size of the female characters’ assets in videogames.

Before I add my thoughts on this, take a look at the picture to the left. It’s by an artist called Takashi Murakami and it’s a classic of modern art.

Murakami says of this piece, “The design took its original inspiration from a large-breasted girl game that was on a software fan magazine that I picked up at the 1992 summer Comike. With these abnormal swollen nipples and breasts, I could illustrate the depth of Japan’s subculture, and the excesses of its art, the psycho-sexual complexes of the Japanese, and the increasingly malformed otaku culture!”

Is it hot, over the top, or is it OK because he’s taking the piss out of otaku culture?

I mention this because Brennan’s article includes some pictures of gaming characters who look almost as stupidly endowed as the girl in the sculpture. Except, amazingly, people take them seriously and don’t realise that graphic artists are sending them up.

I have three thoughts on the boobs in gaming issue:

  1. That character is going to represent me in the game. Games are often wrapped in escapist fantasy. Players like characters that look pretty, that look badass, that look hot — but not too hot if they’re male, evidently. Whether hot equates to looking like an anime fanwank pornstar is open to debate. To me, that doesn’t look hot and it’s offputting enough that I won’t play. Everyone has their own boundaries; I’ll respect yours if you respect mine. If I find examples that strike me as especially ludicrous I may post about them.
  2. It isn’t just the boobs. Look at how the character is posed and dressed as well. Does it look badass and ready to rumble, or does it look as though it’s posing for a porn shoot?
  3. If devs put as much work into every detail of a games as  into getting the breast jiggle perfect, that would be one hell of a game and we’d be talking about more than just the boobs.

Some game to remember, some game to forget

Today’s post is dedicated to anyone anywhere who has trouble or pain or miserable things going on in their real lives, and who finds an occasional welcome escape via gaming.

Escapism gets a raw deal in the media. We have so many examples of people who took things too far, maybe even got addicted, and abandoned RL responsibilities. But there are worse ways to deal with life’s problems than to lay down your burden for an hour or so and go kill some orcs (or write a blog post about it :) ). There are no problems that benefit from being fretted over 24/7.

In my case, my father (and arbitrary’s) has recently died after a long illness. It wasn’t unexpected, he was surrounded at the end by people who loved him (including me), and I’ll miss him greatly. I have a lot of things to organise and a lot of feelings to work through – but I know for a certainty that taking a little time during the day when I’m not busy to write or play is helping me, not messing with my head.

Have you found that gaming helped you through difficult or stressful times in your life? And to anyone who hasn’t (which I hope is most), you may have been helping people through difficult times without ever realising it, just by being there.