The following is a cross-post of something I wrote for Rift Watchers today. I know not all of you read over there and I thought you’d find this interesting, so here we are From now on, I’ll tag cross posts with [RW].
Note: You wouldn’t believe how hard it was to come up with a name for this post that wouldn’t get us banned from work. You might even say we didn’t want to get … busted. *rimshot* Hehe, sorry. I couldn’t help myself
Okay, this one made me laugh, and at the suggestion of a listener, I’m going to write about it. What’s the one common theme amongst every big MMO? If you said levels, you’d be wrong. Nope, today I’m talking about boobs. Big, gigantic boobs. Every MMO sees fit to sexualize women as much as they can. So while the rest of us are yelling about how objectifying that is to women, and WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!, one lone warrior stands up to ask: “where are the bewbs?”
This is nothing new for MMOs. Heck, video games in general have adopted the concept of real women wear c-cups. TERA is probably the worst offender of all with their upskirt running animations. Look to Warcraft, even and you’re sure to find it there too. There’s a reason you can strip all your clothes off, folks. Some artist slaved away for hours to makes those abs ripple “just so.”
But let’s not get sidetracked, boobs are the real issue here. Boobs. Big, scantily clad boobs: on all our boxes, in all our games, free to the world proclaiming “here orc, look at this and take a swing.” I was playing WoW yesterday and my wife happened to stop during a loading screen. “Wow!” she said. “That elf’s got big boobs!” And she was right. The elf did have big boobs. This has been a running theme in our house. My wife, a total non-gamer, first noticed one of these XL busts almost a year ago in a game of Grand Theft Auto. Now she makes a point of pointing them out. Not in a giddy tee-hee way, mind you. More of a “oh, isn’t this just designed for boys” way. And she’s right. Again.
Without a doubt, girls in games are solely driven by what guys want to see – or what designers think we want to see. It harkens back to the days when gaming was little better than a basement game of Dungeons and Dragons. The old stereotype of gaming as a boys-only club was going strong. I can only guess that the working theory was: get them breathy, get them back.
I’ll confess though, I’ve never looked to games for my thrill. Not once. Back in high school I knew a few guys who would talk about how “hot” the little pixelated Vanna White was on one of our old-school computers. Or how Princess Peach was a babe. But they grew out of it and quickly grew to realize that real girls — you know, the living, breathing kind – were a much more productive outlet for those energies. Compie Vanna White doesn’t kiss back and certainly won’t hold your hand in the hallway. She does know how to spell, though.
So when I saw the thread linked above, complaining at the lack of chest size in Rift, I had to stop for a second and think. Really? I didn’t even notice. Most people didn’t notice, I bet (though the dozens of pages in the topic may seem otherwise). But I guess it’s true? If you spend enough time oogling pixelated chests (“look, it actually breathes!”), maybe you can tell a difference. As someone who plays male characters, I wouldn’t know (they breathe too).
The thing is, who really cares? I mean, who really wants their MMO to be sexy? I can’t help but imagine some 15 year old, up at 2AM in the glow of their monitor, typing up their missive about the wrong being done to boobs everywhere. Then the reality hits me that it’s probably not a 15 year old. More than likely it’s a 20-something guy who spends too much time playing games. A guy who likes to analyze things, read into them, and compare one game to another in every way he can. Breast size must fall into that category.
But, honestly. Honestly. Does it matter?
Then again, I did get a good chuckle out of it. So really, Trion. Where are the bewbs, man?