This is another image of a gamer girl. The internet is full of them. See how she unrealistically wears high heels with her panties while gaming?
Every real girl would be cold and complaining? Or would they?
Game publishers have seemingly gifted us with a slew of unmitigated M-rated titles that feature more tits, ass, and zombies than George A. Romero daydreaming at strip club. These are games concocted under a seemingly perfect corporate cocktail of girls, guns, and guts; titles like X-blades and Onechanbara Bikini Samurai Squad.
It is fairly obvious that Southpeak lovingly spent more time rendering Ayumi’s butt cleavage than they worked on her face and that catchy melody to Onechanbara’s advertising song “Asian Girl Don’t Be Rude” has been rattling around my head for weeks, much longer than that SNL’s classic “Dick in a Box” sketch. These games are a syrupy mix of pixilated porn and swordplay. A sure sign that video games have matured past basement obscurity right into the VIP room of the strip club, after all, this is the hardcore we’ve all been waiting for, right? Right?
Nope. It’s like we’ve taken a time machine back a generation to play the travesty that was BMX XXX. Even as you read this, the interwebs are alight and flaming over the simple notion of male frontal nudity in the upcoming Xbox 360 Grand Theft Auto DLC. I could care less. My question is how does it change the game?
It’s titles like these that make me question the hardcore moniker we all love to throw around so much. The one I place behind my name like some sort of video game credential. What makes a game hardcore? Narrative aside, is it pushing the boundaries on the forefront of digital gore or is it a focus on truly unique game mechanic?
The recipe to making a true hardcore title can’t be a reliance on soulless digitized dolls with dynamic boob physics. I’m pretty sure that Rumble Roses disproved that theory years ago. It definitely isn’t the blood and spinal rips of Mortal Kombat or Midway wouldn’t be in financial ruin. It’s that coveted forth “G” in that girls, guns, guts pyramid that is the true ingredient for success: game play. With great game play, the other three become unnecessary; a potential hindrance even; anyone who has dreamed in multicolored tetrominoes knows this to be true.
Onechanbara Bikini Samurai Squad is by far the industry’s most recent and worst offender. Built around bust lines, it offers little towards a truly engaging experience. Originally an import PS2 title under the “Simple” label released back in 2005, it was a budget affair priced at 2100 yen (approx. $29 dollars). Four years later, outside of a mediocre touch-up of the graphics and a jacked up price point across both the Wii and Xbox 360; all the major problems still remain- the characters still control like boats, the combo system is unintuitive, and the game play is more hack than slash.
After an extended play session, I could feel my imagination being sodomized; a feat only worsened by the wear on my wallet, even as a rental. If that clashing cowboy hat and pink boa weren’t offensive enough, that upped price point launches the expectations of the game into a realm well outside cult fetishism. Worse still, it deals damage to the advancement of the industry when that “M-rating” equates to little more than immature depictions of sexuality, buckets of gore, and broken game play.
Don’t get me wrong, I get that gaming is entertainment and it will always contain an element of escapism like all good fiction. I know that Street Fighter’s Cammy couldn’t possibly fight effectively with that impossible thong flossing. Yet, ten years running, I still proclaim myself to be a huge Street Fighter fan. So what’s the difference? If we stripped away the anime aesthetics of Street Fighter; tore away all the genre conventions and13 year old fanboy pleasing, we would still be left with competent a fighting game with stellar tournament mechanics. That’s why it’s a game franchise that has been around for more than a decade; it’s the game play that keeps it fun and has the fans routinely coming back for more.
Sex or no sex, violence or no violence, I can always defend good game play.