Published on July 6th, 2012 | by Ciaran Utting4
Gamings Greatest Objectifications of Women
Thank God Crystal Dynamics finally inserted an attempted rape scene into the Tomb Raider franchise. Having a strong, independent and intelligent woman as a game’s central character was starting to get tiresome. Using tenuous drivel as an excuse, they finally imbued the qualities we were looking for in her – pathetic frailty at the hands of a foreign man. “Gamers will want to protect her!” they insisted, and quite right too. She couldn’t do it herself after all, because I control her.
But Tomb Raider is not the first, and nor will it be the last. Valve started ruining everything with their believable and well written females, but there’s still plenty of hope. So come with me down memory lane, and relive those happy times when women were the fodder for all things masculine, and a little bit rapeable.
The Atari 2600 was the first console to properly objectify women, and it did so with tasteless aplomb. In 1982 Custer’s Revenge used its shit-brick graphics to amalgamate a US cavalry officer dodging arrows in order to cross the screen to a tied up Native American woman, all the while sporting an erection the size of his arm. No prizes for guessing how the levels ended. It may look dated now, but it was part of the revolution – and a brick through the window of giving women the vote – which successfully retailed at $50.
The company responsible, Mystique, also gave us the mega-derogatory Beat ‘Em & Eat ‘Em, which had you controlling women at the bottom of a building, desperately trying to catch the man-milk of a lone rooftop fondler in their cake holes. Who wouldn’t want to play that?
A few years later Leisure Suit Larry was offered up by Sierra – who ironically also gave us the first Half Life title – and used women as mere chat-up line receivers for a gleefully seedy little man who still manages to get his end away, much like Larry Flynt. It garnered multiple sequels with the words Cum in the title, and still enjoys some eminence to this day.
Despite a lull in this specific type of gameplay as the hardware requirements and development costs increased, women were still portrayed effectively as platforms for the transportation of mammaries. A genuine innovation in the mainstream arena came when, in 1996, Team Ninja gave us Dead or Alive. It was the first fighting game to independently animate women’s breasts, offering no importance whatsoever to the gameplay, but finally giving men a reason to chose a female character in a beat ‘em up. They set a trend that continues to this day and can be seen in titles from Tekken to Grand Theft Auto.
1996 was also the year that gave us impressively sexist fighting game Catfight, which used Mortal Kombat-style sprites for what appeared to be some rejected middle-aged Gladiator contestants. Upon release, PC Gamer stated that “being caught masturbating to it would be a lot less embarrassing than to be caught playing it”. Universally regarded as the worst game ever, it still made a case for the dominance of males in the industry.
10 years later, and Japan makes its feelings about the perception of women unequivocally known by releasing a full on molestation simulator, RapeLay. It received, amongst critical vomiting, the dubious honour of being the first, and only game to date, to be banned in Argentina. Think what you will about that.
The game begins, like so many commutes, with women being molested on the subway. From there, a story arc branches out and multiple endings can be awarded depending on exactly who you get pregnant. Take that, Crystal Dynamics.
Japan’s unarguably accurate view of women as a sub-species can also be found in a great many other of their popular video game titles, most notably the superbly named Battle Raper and its sequels, an evolution on the fighting games of old that allow the victor to have a little jiggle of his unconscious victim, wrists unslapped.
So, who can argue that gaming is no longer a male dominated endeavour when games like this exist? Not that trailer for Hitman: Absolution, that’s for sure. And why on earth would anyone want to change it if it was? Can’t women just be happy with what they have, like knitting, and cleaning things that men have made unclean? It seems ludicrous to me. And with all the gruff bro-ing of these modern shooters and 98% undressed RPG women, I think we’re still safe for now. Fingers crossed developers stop innovating, and hold gaming back for as long as they can. Or at least until I’m too old to use my thumbs any more.