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Silicone Weapons of Mass Distraction in Cyber Space?

Updated on November 8, 2012
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I was wondering, does the gender of the protagonist in a video game make a difference when it comes to sales? Do you think some people actually pass by a game because the lead is a woman versus a man and vice versa? Would more people have played Bayonetta if she was a he, and on the flip side to that, did the people who play the game do so because she was a she?

For example, I was playing Bullet Witch last night (which by the way is really not all that bad of a game, especially when you can pick it up for like $5) and I noticed something that brought me to this thought. I wanted to see if there was any DLC for this game and to my surprise there was, but not the kind of DLC I was expecting, like levels and/or weapons, but more so in the form of sleazy outfits. I couldn't believe how many different ways you could dress her up, I was appalled, then I bought the school girl outfit. Anyway, back to my original point, obviously this game was called Bullet Witch with the hopes of moving units (pardon the pun), because they knew Bullet Bastard wouldn't have sold anything.

If Uncharted 2 had Lara Croft at the helm, would it have done worse, just as good or possibly even better than it did with Nathan Drake?

Is sexism still alive and well in the video game world? Would games like Mirror’s Edge, WET and Heavenly Sword have been more successful if the protagonist was male instead of female?

What if a developer has a some what decent title in the works, but ultimately knows it could most likely not stand on its own merits. Would the addition of a sexy female lead potentially boost sales in the end or hurt the bottom line, like in Onechanbara: Bikini Samurai Squad...we all know any copies of that game that sold wasn't because of the gameplay?

We all know sex sells, which is very obvious when you see the depiction of women in gaming, and most any other form of entertainment medium for that matter. I can pretty much guarantee you won’t be seeing any female leads that look like Roseanne or Sandra Bernhard any time soon. Honestly, I can’t think of any games that have a less than attractive female at the helm, is there any that you can think of?

Some of the more recent examples of this would be Lollipop Chainsaw and Catherine.

Now of course I'm not saying this happens all the time, sometimes the theme and/or overall feel of the game requires the lead to be a female...but there are cases of boobs being thrown in with the hopes of bucks being brought in too.

Michael



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    • MPChris profile image

      MPChris 5 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      I have nothing but circumstantial evidence other than my own buying habits and those of my friends. But it seems games with sexually charged covers (or comic books with the same) get the most attention paid to it. And there is a correlation between how long you pay attention to a product and your likeliness to purchase.

    • JohnGreasyGamer profile image

      John Roberts 5 years ago from South Yorkshire, England

      I've been pondering this a lot more than usual since the release of the Ghost Recon Future Soldier trailer, where it uses tits to sell. My rage wasn't just with sex appeal but with it being Tom Clancy - why does he need boobies to sell something?! On that day I vowed I would NEVER buy a game that used sex appeal to sell, no matter what it was. In all seriousness, I don't think anyone bought that game thinking "DUH HUH THE TRAILER HAD A PURTY LADY WITH BIG BOOOOOBS! IMMA BUY IT NAOW!"

      I think Bullet Witch was an OK game and it had its price reduced to a tenner not long after it's release, but the DLC was rubbish ("SCHOOLGIRL OUTFITS?!"). I like to call these games "boobie games", because that's all they consist of. Dead or Alive (especially Extreme 2) is the mother of all mammeries - each breast has a different physics engine because they have different gravities. But that's the game's selling point, much like Rumble Roses, Ninety Nine Nights and Bayonetta as you've originally mentioned. Because of this, I'm getting a bit sick of women being used in this way in video games (no offence ladies, but it's no longer funny). If I want abuse, I'll look for porn or just play Brutal Legend.

      Personally, I think Bullet Bastard would've been a great title and it could have Eddie Riggs or me as its leading role. So long as there's no schoolgirl uniforms. All in all, I think it's hard to criticise a game like Lollipop chainsaw for that kind of humour, but the gameplay in that was genuinely awesome. As long as it's not underraged like FINAL FANTASY 10 (No joke), I might see the funny side of it.

      PS: Title cracks me up everytime! Voted up, funny, awesome and interesting! ^^

    • MichaelJohnMele profile image
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      Michael John Mele 5 years ago from Seffner, Florida

      @MPChris very well said my friend...you sir are one smart cookie.

    • MichaelJohnMele profile image
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      Michael John Mele 5 years ago from Seffner, Florida

      @JohnGreasyGamer Ghost Recon: Future Soldier uses boobies to sell itself...really...I must have missed that.

      I know what you mean, sometimes the game is complete garbage and should have never seen the light of day (and the developers know this), but they think by throwing a hot chick-a-dee in the game it will make it worth playing...which we all know it doesn't.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm a straight male and of course I love to see a beautiful woman, but it's not necessary for me to play a game, watch a movie, etc.

      I guess all things considered, we are thinking too much into this, we as mature men (yeah right) don't need something like this to enjoy a game...but to a 13 year old horny kid it's probably just like a wet dream.

      Thanks for the love man...I really appreciate it.

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