I typically ignore ads that appear on my own blog. I’m almost blind to such ads, beyond checking for suitably, but this advert for Wartune (an online MMORPG that pays strong fealty to World Of Warcraft and it’s ilk) caught my attention.
Now, before you say “of course it caught your attention, look at those digital hooters”, let me say that it wasn’t the overly inflated digital mammary glands that caught my attention – It was the “Warning: Men Only” sign. (I have a newborn son at home whom Sara is breastfeeding, so I have plenty of engorged boobies to occupy my eyesight.)
I’ve ranted at length about sexism in video games before, and how it adversely affects the impression that women have about the video game industry. Read Epic Upgrades? Women And Gaming if my point isn’t already clear enough.
One thing I haven’t discussed is the idea that what men want from video games is scantily clad women with physics defying bosoms and the voices that make them sound like they have a poor I.Q. for a glass of water.
That’s definitely not what I want from a video game, it’s off-putting, distracting and destroys any sense of realism. Maybe realism is the wrong word considering many games feature aliens, cyborgs and the ilk, but you know what I mean. I prefer games with more realistic physics, where you have to think and actually use skill – my obsession with Call of Duty and Borderlands being exceptions.
While a lot of disbelief can be suspended due to the setting of the game, the idea that men go into battle dressed in full Kevlar armor, while women go in dressed in a see-through lace negligée, a thong, knee-high boots, and proudly challenge their gravity defying breasts to spill out is a pill too difficult to swallow.
Is that really what men want? I suspect it’s maybe more to do with what boys in the 8 -15 years range want, but once we get older we enjoy games for the challenge, the story telling and the sense of engagement they provide. They’re a distraction that takes us away from our 9-5 jobs, our worries, our stresses. Video games provide us a few minutes reprieve where we can lose ourselves in another world free from the cares of this one.
That reprieve, that immersion, is what I (and I’m sure most adult males) want when we play video games. Strong female characters are awesome in games, we encourage them. They add to the realism, they deserve to be there just as much as male characters do. But when your strong female characters resemble bottle blonde bimbos that escaped from the Playboy mansion after Hugh Hefner went mad with a pump and silicon implant device, then it ruins it for those of us who think with the head that is located above the waist.