Monday, September 24

Remember when games used to be about fun(doshi)?

I got a little bit excited last night in my attempt to defend Dead or Alive 5 at the expense of Tekken Tag Tournament 2. I assumed (incorrectly) that the packed-in code that redeems over a hundred bikins was to add to the wardrobes of women characters only. Upon watching my wife dress up characters of each gender, I discovered that most of the men now have access to the traditional Japanese undergarment, the fundoshi.

At first I thought this may have been means to level the playing field; for the men to be to be objectified. But then I noticed my wife's reaction. When she loaded up her arch-nemesis Dragunov with his freshly-downloaded, skimpy attire, I could hear the horror in her voice. He may have given Pumping Iron Arnie a run for his money in the muscle stakes, but the sex appeal wasn't there. The fundoshi, in this case, is an emphatic symbol of masculine dominance and power. 

A quick Wikipedia search informs me that men aren't normally embarrassed to don the fundoshi. It's worn on special occasions, it's a symbol of masculinity, to wear it often would be considered distasteful. The men are empowered by their swimsuits, can the same be said for the women?

Interestingly enough, the answer is: maybe. I was informed that playing as strong women dressed in outfits that my wife wouldn't normally think to wear can sometimes be empowering in its own right. This could potentially lend weight to some of the counter-arguments I saw for my piece on the Hitman: Absolution trailer that got promoted on Bitmob. Then again, Carls was quick to note that this revelation comes with two important caveats: it's only empowering if the player is a woman as well, and her opponent must be someone she is comfortable with. For a man to slap a revealing swimsuit on every woman in the expasnive cast, or dress them in some of the other (perhaps even more revealing) costume is tantamount to that same ogle I've decried and questioned on occasion. 

What do you think? Is it only objectification if we're using the male gaze? Maybe soon I'll get around to telling you how the game actually plays? Remember when games were just about the fun?

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