Let’s Keep Being Offensive
The first thing I saw when I opened my laptop today was a tweet from Twitter user @SirTobbi. It read “So yeah…that Dead Island Riptide CE.” Then I started to look through my feed. Clearly, something very bad regarding the Collector’s Edition had occurred while I was away. Were orders cancelled without refunds or something? It couldn’t have anything to do with the contents, right? There’s nothing bad about a suitcase and that nifty bottle opener. But this has nothing to do with the Collector’s Edition coming to North America. The United Kingdom is getting its own version, and it’s not like that sweet European Deus Ex: Human Revolution Collector’s Edition with the Adam Jensen action figure. No, the physical merchandise here is a twelve-inch bloody female torso, with all the ”baggage” you’d expect.
Wow. I mean, wow. Somebody has to get fired over this, right? That’s not me saying I think somebody needs to start looking for a new job, but I can’t see this ending well for all involved. It’s not like the sexy nun trailer for Hitman Absolution, where Square and IO could just take it down and send out a public apology. Deep Silver hasn’t responded to questions about whether the bundle will still be sold, which leads me to believe one thing: it’s still in production. Not only is this a PR fiasco – Deep Silver’s Community Manager came under fire after he quoted a joke from a Twitter user saying “For all we know, there could be a cock under there” – but a large amount of money could be lost over this. We don’t know anything for sure, but their statement reads “We [Deep Silver] are committed to making sure this will never happen again”, not “We are currently looking at the logistics of an alternate Collector’s Edition”. It’s not looking good.
So you’ve offended natural-born women and transgendered women with the bust and comments made by Deep Silver employees, respectively. And if you follow video games or work in this field, you know what’s coming: the inevitable conversation about feminism in gaming. With this comes the equally obligatory group of people whining about how they’re sick of hearing about how women and similar parties need equal rights for this to be a truly enlightened industry. So to everyone digging their heels in and pushing back, I offer this to you all: encourage this kind of behavior. You’re in the minority anyway, and your side is losing.
We’re talking about these issues more than ever before. Anybody can put together a Tumblr blog or start a Twitter account. These conversations are open, and people can make contributions just by typing less than a hundred and forty characters. So every time something like this happens, you’ve got at least a whole day of ideas flying left and right. They’re not all good, but at least everybody’s talking. Clearly we’re speeding towards some kind of general consensus, right? Say what you will about the new Tomb Raider, but Lara Croft is no longer a blow-up doll. Is that because the old ways of hyper-sexualized female characters have been vilified in these discussions? Probably. Will you ever see a bikini-clad female torso bundled with a video game ever again? I’m not a psychic, but unless somebody desperately wants to get fired, we’ll never have to all get on whatever social media website you prefer and spend hours talking about how #1reasonwhy and the usual topics apply to selling a woman’s dismembered body.
So now that we’re done with this controversy, we can move on. What’s next? A gay love interest obsessed with Future Project Runway in the next Mass Effect? Catwoman getting naked while being called a bitch? Duke Nukem Forever 2? Bring them on. I welcome these public outrages with open arms. When problems like these come along, we can deal with them. Jenn Frank, of Infinite Lives put it best when she tweeted “You’re living in a post-#1reasonwhy, “new sincerity” world, whatever last year’s data says.” For lack of a better term, the game has changed, and I think it’s all for the better. I want to talk about how much 999 is blowing my mind, but we should have these conversations first. And then we never have to again. We can go back to videogames! Get mad and vote with your wallet, safe in the knowledge that you’re moving the industry forward by doing so.
Also, 999 is pretty fantastic. I just got my first ending! It was Ending #5, by the way. The ‘knife’ ending. So good.