Wundergeek is a straight, cis white woman who recently was asked to write an article about sexism in gaming and found she couldn’t shut up about it once the article was done. She’s since started Go Make Me a Sandwich, a blog mostly devoted to ranting about sexist imagery in all areas of gaming. In addition to being a cranky feminist blogger, she is an artist, photographer, and somewhat half-assed writer living in the wilds of Canada with a wonderful spouse and two slightly broken cats.
While I wouldn’t exactly call clothing damage a hallmark of Japanese/Asian games, it’s something that is common enough that (for the most part) it doesn’t raise any eyebrows. However, it’s not exactly something that’s been too common in North American games. Unfortunately, it looks as if that trend may be changing, thanks to games originally made by Asian companies and translated for North American players.
So here for your, um, edification are screens from Kabod Online, Soul Calibur IV: Broken Destiny, and Parasite Eve: the 3rd Birthday. I wanted to confine this post to titles that have gotten more hype than others – but there are certainly smaller titles featuring clothing damage as a key feature that are being translated as well: Ikki Tousen Xross and Queen’s Blade: Spiral Chaos are just two that I’ve stumbled across recently. I’m sure there’s more.
Kabod Online is a translated Korean MMO from Kabod Entertainment. As far as fanservice-y models go, they seem to be pretty standard as far as free Asian MMOs go:
When you go to Kabod’s website, there are apparently only three character classes to choose from, with only two specializations for each class – so it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot of gameplay diversity. K-MMOs are pretty infamous for not even trying to disguise the treadmill, but this seems perhaps more egregious than most.
But Kabod Entertainment doesn’t seem too worried about that. They’ve got a sure-fire plan. Sell their game with breasts! Only, since that’s what ALL of the free Asian MMOs are doing, they had to take it to eleven – hence the introduction of clothing damage. In Kabod, both players and monsters take clothing damage as they engage in combat. There’s a base level where clothing/armor is undamaged, a middle level where it’s mostly off, and a bottom level where you’re in your skivvies and, if the character is female, your gazongas are hanging out:
Unsurprisingly, the clothing damage feature is what has gotten the most attention and what Kabod Entertainment has been advertisingmost heavily. Way to pander to the lowest common denominator guys. From what I read while searching for screenshots, it’s pretty common to play a rogue (one of the least clothed classes) and let her get down to mostly naked just so you can ogle her while you play. I mean, check this out:
So. Moving on. Shame on you, Kabod. Etc, etc, etc.
Soul Calibur: Broken Destiny
The studio behind Soul Calibur is apparently having a competition with Dead or Alive to see who can make the skeeviest game – it’s the only explanation I can think of. Soul Calibur IV is yet another game by an Asian studio that has – you guessed it – clothing damage! Because, really, we weren’t seeing ENOUGH of these ladies, amirite?
Also, Broken Destiny – the upcoming PSP version of SCIV – has is a character creator that will not only let you create new characters, but will also let you customize existing characters, in case you’re feeling like some of your wimminz are too covered up.
Anyway. I’ve ranted enough about Soul Calibur here, so here’s some screens:
Parasite Eve: the 3rd Birthday
So we have yet another entry in a series of female characters who used to be mildly positive strong characters and who have been turned into walking fapfests designed to please male gamers. Poor Aya. I’m not saying that Aya Brea was ever on the level of Samus, but she’s a far cry from Princess Peach!
It should be noted that there was a fair amount of buzz about the fact that the beginning of 3rd Birthday features a shower scene. OMG! Color me excited!
So the shower scene is bad enough, but series creator Nomura decided from the outset that there would be clothing damage in this title, and that Aya would take more damage as her clothing got damaged further. This would make sense if Aya was walking around in plate mail, but since she’s wearing just normal clothes, the only possible explanation is “sex sells”. So here’s the progression that Aya goes through:
Now, Aya can get changes of clothing to cover herself up again by going back to base – but it doesn’t really seem like that’s a feature that’s being heavily encouraged, since Nomura has said in an interview (unfortunately, I can’t find the link anymore) that you can get Aya to max clothing damage quickly by dropping a few grenades nearby. “Not that anyone should play that way” – he hastened to add.
Even worse is that the clothing damage is, again, pretty much how they’re promoting the game. I mean, check out this promotional art.
Perhaps the most depressing thing of all is that you can switch Aya’s costumes. There’s a loooong list of options, including a Lightning costume aaaaannnd…
Fetish wear! Because who doesn’t want to watch a maid get her clothes torn off while fighting monsters and stuff?