>WTF: The tired Friday edition

>Okay, folks. My schedule is kicking my ass this week, and my ass will be kicked even harder next week. So instead of giving you three real posts this week, you get two and a half. This might happen next week, depending on how much brainpower I have left after tech weekend for the show I’m in… But after that, I promise that I’ll be returning to normal levels of snark.

Anyhow, I couldn’t leave you empty-handed, so here’s some miscellaneous pictures that I haven’t found a home rant for yet.

I’ve forgotten what game this comes from, since I forgot to include the game’s name in the file name when I saved it. I think that says a lot, don’t you? I think I’m becoming a bit too blase about crotch floss as armor.


Okay, does anyone think it’s a coincidence that “GROWING” is right over this poor woman’s boobs? Neither did I. Though I’ll admit the mental image of growing boobs made me think of DragonBall, which was an amusing mental non-sequiter. “AAAAAAAAAA!” “SHE’S REACHED BOOB LEVEL 9000!” “IMPOSSIBLE!”…no? Just me then. Moving on… How about this?

WHAT. THE. FUCK. Seize power? Fine. Seize glory? Sure, if you think people really give a shit about your performance in a shitty knock-off browser-based game. Seize WOMEN? BECAUSE THEY’RE YOURS? AAARG. I know that the Chinese export a lot of translated games, Caesary being one of many, but I’d prefer that they didn’t export their misogyny as well.


This is from an ad campaign in Europe – thank God not in North America. This fails on multiple levels.


Once again proving that the default of anything is male, and that female is always “special” or “distinct”. Even, apparently, with puzzle games. I hope those of you with iPhones refrain from purchasing either version of what looks to be an uninspired Tetris clone.

I can’t decide what I hate more. The cleavagey outfits, the interchangeable faces, the nauseating levels of pink, or the actual words. MISS BIMBO? There’s a game out there called MISS BIMBO? Do they honestly think that making their ad pink will make the title any less revolting? Also, advertisers who perpetuate “bored of” should go die, like, right now. This makes my inner grammarian want to stab my eyes out.

36 thoughts on “>WTF: The tired Friday edition

  1. >Oh dear, that billboard. Let's see, there's 'sex sells' fail; the slogan and the poses are race fail; and then there's even some graphic design fail.

  2. >… The first pic looks quite a bit like it comes from Aion… but I don't remember any characters or armors that would quite match.

  3. >I think the first image is from Aion… but don't quote me on it. If not that, I'm pretty sure it's from some new Asian free to play MMO.Miss Bimbo? There's a whole lotta fail even in the name!

  4. >You know, I like sexy armor. It's ridiculous, but it's also fantasy and doesn't have to be real… the TERA armor wouldn't bother me so much except that there don't seem to be any NON-sexy options for women. There are options for men that are both sexy and fully covered, but it looks like all the female armors show off boobs and/or midriff. There's no logical reason not to give gamers a choice, damn it.That PSP ad is just creepy and I cannot believe it actually didn't get shot down in the planning stages. I mean WTF.Kaonashi: I'm surprised Dueling Analogs did a strip like that because it's a webcomic known for its awful mysoginy. I'm wondering whether they've matured or whether the comic is meant to be laughing WITH the bikini armor trope instead of AT it.

  5. >Chaltab: I agree that realism shouldn't have to be an issue in fantasy, but it doesn't really matter what excuse the creators use for their female characters. Realism or not, it's still their choice what they make of them.As for fully armored women who are still visually striking, look no further than Titania from Fire Emblem. She's my personal favorite and has inspired my own designs.Since the DA strip goes to such trouble to contrast the male armor to the female battle bikini, I don't see how the latter is meant to be anything other than completely silly in how it differs from male armor. Whatever the readers take from that is another question, I guess.

  6. >Anonymous: Wow, every single one of those armors are amazing… except for the one on the woman. *sigh* It's even more of a pity because of how awesome everything else looks — I'd love to have seen an armor with female proportions in the style of the Drizzt or Drow armors there. =/

  7. >I thought, "Huh, that's actually pretty cool, and it really doesn't look like a bikini." Then I saw the second photo where she moved her arms.I'm not going to complain about armor impractically showing midriff because, as I said, fantasy is fantasy and lord knows male Barbarians run around in less.But it's pretty disgusting how women are treated as basically ornamental in these games. They're not allowed to look like they could kick your butt. Like in Fable 2, where women got muscled and people started whining so much that it was changed in the sequel.

  8. >"I'm not going to complain about armor impractically showing midriff because, as I said, fantasy is fantasy and lord knows male Barbarians run around in less."Uhh, less than say the woman up there was put in? No, male barbarians really /don't/ run around in less than that. Also, I don't really like the 'it's fantasy' excuse. Because even then, it's still sexist fantasy isn't it?

  9. >LilithXIV: I think he was referring to the Conan-style barbarian archetype of a guy in a loincloth, furry knee-high boots, gauntlets, and not much else. That kind of character probably isn't better protected than the bikini armor chick, so it can't be the impracticality of going into a fight without effective armor itself that's the problem.There's something about bikini armor besides the amount of skin shown that undermines the characters that wear them, I think. Conan is still a legitimate threat despite his lack of armor; the bikini armor chick isn't.

  10. >It's sexist if it reduces women to nothing more than eye candy, as many MMOs do. But having scantily clad fantasy heroes isn't inherently sexist. Sexism is double standard. As Wundergeek has demonstrated, there is obviously a double standard in how MMOs do female armor compared to how they do male armor, but you could theoretically have an MMO that does not have this disparity.

  11. >Ikkin: The Binkni Armor Chick seems undermined because usually designers and artists who put women in such costumes are doing so to make her an object of lust. So they don't bother giving her the physique of a fighter, they pose her in ways that suggest vulnerability and sexuality, and they emphasize her breasts or other secondary female sex characteristics instead of her weaponry or expression.To me at least, the way the body is posed and what the image epmhasizes matters a lot more than what the character is wearing, when it comes to whether I parse the character as sexy or threatening.

  12. >Mm, yes, I can agree that it's more about proportion and degree than just the presence of the armor itself. It just didn't seem like that's what you were saying before, Chaltab. I was unsure if you were comparing the scale women are sexualized to the one men are, but you weren't. Thanks for clearing that up.And it depends really, Ikkin. Sometimes the impracticality really does stop me from taking the characters seriously. The same reason why heels being attached to armor does. It makes me wonder if the designers themselves take women in combat roles very seriously either. If you look at it from an RP standard, what kind of competent warrior would wear armor like that?I see types like Conan as a rare exception of armor for men while the bikini armor is more like the 'rule' for women in much of fantasy today.

  13. >Chaltab: The only real problem that I have is that no, male barbarians really do get to wear more clothing than chainmail bikinis. Conan-style barbarians with a loincloth and nothing else are a rarity. The vast majority of male barbarians get to wear fucking pants (like this guy, and this guy, and this guy, and this guy, and this guy) which cover a LOT more flesh than your average bikini armor.There's a pretty big difference between those guys and your average barbarian WOMAN. Like this chick.So, yeah. For me what they're wearing is just as important as the pose. If you have a woman who is strongly posed and has some actual muscle on her and put her in some crotch-flossing bikini armor, you're pretty much undermining everything that would make her a strong character or an appealing avatar, IMO.

  14. >I think Chaltab refers to impractially of Conan style not how much flesh it shows, having your chest and stomach exposed is as impractical as it can be no matter how manly one's six packs look, one thrust and your guts are spilled…it would be defnietly more practical to throw away pants and armour your vital organs.

  15. >Chaltab, re: fable 2 > I disliked the muscular somaform for female characters in Fable 2, primarily as they shared their phenotype with muscular male characters, especially in their face: square jawline, jutting chin, magically broadened shoulders and so forth. I've yet to play it, but I've heard Fable III's muscular female bodytype bulks up less comically.And nothing's wrong with sexy or unrealistic armors, but it should be noted that there's a difference between an armor that's sexy that will have a woman gamer go, "Wow, I'm playing a kick-ass woman who is powerful and sexy!" and the type of armor that will stoke male egos / assuage their castration anxiety for playing a female character in the first place ("If I'm going to stare at a virtual ass for hundreds of hours, it should be an ass I can enjoy looking at").

  16. >Wundergeek: I'll agree with you on the crotch floss, certainly, but I think that is because crotch floss is exploititive fetishwear. It's something that specifically exists to show off more flesh at the expense of the woman's comfort. On the other hand, does anyone take Xena, for example, less seriously if her abs are showing? What I'm saying is, realism isn't a good reason to dismiss skimpy armor because we're talking about fantasy. There are other issues here besides realism that certainly need to be addressed, though.Anonymous: Fair enough on the Fable II thing. I didn't realize it was that extreme, but I still got the sense from some reactions and advice (Don't put ANY points into Physique.) That a lot of people were incsensed that the female character wasn't designed just to be pretty. (And ugh, I got a friend who invokes the 'ass I can enjoy' joke all the time.)

  17. >It seems I'm back to disagreeing with you, Chaltab XD. Realism is not the only reason the skimpy armor is dismissed as unnecessary and inappropriate, but it's one of the reasons and I think it's a valid one. I'm not saying it's the most important one, but it's one of them. As I said above, the whole 'making the women look incompetant and not real warriors' thing. It's still undermining the character, it's just in more ways than one now. Skimpy armor is joke armor."On the other hand, does anyone take Xena, for example, less seriously if her abs are showing?"Yes. Though it would depend on the context and if there was an actual reason for it and not just 'bare your midriff ladies, it's hawt!'.

  18. >If it makes sense for the culture and the level of realism inherent in the series, then I don't see why it's a problem. I mean it's not like Conan runs around topeless and in a loincloth for any other reason than for fantasies of male sexual dominance and strength. The difference between that and crotch floss is that Conan's sexuality comes from having rippling muscles and combat prowess, while crotch floss is designed to tart the female character up for the male gaze.What we need isn't some sort of paradigm that requires all female characters to be fully covered; a fantasy world can have fully covered women and still be mysoginistic as hell. What we need is developers who give the players of female characters agency in both character design (both physique and armor) and lore (for backstory and NPCs).

  19. >"If it makes sense for the culture and the level of realism inherent in the series, then I don't see why it's a problem."It's a problem when you start using the idea that it's fantasy as an excuse. 'It's the culture's fault, not mine, I can't help but do it or make it that way'. I'm not saying you're doing that, but people do that. All the time. It's just a way to dodge any responsibility. And in the end I never said all, nor all situations really (All female characters in /combat/? Yes! As Wundergeek said, Conan is an exception to the rule for men, not the standard). And it's not as if I'm saying that's the only thing that needs to be addressed, but it's still one of the problems. /Some/ women.. or even say, as many as the men get covered up (the majority of the time) would be a nice place to start. An actual balance, not a double standard. And that's what you need, somewhere to start. It sounds like you're putting the cart before the horse.

  20. >In what way? I want both sexes to be treated equally in regards to how armor and physique is handled. If you're doing a very realistic game, then yes, by all means, have all armor cover up everyone. But if you're doing some silly pulp fantasy, I see no reason not to have the option for characters like Conan and Xena. Whether Conan is a rule or an exception isn't really relevant.

  21. >"If you're doing a very realistic game, then yes, by all means, have all armor cover up everyone."Or we could just have it covering up always. Since.. that's what armor is supposed to do. And I'm not sure why there is an actual need for the sexualization at all! 'Fantasy' or 'realistic'. I see no reason for the 'sexy armor' at all, especially when women are the ones given it by default and men only have to put it on as some rare gag armor.. and even then it's not sexy, it's not there to make them sexy toward women. It doesn't focus on any of their sexual aspects, it's just some power fantasy for men. Conan is not sexual in the least. It's not equal.So I guess we're just gonna have to agree to disagree here.

  22. >LilithXIV: While I also don't see the need for "sexy armor," I do think there's some room for "armor-like" clothing that isn't really armor, and just uses metal plates or chainmail for parts because it looks cool. It isn't that weird to see characters fighting in plain clothes, after all, so partially-armored clothes in and of themselves shouldn't be a problem.So I don't think "sexy armor" is problematic because it wouldn't make good armor — it's problematic because it excludes and turns off half of the potential audience. Armor that's designed to be cool and appealing to the female portion of the audience ("cosplay armor") might be no less unrealistic, but it'd be a lot less offensive than butt floss.

  23. >Fix Me A Sandwich: He-Man also got to strut around in actual pants and shirts on occasion. Also, He-Man's loincloth looked fairly comfortable to wear, and didn't magically conform to the precise contours of his crotch. No comparison.

  24. >Lillith: The thing is, some people like that sort of completely unrealisic, possibly sexy, get up. Some cosplayers like to wear those things. People go to cons as Ayla and Conan. I don't understand why we should eliminate those options for character design. If you don't want it, you don't have to use it, but I don't understand why you insist that it be shut down for everyone.Ikkin: Elminating butt floss and fetish armor are completely different issues because those things aren't bad BECAUSE they're unrealistic. They're bad because they're exploitative and sexist. Because you'd never put a man in butt floss in our society because men aren't, generally, required to be put at supreme discomfort for the sake of a nebulous idea of sex appeal. I'm not sure we're actually disagreeing so much as not understanding each others' terminology. I don't want the kind of creepy exploitative armor you see in the TERA image, but my distaste for it has nothing to do with it being unrealistic.

  25. >Speaking as a straight guy, loincloth Conan totally appeals to me on a very primal, unarmored, nothing-but-raw-physical-power kind of way that if I take the time to think about I can admit is pretty intensely sexualized as well – Frazetta's helpless damsels clinging to his legs probably helping with that (as blatantly disempowered as they are). I wanna be sexy like Conan.I don't point this out with any sort of equivocation agenda at all, merely to note that there's clear circumstances of identifying with sexualized males from this side of the divide and I wish there was more of. Naturally if all male gaming art was nothing BUT sexualized I'd sure as hell wish there was less of it.Overtly sexualizing males is dangerous ground for gaming companies for a whole wacky variety of reasons, not least of which is the marketing concerns about repression backlash. It's a whole huge stigma that males suffer under that in no uncertain terms do we like to see addressed. I don't know if we ever will. What a can of worms.

  26. >Chaltab: I don't really disagree with you in any significant way, and I didn't mean to imply that you thought the fetish armor is okay. My only real disagreement is over whether "sexy" is ever a word that can be used to describe non-problematic armor: I don't think it is, but I don't think you were using it in that context to describe the things I'd find problematic, either.Arrogantfutility: There's a significant but hard-to-describe difference between the kind of sexualization Conan gets and the kind the damsels get, though (and women are usually portrayed as the latter).I think the recently-discovered cover art for Duke Nukem Forever is a great example of the male kind, and helps to show the difference. He's laying back in such a way that his crotch is right in front of the camera, holding a gun between his legs, with a woman's hand on his upper leg — you can't really get more blatant than that. But, while he's unquestionably sexualized, he's not offered up to the viewer. In fact, the impression I get is the opposite — Duke Nukem is going to take what he wants, whether the viewer likes it or not.And in my mind, Conan-type characters are the same thing. They're highly sexual, but they're not compromised, because whatever is going to happen is going to happen on their terms. It's just as much a part of the power fantasy as the giant muscles.Wundergeek (OP): I'm not sure if you've seen this, but there's a second image from those white PSP ads where the black woman is holding down the white woman. It's definitely still problematic, but the intention behind it seems a bit different in that context (of course, unless they only ever showed both ads together, that wouldn't really matter, and it probably doesn't matter much anyway).

  27. >Not to argue that the Sony ad was well-thought-through (it wasn't), but the campaign itself wasn't completely one sided. I remember the furore at the time. There's a little more info here:http://www.joystiq.com/2006/07/04/ad-critic-sonys-racially-charged-psp-ad/Your first image is indeed from Tera, and if you think the *picture* is bad, you should see the game in action. The video I've seen has a) female casting animations which look suspiciously like erotic dance, and b) the most bizarre run animation for one of the models (which wears some kind of short skirt-y-thing), which basically makes it an upskirt view by virtue of having the character bend forward from the waist while running. Very odd. I wish I could remember where the video was posted, but a quick search didn't find it. I did find a video of the dancing emote though. Jiggle physics.

  28. >"I'm not sure we're actually disagreeing so much as not understanding each others' terminology."@Chaltab: Mm, yeah, I'm starting to think so too. I agree with what Ikkin was saying though. Said it much better than I could, admittedly.@theanorak: -stares at Tera information- … -sigh- Really? The actual game in action sounds ten times worse, geez x.x I do not know how else to react to this news about Tera except to sigh. I'm not sure if it's desperation or just contempt that would make whoever developed that kind of stuff and go so far to objectify women to that kind of extent. Ugh, that's just gross and insulting.

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