Yesterday, I had occasion to post the following on Twitter:
File that under the list of Shit I Wish I Didn’t Have to Say. Sadly, 95% of internet feminism seems to be saying shit that really should be completely obvious. (You know, like “hey – women are people”. Stuff like that.)
What prompted the Twitter mini-rant? Well, someone on my Google+ feed happened to link to this:
It’s like the artist was going through a mental checklist. “Okay, we’ve got 4 different skin tones. Staples, check. Rivets and metal plates, check. Creepy-looking veins, check. Just got to make sure I don’t forget the titties!”
Seriously. How ridiculous is it that the stitching and patches are actually more believable than the breasts, which have impossible cleavage (without support, breasts hang DOWN and AWAY from one another), seem to have no areolae, and definitely have no nipples. But then, as referenced in my tweets, this is hardly a new thing in games, tragic as that may be.
This particular gem is courtesy of Louis Porter Jr, who hasn’t bothered to hide the fact that he holds pretty regressive views on the portrayal of women in games. Back when I had just started this blog, he actually commented on a post I had made about Paizo, saying that he was glad that that Paizo was doing positive things with regard to racial diversity, but that sexualized wimmenz were just good business sense.
Uh. No. But thanks for playing, dude.
Still, it would be unfair to pick on LPJ too much, considering that Franken-Tits here isn’t exactly a unique phenomenon. So here is a totally-not-at-all definitive list of corpse tits in games that I had either run across previously or was able to find with only a modicum of Googling.
BRING ON THE CORPSE TITS
I honestly don’t know what game this first image is from, but frankly it pretty well sums up the problem that I’m talking about quite nicely:
That was on one of the first few pages of search results for “female lich”, which is an image search you should not do if you don’t want to see a whole lot of gory necro-tits with occasional gruesome necro-crotch.
Disturbingly, but not all that surprisingly, corpse tits are such a common phenomenon in gaming that they can be found in every subgenre of gaming.
It didn’t take much work at all to turn up these images for games funded on KickStarter. The image on the left comes from a game called Hands of Fate, which I’m sure you’ll be pleased to know was fully funded. Phew! I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine the horror of living in a world where a game of such bold artistic vision failed to become a reality.
The image on the right is from a game called Zpocalypse, which also fully funded. Right on! It’s so great to see so many independent creators get to realize their dreams of creating games that feature creepily sexualized women’s corpses.
Now I will give them credit for having a jawless zombie, mostly because I’m still bitter about not being able to play a jawless female Forsaken in World of Warcraft. But they just lose the points again for giving her weirdly pristine (considering the state of the rest of her) corpse tits.
Then we have this gem, which is actually (as far as I can gather) the cover image for Lich Queen’s Beloved – an official, Wizards-published adventure module for D&D. Of course, on the Wizards site they only use the thumbnail on the left, which an amusing bit of obfuscation on Wizards’ part. Given the amount of embarrassing cheesecake art that I’ve seen in official Wizards’ products, it’s amusing that this is sufficiently awful that they don’t want to include the full image on their website.
But Wizards of the Coast is hardly the only large publisher guilty of this nonsense. Disappointingly, despite that Paizo seems to have been trying to not fail quite as much at female characters lately, they still included this character in some published material released August of last year.
And sure, she’s not as bad as the others. But the fact is that she is dessicated, her skin and muscle tissue are clearly withered and dried out. So WHY in god’s name is she wearing boob plate? Given that her nose and lips rotten and she is clearly giving zero fucks about that, I highly doubt it’s a fashion statement. And if her limbs and lower torso are at that level of desiccation, it’s not like her tits are going to be perky enough to need any support, not unless she’s had some very selective embalming done.
But let’s not forget video games! Because there are so. Goddamn. Many. corpse tits in video games.
One of the elder statesmen of video game corpse tits would have to be WoW, who from the very beginning made it clear that even in death the women in the WoW universe would have supermodel faces and amazing tits.
What makes it even more frustrating is the fact that apparently there are a few artists who work for Blizzard whose heads aren’t completely up their asses:
I have pretty much zero interest in playing a character like Barbie McCorpse-Tits, but I would totally play the shit out of her! Look at her! Rotten nose and face, not sexualized, just getting shit done. AWESOME. MORE OF THAT PLEASE. And less of this shit:
How sad is it that Resident Evil has the least sexualized female zombie? What the hell? Why is this a thing that game companies are competing over? Still, if I had to give an award I would give Guild Wars the trophy for the grossest corpse tits ever. Seriously, look at her. The skin on her face is leatherized but she’s still got fucking basketballs pinned to her chest. I’m surprised they didn’t put nipples on her for gods sake.
But wait! There’s more!
Even Facebook games just can’t resist getting in on that sexy necro-boob action. Look at miss Zombie Prostitute here. Sure her face and arm are all decayed and gross, but don’t worry, the important stuff is still perky and fleshy. (Also, the contrast here just underscores everything I’m saying here. Why do female zombies never get to wear any fucking clothes, but male zombies walk around in three piece suits and the like?)
The Bottom of the Barrel
As bad as all of that is, it actually gets worse. “But, wundergeek!” I’m sure you’re asking. “How could it get worse?”
Well, gentle reader. As bad as the above examples are, they aren’t generally being used to promote the brands that the represent. As awful as corpse tits are, most companies still have the sense not to use them to promote their products to a wider audience.
Of course, some companies aren’t put off such tactics by things like “common sense” and “taste”, which is how you end up with things like this promo image here:
Aww, yeah. We’re getting a first look all right. RIGHT AT HER TIIIIIITS! HIGH FIVE BRO!
…bad enough that you’re using Valindra Shadowmantle, the most boobular of all video game liches, as the promo for your game. But did you really need to make it worse by making an arrow pointing right at her necro-cleavage? Her impossibly fleshy and perky necro-cleavage?
However, I’m afraid that Valindra loses the crown for Worst Promotional Necro Boobs to Dead Island, whose publishers also net themselves an award for Shittiest Human Beings In Game Development:
That’s right, folks. For this box set, they actually included a promo figurine of a mutilated and disembodied torso with big, weirdly compressed fake tits. And then advertised the fact. AS A SELLING POINT.
Now given that Techland is the same studio that caused the uproar over their inclusion a skill named “Feminist Whore” in a test build of the game, misogynist promotion shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Still, publisher Deep Silver really went for the misogyny gold with this one. I can only imagine the conversation that led to this being a thing that actually happened:
The Boss: We need a promotional item to include with the box set. Ideas?
Operations Exec: A toy? Maybe a figurine?
Marketing Exec: Figurines make excellent limited edition items. They’re very collectible.
The Boss: Very good. Talk to me about how we can make this a quality, value-added proposition for our customers.
[Marketing Exec and Operations Exec look at each other]
Operations Exec: Well I was thinking a mutilated torso.
Marketing Exec: What a disembodied torso?
Operations Exec: Oh, yeah. Obviously. No limbs or anything. Just a torso. A mutilated lady torso.
The Boss: Interesting. I like your style. Do go on.
Operations Exec: [to Marketing Exec] So her torso should be totally mutilated, right? Except for her boobs?
Marketing Exec: Oh, totally. You can’t mutilate the boobs.
The Boss: They should be large and round. And firm. Very firm. There’s nothing I hate worse than saggy tits.
Operations Exec: [taking notes] Uh-huh. Got it. Does it have a face?
The Boss: Does what have a face?
Operations Exec: The mutilated torso figurine. Does it have a face?
The Boss: No. No face.
Marketing Exec: Why would it have a face? It doesn’t need a face.
Operations Exec: All right. So the spec I’m handing to my artist is mutilated torso, no limbs, with very large, very firm breasts, and absolutely no face.
Marketing Exec: I’ll get to work on promotional branding right away.
The Boss: This is some damn fine work, people. Damn fine indeed.
Operations Exec: Thank you, sir.
A Depressing Conclusion
Corpse tits in games go from depressing to outright scary once you consider the logic and carry it to its natural conclusion. Gaming culture is one that demands that all game women should be attractive and entirely available for the sexual gratification of a presumed male viewer. Game culture also objectifies women, breaking women down into their pleasing and less pleasing parts, emphasizing the pleasing bits and de-emphasizing the less important bits. When these two concepts collide, that’s the kind of thinking that leads to necro-tits.
At no point during the design of these characters are they ever considered to be people. They are designed piece-by-piece, carefully degrading their not-sexy parts while preserving the holy trinity of boobs, crotch, and ass. Often the face is allowed to be shown as decayed, because who cares what comes out of women’s faces? Ladywords? Ladyfeelings. Boring. Heads aren’t even mandatory, as evidenced by Dead Island.
Some of them might have story tacked on as an after-thought, but most won’t even get that much. Because the category of “woman” trumps that of “human”, and even in death women must be rendered as sexually pleasing objects, not people. Never people.
But that begs the question – why is there such a need to have sexy corpses in so goddamn many games? Why is no one taking a moment to be like “dude, that’s a corpse“? Frankly, if you’re capable of finding any of these images sexually appealing, I don’t really want to know you. Ever. But the dehumanization of women in games is so rampant, so systemic, that even the concept of FUCKABLE CORPSES doesn’t raise eyebrows.