Guns, breasts and gaming’s small-man complex
“Nice one guys, you’ve single-handedly set back the maturity of the games industry by 15 years with your utterly puerile display of ridiculous adolescent tittery.” said Twitter, myself included, upon the release of the first Hitman: Absolution teaser trailer entitled ‘Attack of the Saints’. For those out of the loop, it features a superfluity of scantily-clad Nuns, toting massive metaphorical penises, gunning for Agent 47, only to be punched in the face.
It’s hideous, it’s objectifying and downright immature, that much is a given, but it raised an interesting point for me to ponder. Everywhere I saw respected journalists and industry folk alike berating the trailer as an indictment on the entire industry; a tumour that must be addressed.
Rich Stanton of Eurogamer said “Remember how funny the old Hitman adverts were, with the toasters? The sole reason the new one is so terrible is games journalism… because they KNOW that people will write fucking stories about nuns with big tits getting wet. I’m off to kill myself,” and I wholeheartedly agree with that sentiment.
The problem is that underlying this outrage is a Napoleonic complex the entire industry seems to suffer from, given the years of under-appreciation and supposed haranguing, from what some call the ‘mainstream’ media.
Still, the industry is repeatedly referred to as a whole even in instances where it simply does not apply. Obviously one cannot ignore this when talking about instances of DRM and sales, but is such boobery really such a damning indictment on the whole of gaming?
Take an utter cinematic abomination like Pirana 3DD, an expert lesson in a rubbish joke gone too far. Nobody was particularly offended by the film, save from the predictable fringe and special interest groups who like nothing better than to picket cinemas yelling ‘down with the sort of thing’. It was just rubbish, everyone acknowledged this fact, it got 8% on Rotten Tomatoes and everybody moved on.
Few were the sighs of indignation that such a film was ‘ruining’ the industry and within gaming such cries almost take on the form of pre-emptive strikes on the ‘mainstream’. “You can’t say we’re all fetid, clueless children who like nothing better than to oggle at boobies and strangle kittens with piano wire,” we say, distancing ourselves from something that we were never meant to be a part of and was never meant for us.
In every medium there’s this sort of cheap-sell that works almost every time given the soupy-brained nature of those it was made for and whilst nasty, it’s not endemic of a rotten industry. Worse is the everyday sexism, more covert in nature, the largely slips by unnoticed. Take the unnecessary bum-shots in The Avengers or the disturbing rise in ‘Lad’ culture amongst tennagers; a hideous boys club for rape apologists and downright racists.
I’m certainly not saying we should let sleeping dogs lie and let this sort of disgusting ridiculousness to thrive, far from it, maybe it’s just time we stopped thinking ourselves as a small-industry or marginalised white knights like the oppressed people of a forgotten race. It’s a problem, a huge problem but it’s not a problem endemic to gaming; it’s the biggest single entertainment industry in the UK and it’s high-time we started acting as such.