Ah those good ol’ days of the nineties: when every dispute could be settled by a game of rock, paper, scissors and when all video game characters clunked around like badly made origami models of polio victims. This was the era that birthed one of the defining virtual characters of a generation: Lara Croft. This kleptomaniac archaeologist has been recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as the “Most Successful Human Virtual Game Heroine”, a considerable achievement when you consider that she started life as with boobs so pointy that giving her a hug would result in two punctured lungs. Her ability to down a T-Rex with a shotgun instantly won our hearts in a gaming climate as yet untouched by oestrogen, but now from Jill Valentine to Nariko, Faith Connors to Bayonetta, today’s shelves are stacked with titles featuring leading femme fatales.
Still let’s face it, there is nothing easier to understand than a woman (apart from obvious things like quantum physics) and yet the video game world can be a little off the mark when it comes to putting the fairer sex on screen. These are the lessons we’ve learned in Console Class 101:
Women are more effective the less they wear
It is a little known fact that the female epidermis is chainsaw, flamethrower, meat cleaver and machine-gun-bullet-proof. Years of being slathered in anti-dullness, anti-aging, anti-wrinkle creams has imbued women’s skin with the properties of an armoured truck. As many RPGs will show you, the larger surface area of male bodies requires significantly larger suits of armour to protect their manly flesh. Big intimidating suits. With full body steel plating. And spikes. Female armour needs no such padding, because whilst a male soldiers’ upgraded armour becomes tougher, female armour gets skimpier. Basically, if a video game heroine is advancing on you, an axe clutched in one bloody, manicured fist, cover her with a towel if you want to survive.
Boobs defy gravity
A few years ago, perfectly flowing water was the holy grail of the video game animator. Today however, as rendering technology advances with the arrival of next-gen consoles, we’re being treated to thundering waterfalls, blinding rainstorms and violent naval battles so realistic that Gamers everywhere are playing under the safety of an umbrella. You’d think then, that developers would have mastered the coding process of a breast jiggle. Whilst we are able to zoom in and count every follicle on Kratos’s eyebrows, the detail spared for the female chest is considerably limited. In other words, we get giant watermelons bolstered to the female ribcage with cement and triple X bras.
Women exist outside of the aging space time continuum
Maybe it’s the titanium properties of female skin, but the slow march of time holds no sway over video game femmes. Developers will place their leading ladies in cryogenic sleep (I’m looking at you Nina Williams), clone her or even “reboot” history rather than code a line across their pretty, porcelain smooth faces. It seems that the idea of a woman who can bend space and time to her will, unconstrained by the ravaging effects of sun and iron tipped bullets, is more palatable than the idea of a middle-aged woman kicking butt in five-inch stilettos. In other words, the entire female race is composed of sexy vampire assassins. Though that’s not strictly true because…
Women come in two breeds: Damsel in Distress and Dominatrix
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a computer generated man in possession of a good cleaver must be in want of a wife. And as video games have made clear, female characters are only too happy to oblige. Just look at the Asari race in Mass Effect, incredibly beautiful women who make up one of the oldest and wisest races in the galaxy – yet most work as strippers in sleazy back-planet clubs. In PC gaming, The Sims 3 has a moodlet that makes pregnant women permanently happy for the duration of their pregnancy. Because there’s nothing like raging hormones, swollen ankles and stretch marks to send our serotonin levels cartwheeling.
Female Gamers, like dragons, are mythological creatures
Occasionally as you noob tube your way from COD lobby to COD lobby, camping in corners and stealing kills you may every so often see a distinctly feminine game tag pop up in a corner of your screen. There were once some whisperings that half of all humans have XX chromosomes, but everyone knows that that’s all it was, whispers uttered in hushed voices round camp fires. So feel free to haze those female imposters. Inundate their inboxes with spam, yell out them down your headset to make you a sandwich, lob grenades at them in the heat of battle. Female gamers? Pur-lease.
Coming soon: “What Gaming teaches you about Men”