Some time ago we looked at the Game Theorists, or specifically MatPat, the main theorist and creator of the YouTube channel. One of the ones I didn’t get to mention (because I’ve only caught enough episodes since the original article) was Gaijin Goomba’s series Culture Shock, which looks at the mythical and cultural inspirations for video game characters or scenarios. It’s a good show, check it out. Well, he also does videos on his own channel, including commentaries.
That brings us to tonight’s commentary by Gaijin Goomba. One of the complaints I hear is that video game women today are overly sexualized, and that is true to a point. One piece of “evidence” is female characters with large breasts, usually using jiggle physics that the Dead Or Alive programmers would call too much. (And if you’ve seen those games, imagine more unrealistic bouncy boobies.) However, large breasts, while turning many guys on instantly (I’ve always been into smaller breasts…easier to hug and cuddle and stuff, ladies) may not be one of the problems. In trying to make video game women less slutty are the people complaining about body shaming guilty of it themselves? GG explains better than I can.
There’s one graphic that moves too fast that I wanted to point out.
The lady SUPLEXES GIANT ROBOTS! There’s a guy in an earlier game that suplexes a train. I’ve seen footage of it. Here, now you can see it (if it’s still up):
How strong are people in these universes? But the point of the graphic is that Tifa has a personality and from what little I’ve seen of the game doesn’t provide any kind of fanservice as we usually discuss, especially with the graphics of the time. It’s like one step above Minecraft except Minecraft is going for a specific art style.
Let me use an anime example, although I don’t know how many of you have seen Divergence Eve and the spinoff, Misaki Chronicles. By the way, I do recommend both shows, which deal with interdimensional aliens invading our universe and the pilots who operate the robotic mecha to stop them. For some reason, every female pilot has breasts that not only dwarf Tifa’s, they challenge Dolly Parton. It’s blatant fanservice, but that’s the only fanservice you really get. No nudity, no love interest for Misaki, and in the sequel she’s a rather tragic character. The breast size is distracting since so many of the characters are so endowed. However, what kept me watching Misaki Chronicles and went back for Divergence Eve to fill in the gaps were the characters. The heroines were all friends and until tragedy struck and secrets were learned about the main character things were going well, alien invasion aside of course. They were interesting and I wanted to see where the story went and what would become of Misaki and her friends.
Could the show have worked with smaller breasted characters? Yes. Would Tifa be the same with smaller boobs? Yes, because as Gaijin noted her breasts, like the characters in Divergence Eve, weren’t defined by their cup size but by their character. But as Gaijin (and his friend) also pointed out, the fact that Tifa isn’t sexualized (in the story anyway, I remember a sprite comic that noted Tifa’s breasts to the point that the phrase “Tifa boobies” is stuck in my head even today) but just happens to have a larger chest by biology rather than surgery shows real life women that their breast size doesn’t have to define them whether they’re bigger or smaller. We seem to shame women simply because they have larger breasts. “Those aren’t real” is part of casual conversation by women who don’t believe breasts come in multiple sizes.
Instead you should be looking at personality and outfits. Tifa is sexy because she’s attractive, not because she dresses or speaks provocatively, which she doesn’t. I’ve known my share of voluptuous women, some of whom I even made platonic friends with. They’re good people (or I wouldn’t be friends with them), so why shouldn’t THEY get to have “someone who looks like me”? Isn’t that another of the big debates in media presentation, or does that only matter when skin color is involved?