She looked 18, officer

| Monday, May 21, 2012
"The problem with animated depictions is that it blurs the ability to determine age." - Bristal

I really shouldn't jumped on this one when it was fresh, but given the context, that sounds dirty and illegal.

A long long time ago some foreigners named Tamarind and some other guy whose name I forgot had a blog called Righteous Orbs in which they ran stories about a well-spoken kobold and the paladin-themed brothel he ran.  I made up the second part, but since the blog is vanished, let's pretend I didn't and admit that you have no way of knowing otherwise.  That's why history is great.

During this long ago time they made a post about Vanessa VanCleef and how hot she is.  Spoiler alert: she's the daughter of Edwin VanCleef.

Here she is dressed nicely in her disguise as a nice person.
Now you're probably thinking either "wow, that's hot" or "wow, why would people think pixels are hot, but if those weren't just pixels, they'd be pretty hot."  Or you're one of those jackasses who thinks the human models are fat and probably thinks blood elves could stand to lose a few.  Here's the problem: that's the same model used for 99.99% of humans in WoW.  Also, she's 16.  And she prefers to dress like this.  And let's just say rogues have it best during that fight.
 What a difference a few years can make.  Cut a few off and she'd fit right in in TERA and we'd all be attacking the disgusting portrayal of young girls as scantily-clad leaders who like messing with our heads.  I'm not trying to suggest they are equivalent, since physically-speaking, 10 and 16 are dramatically different, emotionally they have some concept of what it means when they're dressed like that, and legally that is the age of consent in some areas.  So different territory.

It does raise the question though, why does a 16 year old use the same model as NPCs of double or more her age?  Maybe it was laziness, just make the children model and the adult model and call it a day.  Picking between the two, I'd put 16 closer to the adult model than the child model.  But maybe it was something smarter than that.  Maybe Blizzard, at some point, anticipated that they'd need teenage characters.  They could have made models for them, but that's asking for trouble.  If they make a model for an age, then they're making a statement about that age, saying what it looks like, and by extension, its role.  Throwing out whatever model is already there is a non-statement, and that's the safe thing to do.

The other day while wandering the store wondering what else to buy I passed the aisle with children's bikinis (I didn't buy any).  Imagine that, little children, 4, 6, 8 years old wearing barely anything at all, exposed, out in public.  Though at that age, I'm not sure what there is to cover.  And that's what made me wonder, why didn't they (whoever the publisher is; I don't care to search) try a different tactic with their defense of TERA?  Rather than covering up the prepubescent girls, instead emphasize their age, point out that there isn't much to cover and therefore not much to expose.  Call us the sickos for thinking there could possibly be anything wrong with how they dress their childish aliens.

Maybe there's even something to that.  Maybe we're so used to the sexualization of female characters in games they the idea of a female character who isn't there to titillate us is unimaginable.  Outside the game we'd see a little child in a swimsuit and think "aw, how cute" and wonder why the parents aren't watching as they wander deeper and deeper into the water...  But in a game, then it's sexualizing, it's revealing and wrong and disgusting.  Maybe it is just us.  But I don't think so.  It's not just the amount of armor, how much there it is or isn't, but there it is also where it is or isn't.  Cover everything except the crotch area, except directly there, with a heart, and it is a little bit suspicious.  The irony might be that even less clothing would provoke less scandal.  Remove the miniskirts and they're closer to being obliviously indifferent rather than obviously indecent.

It would also help if the game in general didn't dress its female characters in less than what we'd expect for combat.  If it were an entirely uh... covered game, then again, we might think nothing of anything at all.  The context is part of the problem.  I'm betting that you could make, and sell to a mass audience, a game where young girls weren't wearing much, if it were not in the usual context of muscled men in full plate and female eye candy.


Anonymous said...

"and some other guy whose name I forgot"

His nom de plume was Chaz and he is a soft-spoken, literate Englishman who liked to play female chars. I still consider Chaz and Tam friends even though I haven't heard from them in over a year. Here's to missing good friends.


obscurefox said...

A lot of parents complain about the sexualized clothing for young girls, I know even some years back when my daughter was a toddler I would look at some clothes and think "Ahhh! I wouldn't even wear that in college." Heart shaped cleavage windows on little girls shirts ugh! Some clothing is coded as sexual. Back in the 70's the neighbourhood kids, both girls and boys would be running through sprinklers in just our underwear on hot summer days.I don't think (or rather hope) none of the adults were thinking " mmm sexy"

The cut away parts of the clothing and posing, perhaps even the movement (look at the hip sway in some videos) of the Elin in Terra give one a creepy vibe. There is also a weird mix of features with the body it's almost but not quite child like other then being small, and that anime faces, since they have hips and thighs in a way most children I see don't. They just look crafted in a sexual way. So more covering clothing may not help in their case.

Klepsacovic said...

Chastity! Yes, now I recall. Got yelled at for pretending to be a girl, even though we all know there are no girls in England.

obscurefox said...

* sigh * that none should be any in the first paragraph.

GettinJiggly said...

Reminds me of some comic book characters. They seem to draw youth a little too endowed.

*vlad* said...

I'm betting that you could make, and sell to a mass audience, a game where young girls weren't wearing much"

They already did it; Dead or Alive Beach Volleyball. There was talk of a cheat code that allowed you to remove the girl's bikinis, too.

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