Don’t post dumb shit in comments (Because I’ll just make fun of you)

If you’re not into stupid arguments and drama, you can skip this, though I hope it’ll be sorta fun!

I’ve always sorta wondered when my first stupid ‘social justice’ fight was going to happen. I’ve gotten into fights over social justice issues before, but not in the way “Social Justice Warriors” (you know, the ones who are kinda bullies and end up harming the social justice movement) are famous for. So I’ve been wondering when I’d get a drive by on one of my articles. I’m a feminist, but I’m often kinda a crappy one who slips up occasionally. Well, the other day, I got a comment on one of my articles, from the poster “Michael”…

That’s mighty generous of you, Kayin, condoning a grossly racist and sexist attack by saying it’s merely “gaps in communication”. I wonder if you would be as charitable if it was a similarly ignorant, racist, and sexist rant about women and/or minorities? I’m guessing you wouldn’t be.

I immediately assumed this was in response to my defense of George Kamitani, though it didn’t quite make sense to me, especially the end part. Still, I went about drafting a response to say that I wasn’t ‘condoing’ George’s response before I realized that this as in response to my Formalist vs Zinester writeup. Not only that, but in response to a small bit I wrote in the comment section. This response was about the fairness formalists being accused of maintaining the status quo for “straight white males”.

As for the last bit, I do find that troubling. Even if we were to say such things do keep women and minorities down (at least incidentally) I’d be hardpressed to think of anyone who would be saying those things about games from any sort of racial or gender related context. Even then it definitely is sorta mushing a bunch of stuff together (Like, if you look at some formalists, they’re trying to shake up the ‘status quo’ in totally different ways). Still, in situations like these, while I do sorta cringe inside reading stuff like that, I think “these people are angry for a reason, even if they manifest it poorly sometimes”. Gaps in communication unfortunately exist between like every group of people to some extent.

Oh okay, that was totally the opposite of what I was thinking. Anti white, anti male racism and sexim! Well, the fight always expected is here, but in the way I totally didn’t expect.

So I fire back at Michael.

Well yes, because women and minorities rarely have the potential to be true oppressors. It doesn’t make their behavior right or fair, but considering their position, YES, I’m going to be more generous toward the missteps of oppressed groups. The idea that they should just smile and be like “Hey it’d be nice if you treated us as equal members of society” is absurd. They are mad because many of them HAVE done this they have been ignored.

Michael’s response to this was truly classic.

“Well yes, because women and minorities rarely have the potential to be true oppressors.”

This self-hating belief is very common and widespread nowadays. Women and minorities are always the “victims” and those fucking evil men and whites are always the “true oppressors”. The actual facts and situation don’t matter.

I think it sucks to live a life where you consider yourself an inferior human being because of your genitalia and skin color, and are totally fine with vile racist/sexist slurs, because of your awful white male guilt. But hey, many people, yourself included, are totally okay with this. I understand.

What I don’t understand is this; why even write the post to begin with? According to your own beliefs, you’re a white male, and thus, according to a far wiser and better person (a transexual), a racist, sexist scumbag whose only goal is to oppress women and minorities.

Ergo, everything you write is irrelevant/wrong.

So somehow from that he got that I am a self hating person straight white dude who only defers to the opinions of others who thinks my skin and junk makes me inferior. WHAT A JUMP. Well, here is my response to Michael.


Why do I still write? Because I don’t hate my self. I have almost no white or male guilt. The only guilt I feel is that my position has, in the past, afforded me comfort in ignorance. Very little of the white male perks I care about come at the expense of others (some perks do, but I won’t miss them). I don’t want everyone to be lowered to the lowest common denominator, I want people to be empowered. I want everyone to have the ability to not give a shit. I mean fuck, ‘die cis-white hetero scum’ nonsense affects me as much as I want it too. To quote Louis C.K — you can’t even hurt my feelings. That is a privilege I have: The ability to not give a fuck if I don’t want to. For many people, hate speech is unescapable.

I also reject that I have nothing to add. I disagree with people in the social justice movement ALL THE FUCKING TIME. We argue and debate and try and improve our opinions. Our disagreements are constructive, not adversarial and help us grow together. Just as my position in life gives me blind spots, their position gives them blind spots. If you think I just roll over, than you haven’t been reading my blog much. A few posts up, I’m defending Dragon’s Crown for fucks sake! Not a popular position, but one I feel strongly about! In the bit I wrote that you’re so hung up on, I’m defending white male formalists and expressing disapproval toward their treatment. I’m sorry if I think it’s a problem mis-communication and understanding instead of just writing all feminists and queer folk off as Super-Hitlers.

I’m pro sex, pro content creator and pro personal expression. My involvement in social justice issues isn’t just to roll over to the opinions of others but to defend myself and my personal expression and to make sure the things I value can be maintained while other people are empowered. The empowerment of women and minority groups ALSO benefits me.

Here is a totally selfish, base example: If I wanna make a ridiculous titty-monster game without getting hounded and shamed, well… there are two worlds I could make that game in.

1) A world that pretends sexism isn’t a problem and further oppress women until we regress back to around the 90s.

2) Level the playing field so no one really has to care anymore because everyone has decent representation and every female character doesn’t have to be viewed as a squandered opportunity.

Hm wow I wonder which one I’m going to go with~! Maybe the one where all my friends and family have the same advantages I do! And hell, I could get away with it now if I REALLY wanted to (because again, ya’ll can’t even hurt my feelings).

By the way, please, go fuck yourself. It’s blind dick-weeds like you that make me have to worry about being seen a cis-hetero scum to begin with. Also fuck you for projecting your own insecurities over my comments. Fuck you for twisting my words into things I didn’t even say (nor IMPLIED). I find it insane and disgusting that you consider my acknowledgement of the persecution of others to be some sort of ‘surrender’ or self-degradation instead of an act of compassion. In what made up world would that be me thinking of myself as “inferior”? Dude, I think I’m fucking awesome and as such, have no reason to fear more people gaining the privileges I have. I’m not such a frail creature that I have to avoid doing the right thing to protect my ego and station in life.

If anything, you seem to be the one struggling with your self worth. Do you actually feel threatened by the frustrated words of these marginalized groups? Do you actually feel like you’re almost a second class citizen now? Is the only thing that gives you worth in this world, your white skin and your dick? If an ounce of compassion is all it takes for you to post this worthless scrawl on my blog, I can imagine how fucking annoying you’d be if you were in any one of these marginalized groups. It must suck to be such a frail, pathetic thing to feel so easily threatened by people struggling for equality and validation. I’d hate to be you.

Also don’t throw shit like “The actual facts and situation don’t matter” at me. You gave no facts and are not giving any relevant situations. That is just a feeble attempt to feign objectiveness. That’s some amateur hour shit. You haven’t been making arguments. You’ve been whining and projecting. You don’t even get a ‘you tried’ star for that. Don’t come to my blog with an agenda and babble this shit at me and expect to be treated as anything but a fool.

So piss off and cry elsewhere. You will find no validation your pity party here.


Ya’ll allowed to post dissenting opinions to me. Many of my opinions are generally kinda out there already. This shit is hard, so even if you fuck up and are in the wrong, I’ll cut you some slack and if I’m wrong, feel free to cut ME some slack. Or maybe you’ll legit say something interesting and it’ll be great! Who knows! But if you come at me with borderline MRA style crap that is barely on topic, I’m just going to publicly shame you. In fact, if you’re going to make big claims like pretending sexism against women and queer folk isn’t an issue, you better come with some big fucking evidence, because at this point, that’s kinda a conversational non-starter for me, like saying the earth is hollow and the government is ran by lizard men.

Thoughts on Sexualization and the art of Dragon’s Crown

So there has been some drama over Dragon’s Crown and it’s art for quite some. Some more got started when, in typical link baiting fashion, Jason Schreier of Kotaku attributed George Kamitani’s art to that of a 14-year old boy due to the sexualized imagery (a 3 sentence piece Jason dared call an ‘article’).

So Kotaku sucks (big surprise), but George’s response was…. interesting. Also here is an article talking about the response from the perspective of a gay man, for reference. I think it’s a good writuep and you can see our short exchange at the bottom of the comments where we’re both like “Well to be fair, this is JAPAN and they’re weird with how they handle homosexuality”. Because damn, separated from context, it’s hard to tell if the image is mocking or celebrating homoeroticism. Hell, without context, I’d actually strongly lean toward celebrating. Anyways, George took it down and sent an apology letter to Jason (the right thing to do) who then went on to write what came off to me as a half hearted attempt to take the high ground. He name dropped #1reasonwhy and sexual harassment in PAX and other big issues as to why stuff like Dragon’s Crown is a problem. Not that I think Jason’s respect for these issues is insincere, but I think that in this case, he’s using them as a ‘get out of jail free’ card for being a shithead link baiter in a previous ‘article’. Don’t just name drop a bunch of very important issues to pretend that you were being thoughtful. I think it was a pretty poor indictment and not particularly interesting (again, more of an escape attempt if anything).

Anyways, this is all complicated and interesting and stupid and all that and I only bring it up to segueway into ART and why we shouldn’t rake groups like Vanillaware over the coals for their artistic choices.

So who Gets to be a Pervert?

2342142-sorcererandamazonDragon Crown’s art is pretty ridiculous. No one is going to deny that. The Sorceress is, as they say on the 4chans, a ‘titty monster’ and you have the goliath, near nude Amazon. Everyone beside the elf and the Wizard are of truly ridiculous proportions. The style is an extremified, crazy anime version of the style seen by the likes of Frank Frazetta(almost literally referenced in how some of the coloring is done) and Boris Vallejo while also referencing the tropes of of old RPGs and classic beat’em ups like Golden Axe and the two DnD arcade games… All with a touch of ‘Vanillaware’ thrown in. Whether you like the style or not, George Kamitani is an extremely good artist

Now before we talk about anything else, lets get this out of the way. I don’t think you can fairly compare the sexualization of the Sorceress and Amazon with the hyper masculinity of the Fighter and Dwarf. This is a common thing that comes up in this kind of conversation. All the characters are thoroughly objectified (they practically exist as tropes, afterall), but there is a big difference. People like to say “Power Fantasy” in this context a lot and I don’t think THAT is fair either. I don’t think most people relate to characters like that (in games, anyways) — if we experience power fantasies, we do it through action, not through the anatomy of the characters we play. Bayoneta can be a power fantasy regardless of your gender. Instead, it’s really this simple: All characters are designed with the male viewer in mind. The “male gaze”. It’s that simple. The women are meant to be hot (though the Amazon is only hot to some of us more perverse perverts) and the men are designed to look ridiculous and awesome. That said, I don’t think that is inherently bad. Especially since the women are awesome too.

A lot of people writing on this issue like to write stuff like “I’m not saying artists shouldn’t draw what they like” (though they basically end up saying that) and other stuff and they seem to have a hard time figuring out where that line should be. You can’t expect a straight artist to be able to properly sexualize a male character for female characters, for example. Unless we assume any sexual orientation that isn’t ‘everything’ is sexist, we have to accept that the works that come from individuals that reflect their orientation aren’t inherently sexist. Simply bias. We don’t really see many complaints about women focused media. In fact, it’s existence is generally valued. Hell, if we complain about women’s media, it’s not because it exploits men, but because it’s still exploiting women. We complain about work targeted at men because it’s grossly disproportional and often cynical (not that cynical womens media doesn’t exist, but they’re sorta in a situation where they take what they can get). It’s problematic when a big company, employing hundreds of employees to make a “mainstream game” can’t really represent women very well and will throw women gamers under the bus to try and appeal to male players just a little bit more. It becomes a real problem when we’re talking about virtually every big game company. Bioware has shown that you can do a much better (though not perfect) job just by having a lot of women on staff.

So what about Dragon Crown? A small, niche developer. Their president is their lead artist who likes big thick ladies. These are the ideal developers to do what they’re doing. A big part of this is authorship. Vanillaware isn’t being cynical. They’re not being thoughtless (Though George’s comments on facebook may have been). They’re not throwing female players under the bus to appeal to men a little more… because that was simply never the game they were going to make. They’re not a big studio and their work is very much George’s work.

You might go “How is that not cynical”, but really, George’s over the top style is not ideal for that. To put this another way — perhaps what I said earlier was inaccurate about designing the characters to titillate men. In a very strong sense, it could be said they were designed to titillate George. It’s the same with Skullgirls. Being headed by artist Alex Ahad, the game can’t help but to be about sexy, curvy monster girls. It’s not a mistake or something that could have been avoided as part of development. It’s part of it’s identity. It’s different than someone at Namco saying “Hey for the next Soul Calibur, lets crank them titties up to ‘redonkulous'”. It’s a lot more personal and expressive… and this sort of thing isn’t exclusive to niche indie games. I’ll defend Bayonetta to the death because the project could have never been any other way… and because of it’s ridiculous, honest nature, Bayonetta has a surprising amount of female fans (though plenty of detractors and neither side is wrong for their preference).

Jason Schreier commented that Dragon’s Crowns’ art was embarrassing and he couldn’t play it in public. But George Kamitani and Vanillaware has no responsibility to Schreier. They are a small studio of about 2 dozen employees working on a niche product and their sexualization is very much part of the game’s identity.

Now, this isn’t a shield from criticism, but intent and context are key. It is fair to say that Dragon’s Crown sexualizes it’s women and objectifies the whole cast. Can we ask it to ‘do better’ like we ask a lot of games? We CAN (people can always do better) but if a game is doing what it’s trying to do very well, it can’t change very much. It’d be like criticizing an Edmund McMillen game for being gross. That’s KINDA WHAT THEY ARE. Asking them to change is ridiculous, we can only hope they do what they do well, which I think Dragon’s Crown does. I kinda wish Dragon’s Crown could have say, sexualized the Wizard, TERA Online style or something to have some vague notion of fairness, but again, the company is somewhat bound by the creative direction of a single person and that is actually one of Vanillaware’s strengths (also if his naked Dwarves picture is any indication, the Dwarf is the sexy one~).

“But I don’t want video games to be a ghetto of male centric media!”

Me neither! You’ve read my blog! You’re just barking up the wrong tree. It’s easy to get concerned with ridiculous, niche things like Dragon’s Crown, or Vanguard Princess or even really out there stuff like Rapelay, but these barely contribute to the problem. They barely contribute because they were never going to be another way. These are passion driven independant games — the only other option is them basically not existing. These are the types of games that SHOULD be doing this. Even something like rapelay, in my opinion, is far less harmful than the subtle sexism that we see in most video games. When something is horridly depraved porn, we KNOW what we’re looking at and we know it’s not normal. When we play play an MMO where women wear daintier armor than men, we don’t think much of it and it brings about the assumption of normalcy which is a far greater problem. It’s designs and storyline choices that were easily avoided mistakes that are the problem. It’s not trusting that female characters can lead a game that’s the problem. Sexytime is not the problem, especially very uncynical sexytime like Dragon’s Crown or Skullgirls.

Definitions, Formalists and Zinesters

There has been a lot of talk about the definition of the word Game. Ralph Koster’s open letter to Leigh Alexander, Tadhg Kelly’s attempt to say that formalists are not the enemy or a lovely piece I stumbled onto on tumblr who points something important out. There isn’t a binary between formalists and indie/zinesters.

I find this interesting as my position is both being an “Capital I” Indie but also somewhat of a formalist. Straight off, let me say that my policy about ‘what is game’ is close to peoples policy toward gender pronouns: I’ll call you what you want me to call you (within reason. Don’t call a potato a game please… unless we’re playing hot potato). By saying your work is a game I will approach it like a game and look at it in that context, even if it doesn’t strike me as particularly “gamey” or gamelike. I’m very sympathetic toward the formalist position, though. I love talking about systems. I love defining new ideas. Politics aside, arguing about what games are can be fun and interesting, even if I don’t think the answer is terribly important.

I 100% believe Raph when he says he’s not trying to be dismissive when he calls something interactive fiction (though some people are certainly being assholes). Something “not being a game” really doesn’t change it’s value… in theory at least. Interactive fiction has a lot of kinship with games anyways and would frequently be relevant. I think the fear of exclusion is almost misdirecting from what I think might be the real problem.

I think the problem is that it ignores cultural identity. The “Zinesters” are making what they think of as games. Saying they’re something else does not exclude them (they still get to go to all the cool parties, and talk with all the cool kids!) but it is profoundly disrespectful. That is how they use the term and formalists wield no authority in that space. Also, why are we so married to the word ‘game’ anyways? It’s a term deeply rooted in culture at this point — why not let it be used to talk about a wide range of experiences? We need a word for that ANYWAYS. Nothing is being wasted or squandered. We can come up with other words for things if we REAAAALLY have to.

Remember, this also isn’t a binary. I love talking about systematic stuff. Frame data, minor tweaks to recovery, little things that produce profound changes. But I also like stuff like world ecology, storytelling and lore and other fluff. I love internal consistency not just in mechanics but in the world. My interests aren’t as personal or even as interesting as the stuff a lot of people are doing in TWINE, but it’s far from game systems. Like what was said on Mammon-Machine’s tumblr — systems are for anyone who want to play with them and the reverse is true.

But how can we talk about games if we don’t understand what they are!”

This is a common line and I think it’s kinda bogus. How I make games and talk about games is NOT affected by whether or not Proteus is a “game”. If we’re concerning ourselves with systematic interactions, we’re going to think along those terms. If we’re thinking about personal expression through symbolism, we will think in those terms. Some people design to find elegance and simplicity. Some people see system as only mechanical interaction and some see the entire game world as a system. There are many valid definitions with different repercussions that can be used to achieve different ends. We can’t be bound to one complete definition. In a sense, this is why genre discussions are so good, as each supplies a different framework with different goals. We need to be flexible and adjustable.

As designers, we need to stop chasing definitions for games. There is a definition for every human that exists. Everything from interactive fiction to tetris has a lot of shared parts that we can talk about. We can talk about how to use those parts to achieve different goals. We can do a lot of things without a formal, consistent definition. Art has been doing it for years. It’s annoying, and not terribly but we can deal with it, because the needs of culture are more important than our minor inconveniences. Because that is all this is for us — a minor inconvenience. It doesn’t matter that much. The things that are on the fringe of your interest should not be interfering with the things you want to talk about. Getting distracted by those things and trying to make them fit into your world view is more “OCD”ish behavior than any sort of design. Let it go. You’ll be a better designer for it AND you’ll piss less smart, talented people off.

Besides, any theories that hinge on a precise definition of game are too frail to survive or trust.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Mini-Review

Not going to do one my big breakdowns for this one, but I enjoyed it enough to say some stuff about it. As usual, I’m going to assume you basically know the details about the game, try reading another review or something first to get up to speed. Or play the game, it’s pretty good!

I’m a big fan of Platinum. They’re loaded with talent I like. Hideki Kamiya is a pretty boss mo-fo and Clover never did me wrong (I <3 you, God Hand). I'm also a huge Metal Gear fan -- bigger than my other gaming opinions might apply. So once reviews made it clear that the game had overcome it's production problems and wasn't a trian wreck, it immediately became a 'must buy'.

Bayonetta, but…

I love Bayonetta, full stop. Rising feels like it’s made from Bayonetta’s basic components. Comboing has the same sort of rhythm to it, you execute moves in the same way and overall it has a very similar feel. It even has Dodge Offset on the one dodge move you can unlock.

The big realization in Bayonetta though was that it was a game about defense. The dodge and witch time really influence how the game feels. Dodging has secretly been the core of 3d action games for some time, from Monster Hunter to Dark Souls.

The goal of Rising was clearly to make defense ‘aggressive’. In Bayonetta, you could madly roll around until you got a lucky dodge. In Rising, you must parry in the direction of enemies, so you can’t stall nearly as easily. While I still find parrying to be fairly easy (once you know what the game wants), it is, compared to dodging, very attention and timing intensive. The game is also much more grounded. Raiden lacks even a double jump (which drives me nuts when I see him jump 100 feet in a cutscene but can’t climb a relatively low wall). Raiden is like a truck — he can be very fast and powerful, but he can’t just fly around like crazy, so the game actually ends up playing very grounded. The parry is cool — the game is still technically largely about defense (especially since a perfect parry is one of the few ways to kill enemies in a timely manner. More on that later), but the purposeful act of pushing an opponent’s attack away makes the game feel a lot more aggressive. Even the ‘dodge’ is an attack.

You also have Blade Mode. It’s a cute gimmick but I feel conflicted. The game seems to designed to give excuses to use this system but it rarely gives a good reason to use it. The game wants enemies to die from blade mode. As such, many enemies are unreasonably beefy and almost require a perfect counter to defeat in any reasonable time, making speedy fights a matter of luck, hoping the enmy does the right attacks. This is offset by Jack-the-Ripper mode, which is basically an armor breaking Devil Trigger. The game hits it’s stride when your JTR moding through big enemies only to pop smaller enemies like little energy packs. The pacing is great as long as you don’t slip up. Sadly limb and weapon cutting isn’t terribly interesting. The only interesting application of blade mode outside of bossfights I found in the game is slashing a blocking Broad Sword cyborg to break his guard. It’s not a bad system, but I can’t help but to feel the game is too far balanced toward Zandetsu. The fact that it fills all health and blade mode completely with one grab I think is a concession that Platinum didn’t have enough time to truly balance the system. Their solution is less elegant but very safe and still fun so I can’t complain too much.

Two additional nitpicks. The games secondary weapons are lacking. Most aren’t very good, and the SAIs are oveprowered and boring. This could be salvaged if they could be quickly transitioned between, Devil May Cry style, or if the menus were truly Metal Gear style, but switching is just tedious enough to discourage it in all but a handful of occasions. Atop that, I’m a annoyed that optimal DPS seems to be doing Raiden’s back-foward launcher over and over again. I guess it’s not that big of a deal, since usually it’s not an optimal way to fight groups of enemies, but it’s kinda silly looking where applicable.

Still, combat wise, I feel like Rising almost has the edge on Bayonetta and I hope to see a Revengeance 2 where Platinum can polish this wonderfully aggressive system.

As for the content — some people complain about short games. I love short games. Especially mastery driven games that I can play through over and over again. Once JTR mode is unlocked semi-immediately on NG+, the game flows much better. To salvage the original Rising content in a reasonable time frame, Platinum made a really lean game. Some of the of the visual content gets recycled a lot, but the enemy related challenges keep ramping up appropriately.

Another random note: The music. Oh my god the music. Not the sounds themselves. Most are okay at best (though there are one or two gems), but the manipulation of music so things like the vocals kick in, or the music crescendos when big moments in boss fights happen? That’s AWESOME and I wish more games would do it. The game also uses QTEs quite well. There is a bit of ‘press X not to die’ but it does a great job of legitimately making you feel awesome. Ending a lot of these segments with blade mode also add a deal of expression to the action. I kinda always wanted more ‘analog’ QTEs where the players input influence the action more, even if the results are largely the same. Blade Mode segments after QTEs are close.

The plot is hilarious. It’s like an Arnold Palmer of 50% Metal Gear and 50% DMC. Some of the exchanges have a level of corniness that can only be describes as Devil May Cry. The game is hammy as hell. The only real disappointment is I wish it struck a balance better. Metal Gear is great at taking it’s self seriously, while not taking it’s self TOO seriously. It’ll laugh with you at it’s self, but it never acts like it’s a joke. Rising does. Which is okay. It made me laugh a ton (the last boss says so many amazing lines that he’s basically a walking ball of memes. Monsoon would be proud). Not much to say about the plot. It’s hard to follow and barely matters. There are a few good segments. The Sam sequence where Raiden hears the voices of the cyborgs he’s fighting is pretty cool. It seemed very Metal Gear-y (even down to the soldiers saying the most corny stuff as it happens, just like in MGS3’s The Sorrow sequence). It seems a little oddly misplaced in Rising, but whatever. It’s better there than not there, but I’d love to see more tonal consistency in a sequence.

So basically it’s a pretty great game, but it does show some seams from being a salvaged project. The fact it does so good despite these hardships is a good sign. I hope Platinum is allowed to continue the series.

Cool Women in Fighting Games who aren’t Sexualized!

Had a fun conversation on twitter involving the sexualization of women in fighting games and was rather surprised how many examples of non-sexualized women people coud come up with. It’s not a lot, but it’s still a list and it’s fun to talk about.

Also, this isn’t to say that I think non sexualized female characters are the best female characters. You’ve seen my shitty art, you know how I roll. I love me some boobs and some pretty women and all that. But I also like seeing variety. So the point of this post is to highlight some variety that some people might not know exists so we can appreciate it and maybe learn a little by their strengths and failures.

This in no way is a list to show there isn’t a problem (the difficulty of assembling this list would say otherwise). This is just to highlight some cool examples.

The list is also not complete. I tried to stick to answers that would be largely uncontroversial, but if you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them. I might try and update the list, but try and make sure it’s a good example. I’m not going to put Ivy down in the bottom category because she’s ‘sexually empowered’ or something. That’s a different conversation for a different time.

Non-Human

The easiest way to have a non-sexualized woman in a game is to have her be non-human. This might seem like cheating, but almost invariably, when a character is non-human, it’s usually male (I’ve heard League of Legend players bitch about this quite a bit). So while these example are arguably easy ways out, their rarity tells a different story.

Justice

justiceGame: Guilty Gear

Justice is the final boss of the original Guilty Gear and a secret character throughout the life of the whole series. While Justice is humanoid, most tend to think of her as a big gundam dude with hair. The woman inside Justice is probably quite attractive if the implications of Overture’s plot are to be believed, but the Justice we see as players is a powerful, dreadful Gear with a TERRIFYING codpiece. It’s also quite possible that, while Justice was once human, that her human body was destroyed when she was converted into a gear. Being a powerful woman who commanded an army of Gears against all of humanity, Justice deserves some respect

Amaterasu

amaterasuGame: Okami and Marvel vs Capcom 3r

Amaterasu is not only a wolf, she’s also the Goddess of the Sun. Hard to get very sexual there. People also tend to know Ammie is a woman, which gives her some points over the other two characters on this part of the list.

Panda

panda

Game: Tekken

The tekken Panda is a girl. WHO KNEW?! Not much else to say on this one as Panda doesn’t really do or say anything

Minimally-Sexualized

These are characters who are very minimally sexualized. Almost all female characters get sexualized in some way, if only in passing. The exceptions in these character’s portrayal are often kind of interesting.

Leo

leoGame: Tekken

I’m not up on my Tekken so forgive me in advance. Leo is one of the cooler of a particular trope of non-seuxalized female characters. Leo is androgynous. Leo is androgynous as fuck, with no one knowing what she was for quite some time. Her style is a type of Kung fu that is both powerful and graceful and while rugged and masculine in appearance, as a guy she would definitely be seen as a pretty boy. She seems tough as nails and the only bit of sexualization she gets is swimsuit DLC in Tekken Tag Tournament 2, which puts the whole issue to rest.

Naoto

naotoGame: Persona 4, Persona 4 Arena

Naoto is an awesome and troubling character. Also androgynous, Naoto and her Persona 4 story spawned a bunch of controversy as to whether or not she should be considered transgendered and whether or not Atlas dropped the ball in making her trans issues be a ‘thing’ she lets go of. Personally, I’d say she’s not trans, but that Atlas dropped the ball (The character is what they say she is, for better or for worse), so I’m including her. There is some pretty good reasons to consider he male still (She refers to her self with male pronouns in the japanese version even after confronting her shadow), but that’s a discussion other people can have.

Still, taken as a female, Naoto is very much not sexualized. She is in Persona 4 to some extent — jokes made about the size of her wrapped up breasts and the school girl outfit during christmas… but not at all in P4A (it’d be easy to assume she was a guy if you were playing without prior knowledge), and in both cases is always treated as skilled and intelligent. While Naoto is problematic, she is still awesome and very interesting to talk about. Out of any character on this list, she probably has the most words written about her. If you’re curious, look it up. I can’t do her story justice.

King

kingGame: The Art of Fighting, The King of Fighters

The original androgynous fighting game character. King could only be identified as female by defeating her with a special attack in the Art of Fighting which would blow off her top and she her to be wearing a bra. A bit crude by current standards, it was an interesting detail at the time.

King fights with the world’s most badass martial art, Muay Thai. She dresses in fancy suits and drinks wine and kicks ass. Like Naoto, she presents herself as a man to receive male privilege while at the same time becoming somewhat gender neutral. King gets more feminine in appearance as the series goes on, kinda unfortunately so by XIII. Still, her cold demeanor hasn’t changed at least.

Makoto

makotoGame: Street Fighter 3: Third Strike

While masculine and androgynous, Makoto doesn’t get included with the above 3 a she has always been presented as a female. Instead, Makoto just doesn’t care about her femininity. She is one of the hardest hitting street fighter characters and is terrifying. Makoto is a pretty great example of a non-sexualized female character as little is done wrong in her presentation. There are no missteps or mixed messages, just a really rough, tomboyish karate practitioner. At worst, when you dizzy her you can see her bra and SF4 gives her a schoolgirl uniform, but those are minor points in the scheme of things.

Hilde

hildeGame: Soul Calibur 4

Hilde get’s a lot of love as a cool, armored female. While some of her costumes are more feminine, her primary outfits are always pretty badass. I don’t know about Hilde as a character, but one of the cool things about her is, unlike the above examples, she doesn’t discard her femininity. It just doesn’t get in the way of being a pragmatic fighter.

Peacock

peacockGame: Skullgirls

It’s strange that two great examples come from a game with so many panty shots. I could write a whole lot about how Skullgirls’ honest voice and art direction is the right way to do ‘sexy’ and do it sincerely, but that’s gotta wait for another day. What’s cool is that there is actually some good cast variety. Peacock is pretty much straight up entirely unsexualized in any way. Not even in a ‘loli’ way or something. She is a foul mouthed cartoon throwback who is amazing. It’s so awesome that she’s found in such a strange place

Painwheel

painwheelGame: Skullgirls

Painwheel might be arguably a little sexualized with her leg revealing outfit, but I don’t think she was created with any sort of titalation in mind. Painwheel is terrifying and upsetting. She’s embodied medical horror and experimentation.

Tsubaki

tsubakiGame: Blazblue

I stopped playing Blazblue long ago and I don’t even particularly like Tsubaki. In fact, I kinda hate her design. It seems so stupid and goofy and awkward. At the same time, that goofy, stupid awkwardness makes no attempts to be sexy or anything like that and it makes her stand out compared ot the rest of the Blazblue cast.

Oume & Otane Goketsuji

otaneGame: Power Instinct

OLD WOMEN. How awesome is that. Power Instinct is a weeeeiiird game. In fact, Oume was even the game’s last boss.

Sexualized but Awesome Characters and Runner-ups!

Random examples I wanna talk about and a few runner up game series that do better than expected on average but I don’t feel like I would have much to say about.

Baiken

baikenGame: Guilty Gear

Baiken is a weird example. She can be drawn pretty sexy. She has cleavage all over the place. She doesn’t care about her appearance much, but she’s still a hot mess. Atop all this, she is scarred, missing an eye and an amputee. Arguing about whether or not Baiken is sexualized or not is one of the reasons I wanted to write on the topic to begin with.

I think Baiken is sexualized in an almost perfect way. It isn’t thrown in your face. They don’t go out of their way to make her pose in sexy ways or show off her huge boobs all the time and they’re also making a maimed person attractive and strong. Baiken isn’t cool despite her sexualization — it’s something that plays off her other traits in an awesome way.

Vanessa Lewis

vanessalewisGame: Virtua Fighter

Also not a big VF fan, but I do know Vanessa Lewis was one of the first ‘muscle girls’ and an MMA fighter. Vanessa is sexy and shows a lot of skin, but also in a way that shows off her powerful body. Vanessa is also tastefully animated and has some badass attacks.

Runner Up: Melty Blood
No, seriously, for a “loli fighter” based on some eroge games, the characters are surprisingly very much no sexualized. It’s actually quite surprising.

Runner Up: Immaterial and Missing Power

This might be a bit of a cheat, but IaMP is a Touhou fighting game and whether or not lolis in bloomers is sexualizaiton is a whole big question. Still, they seem to be drawn respectably in both the original Touhou games and IaMP. Worth throwing that out there.