Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Guilt By Association Hits Home

Today on YAD, I need to clear something up.
Remember what I've said about the South? How, if Southerners wish to shake off the Deliverance, Hee-Haw, America's Twangy Halfwit image that they currently have, they need to do something about all the pigfuckers that embarass them on a regular basis?
Well, in the interest of fairness, I must inform you all that as an avid fan of videogames, I can, for the time being, apparently be assumed to love the titties and the porno. Because like the one guy in Mississippi that subscribes to the Utne reader, it really doesn't matter that I personally have what most people would consider an unremarkable, reasonable attitude toward both the titties and the porn. Until the game industry and the fanbase stop being populated by vast numbers of creepy, teat-slavering fanboys with sore wrists and a four-digit annual hand lotion budget, I'm stuck with the stereotype of the subculture.
I watched about ten minutes of this year's "G-phoria", G4TechTV's* annual awards show. Having occurred two years in a row, it now has earned the right to be called "annual", a milestone that seemed iffy at best after watching LAST year's. Anyway, for some reason, video game awards shows are the only ones who will, completely unironically, invite big-name porn stars to present awards, complete with REALLY WEAK innuendo-laced banter.
It's a no-win situation. Awards show presenters are there to speak nice and wear pretty clothes, two things porn stars are, thanks to a self-selection process that borders on the Darwinian, notoriously bad at. So not only do video games strengthen their association with sad wankery, all anybody gets out of it is Jenna Jameson in some awful Goodwill-rack knit dress reading clumsily off a teleprompter. But the crowd cheered her like she was managing to use both the award statue and the teleprompter operator in her professional capacity. You sad bastards.
So you've got the porn stars, and the scantily-clad models at the trade shows, aka "booth babes", and the Japanese body pillows with the game characters on them, and all of a sudden, I'm sorely tempted to join a less creepy, sex-obsessed subculture. But then I realize, I fucking HATE scrapbooking.
Still, the latest news out of game-land has me reaching for my glue-stick, and not in any kind of phallic euphemism, either. Last year, there was this shitty game called "BloodRayne". BloodRayne featured a leather-clad (to the extent that she was clad at all), giant-chested vampire chyck. Who fought Nazis. You can point to your copies of Rez and WarioWare all you want, but one game like BloodRayne hits shelves, and it's back to Creepy Perv Lane for you, Mr. Artsy Gamer. Have some hand lotion.
The game wasn't good at all, but since it starred a half-naked, leather-clad, Nazi-fighting, mammengorgic vampire, it sold enough to warrant a sequel**. And to promote the sequel, BloodRayne will be the first video-game character to appear topless in Playboy. I kid you the fuck not. Topless, computer-generated game character with a Playboy spread. That right there is going to make the stereotype stick like the pages it's printed on, so you might as well get used to it. At least until next E3, when, with any luck, a well-trained "Hands Out Of Your Pants Squad" will lace all the food in and around the convention center with saltpeter, then wander the show floor with Authentic Baby Seal Clubbing Clubs (TM) to deal with the 30% of the gamer population so astonishingly frustrated that to them, saltpeter is like Cialis laced with Ecstacy.
Then maybe we can start rebuilding our image.
* And boy howdy, isn't that the worst possible name for a cable network, ever? I mean, yeah, G4 (bad name) merged with TechTV (still not great), and the best they could manage was to smoosh them together? Seriouisly, they could have changed the name to the Used Tampon Network and it would be an improvement. And probably help their demographics.
** And a movie! Starring Ben Kingsley, who, following the Orson "Transformers" Welles and Raul "Street Fighter" Julia rule, should kick off shortly after filming ends. Kingsley will, disappointingly, not be playing the title character.