I was hanging out and watching some friends play Portal (and resisting the urge to grab the controller and do the puzzle for them). They were positioned between two portals so you could see Chell when one of their roommates walked in. He immediately said “Wow, she’s ugly” and wondered why someone would make a female character unattractive. He also said that if she doesn’t have nice tits she doesn’t belong in a game. Well then.
Thinking on that then segued into me thinking about when my sister and I would play Dead or Alive 3 together, a totally appropriate game for an eleven and eight year old to be playing mind you, which then morphed into me wondering if game developers knew how breasts worked.
Whenever I play fighting games with female characters I’m always amazed at how these girls fight with their boobs bouncing around the entire time. Even in less revealing outfits, where the fighter’s chest is covered, you can watch as her breasts bounce wildly with each attack.
Here are some fun facts about breasts:
- It hurts when they’re just bouncing around. That’s why girls wear sports bras or some type of support when they’re doing anything athletic like running, playing volleyball, or beating the tar out of someone.
- If they’re too big, boobs can become painful and stressful on the back. Especially without adequate support.
- Rarely do they sit as perky as they do on video game characters with no apparent support. They are affected by gravity just like everything else.
So when I play female fighters in games like Dead or Alive or Soul Caliber I know that very little female input went into the design because someone would say “actually guys, that wouldn’t be comfortable and they’d just get in the way.”
Though practicality clearly isn’t the goal since the head developer of Team Ninja, Tomonobu Itagaki, stated that “If [breast physics] is realistic but not beautiful, what’s the point?”
What in the world?
Excuse me? The point is that that’s not how real breasts work.
There are plenty of videos like this and now my Youtube history looks like that of thirteen year old boy. Those aren’t breasts; those are creepy, autonomous flesh blobs that have attached themselves to those poor women. Some of the other boob physics videos show breasts twitching one a time or bouncing ridiculously. If my chest started doing that, I’d get to a doctor right away because that’s not normal and I really don’t think it’s that ‘beautiful’ either Mr. Itagaki.
I appreciate breasts as much as the next person. Boobs are great. And I know that sex sells. But I also know how impractical trying to fight with your breasts just jiggling everywhere would be. I know that it’s marketing but I also know that it’s pure objectification. The women in the games have the illusion of power and strength because they’re fighters. They punch and kick and beat people up and become champions or whatnot. But there’s nothing empowering about these women because they’re reduced to sex objects, a pair of breasts coded to achieve maximum movement with each attack for enjoyment by the male majority in the gaming community. Dead or Alive 5’s latest patch actually allows for gamer manipulation of the character’s breasts. You can sit there for hours and make barely covered breasts move in unnatural ways that I don’t know how someone could find attractive.
The fact that ‘Boob Physics’ exists bothers me too. Often a female character’s breasts have the most expressive motion while other her hair still flows clunkily in the breeze. Developers devote so much time just so people could watch women’s breasts move about as they fight as or against them. Even in games where you’re walking around as a female character your boobs bounce up and down with each step. (You’d think that armor would be supportive or that these women would have heard of bras.) And with Boob Physics came increased size in character’s breasts so there would be more to have fun with. Bigger breasts came with less realistic expectations for real women and more objectification in games. Awesome.
If you’re going to call something ‘Boob Physics’ I’d really like if that meant breasts were made to move like real breasts do. Not “we modeled these things to move a lot and act nothing like the real thing.” Because that’s now how physics works. Physics deals with how things react to the forces around them, not how they defy them. And even if you code breasts realistically, please make them more practical to fight with. Meaning I don’t really care of they move realistically because if they’re moving too much it’s not realistic to be fighting or running around like that.
And here you thought this might have been a post about Portal judging by the first paragraph. Instead you got a rant about boobs.
Image sources: http://egamer.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/tumblr_lpp66naDll1qm71cko1_500.jpg http://i1008. photobucket.com/albums/af209/DJARTECK/soul-calibur-4-ivy-bits1.jpg http://images.wikia.com/deadoralive/images/4/41/Tina_DOA5_COS_7.png http://25.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m3oe3g9xlr1r1mz0xo1_500.jpg http://fc08.deviantart.net/fs45/f/2009/122/0/1/Soul_Calibur_IV_Sophitia_by_YamaO.jpg