Is this really necessary?

17 Aug

So while browsing through my twitter feed yesterday, this article pops up from gameranx: “Dead or Alive Devs Went ‘Hands-On’ to Get the Breast Physics Right in Dead or Alive 5.” My first thought – “Is this really news-worthy?” – was immediately followed by “And is that really necessary?” And I’m not sure what my answer is, at the end of it all.

The article itself acknowledges that there have been reactions from both sides – the side that finds the game’s copyrighted breast-physics entertaining and the side that finds it disgusting/degrading. I’m pretty sure there’s also a sizable side that doesn’t care one way or another, but they’re the side that doesn’t speak up, so I’m not going to deal with them.

I’m torn, personally. The part of me that is a technician and (perhaps) an artist recognizes the desire for realism. If you want to have realistic physics and your physics engine is capable of rendering objects as they would appear in real life, why shouldn’t the breasts in your game have realistic physics? They should. It’s simply a part of the general realistic milieu. The part of me that’s a feminist is a little horrified, especially at the idea of the need for “hands-on” work in order to determine breast-physics. I mean, really? Do you really need “hands-on” experience? (And if the experience itself involves waterballoons or something equally innocuous, did you really need to call it “hands-on”?)

I like the idea that games are trying to approximate reality. I like the idea that they’re trying to produce realistic female bodies (although I will admit that I find it unlikely that the women in this game are going to be “realistic” in any sense of the word that I would actually condone, breast-physics aside). I’m not sure that breast-physics are really necessary, and I’m really sure that copyrighting them is absolutely unnecessary. Nor am I completely sure what that means. (Does it mean that other companies would need to write their own algorithm for realistic breast-bouncing? Or does it mean that the breasts in their games do not behave realistically?)

Either way, I’m certain that – despite the fact that I decided to devote a post to it – it shouldn’t be news-worthy, nor should it really be a selling-point for the game, although I know it is (and therefore can’t really fault them for marketing to it, since it will help the game to sell).

But I think that the fact that all the article talks about in the game is breast-physics says something about the kinds of attitudes expected of and evinced by the gaming community. Since over 40% of the community is women, I’m guessing a similar percentage also don’t really care about realistic bounce, and I think that while its fine for games to strive for verisimilitude, advertising the bounce over the gameplay is going a bit too far over the line for good taste.