I like boobs. I find them stimulating. Sexually stimulating. I also really like videogames. I like them a lot. I like them enough to compel me to write about them in what precious little spare time I have outside the my day job. More than anything I like videogame culture and an industry that promotes, no, celebrates diversity.
It’s this reason I like Senran Kagura.
Yes, I also like the boobs too. I’ve yet to find myself so overly stimulated by the sight of them, that I feel the need to masturbate on public transport – but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t gently titillated by cheeky fanservice.
It’s a fun, niche game that’s very much directed at a certain audience. Personally, I find it harmless.
So I read with dismay the article ‘- ‘Senran Kagura is damaging the games industry‘ – on the Official Nintendo Magazine website.
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I do feel I’m entitled to call out an article so vitriolic in its damning of a videogame, that the author, by his own admission, hasn’t even played.
That’s the equivalent of turning up to class for a dissection of Bronte’s Wuthering Heights and telling everyone how rubbish it is – even though you’ve only looked at the cover and a trailer of the movie adaptation.
Ignorance aside, and dismissing the fact that his diatribe is riddled with factual inaccuracies, what irks me the most is that it’s calling out for readers not to buy, to ignore, not to read, not to watch, not to explore and not to investigate.
Why?! Why on earth would anyone do such a thing?
Is that not in itself, a dangerous sentiment? I’d be intrigued to know if there’s anything else the author finds foul and unworthy? Is there a film, or a book perhaps that he feels compelled to warn me against experiencing for myself?
To deter anyone in such a way is dangerous thinking indeed.
Tempted though I am to wade into this argument, flailing my arms in a ‘it’s neither sexist or objectifying’ defence – frankly, I don’t think I’m qualified to do so. And, given I’m three quarters of my way through a bottle of red wine (and on a thursday no less!) I doubt I have the intelligence and critical nous to do so coherently.
There are, however, some points I feel compelled to raise in this land grab of the moral high ground.
Firstly, is there anything really wrong with entertainment that has a focus on sexual appeal?
Personally, I think something like Senran Kagura is relatively harmless in comparison to, say, the portrayal of women in magazines like Nuts and Zoo. It’s not particularly aspirational and it’s protagonists are not airbrushed cover-girls masquerading themselves as ‘perfection’ on the one hand – an ideal to be aspired to – and unrealistic representations of reality on the other.
Senran Kagura wears it’s boobs on it’s sleeve – literally – and in doing so sets its stall out as a vendor of light hearted fantasy. For me, such fantasy has it’s place, it can be enjoyed for what it is, by the audience it was intended for – and is hardly the stuff of evil and I certainly don’t believe it’s damaging.
In singling out this kind of entertainment as being ‘bad’, of focusing purely on the representation of breast size, whether a female character is portrayed as being too attractive, too sexy – aren’t we making a sweeping generalisation that women are suggestible, weak-minded and insecure?
Is it just me, or is that… really fucking patronising?
The irony is that this is the very stance so many male games journalists adopt in the damning of games like Senran Kagura – and at once strike a blow against the very people they’re attempting to ‘protect’. There aren’t any women in my social circle who need a games journalist to fight their corner for them – they’re perfectly capable of doing so themselves.
This is a point that can be endlessly disputed and to be honest – it’s not really what I wanted to focus on. Rather, the title of the article itself.
Regardless of your position in the sexism / objectification debate I cant stress enough the importance of niche interest games like Senran Kagura.
Senran Kagura’s very existence fills my heart with joy. At a time when so much of the entertainment I adore is focused on shooting**, or sports or endless iterations of match-three puzzlers – Senran Kagura has the audacity to make its way to Europe and offer us something that doesn’t involve piling up corpses in a factory warehouse or driving a vehicle really quickly.
It’s a colourful, silly, kinetic little slice of moe that, had the author taken the liberty of actually playing it, would have realised that it’s a game full of fun, full of happiness – full of love.
Regardless of your tastes, regardless of whether or not it’s top of your list for games to pre-order – it is absolutely essential for games like this to exist in order to enrich the industry that we love.
Yes, the indie scene is rampant with diversity – but the same is still not true of the main console and handheld releases.
If I woke tomorrow morning to find an industry that had homogenised – that was too frightened to release titles that they thought might offend certain people, or were worried about implementing a gameplay mechanic that might prove too divisive, or decided to tackle a theme that was deemed to risque, then I’d be mortified.
That’s not what I want from games. That’s not what I want from life. And to encourage people to be complicit in this ugly process? That is the most damaging thing of all.
Diversity is life. Censorship is most definitely NOT hometown.
You can pre-order the EU version, along with a bonus lenticular 3D poster right here!
This feature was brought you in association with Google Image Search and ILJG who runs the I Love Japanese Games Facebook Page.
His views are definitely not those held by Rice Digital or it’s partners.
** The fact that people don’t really bat an eyelid at the proliferation of games involving an endless torrent of murder is worthy of it’s own piece when I haven’t been drinking quite so heavily.
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