Right now, there’s a game called BloodRayne. In it, you play a half vampire Nazi hunter named Rayne. There’s a bit of backstory with Rayne fighting the Occult Forces of Hitler, but mainly the story serves as an excuse to abuse Nazis. Ah, the Nazis. She shoots them, impales them, blows them up, dismembers them, eviscerates, decapitates, and makes julienne fries. Oh, and can suck their blood for sustenance.
Needless to say, it’s quite entertaining, between the Nazis speaking english, and the horrible acting. The gameplay gets repetitive, although it has some interesting aspects that they’re polishing up for the sequel.
Rayne (in the tradition of almost all female videogame characters) wears extremely tight, revealing clothing. I’m assuming that this is for mobility reasons and not because of the target audience of the game. That and all video games females appear to be nigh invulnerable in the following areas: Neck / cleavage, upper thighs, midriff, and upper arms. They also apparently never get cold, thus negating any need for sensible armor or clothing.
But, the sequel is coming, and with it, comes the usual marketing hype. Only this time, the marketing is a little unusual. Not only is she lipsyncing Evanescence on MTV, but Rayne’s going to pose in Playboy. Not as an ad, but as an actual centerfold. What does this mean?
I actually don’t know.
What I do know:
In the early part of the 20th century, it was feared that moving pictures would corrupt the morality of malleable young minds. Today, videogames have that honor. There’s pending legislation in California (AB 1792 and AB 1793) to force videogame retailers to move all “M” rated material to a separate section of the store. More specifically, at least 5 feet above the retail floor. For those not familiar with the ESRB, that’s roughly equivalent to an “R” rating at the movies, if those ratings really mean anything. “R” rated movies are kept on the shelves (at regular height) at Blockbuster and Suncoast, why should games be treated differently? AB 1792 states:
It would include within the definition of harmful matter any video game that appeals to minors’ morbid interest in violence, that enables the player to virtually inflict serious injury upon human beings or characters with substantially human characteristics in a manner that is especially heinous, atrocious, or cruel, as defined, and that lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
I hate this particular bit. It insinuates that minor’s have an innate morbid interest in violence. In addition, it ignores that there’s plenty of other media that lack serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.
I think the last time I watched cable TV, it virtually inflicted serious injury upon me in the form of a reality television show. I forget which one. There was a shallow blonde girl in it. Moving on.
Videogames are still an emergent media. Many misguided people seem to believe that they are merely entertainment for children. They are mistaken.
People grow up, and those kids that enjoyed the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985, are now hovering on or around 30 years of age.
Videogames aren’t going away anytime soon. After the success of the NES, more than a few bought the Super Nintendo, and the other, more technically advanced platforms, like the PlayStation. The PlayStation 2 retailed for $300 in 2000.
Games have matured along with their audience. Games aren’t strictly about stomping on mushrooms and breaking bricks. There are games whose storylines focus on Science vs. Faith, Love vs. Duty, Predestination vs. Choice, and many other more mature themes.
So, knowing all that, what does this mean with BloodRayne 2? Will she be soul searching, exploring the conflicted nature of her duality? Forever linked to a curse that forces her to feed on human blood, yet gives her superhuman abilities?
This game is all about killing. No Nazis this time. She must track down and stop her siblings, vampires that have chosen to band together and hatch up a master plan that will shroud the earth in eternal darkness, allowing them to feast on humans like the cattle they are.
Who’s going to buy that Playboy magazine? Probably not the kid in the playground that giggles at the word, “boobies.” <Editors note: Heh. Boobies!!> But the kid in the playground that grew up (somewhat), has disposable income, and is old enough to purchase Playboy magazine.
I just hope they have a decent article about it, I mean, she’s not real, and the character Rayne portrays is just as likely to kill you as. . . kill you. Interestingly enough, a few of the gaming magazines have their own “swimsuit issues” featuring characters from videogames. There is even a “Girls of Gaming” coffee table style book from Play magazine. I think you’ll see more of this, similar to the way that Sports Illustrated has their swimsuit issue.
I don’t believe that these kinds of games should be treated like pornography. I do believe that parents should take an interest in the games they’re purchasing for their children. While there are 8 year olds that lose more money in the fine leather interiors of their stretch limousines than I make in a year, and can afford to drop $50 a game–there are also those unfortunate 8 year olds that are dependent upon the 3 bedroom home, 3 meals a day, and allowance that their parents provide for them.
Somebody is buying these games. Maybe there should be some legislation looking into that.