This whole thread is definitely worth reading for a better understanding of The Creepy Marketing Guy and why so many games, particularly in early campaigns, seem to rely on generic strategies like sex sells.
So the next time you see a promotion for a game that seems to focus entirely on boobs, butts and explosions then you can be sure that it’s because the marketing guys are getting paid for the campaign, not the sales of the game, and they probably got to interfere in the process of game development, messing with the original vision of the developers, to make that happen.
And since some iteration of “you just hate for women to be sexy!” continues to be an “argument” constantly brought up in defense of such advertising (and of in-game framing – just look at the predictable replies under our Tuesday reblog), let’s quote the closing tweet from the thread:
As we’ve been saying since the beginning of the sex sells tag, you won’t go far with “selling sex” unless sex is the actual product. And the Creepy Marketing Guy will laugh at you all the way to the bank.
This artwork by (nsfw-warning) @cutesexyrobutts2 (who explicitly is paid money for doing NSFW pics) is not just concept art: it’s an impressive self-own by Mark Kern (GamerGater & general terrible person) AND a great illustration of the folly of the “sex sells” myth. (Turns out sex doesn’t even get attention anymore)
(Before we continue – for the benefit of those about to frantically type a comment – the artwork is very much on brand for the artist, and would even be very suitable in an explicitly erotic game or just as softcore erotic art. The problem isn’t the art itself, it’s that it’s for a game about mechs vs kaiju)
This art was used heavily in a “buy now” promotion a few days prior to releasing the first playable demo* of the game that’s been in development for three years.
As of time of writing:
- The combined total for Mark’s three “check out the demo” tweets is 24 retweets and 115 likes
- Mark’s most popular Em8er tweet (according to Mark) has 82 retweets and 433 likes
- the artist’s tweet has 1,162 retweets and 8,006 likes, with the following hilarious disclaimer reply by Mark:
It’s probably good that the majority of people who like this art like it as a pinup and not as a promise of content to be in the game then.
If the most interesting thing about your game is a thing that isn’t central to the game or in even in it… a giant stop sign, clearly your game is going wrong. I mean at the very least, stop asking people to hand over their money for a product that’s guaranteed to disappoint. ***
This is of course, the most extreme example – but it’s probably something to consider the next time you see a game promoting itself with bizarrely incongruent sexual imagery, big promises and little substance.
* Playable in the absolute vaguest sense possible – there’s only movement mechanics so it’s not even an alpha release. Incidentally, from the second indiegogo (the first one was just for the site):
(Due to Mark’s forementioned affiliations – it is safe to say that a lot of these backers lost their shit at @femfreq for extending their deadline due to unforeseen support… I wonder what the difference could be…)
** The gameplay video has 5,681 views ** and 469 thumbs up but according to the site, “Em-8ER is a co-op game pitting hundreds of players against an invading NPC horde of aliens in a massive war.” So far he hasn’t clear 250 subs and is offering to maybe allow up to FIVE people people at a time on the same demo map. Good luck with match making.
*** To date Em8er as a product has had three indiegogos and is pitching for people to buy pre-order packages starting at $34.95 US and going up to…
Most popular content (the sexy lady) possibly not included.
De-failing League of Angels Part 1: Stabby leather lingerie
What I decided to redesign was this extra-stabby leather… um… outfit that I bingo’d before.
After the initial shock of how uncomfortable that “armor” must be, the literally biggest thing that caught my attention in this artwork were her thighs. HOW FREAKING HUGE ARE THEY IN PROPORTION TO THE REST OF THE BODY? Unfortunately this seemed mostly like an epic fail at foreshortening rather than an attempt at ‘thicc’ fetish, let alone at earnest fat representation… So I decided to reverse that.
Instead of shrinking the thighs to give her conventionally attractive model proportions, I readjusted the rest of the body to fit them, resulting in a chubbier figure.
Her arms now have some heft and her head isn’t tiny anymore.
Though most important changes went into the torso, which now has a human-sized waist and connects to other body parts at humanly possible angles, instead of those of a Tetris puzzle.
I am very satisfied with what I managed to do with that shameless boobplate. The idea was to still have it be a breast-oriented armor without making it look like two coconut halves with extra-emphasis on cleavage, and while retaining as much of the original’s decorative aesthetic. Basically a more sophisticated attempt at what I did with Regime Wonder Woman waaay back.
I also slightly reshaped the stabby laced leather part under it, because it looked cool enough… just not on bare skin. Speaking of which, of course there was no way I left this poor woman with no padding, so in place of all this pale skin I painted white gambeson, retaining the original color scheme. She also now has full leather pants, because why wouldn’t she?
All in all, I think I managed to improve this image significantly. Not all edits are seamless, but I’m quite proud of the way they came out. How do you guys like it?
So… this incredible encapsulation of so many things wrong with “gamer” culture actually happened. An “esports apparel” shop somehow managed to make a dress that was more cheerleader outfit (or chair) and in order to “show respect” to “female gamers” (also known as women) and decided to brand it as a “new identity” as though none of them have worn a dress before. Unsurprisingly, more people liked this amazing parody than the real thing.
They were naturally shocked to discover that most people consider it a good idea to involve women in the design of clothing for women (assuming you’re not aiming for your dress to end up on Game Grumps or you to beg men to give it to a “gamer girl” rather than wear it themselves).
So how did they respond to this? Obviously, by asking for people to literally tell them let them know what “female gamers” (also known as women) wear:
That’s how they hilariously ended up with telling a competitor that they liked their designs as suggestions… apparently not realising that
“female gamers” women who enjoy games can already get comfy clothes and gaming-themed clothes by people who talk to women before releasing the product.
But needless to say, they learned an important lesson about women’s clothing and considerations to make. Certainly not considerations like wanting gaming gear to comfy for hours of sitting around playing games. They learned about marketing, specifically “delivery of tweets”:
So of course, as of the time of this post their ratio’d tweet is… pinned and their most recent “likes” entry was… more like “yikes”.
Yes, literally all they actually learned after a full 24 hours of free feedback is that “female gamers” are women… and frankly I’m not convinced they’re going to remember that when they sober up.
Yikes indeed. There’s… so much to unpack in this and I don’t even know where to start.
I suppose what amuses me the most about this case is that Cranium Apparel somehow could not be assed to involve any women in creating that outfit, yet once called out on casual gender essentialism of selling a cheerleader dress as their exclusive piece of “female gamer” apparel… THEY NOW ASK THEIR FEMALE CRITICS to do the job of marketing team for them for free (and calling feedback they dislike “hate”).
This company desperately needs to replace its PR and marketing departments, preferably with an all-female staff.
Look, I’m not saying that this marketing strategy wouldn’t be effective at getting the attention of twelve year olds… but is this really the best way to market products supposedly suitable for pre- teens?
This week’s throwback: cover image that totally tells us what the game is about and is very definitely appropriate to tweens. Yup, totally.
Seriously though, while 12-year olds are not too young to begin understanding their own
sexuality interest in butts, how about we don’t make them internalize the idea of reducing women to body parts? And maybe consider what kind of message it sends to 12-year old girls?
The designs used in Windscar’s advertisement are an absolute travesty. Like, I’m pretty sure she needs more than a chiropractor with her back bent like that
Wow, good find for BABD and for @eschergirls! The closest to this contorted promo pic I found from this game was this:
And generally WindScar seems to be very satisfied with looking like every other generically boobastic shit in our web ads tag.
What I find amusing about these designs is they are made by an Chinese company – but there’s almost no link to Chinese fashions, clothing, designs, etc.
These are basically Chinese artists looking at how Western artists have tried to imagine these costumes, then trying to make them kind of like the weird western fantasy designs they see in western video games.
Thus creating a cycle of terrible where some guy in a western company is now going to look at these and go try to outdo them….
So, a while ago the ever classy Soul Calibur announced that for #6, there’d be a couple of guest characters: 2B from Nier Automata who you can dress like Kaine and Geralt from The Witcher… who you can dress like generic Geralt.
Because it seems that the marketing at Soul Calibur are now so over invested in the generic myth that never pays off that even 2B was not sexy enough, so she doesn’t even get to make an appearance until 30 seconds into her own intro.
And the story is apparently… all about Ivy for some reason? None of it seems to fit with either game, and more importantly none of it explains why we don’t have a “just got out of the tub” Geralt costume.
Give the people what they want you cowards.
Gotta love the video ending on the classy note of a panty shot.
Thanks, I hate it!
if your female character doesn’t look like she has lived the life she leads and you can’t get a sense for her actual personality by looking at her because you’re too focused on making her pretty and perfect and palatable it’s bad character design and you should feel bad
It’s worth noting that, generally speaking – this is why concept artists want to be concept artists. They want to convey feelings, story and inspire the imagination. It’s not uncommon for concept artists to do staggering amounts of research in order to find ways to convey a type of character in a type of time period.
So, if you come across a product created by a major studio where they have extensive executive and production staff – it’s safe to say that any aggressively boring female character designs are done at the behest of a particular type of individual pushing a ridiculous myth to try to seem like a genius.
It is important to call out this kind of absurdity, not just to try to reduce the amount of gratuitous objectification in media – but to also spare these poor artists the indignity of having a guy try to convince them he invented anime tiddy.