It’s easy to dismiss this as “product of its time” or just something of by-gone days, particularly as the current management of Wizards of the Coast and the connected companies have been very actively trying to do better – but its important to remember that these are essentially formative works both in tabletop roleplayiing games and fantasy in general.
That’s… that’s a problem.
I like to think that the all-around badness of
kinda makes it an unintentional piece of commentary art. As if the designer/sculptor/company behind it was trying to say “You though you saw the worst of sexy female warriors? Nope, they could look like THIS!”.
And it just gets better when you turn it around and consider the anatomy… not only is her whole shoulder clearly dislocated and torso unnaturally swiveled, the sculpt of her underboobastic top makes it look as if she had an extra breast right under her armpit!
Ah, sweet memories, of when I was cruising the internet for cursed content only part-time. : )
I was actually feeling optimistic lately about the state of miniatures nowadays. All the board games I play avoided this kind of low-effort designing for their lady characters. Were board game developers finally embracing the endless possibilities that not necessitating “Tiddy Out” provided??
But then I discovered that I actually living in a bubble and that a board game RPG got kickstarted in the year of our lord 2019 with this as a promised character/mini:
That’ll teach me to have barely-mid-tier standards!
The Best of 2019
Pretty good year for video games and other media in that more studios seem to be trending towards creating more equitable attire for characters to varying degrees. Even Games Workshop has released some new Sisters of Battle that look like formidable warriors (as opposed to well…), and have promised more. There are a few stand outs:
Captain Marvel by Marvel Entertainment
This movie was a great start to the year and addition to the dialogue regarding the Marvel movies. Representation of women and same-gender relationships were great discussions sparked by it, and it smashed a box office record in the process.
Control by Remedy Entertainment
Weird, compelling and a whole lot of destructive fun – the adventures for Jesse Faden warrant almost infinite exploration and interpretation – all without needing to engage in exploitation of women.
The iconic game of killing Nazis provided as with the new and exciting opportunity let the players co-operate as a pair sisters killing Nazis for themselves.
Apex Legends by Respawn Entertainment
Battle Royales are a big market right now, and it’s nice to see one that embraces diverse characters and provides the female characters with interesting roles and equipment (that is also practical looking)
And because I’m not too proud to admit to schadenfreude:
Amongst others we took great delight in that the attempts to use sex to sell by EM83R completely fall over, along with the release of the Kill la Kill video game going pretty much unnoticed.
The Worst of 2019
For simplicity I’ve limited this to major media and not the various groups of the worst people supporting the worst celebrities – because those people don’t need our platform and never change.
Mortal Kombat fanbase highlights general toxicity in gamer culture
So, Mortal Kombat 11 came out and it’s… well it’s a Mortal Kombat game, but a few changes to default designs and made a few female characters have less conventionally sexy outfits… and well, capital G gamers did not take it well:
League of Legends studio, Riot Games, confirmed as misogynistic cesspit
Throughout the year various details came out about the studio being a horrendous to female staff – to the point where a judge ruled they have to pay ten million dollars compensation to female employees. It’s good that they received some compensation, but it shows how the video game industry still has a long way and how if a studio’s products look like it doesn’t care about women… it probably doesn’t.
Media and platform capitulation to Nazis
If you’re wondering why you hadn’t seen more on Wolfenstein: Youngblood or Control, it’s because pretty much the vast majority of platforms such as Steam and rating services such as MetaCritic still want to take a hands-off approach to their communities because they just don’t care. Of course, there’s also the issue of how Kelly Marie Tran was all but written out of Rise of the Skywalker.
Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night
Well the game is out now and while it was celebrated for its nostalgic qualities, it sadly also carried along all the nostalgic ideas on how female character’s costumes should just be generically sexy without anything thought on… anything else at all… not even whether the clothes can even exist.
Of course, the comic industry remains a trash fire… for many years running now.
What class is she? Horrifically Overpowered Titninja?
I love playing Pathfinder, but I don’t understand why someone chose this for the cover…
So I looked up what that book is supposed to be… and it’s a “What not to do” kind of guide. Fair enough, I guess?
Quote from the publisher’s description:
We’re not suggesting any GM should allow these feats into a campaign. In fact, we advise against it. Seriously, the whole product is called “Horrifically Overpowered Feats,” which seemed like a dead giveaway that we’re not encouraging anyone to use these rules.
Is the cover also supposed to be a dead giveaway to this being intentionally ridiculous? ? Because straight-up recreating something bad/nonsensical does not yet satire make. Satirizing sexist game art is actually really hard, as @wundergeek taught us.
Since one of our latest stream redesigns was of some Dark Sword miniatures (including the return of butt-window lizard lady), we considered a couple more characters to fix, including this here Jen – Harvester of Souls, lady necromancer with serious boobplate problem.
I like me some goth characters with perky attitude (that smile is adorable!), and Jen was actually based on the woman who did this miniature’s paint job, but wow is that costume some generic fantasy garbage, scoring some typical bingo points without hitting a single row.
Obviously not the worst we’ve seen, just disappointingly uncreative.
This is the sort of design that explains why people don’t treat the word “edgy” seriously anymore – artists who want their stuff to look “dark and edgy” literally throw as many sharp edges on their villains and antiheroes as possible, no matter how absurd that looks!
Just imagine all the protection she could get if she used metal from those arm and head spikes to form a practical breastplate!
Why does this look like, instead of sending the publisher the actual intended cover art, they accidentally submitted a “how ridiculous can we make it” art piece done on a dare? And the publisher just went with it, because it’s Warhammer?
h/t for finding us design to bingo: Gigahorsedeluxe
Joust for Fun seems right up our alley, with the super adorable artwork and inclusive characters.
“Historically inaccurate card game” is such nice, cheeky tagline for a game that *gasp* dares to have such characters as well-armored princesses and Mexican wrestlers joust against each other.
Who cares about “historical accuracy” when you can be awesome and cute instead?
Also, props for making their Kickstarter promo video a Princess Bride reference (+ a gender non-conforming princess!).
I stump for Magic the Gathering hard. I often feel like, in a sea of boring design and policies written by the Creepy Marketing Guy, Magic stands out as really trying to do better for inclusivity and diversity, even if it does stumble from time to time.
But this time, they REALLY stumbled.
Behold, from the recent Battlebond set… Royal Trooper!
… like… what the hell.
This is my first time doing one of these bingo cards, so if I missed one or didn’t interpret one properly, let me have it:
Now, the hilarious thing is, I passed this by my fiancee in case I missed one, and she said that the male version of this card was probably better. That sparked an idea, and lo and behold, there was an earlier version of this card:
…it’s also a woman, in MUCH BETTER ARMOUR… FORWARD, Wizards of the Coast. We’re supposed to go FORWARD. Yeesh…
Thanks for subsmission and the commentary! We learned not to have high expectations of Magic and Gathering’s illustrations. At best, they’re a mixed bag.
Occasional positive female example or sexy man doesn’t justify the fact that Wizards of the Coast aren’t all that bothered with keeping their card artist guidelines more than a little vague about what’s encouraged in depictions of women. So we end up with whole variety of generic sexy fantasy chicks with bared skin and boobplates galore.
Just the fact that every version of Chandra Nalaar sports prominent boobplate says a lot about their dedication to never strive for actual change.