By Heath | February 19, 2011 at 6:36 am
Catherine, a sexually themed adventure game by Atlus, is now a hot-selling 360/PS3 title, and the marketing crew isn’t being shy about just how much this game pushes the envelope. Its ads are some of the most sexually charged game pitches I’ve ever seen, the most memorable being a Famitsu fold-out from the fall. The first page shows Catherine with an unidentified, light-colored, gooey substance dripping from her mouth; folding the page out reveals that she is eating a very cheesey pizza. Not strange at all, right? Why, what were you thinking it was? If this game gets a stateside release, I’ll be very interested to see if these same ads carry over.
I tell ya kids, I must be getting old, because this stuff caught me off guard and is a little unsettling, honestly. Using sex to sell things has been around just about as long as advertising itself, though it’s generally been more subtle in the game world, and I definitely don’t recall game adverts being this graphic “back in my day.” I suppose it’s a sign that gaming is “growing up?” More and more games are targetted specifically at adults all the time, so using advertising geared towards them should come as no surprise, I guess. Maybe I’ve been out of the loop for too long and maybe there are already game commercials featuring Princess Peach and Tifa doubling up on Mega Man, but I haven’t seen ’em, and according to NBC, that means they’re new.
Here’s my problem with it. I buy Famitsus and Dengekis and often read them on trains or buses. I’m flipping through them and BAM, there’s a big picture of sexualized 13-year old. Oh crap, next page before someone thinks I bought this to oggle that kind of s###. BAM, it’s some animu game about samurai girls who wear thongs and can’t manage to keep their titties covered. Oh for crying out loud! Next page, frick, there’s another Catherine ad! Turn the page again, quickly, and ah, finally some cool, tame Nippon Ichi game……about spanking girls in prison! I just can’t win.
Japan has a population that’s 99% native — one of the highest in the industrialized world. On my island of Shikoku (it’s mine), minorities are extra-rare, so any anything we do will automatically be judged by the locals as something all foreigners, or at least all Americans do — because here, every caucasian MUST be American and MUST speak English. Nevermind that the previous stereotype is actually true about me. So if they see me flipping through pages of a magazine with boobies poppin’ out on every page, they’re going to think I’m just like their stereotypical old men who do nothing but dream of porking a teenager. Or marrying some anime chick. Furthermore, they’ll attach it to everyone I accidently represent, and that’s just plain upsetting in principle.
This kind of stuff could also affect me professionally is the thing, as I’m a university employee, junior high school teacher, and running my own business out of my home. I’m a face seen in a lot of places, and remembered more easily than most because of how much I stick out. So, the wrong people seeing me just happen to flip through a magazine about girls whose faces are covered in runny cheese disguised as something bodily, it could have serious professional and financial consequences. Shikoku is not a big island, and word travels quickly here. And this is not even mentioning on that Love Plus bulls### that actually makes me physically sick. It’s like, I teach junior high kids regularly, and they’re sticking sexualized animu characters in the same exact uniforms and plastering Famitsu pages with images of them conveniently bent over or in a bad spot with a timely gust of wind. Ugh, it’s turned my stomach a number of times.
So hey Japan, can we maybe scale it back just a little bit? Please? That is all. Thank you.