If there's any subject I've covered more here at Cheat Code Central, it's sex and sexuality. We've chatted about why penis sliders are okay in video games, why camel toe is not inherently evil, and why sex should be allowed in games. Let's talk today about something else related to sexuality in video games: revealing costumes. This has been a hot button topic for the past few years. Certain groups of people think that revealing costumes in games are exclusively found on women, that they are unrealistic, and that they objectify the character. I'm here to share my opinions on the matter.
First off is the argument that there are more women wearing revealing costumes than men. This isn't entirely wrong, but it varies widely depending on the game. There are certainly plenty of games that show men in bulky armor, while their women counterparts wear bikinis. On the flip side though, there are tons of fighting games that show men in “revealing” costumes too. The best personal example I have is Alan from Drawn to Death. He's male and is wearing nothing but an apron with no underwear. Even Link can run around in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild in his underwear! If you look, there are definitely examples of revealing costumes on male characters. Could there be more of them? Absolutely. And I think game developers owe it to themselves and their customers to continue making revealing costumes for both genders.
That brings us to another really big point. These “bikini armors” and practically nonexistent clothes are unrealistic. I look at this point in two different ways. We have to consider whether or not these outfits would be worn at all and if they are realistic for the situation at hand. The former is easy; would a woman wear a bikini in her normal life? Definitely. Would a woman wear a revealing outfit ever? Certainly. Some women wear bikinis to the beach or the pool. Some wear bikini tops as a fashion choice. In a similar vein, some women wear revealing outfits. This is proven at every single pop culture convention. Those revealing costumes that people complain about in video games are being worn by real life women! The same is true for men. Some do in fact wear Speedo swimsuits to the beach or pool. Some guys walk around with their shirt off, they wear short shorts, or they definitely wear revealing male costumes at conventions.
The second part of my “are these outfits realistic?” argument is a bit more complex. Would these outfits be worn in the situation at hand? If a character, male or female, is going to be doing a lot of fighting, they should probably have an outfit that protects them. If you're battling monsters twice your size or hordes of enemy armies who could slice, dice, and otherwise dismember you in any manner of their choosing, your clothing should at least attempt to keep you safe. Armor that leaves crucial areas open to attack (like the heart, or gut, or lungs) is not going to help anyone. If you want have a video game universe that is more realistic, then the costumes have to match. No one's going to battle in booty shorts (male or female) if archers are shooting arrows at you. No one wants an arrow to the knee, right? (I know, old meme is old, but I couldn't resist.)
But, and this is a big but, these are video games. They are meant to be a universe all their own. They are meant to be fantastical and non-realistic insofar that maybe warriors wear practically nothing into battle. We're taking games a bit too seriously if we think that a non-existent elf should be wearing more clothes because it's “more realistic.” The same can even be true of games that take place in a real-life location. Call of Duty: World War II does its absolute best to be true to the source material, but if someone wants to play with their character in nothing but boxer shorts, who are we to say no? Just like EA has no solid ground to stand on by saying a pink Darth Vader isn't canon so it shouldn't be in Star Wars: Battlefront II. Give the people what they want!
Finally, we come to the argument that revealing costumes objectify the character that wears them. The people who say this aren't entirely wrong. When I'm looking at a shirtless Nathan Drake in Uncharted 4, I'm definitely not thinking pure thoughts. The same is true for a lot of the female characters that are wearing skimpy clothing. Plenty of other people have similar thoughts when they look at sexy video game characters. But the thing to remember here is that they are fictional characters. How can we objectify something that is an object to begin with? Video game characters are not real. That's the beauty of video games. Some characters are meant to be sexually objectified. We shouldn't be taking real life offense to something that isn't real to begin with. Why can't we all just enjoy some hot video game characters together, am I right?
As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing wrong with revealing costumes in video games. These are fictional worlds that allow players to live out fantasies. For some people that includes lesser amounts of clothing. Just like sex shouldn't be such a taboo in video games, revealing clothing shouldn't either. I'm sure my ramblings have managed to tick off all kinds of people. But perhaps I've actually ticked off some boxes that you agree with. What I've shared with everyone here are merely my opinions. No matter how you feel about the matter, I'd love to hear your thoughts below.