Let me get something off my chest about boob physics in video games

21 Jan

From over-stuffed, rigid lumps to jiggle-happy jugs, the games industry treats breasts like mystifying objects

I need to get something off my chest. Well, I need to get my chest off my chest. No, wait, let’s start again.

Video games are a technological art form. Anything you can imagine, you can create. Vast and varied open worlds? Done. Terrifying, unpredictable monsters governed by the most advanced AI we’ve ever seen? Easy. A blue hedgehog with a fetish for golden rings? Sure, why not. But apparently for Capcom, which has just released a graphically overhauled reboot of its survival horror classic Resident Evil, the most creative thing that can be done with these limitless powers is to give the game’s kickass zombie hunter hero Jill Valentine a pair of boobs with a mind of their own.

Unfortunately for Jill, who probably just wants to get on with the whole zombie apocalypse situation, her sweater puppies (I’m sorry, this bosom slang is only going to get worse) are completely non-compliant. Jiggling around like they’ve been possessed by some kind of demonic spirit, Jill’s rather excitable funbags have become a rippling distraction to anyone attempting to play the game. Exactly why the developers decided that the one thing the original Resi was missing was a couple of rowdy bazongas challenging the laws of physics, we may never know.

But this is really just one entry in a long and fairly depressing encyclopaedia of Things Game Developers Don’t Know About Anatomy. Turn to page 834, if you will, to begin the section titled “Boob Boobs”, subtitled “how incredibly wrong people can possibly be about the humble mammary gland”.

You’ll find a range of breast-related mishaps in video games, from over-stuffed, rigid lumps that protrude from the chest like a fist through a wall, to the comically large hooters favoured by fighting games and RPGs, often set in a parallel universe where breasts have the power to wobble violently, completely of their own accord, like a couple of drunken jellyfish in a mosh pit.

Consider Ivy in Soul Calibur, who’s actually more boob than person. Does she have a defining characteristic other than “that proper lumpy lass”? If she were in a crowded room, and you had to point her out to your friend, would you say “she’s that one over there with the white hair” or would you say “see those knockers over there? Yeah, she’s the woman attached to them, about 20 metres back”?

I’ve been in possession of my very own pair of jumper turnips for a while now, and I’m pretty clued up on how these things work. For starters, they definitely don’t freely bounce around like two bald men wrestling under a blanket. Nor do they completely ignore the movements of the rest of the body. Jill’s problem is that her lady lumps act like a completely separate and possibly even sentient part of her torso, wiggling along to some sick beat that none of us can hear.

That’s precisely the problem with video game baps: they’re never conceived as a part of the human they’re attached to. In fact, it’s entirely plausible that the only reason some of these women – consider Ivy, for example – are in these games at all is to be the bearer of fleshboulders. It would, after all, be rather disconcerting to have disembodied breasts floating around – and probably not all that titillating, either.

You’ve seen that new screenshot of gorgeous, realistic Nathan Drake from Uncharted 4, right? The one so detailed you can count the individual pores on his nose, or whether or not he cleans his ears out regularly? How exactly have we advanced so far in facial modelling, but we still treat tits like a complete mystery?

I understand that boobs are sexy, and often hilarious. That’s cool. That’s biology. But their depiction in games doesn’t always have to appeal to the lowest common denominator. And designers definitely don’t have to show complete disdain for their female audience by treating digital women like the Page 3 models that the Sun has just scrapped.

Games have come so far in the past few years, giving us fully realised worlds stuffed to the brim with trees that look just like trees, water that ripples and flows just like water, and yet my Dragon Age: Inquisition character still looks like someone stapled on a couple of half-deflated basketballs about five inches lower than where boobs actually are.

If you’re going to fetishise every single character in possession of a pair of boobs, you could at least make them look like actual boobs, rather than the current seemingly mandatory options: immovable unripe melons and jiggle-happy jugs. Perhaps we could even take into consideration that not everyone has the kind of rack that could support a full set of tableware, or the sort of cleavage that could crush a man’s skull, like that scene with Joe Pesci and the vice in Casino.

Alternatively, maybe we could strive for complete equality and introduce some ridiculous dong physics in to video games. Helicopter wangs, anyone?


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