In the latest reminder that there is absolutely nothing, anywhere that is safe from neo-victorian prudes, organizers of the Dead or Alive 5 Last Round fighting tournaments are attempting to ban participants from using over 100 “Over Sexualized Costumes.”
Dead or Alive is an extremely popular fighting game with almost 20-year history and millions of titles sold. This move goes against the series core design concept: well-endowed girls fighting each other in skimpy outfits. Organizers are describing this with the Orwellian term “soft ban”, which appears to mean “a ban, with the word soft put in front of it.”
Tournament organizer The Hubbs defended the decision as follows:
This is a movement that was discussed by several members of the community to try and help turn around the image that has plagued the franchise. DOA has always been known for its over-sexualized females and just that alone has pushed people away from even trying the game. Sex Appeal in the DOA franchise will never go away but we, the community, want people to take it seriously and started the costume ban at offline tournaments to force people to focus more on the gameplay aspect of the game.
The idea that it’s important that the game be “taken seriously” is specious. Sexy costumes aside, let’s be clear about what this game is. Dead or Alive is a franchise in which thinly disguised Bruce Lee clone (complete with WA-CHAA! sound effect) can kick a 90 pound ninja 20 feet across a circus ring into a flaming hoop, and then a lion will jump through the hoop and knock her 50 feet in the air, and the only consequence she’ll suffer is a slight decrease in her health bar. It is not a serious game. It does not need to be taken seriously. Not everything in life is serious, and so not everything needs to be taken seriously. Adults realize this. Manchildren who are desperate for outside approval of their chosen hobbies don’t.
As for the idea that “over-sexualized” costumes have “plagued the franchise,” it’s simple silliness. Dead is Alive is no more “plagued” by sexy girls than Fifty Shades of Grey is “plagued” by themes of sadomasochism. This is, after all, a series whose first incarnation featured a “breast bounciness” slider in its options menu. When you turned it all the way up moving your character an inch to the left would make them jiggle like grape jello in a wind tunnel. How does this man think all the costumes he wants to ban got onto his game disc? An especially horny virus? Mischevous cyber-fairies?
They are there, obviously, because the developers put them there. The developers wanted them there, and the customers and fans wanted them there. The season pass for Last Round, which gives you access to the costumes that these people want to ban, sells for almost a hundred dollars, nearly twice the cost of the game itself. And it costs so much because its fans are willing to pay for it.
Fans of the series have been quite vocal about their enjoyment of these characters. During the development of Dead or Alive 5, the feedback from the overseas offices was similar to that from the organizers of the tournament:
We were getting feedback from the overseas offices to tone down the sexuality — to tone down the sexiness of the game, and of the characters,” said one game designer. But the fans of the game, (I.E. thes one who pay the developers the money that helps them make their house payments and put food on the table), said the exact opposite. “We actually got a lot of feedback from people who were playing it, saying, ‘We want bigger breasts. Make the characters more like that.’ That was kind of surprising.
I continue to use the word “fan” here, because it’s clear from the tone of their post that the tournament organizers aren’t fans of the series at all. They’re ashamed of it. They’re embarrassed to be seen playing it, and that means they have no business whatsoever running a tournament for the game. If you’re that embarrassed about your own hobby, go take up gardening or stamp collecting, but leave video games to the people who actually enjoy them. If you don’t like games with big-boobed girls, don’t play them. And if you don’t like games with sexy costumes, don’t organize tournaments for them.