Why It’s Not Ok There Were More Severed Heads at E3 2014 than Female Presenters

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So with E3 2014 in full swing, we’ve been getting a whole lot of new games to look at, and a whole lot of feedback on the social spheres via Twitter, Facebook, and of course – other gaming websites.

An editorial piece by Danielle Riendeau over on Polygon was recently posted pointing out a very interesting fact about this year’s E3 conferences – there were more severed heads featured in games than female presenters onstage. This was brought up by Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail pointing this out first over on his personal twitter, and the discussion pretty much began there.

Look, I understand that some people want equal representation and some people are even rallying for every game to be all inclusive – this is not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to point out that the correlation between the hyper violence in these video games does not make sense when put alongside women being under-represented in the gaming industry. It’s hyperbole, and I’m calling bullshit – I’m sorry.

What I would rather see people talk about is the disparity between murder simulators being totally A-OK, while sexuality is still essentially something considered a taboo in the gaming industry. In reality, it’s still somewhat of a weird subject in the United States (and most of the Judeo-Christian world), where generally we’re told that if it feels good, it’s bad, and God is probably frowning at you for doing it.

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Without getting into a religious debate here, all I’m saying is: why is it fine for us to have games like Suda 51’s recently revealed Let It Die, a game that essentially looks like nothing BUT a murder simulator – when games that focus on sexuality are widely panned and looked down upon? I’m talking about the games with fanservice, or the games with full frontal nudity, and so on.

Instead, we get the majority of games that feature some sort of killing mechanic, even if it’s done in a cute sort of way – like in the Nintendo games. Yes, you are still essentially killing all those goombas, koopas, and so on in the Mario games. Instead of having murder simulators, why not have games that focused on the sensuality between people? Oh, right, it has to be done in the way that CERTAIN people want.

Why not have a game filled with happy girls with giant tits who are just brawling and having a good time? Oh, right, I’m a disgusting pervert for liking games like that. Showing off the various characters in Mortal Kombat X literally ripping out organs, breaking apart spinal cords, and completely mutilating each other brought on an insane amount of cheering in the theater I watched Sony’s simulcast from.

I think before we get any traction on equal gender or racial representation in games and the gaming industry, we’re going to have to address the completely insane amount of games that simply want you to kill people, or animals, or aliens, or zombies, or sometimes even all of the aforementioned things. Sure, protagonist in game X doesn’t have every possible combination of traits that you can identify with, but it’s fun right?

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While some are trying to focus on a trending topic within someone’s social agenda, we should focus on enhancing and widening the kinds of games that are available. Ultimately, most gamers just want more of the same stuff, and they enjoy more of the same stuff – but it will be the gamers who get bored and tired of said rehashed genres, mechanics, and tropes who will hopefully draw out the desire for new gaming experiences.

As for me personally, I can enjoy murder simulators as well as games with breasts – sometimes these even come together, like in the case of Suda 51’s previous outing, Killer is Dead. Oh boy, that game sure pissed off a lot of people who just simply had an agenda (while a few were unhappy with it’s mechanics). But I digress.

As a gamer and your editor in chief, I simply play games because they’re fun, and ultimately I just want more fun games. That’s it. Is that so much to ask?

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of, and should not be attributed to, Niche Gamer as an organization.

Brandon Orselli


Big Papa Overlord at Niche Gamer, Nicchiban, and Pretentious Media. Italian. Dad. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. I also write about music, food, & beer.