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.


Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic

  1. bf313
    June 10, 2014 at 9:42 pm

    A well written article and something that i’m sure many people agree with, it’s a shame that gaming journalism is now filled with fake controversy and clickbait. I followed Polygon for a little while before realizing how toxic and one sided their biased agenda is. Reading that website actually made me feel like I was on CNN, instead of reading about a fun hobby (gaming) that I enjoy in my free time. I hope that gaming journalism as a whole remembers some time soon that it’s about the fun of the hobby instead of the amount of money you can earn from clicks on controversial articles.

    With that said i’m excited that I now have two Suda 51 games to look forward to in the near future. Even more excited to support him since people kept going on about how his career was over for no apparent reason after Killer Is Dead, and now he’s got two PS4 exclusives on the way! It always amazes me how angry his games make people, especially since he seems like a pretty cool, down to earth dude despite the fact that his games are so out there.

  2. Bob Kerr
    Bob Kerr
    June 10, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    But if they show love and sensuality in video games kids might try to replicate it… instead of chopping peoples heads off. Think of the children! WHY WON’T ANYONE THINK OF THE CHILDREN!?! :)

  3. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    June 10, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    I went to the Barbie Doll convention last month, and there were more doll-sized bathing suits than their were men on stage as presenters!!! Can you believe that? It drove me absolutely insane! How rude of them not to have an equal number of men there even though men don’t make up the majority of the hobby of collecting Barbie dolls…

    Oh wait. Hahaha.

    See, this is what gets me. Gaming is a male hobby. Do women game? Sure. Some actually play things other than Candy Crush and the Sims too, but are they the majority? No. The market provides what the people want. The market makes what the people will buy. Simple as that.

  4. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    June 10, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    It just makes no sense….. showing gratuitous violence is completely fine in most media in North America, but the second you show female areola or some guy’s dong, people lose their goddamn minds.

    How can showing the female anatomy be worse than depicting people getting literally ripped into pieces, or melted in a tub full of acid?

    The sad part is that when people say that sexuality just can’t be done sensually, they’re right because most of the talent completely avoids it, purely because of the risks that come with such content.

  5. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    June 10, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    Well said.

    He just makes games that he thinks are cool. That’s literally it, and it drives people completely bonkers because when you see stuff like the gigolo missions in Killer is Dead, they’re so quick to scream OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN! SHAMELESS PERVERSION!, etc.

    I’m excited for his games too, they look awesome and completely out of this world, the kind of stuff he’s known for, and yet other journalists will spin it their own way and try to cobble together some attention grabbing headline.

    Meanwhile, the true gamers, the true fans will just play the game and enjoy it, or not, if the game somehow turned out to be bad.

  6. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    June 10, 2014 at 10:45 pm

    I think it’s just a stupid connection they made. Decapitation and gender representation/equal opportunities in the gaming industry? That makes absolutely no goddamn sense.

    It purely takes someone with a fiery, powder keg agenda to pull that out of their ass and say the two are related when they’re not. The disparity between hyper violence being fine and sexuality being completely unsellable is what a real problem looks like.

  7. Bob Kerr
    Bob Kerr
    June 11, 2014 at 5:43 am

    Surgeon simulator doesn’t make you a surgeon. Sports games don’t make you a professional. Call of Duty doesn’t make you a killing machine. So why would a game with some nips make you a pervert? Its just people with the worst opinions are usually the loudest and ruin stuff for everyone else.

  8. Carl B.
    Carl B.
    June 11, 2014 at 10:53 am

    Thing is, what I get from their spiel is that they are trying to say that there should logically be more women presenters….in a hobby where women make up a minority of the users/customers.

    My point is that female presenters are rare at R3 because, quite frankly, women playing core games themselves are rare as well. The companies presenting are led by men, making games primarily for men, in a hobby created, run by, and fostered mostly by young men.

    June 11, 2014 at 11:51 am

    What mental malady has caused the western world to view representation of a certain sex or race in any virtual or real environment as some sort of a game that desperately needs to be balanced lest the fabric of society shall collapse unto decadence.

    Guys! I just looked outside the window and, this is serious you guys, I glimpsed more men that women! By the gods, we need to balance this out post haste. I also saw considerably more crows in the sky that other avian species! Quick, DO SOMETHING! This is a real societal problem you guys!!!

    Happy too see that most of the rest of the world does not entertain such empty hysterical agendas.

  10. Gene Warren
    Gene Warren
    June 11, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    Cause ‘Murica!, that’s why.

  11. Brandon Orselli
    Brandon Orselli
    June 13, 2014 at 4:34 pm

    It is completely preposterous. I just don’t understand why we can’t have both, why these people fighting for the industry to “grow up” have to make a case that is usually ALL or NOTHING, you know?

  12. RealGamerNewz
    June 15, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    I understand what you were getting at and completely agree Brandon. The way completely disproportionate punishments are rendered to game companies producing Violence and Sexuality in games is disturbing. Something about that always seemed strange to me. I also see what Carl is saying, he doesn’t want them to pick based on that and wants the industry’s presenters to remain relevant.

    However, I disagree with Carl about female gamers being rare. That is completely false.

    Female gamers are not rare. Female game producers, designers, directors, programmers, artists, and journalists are not rare either and have been in heavy numbers since the beginning (only increasing ever more so every year).

    They are misrepresented and that’s true. You got to see Abbie Hepp recently for Titanfall, she’s one of many thousands though. But it’s up to them and the companies they work for to come up with the best presentation and use it.

    Not every developer takes time to stop developing and exhibit on stage. There are many thousands of people behind every AAA game that’s produced and that’s what E3 is about – AAA games. Females in the business are NOT rare but the exhibit still needs to come together naturally not be contrived. We’ll see many more females presenting soon but because they want to not because of strange arguments and activism lol.

  13. cen
    September 11, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    could not have said it better myself (Except for titan fall never played it so would not know)

  14. cen
    September 11, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    just as a side not as far as i know there are more females in the western world (USA,Canada, Europe) then men