I’m not offended because it’s gross, because it’s the kind of thing that you might find in your creepy neighbor’s fridge “as a trial run”, or even because it’s really poor quality and will most likely ship with one boob chipped off or with a rib missing. Those are all reasons to be pissed off about this for sure, but that’s not what’s grinding my gears. The very idea that somebody out there decided that this is what I need in my life is what bothers me.
If you’re not already familiar, the European only special edition of the forthcoming sequel Dead Island Riptide is planning to include, among a bevy of more traditional offerings, a gory bust of a bikini clad woman. When I say bust, I mean that in the most literal way possible, as that’s pretty much all that’s left. Head and arms removed, this is just a torso with cleavage perfectly intact. It’s the kind of thing you display in your cubicle shortly before security escorts you out in handcuffs.
I don’t know how the decision was made to produce this. What cackling madman greenlit this thing? Through the entire process, through all the mock designs and PR hype, all the desks this thing graced, there had to have been enough people who believed in this thing to make it happen. People who, with at least some semblance of dignity, honestly thought that I would want to own this, that I may even put it on my mantle as a “discerning zombie gamer” who seeks awkward conversations with my parents when they come to visit.
I mean, I am the primary audience for this kind of stuff, no? I’m in my mid to late 20s, I own all three major consoles and a capable PC, and I’m an avid fan of zombies in film, games, and literature. I make enough money to be able to justify buying AAA titles, love to play online coop games with my friends, and even own the original Dead Island. I’m not even adverse to buying collector’s editions for decorative busts and statues that stay forever locked away (I’m looking at you Darth Malgus statue.)
Sure, I’m also college educated, a high school teacher, and married. I studied post-colonialism, queer theory, and feminism while stalwartly refusing to select a focus for my English degree. My favorite games include Fallout 2, Silent Hill, Super Meat Boy, and System Shock 2. I secretly wish my students would read books like American Psycho and Fight Club on their own and ask me about them, so I can open their eyes to the beauty of channeled rage and aggression at the seemingly immutable world of consumerism. I’ve played Super Hexagon for at least 30 minutes a day for the last two weeks.
If you were to ask me what defined me as a gamer, I’d probably tell you all of those things. I wouldn’t define myself by the size of my wallet or even by the entirety of my game collection. Deep Silver never asked me though, they seemingly didn’t ask anyone (I wouldn’t want to meet who they did ask.) Instead, they made something that almost reads like a checklist titled ‘Pandering to the Gamer Stereotype.’
Gamers are all dudes, right? CHECK.
Dudes like tits right? CHECK.
And dudes love blood, guts, and zombies too, yeah? CHECK.
It’s design by committee at its messy worst. Perhaps the whole thing is a metaphor for the way modern video games and pack-ins are created these days, where the left hand is so divorced from what the right hand is doing that they’ve both been brutally amputated. God, I can only hope that’s the case.
No, who am I kidding. What Deep Silver has done here goes far beyond just creating something horrible. Lots of people have done that (there’s a sequel to The Human Centipede.) I’m sure somewhere out there is an entire line of photo-realistic busts of bloody nude torsos that enthusiasts of such things can fawn over. No, what Deep Silver has done is so much worse. It made such a thing and then, with a wink and a nudge, said “Dude, you’d love this.”
No Deep Silver, I most certainly will not. The fact that you think that makes me sad.