I've been playing Dragon Age: Origins and loving it, but I have a deep, dark secret... I kind of miss my chainmail bikini! Yeah... chainmail bikinis... those scanty, sexy outfits we female characters get to wear in most western RPG's that are at all fantasy based.
I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with my chainmail bikini. There's something very liberating about prancing through the countryside slaying various beasts and critters while attired as a Dominatrix, but on a larger level it bothers me a bit. Mostly it's an immersion issue. Being an "actual, real-live female" I KNOW that there is no way you can run through the forests wearing 3" heels. I've worn high heels most of my adult life... I can walk fast in high heels, I can even run to catch a bus in high heels on a sidewalk - but there is no possible way in hell that I can run through the forests or across a bumpy meadow, battling bad guys or nasty critters while wearing 3" spikey heels without breaking an ankle. It's simply not possible! Reality also intercedes with the whole "boob" thing. Any woman with a C cup or more knows that it's painful to run braless. You have to strap those puppies down... pushing them up just creates the potential for two black eyes. I always shudder when I see Lara and her massive mammaries "shimmy" along a wall and all I can think of is OUCH! It's rather the equivalent of a guy seeing another guy getting kicked in the balls. Weather also plays an immersion role. I can't help but be taken completely out of a game when I see my scantily clad siren skipping through a white winter wonderland in practically no clothing. Brrrrrr!!
Chainmail bikinis and the accompanying virtual gals that tend to wear them also promote a body image almost impossible for most real-life women to attain. Double D cups rarely accompany a 24" waistline unless silicon or suction is involved somewhere. The proportions of these nubile young lasses continue to promote our North American obsession with plastic surgery, unhealthy diets and eating disorders. While sex sells, and games are still full of scantily clad, hormonally enhanced female and male body shapes (particularly in fighting games), I do think that things are gradually, slowly changing and devs can help play a role by promoting something just as sexy but a little more natural and realistic in terms of proportions. Please devs, no more double D cup boobs unless they are accompanied by the reality of a padded waistline that holds them up, or they sag down to sway and play peek-a-boo bellybutton. Attire can still be sexy, but please make it appropriate to the game's environment and character's actions. I think it's quite possible to design sexy attire that is still practical.
That being said, I was pleased that my Dragon Age warrior woman got a sensible suit of armour and a realistic figure... but after awhile I find I am growing bored with my outfit. While it helps with immersion and when out slaying bad guys I like what I'm wearing... there are times when I want to slip into Morrigan's outfit and be a little more feminine and sexy (unfortunately I can't steal her outfit... I tried!). I guess that while it's nice to feel that sense of power and immersion by being dressed for the occasion appropriately, in a body that could be a real life female... there are still times when wearing a chainmail bikini is kind of fun.
Eh... I guess there's just no pleasing a woman! When I get stuck with chainmail I want practicality... when I get practical boring attire, I want a bit of sexy. I guess the solution is what some games seem to currently be doing... offering us a wardrobe of options!
....Now if only devs could design decent shoes!