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LONG BLOG

Butt there's more to appreciate: the female gaze in video games

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I’m a lady and I sometimes enjoy looking at pixelated butts. I mean, why not? We’re confronted with them pretty much any time we play a third-person perspective video game and so many of the protagonists are men… at times, rather okayish looking men, too. Or even when we’re playing from the first-person perspective, we remain subjected to the butts of our enemies and allies as we snipe down a scope or inadvertently run face-first into a comrade’s booty.

There’s many masculine butts to be gazed at in video games when you’re a heterosexual woman or gay man. Or heck, maybe you’re a heterosexual man and you might find videogame man butts as aspirational achievements? In any case, if you enjoy ogling pixelated pieces of eye candy, I invite you to read on…

#1: Solid Snake (Metal Gear Solid series, 1987-2015)

I’m not going to even pretend to know the full history of Snake’s ‘backstory,’ as I’ll likely botch something along the way. In any case, Snake’s iconic rear almost needs no introduction, as is. Personally, I’ve only played Metal Gear Solid 1-3, but I know enough to realize that, paired with Snake's rugged looks and 'get stuff done' personality, Snake's bum is just another impressive feature of this character. 

But really, should you need further convincing, please kindly investigate Laura Kate Dale’s (formerly of Dtoid) YouTube video homage to Snake’s truest legacy: his finely crafted assets. “It’s small, compact, muscular, defined,” she rightly observes. Snake truly sets a high standard, as the character modellers clearly spared no attention to detail on his masculine physique.

#2: Chris Redfield (Resident Evil series, 1996-2015)


As gamers, we’ve had the honor of beholding Mr. Redfield’s pert derriere on screens for twenty years. While Chris’s physique has certainly evolved over the years (has someone been lifting?), there’s not much to complain about regarding the ‘backend’ development of Redfield’s form. Especially given the ‘equal opportunity’ exploitation provided by the game’s unlockable and bonus costumes, it’s a real treat admiring Redfield’s assets in Resident Evil: Revelations’ cute sailor outfit. Kawaii, desu ne?

Paired with Redfield's ever-present concern for his men - whether they be in S.T.A.R.S. or the B.S.A.A. - Redfield's dedication to right the world's wrongs and unabashed sense of style (at least in the bonus costume department) earn him a spot on this list. 

#3: Kuja (Final Fantasy IX, 2000; Dissidia Final Fantasy series 2008-2011)

This post would be tragically incomplete without at least acknowledging the finest contribution from a bishonen (pretty boy) character. Not all buff bods belong to hypermasculine archetypes like Redfield and Snake, afterall. Although Kuja’s backside is strategically covered by a fabulously stylish sarong, you know what they say about hips, and Kuja’s certainly don’t lie. It would be wrong to dismiss Kuja’s derriere just because he obscures his backside; if anything, Kuja reveals enough to pique one's gaze, but hides enough to maintain the mystery.

It’s also rare to behold a male character confident enough to wear a codpiece on the battlefield. We see a lot of women who basically wear bikini’s in fighting games - Kuja is a delightful gender-bent (or gender fluid?) version of that design choice. Admittedly, I’ve only had the privilege of appreciating Kuja in Dissidia Final Fantasy (2008) on PSP. Maybe one day I’ll be fortunate enough to appreciate the original deal in FFIX.  

#4: Isaac Clarke (Dead Space series, 2008-2013… RIP? I still hope not)

What is it with horror games with nice butts? I’m not sure, but in a game where Clarke spends the majority of gameplay and cutscenes with his space helmet obscuring his face (especially in DS1), his sexy space suit goes a long way towards creating a sense of conflict at experiencing the visual pleasure of an idealized male form amidst the psychological horrors of fighting demented space mutations. We might call this cognitive dissonance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this was an intention of part of the designers to instill further feelings of discomfort in players, as we witness Clarke's physical and mental struggles despite his otherwise strong appearance (of note, coping with mental health issues is something I've rarely seen of men in video games).

Also, massive shout-out to Deviant Artist MetalGearDragon, who really lives up to the deviancy with his brilliant gif of Clarke twerking in front of a rainbow gradient. This is truly what the internet was made for, folks.  

#5: Miranda Lawson (Mass Effect series, 2007-2012)

So you were expecting another dude, I take it? Well, anyone who’s played Mass Effect knows the massive effect Miranda’s character model and cool personality can have on the player. She can totes by my virtual waifu when I’m assuming the role of male Shepard. For Miranda, the female gaze filters through my male avatar, and I enjoy getting to know her as Shepard. Plus she's amazingly competent and intelligent. Beauty and brains wrapped in a lethal package. And because the previous “All the butts and more” blog post neglected to feature Miranda, I think it only fair she claim a spot on this list, for sure.

Certainly this short list is pulled from my subjective experiences and features the more memorable character-butts I've encountered in video games. Disagree? Have more manly (or otherwise) butts to add? Feel free to share in the comments. 

- I over analyze just about every game I play. Want to follow my ramblings elsewhere? @jess_tompkins_ and jesstompkins.wordpress.com


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About jtompkinsone of us since 8:12 PM on 10.23.2007

I like to write about stuff I love and I happen to love video games.

PSN: Manji_Ninja
PSN ID:Manji_Ninja


 

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