Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Fat Princess: Sony's Sense of Humor

Imagine a video game where you win by burning crosses in people's front lawns or shooting white heterosexuals. Well, Sony's answer is Fat Princess, a game that you win by kidnapping and fattening the lead female character (so to make it more difficult for your competitors to take her).


Feminists cry foul over Fat Princess

Does Sony's cartoony castle game cross the line?

She's plump, powerful and ready to cause more controversy than "SuperSize Me."

She's Fat Princess, the star of Sony's upcoming video game of the same name. Debuting at last week's E3 expo, the colorful Fat Princess is a capture-the-flag game with a twist: you can thwart capture attempts by locking the once-thin princess in a dungeon and stuffing her full of cake, thereby increasing her girth and making her harder for your enemies to haul back to home base.

According to popular gaming blog Joystiq, two feminist gaming sites have already voiced their displeasure with the weighty issue.

Feminist Gamer's "Mighty Ponygirl" rings in diplomatically, suggesting a new way to play the game altogether.

"Instead of running out into the forest to find cake to fatten up the princess with, why not go out and find gold (which is a lot heavier than cake) to stuff into a treasure chest. The more gold in the chest, the heavier it would be, and the harder it would be to carry," she said, before adding, "Oh, but that's not as "cute" as cake and fat chicks. Right."

Over at Shakesville, however, writer Melissa McEwan cuts to the chase, telling Sony she's "positively thrilled to see such unyielding dedication to creating a new generation of fat-hating, heteronormative ---holes."

Sony has yet to issue an official response, although Joystiq did receive a particularly informative update from James Green, Fat Princess' lead art director, who clued gamers in on the origins of the game:

"Does it make it better or worse that the concept artist (who designed the look, characters, everything) is a girl?"

Hmmm...hope the game's detractors don't mind eating a bit of crow.


Of course, that it is going after females and fat people should be of no consequence to anti-PC sensibilities (as long as you do not threaten to harm any communion wafers, that is). Video games are probably, next to comics and maybe porn, the most blatantly misogynistic in their portrayal of women and girls (usually as sex objects or periodically as violence victims). The fat hatred is even more convenient, in a country overtaken by a societal backlash (by the aesthetic worshipers and our friends in the insurance industry) against folk of size. As noted by yours truly a few months ago, some states (like Mississippi) are even trying to ban overweight people from restaurants.

Then again, we do have the Evangelical version of this game, Left Behind, where future religionists win by killing non-believers. Such sweet and loving people, those Evangelicals.

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