New video game proves sex sells, not playability, quality of product

When I heard D3Publisher was releasing a video game for Wii in the U.S. called “Oneechanbara Revolution,” with a main character who fights zombies wearing nothing but a cowgirl bikini, my ears perked.

The article I was reading went into great detail about the company and how it was marketing the video game, and that’s when I realized that this is just one more example of how sex sells merchandise.

According to IGN.com, the publishing company decided to send a real-life, un-pixilated version of the bikinied hero to the editorial offices of video game magazines and Web sites. I guess the idea was that the nearly naked model would distract editors from the fact that D3 had made, according to the Web site “one of the worst attempts at making a Wii game so far.”

Even worse, the star of the video game is guaranteed more press time because an Oneechanbara movie is due for release in Japan this April.

Obviously the release of the video game and movie is just a money grab by D3Publisher, but it is representative of a problem abroad, as well as in the U.S. It was Jon Foreman of Switchfoot who said, “Sex is currency, she sells cars, she sells magazines.”

And the truth is, she is and she does.

I’m not going to pretend that a bikini wearing Japanese cowgirl in a video game is going to make 12-year-olds have sex with cheap prostitutes. The fact of the matter is that for every scientific study proving that sex and violence in the media cause kids to have sex and kill each other, there is another scientific study that shows these things have no effect on kids.

The problem is that despite whether morally reprehensible subject matter in the media affects kids, it represents a problem in the society that it comes from. The only reason that we have so much sex in our video games is because there is a demand for it. If sex is currency, people have to be willing to spend it, and they are.

The fact that the D3Publisher public relations team got together and decided that the best way to promote a video game is not by highlighting the level of playability of the game, but by dressing up a model in next to nothing in an attempt to get better game reviews is appalling.

I don’t know if there was ever a time when a product was bought and sold because it was a good product, but perhaps that is not the issue here. Perhaps the issue is not that the game is the product, but that what the main character is wearing is the product, and the game is only justification for the sale of that product.

This may be too simplistic, but either way, the fact of the matter is that D3Publisher is selling exactly what the consumer demands. As long as the consumer wants more sex in his or her video games, movies and television, then the consumer will get more sex in his or her video games, movies and television.

If the U.S. is content with paying for cheap, pixilated images of sex, then more power to it. But if people get the feeling that maybe they are being had then they better step up and stop demanding exactly what it is they are receiving.

Andrew Young is a junior radio-TV-film major from Overland Park, Kan.