Thursday, 21 January 2016
Pixels used to depict the buttocks of female characters in videogames are being recycled into the general graphics pool, while butt pixels belonging to male characters are going to waste.
This is according to a new barrel-scraping report by Lilith's Roar – a non-profit, social justice think tank, operating from a self-described 'safe space for dangerous ideas', at a vegan coffee shop, in San Francisco's Mission District.
Founder, Helen Shapiro, explains:
“Our analysis revealed that it is industry standard practice among videogames developers to recycle the pixels used to depict female buttocks, and for these pixels to be re-employed in the rendering of backgrounds and objects, or even other characters.
“Conversely, pixels used in the design of the buttocks of male characters, or in the buttocks of those characters whose gender and preferred pronouns are unknown, are only recycled by one developer: Running With Scissors, and that is only so they can have a shotgun in Postal 2 called 'Sarah' that fires butt pieces.
“It is unbelievably sexist that, in 2016, you can have the fragments of a digitised feminine derrière scattered across the screen like anal confetti, while the digital male rear-end is treated as sacrosanct and inviolable.”
According to jobbing academics, operating in the fringe humanities and pseudo sciences, the volume of recycled female butt pixels can have a marked effect on the way both sexes experience a game:
Niles Cromby is a graduate of STEM Infiltration Studies - a burgeoning academic field, targeted at young people who lack the intelligence, or the work ethic, to study STEM subjects, but who want to find employment in this sector. Students are taught how to secure jobs by manipulating diversity quotas, using slander and libel to induce sackings and open up vacancies, and basic blackmail and intimidation techniques. He says that he has seen witnessed first-hand the damage caused by this gender disparity:
“Any pixel that has been used to portray a character's butt enters a bootylicious state that persists even after the digital ass has been broken down for spare parts. When female butt pixels are re-used in games their inherent bootyliciousness has a subconscious effect on the libido of straight men, who enter a heightened state of sexual arousal.
“This is what accounts for the otherwise mystifying popularity of bus and train simulators, which are often made of 100% recycled female butt pixels. It also explains why Grampton to Skipton Railway Manager 2015 is a gateway for bi-curious women who are contemplating a move to full-blown lesbianism.
“That being said, the absence of recycled male butt pixels in games is having a devastating impact on the heterosexual female gaming community, who experience little to no sexual arousal, and are dependent for their entertainment on other factors, such as the game's storyline or playability.”
Pixel recycling is considered an area of market growth, with the demand for so-called junk pixels, harvested from older games, such as the original Tomb Raider, being particularly high.
While junk pixels are usually considered too large and blocky to be reused in all but the shittiest of AAA titles, they are increasingly favoured by cash-strapped indie game developers as a way of bringing down costs.
According to the list of ingredients in the recent indie smash, Sunset, 85% of the game consists of junk pixels. A digital butt swabbing of random screens in Sunset, commissioned by MODE 5, revealed as many as 67% of these pixels once formed the buttocks of female characters, with an astonishing 91% of these butt pixels harvested from early renderings of the Tomb Raider heroine, Lara croft.
This does not come as a surprise to refuse engineer, Martin Wallis, who played Sunset in 2015:
“Actually it explains a lot. I played through Sunset bored out of my mind by the story, but with an erection like the Washington Monument. I can honestly say that I have never been more sexually attracted to a game.”
This is not the only example of recycled female butt pixels inducing unwanted sexual arousal in men. In November, 2015, the game developer, Rockstar, revealed that Trevor Philips - a playable character in their highly popular Grand Theft Auto 5 title, had been rendered from 100% female butt pixels, and had caused many straight male players to question their sexuality.
Among these was Daniel Aimes – a former bank manager – who admits to having fallen in love with Philips:
“I sat down for dinner one evening and explained to my wife of eight years, and our two young children, that I was sexually attracted to Trevor – a character from GTA V, and that I was going to dedicate all of my free time and money towards finding a way of making love to him. Now it turns out that Trevor was coded from female butt pixels, and I'm about as gay as Tom Cruise.”
“My wife is still leaving me. It doesn't seem to matter how many videos I send to her of me playing GTA V, naked and flaccid.”
The depiction of buttocks in videogames has been an enduring source of tension ever since the early days of amusement arcades.
The first known example of digitally-rendered buttocks occurred in the game Asteroids, in which the triangular spaceship, controlled by the player, displays two prongs at its widening rear-end, that are clearly intended to be arse cheeks. Debate has raged as to the gender of the spaceship. While the novellas and poetry collections, that comprise the expanded Asteroids universe, depict asteroid mining as a female-dominated sector of deep space industry, critics claims that the majority of these books were written by womens' studies graduates, who imposed their own gender bias onto the game.
An earlier controversy occurred when the British tabloid, The Daily Mail claimed that the attacking alien fleet in the game Space Invaders, who were thought to be conducting a bombing raid, prior to a ground invasion, were in fact raining down corrosive feces on the earth. This was denied by the game's creators who released detailed xeno-biology reports that revealed the space invaders excreted their bodily waste as an invisible gas that was non-toxic to humans, but could cause temporary damage to the ozone layer.
In the wake of the Lilith's Roar report, calls are growing for the industry to address the gender disparity between the recycling of male and female butt pixels, with social justice groups demanding that stringent targets be set for games developers. Those on the opposing side say that this is more easier said than done.
A spokesperson for an AAA developer, who wished to remain nameless, told MODE 5:
“The buttocks of male characters in games are often strategically concealed behind an un-tucked shirt, a cloak, or an armour flap, making recycling of their arse pixels a difficult, protected and often dangerous operation; one that is non-economic at this point in time.
“That is not to say that in the future, as butt pixel mining techniques improve and the industry matures, we will not be able to access these previously untapped reserves of graphics.”
Helen Shapiro, of Lilith's Roar, thinks that we still have a long way to go:
“We will know that we are living in a gender-equal society when we see a Tomb Raider game, where Lara Croft's backside is made from 100% recycled male butt pixels. It's a long shot but, hey, a girl can dream.”