June 22, 2011

Bonus Material: Game Widow

Game Widow
-What’s with her right foot? It looks like she’s wearing heels, but her left foot is wearing a flat shoe. Why is she up on the ball of her right foot?

-What exactly is her left foot doing? Is she tapping her toes in impatience, or rocking on the ball of her foot and tapping her heel? If that’s the case, why are her toes off the ground? Wouldn’t that be incredibly uncomfortable?

-Is she wearing a bustle? It looks like her ass sticks out a full hand’s width from her spine, and/or her right leg doesn’t connect to her torso.

-What is going on with her left hand? The arm makes it look like it should be in front of her body. Are both of her hands so hideously deformed that they need to be hidden behind her body?

-Who actually stands like that, anyway? That’s some serious, cartoon-level impatience getting emoted right there.

The Game Widow’s missing head. Sure, you could say that they wanted her to be an everywoman, an amalgam of all long-suffering gamer spouses out there. I think that there’s more to it than that. I think that they’re trying to make it easier to objectify her, illustrating how gamers only think that two things in life are worth focusing on, games and sex. And the gaming element is such a large part of their life that it threatens to eclipse everything else.

The gamepad. Based on the structure of this book, their target audience can’t tell an XBox controller from a novelty dildo, (“There’s a little booklet included in most video game boxes with a list of vocabulary specific to that game, but if you don’t want to dig through game boxes, or if you’d like to understand the live or chat conversations scrolling by on game screen, check out vocabulary guides online”[p.104]. When it comes to slang words, “oftentimes, the ones that don’t sound scary, such as ‘frag’ and the other words for kill, are the ones that should get your attention if used in a regular conversation”[p.105]) so they need something that’s recognizable enough to say “video game” without calling out a specific brand. It’s also big enough to blot out the sun, and larger than the widow herself.

The title. This isn’t one of those books that parades its contents on its sleeve spine with a pointlessly elaborate subtitle like Game Widow: An in-depth exploration of video games, their creation, and the forces that drive people to forsake their families for them. It’s just the two words, making potential buyers ask questions like “Who is this game widow?" "Where is her head?" "Did her husband just get crushed by that enormous controller in the foreground?” and most importantly, "Does this mean she's available?"

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