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All the Right Reasons: The Underlying Motivations for Playing Lollipop Chainsaw
I'd like to think I’m a decent person; I play games for innovative gameplay and intriguing story. Don’t get me wrong, I think Lollipop Chainsaw has that. Its hack-and-slash style is like Devil May Cry on estrogen pills, and as for story, while the life of a high school teenager doesn’t seems ripe with originality, Juliet Starling is no normal teen. I'm curious to find out why a legion of undead take over a high school, even though I get the feeling that it’s just an excuse to get the game going. But there has to be more that I’m not seeing here. Or perhaps, something that I may be seeing too much of…
Juliet uses a pink-outlined chainsaw that emits bright sparkles. It's certainly a pretty picture when combat starts happening.
Alright, gentlemen. Let’s think about Lollipop Chainsaw’s main protagonist. Juliet Starling, a fresh 18-year-old blonde in high school, is dressed in a cheerleader outfit which, if I may, seems a little skimpy for sporting event attire. Let’s not forgot that she loves the color pink (i.e. her bracelets, headband, and studded chainsaw), slaughters zombies, has a certain favorability for sucking on lollipops, and carries her boyfriends head around on her waist. Chances are, for males, you liked nearly every quality listed above, know few girls who share these qualities, or at least dreamed something of this sort once in your life. Is Lollipop Chainsaw really just a blatant representation of women in order to attract male gamers?
If you take a quick look at Lollipop Chainsaw’s developer, you’ll notice that this title is under the flagship of Grasshopper Manufacture. These delightful people have brought you games such as Killer7, No More Heroes, and Shadows of the Damned. Apparent in the aforementioned games and all of their games in general, Grasshopper Manufacture’s games all share a certain over-the-top style, each with its own flare depending on which game you’re talking about. However, each of the games also has its fair share of phallic references, but it's done in a way that it wasn’t too offensive (hopefully) and was tasteful for that specific game.
Now, when we look at Lollipop Chainsaw, it seems that sexual references are found right at the game’s central concept. One could argue that Juliet’s revealing appearance was a stylistic choice, and there’s nothing wrong about that. Grasshopper Manufacture’s games each display over-the-top action through different means, and in this case, it’s the exploitation of the stereotypical high school cheerleader and the adolescent fantasies that usually follow. But how far is too far?
Flashy moments like this blend the barrier between violence and imagery
Not too long ago, there were new screenshots of extra DLC costumes available for Juliet. One good thing I’ll say is that they truly follow the spirit of the game. These include a bunny suit, a throwback to Bruce Campbell’s Evil Dead character, and a few shirt/skirt variations. Then there’s the skin-tight leather suit (Whose zipper is very far down), and straight-up beach bikinis.
Now here's something you don't see everyday...
Well, it turns out that some of these are available as pre-order bonuses, which means you can probably buy them later on from the Xbox Live store or Playstation Network Store. I was never a big fan of pre-order bonuses or DLC trinkets, and to see bikini alternate costumes as a purchasable bonus just doesn't set right with me. I sense some Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball syndrome since it’s so obvious that it’s an easy ploy for money. Enticing the gamer with nearly-full nudity for a few bucks is a sad but easy tactic. And maybe you’re saying to yourself, “Oh, I would never stoop to such a level.” But there will be people who will buy it, and we can’t blame them or get mad at them because cash traps are designed for a reason. While the costumes are following Lollipop Chainsaw’s theme, I can’t help but bring up the serious social commentary this topic sparks.
It’s hard to decide whether or not Lollipop Chainsaw’s use of the female body is simply style or an attention grabber, but nonetheless, I still can’t wait to play the game for its other notable merits. It seems to play nicely, has a good art style and graphics, and because I’m a big zombie buff, there’s no way I can miss out on this game. But then there’s still the issue of certain themes apparent in the game. Today’s world runs off of a few factors, and one of them happens to be sexual appeal because, as the saying goes: "sex sells."
Depending on whom you are and what your beliefs are, you may find some of it offensive or demeaning. But when you consider the developer’s history and the true nature of the game, Lollipop Chainsaw can be considered a colorful romp through high school slicing up zombies with a chainsaw and a mini skirt. Talk about imagery.
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