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Breasts and video games are three of my favorite things (four if you count Total Recall), but things don't necessarily mix just because they're awesome. I also love martial arts and my testicles, but wouldn't want to combine the two -- even though the anatomical results are better than the breasts/gaming combo, because at least having my nuts mashed is physiologically possible.

Getty
Still more fun than playing Duke Nukem Forever.

In the old days this wasn't a problem, because people had to choose which kind of joystick they wanted to use every night. But now that people are allowed both extra lives and sex lives, we'd swear the games have gotten jealous. Game breasts have blown up like the Death Star: gigantically, ludicrously and causing men who know about the real things to say "There's no way that's physically possible."


I know they're not moons, but I can't stop staring.

Anita Sarkeesian recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to make a video series about how video games might have a problem with sexism. The comments she received proved her theory more correct than Oppenheimer's theory about atoms, except more violently and with even more flames and men who will never reproduce. Why do so many online gamers react to gender issues like Nazi kryptonite, a horrible thing that threatens their imaginary man powers? Why are some players less capable of healthy interaction with women than a circumcision scalpel? Because games do have massive problems with sexism. Often in pairs on the characters' chests. Video games treat breasts like real black holes: irresistible points that suck in anyone who comes near, yet don't obey the classical laws of physics.

#13+14. Black Orchid (Killer Instinct)

Rare

Rare launched Killer Instinct when digitized graphics were so cool, games didn't need anything else -- like graphics worth digitizing. The characters were less original than sin and far less interesting: ninja, robot, werewolf and girl, because in the designers' lives, females were just as mysterious and fictional.

Rare
We honestly thought our software had deformed the image until we saw that the text was fine.

Orchid looks like H.R. Giger melted a Ken doll and shoved Peeps into the chest. Her breasts protrude at more unnatural angles than satellite dishes. They're so horrifying that one of her finishing moves is to flash her chest at the enemy, who then dies of shock. This is despite everyone but 10-year-old boys and her designers knowing that breasts don't do that.

Rare
It's like Judge Fear's face, but even more inhuman.

On the upside, any man excited by Orchid is absolutely no threat to a human woman, if only because he wouldn't recognize one.

#11+12. Kasumi (Dead or Alive)

Team Ninja, Tecmo

Dead or Alive was a respectable "not-quite-Street Fighter" back when that was the best a non-Street Fighter could be. But as the series progressed, it was overtaken and destroyed by soft pink spheres men wanted to stroke. It was like the game had been invaded by Tribbles, especially since the graphics had more in common with fictional aliens than any human anatomy.

Paramount Television
If this wasn't a fetish, it is now.

The first Dead or Alive had a "boob physics" option whose results had nothing to do with either of those terms. Dead or Alive 2 had an "age meter," because "jiggle meter" would have been too honest, and someone buying fighting games to watch softcore porn can't even be honest with their own dick. (Also, it turns out that every single DoA player was 99 years old.) The series became so obsessed with chests that the core mechanic went from "fighting" to "touching gently floating spheres," also known as "volleyballs." Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball wasn't a game. It was a vicious satire that accidentally made millions of dollars.

Team Ninja, Tecmo Koei
That central metal heart is under more mechanical stress than Unicron's.

The plot behind this change in career isn't clear, but it seems the fighters gave up on fighting because any attempt to punch caused a double-KO by their own ricocheting breasts. It got worse with Dead or Alive Paradise, where beach volleyball was now the most intellectually challenging of a set of activities based around the characters "wearing swimsuits" and "not being able to run away from the sort of guy who'd play this."

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#9+10. Cortana (Halo)

Bungie

The simulated personality Cortana was taken captive by enemies of everything she stood for and forced to serve filthy new functions. Not for the Gravemind in the game, but her own programmers at Bungie. Cortana was the victim of a bizarre quantum effect where simply being observed causes video game breasts to swell. She went from a sarcastic artificial intelligence to the ultimate damsel in distress. She spent most of the first game as audio, and avoided nudity so hard that any parts of her that would have been naked became completely transparent.

Bungie
The only woman who can actually turn her headlights off when a guy stares.

It was almost like the character didn't need to be a pin-up model just because she was female. Unfortunately, the sequels fixed the hell out of that.

Bungie
After her software became softcore.

In Halo 3, she repeatedly interrupts your game play to nag about how much she needs you to do things -- which says more about the developers' relationships than anything fun -- and looked less like a tactical simulation than a porn site pop-up.

Bungie
Testicles highlighted in red for maximum virtual gratification.

Her original designer's requests to maybe not inflate her with a bicycle pump were "lost in the production process." A previously strong woman hasn't been forced to prance for the amusement of men so much since Return of the Jedi. And all of this for what has to be a piss-take of her fans, because she's a naked woman you can't touch on a computer inside another world you can't touch on a computer.

#7+8. Rayne (BloodRayne)

Terminal Reality, Playboy

Rayne was an unremarkable heroine in an unoriginal action game until, in 2004, her developers met the only company more desperate for promotion than themselves: Playboy. Internet porn had already made breasts printed on dead trees look like the naked monkeys around 2001's monolith: ridiculously backward in the face of far superior technology, and much hairier. Which didn't stop either company from publishing porn of a video game character.

Terminal Reality, Playboy
Something has gone badly wrong when we have to add pixels to a game character.

Games were actually reaching out to prevent the player from seeing real women even when he bought a porn mag. Paying, to see porn, of a fictional character: That requires someone to not know what the Internet is three different ways. This nudity couldn't be more backward if it were a Lutheran harlot showing her shapely ankles. The "girls of gaming" feature repeated several times, but usually "starred" such gaming icons as "someone from Conan" or "cheerleaders from Blitz: The League." Rayne had been actually sort-of popular once. An entirely fictional character seeing her career fade into obscurity and turning to porn is the most depressing video game plot outside of Silent Hill.

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#5+6. Lara Croft (Tomb Raider Series)

Eidos Interactive

You knew Lara's rack would be here, which I think says more about everybody involved than any of us would care to admit. Lara's center of gravity went up like a Saturn V booster when a programmer missed a decimal place while altering the character model, inflating her breasts to 150 percent, and before he could fix it, a producer shouted "You've just made this game a best-seller!" Since then, Eidos has put more technology into artificially generating realistic flesh than Skynet, and has targeted more teenage boys with the results. So you might've forgotten how terrible those early breasts were.

Eidos Interactive
Second base could cut your hands off.

That's all it took to get men to spend $50 and sit obediently for hours? Holy crap. I apologize, female stand-up comedians, you were right about everything. I've seen more erotic Rubik's Cubes, which at least don't make you look like an idiot pervert when you spend hours struggling and sweating over them.

Eidos Interactive
On the upside, she can iron clothes by wearing them.

Despite this, Lara has gained a reputation as a strong female character. And like any evil corporation faced with a computer program exceeding its programming, Square Enix is desperately trying to stop it. They recently reconfirmed their view of Lara as a breast-transport service with a trailer at E3 themed "Lara's defining moment is men wanting to have sex with her." Because in a medium full of invincibility stars, magic crystals, sacred destinies and missions to rescue the president, the only way to give a girl motivation is sexual assault. A woman hasn't been so tragically disempowered since that time EVE turned off in WALL-E.

#3+4. Illegal Breasts (The Guy Game)

Top Heavy Studios

The Guy Game achieved the impossible by having terrible video game breasts despite using real breasts. They combined games and tits like a rioter combining gasoline and fire: two wonderful things ruining each other (and everything else) very illegally. The only rule for filming naked women is "Make sure they're over 18," but that was one rule and 18 numbers more than the producers could deal with.

Top Heavy Studios
Which is weird, because that looks like a man with encyclopedic knowledge of current age-of-consent laws.

Top Heavy Studios was the studio's name, mission statement and most complex thought ever managed. Their one and only game was the first time "trivia" was something to be endured. Middle-aged men read jokes like horny Christmas crackers while spring break students proved that the education system has serious problems. If the girl answers the guy's questions correctly, she gets away without taking her clothes off, which is the exact opposite of how I remember college dating. If you predict the answer, you get to not see breasts. The game censors itself until you score enough points, proving it can't even get showing stupid softcore porn of stupid people right. You had to pay $50 and pay attention for hours before seeing tits. Even the real world doesn't require both.

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#1+2. Ivy (Soul Calibur)

Namco

Ivy's existence proves that the Soul Calibur team either doesn't understand irony or is its eternal master. She charges into sword fights despite being 50 percent airbag. Her chest technically makes Soul Calibur steampunk, because they love zeppelins and other fictional things that would never work in the real world. She wore less clothing with every game up until Soul Calibur IV, which is impressive, because a strip club would have told her first incarnation to leave something to the imagination. Her whip used more material than her fourth costume.

Namco
That strip of cloth is restraining more impossibly imaginary things than the Ecto-Containment unit.

She finally added clothes in Soul Calibur V. But only because taking more off would have required a scalpel and a medical fetish, and because they'd already used every square foot of her flesh in the game's advertisements.

Namco
"It's a great game" is the new "I read it for the articles."

They targeted mammaries for profit more explicitly than the dairy industry, and without the health benefits. In their attitude toward women, the fighting game community now ranks somewhere between the Dark Ages and the Dark Ages during a Viking attack. Which is weird, because now that we can simulate physical combat, traveling the world and entire virtual playgrounds, it seems weird that "treat other people like expendable playthings made only for our amusement" is the one thing assholes want to keep doing for real.

Luke McKinney also tumbles and has a website, and has made a bet to respond to every single tweet about this article.

For more breast-based hilarity, check out The 5 Most Ridiculously Sexist Superhero Costumes. Or how Japanese Bikini Samurai Squad Zombie Hunters can be a bad thing.

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