Thursday, July 3, 2008

"The Frag Dolls" [America's Army]

No, I am not making this up.

I went to the America's Army website last night. I "can't" play the game, because, as far as I know, it doesn't run on Macs. That having been said, I'm not really comfortable downloading it, anyway, and would prefer not to. Instead, I looked over some of the media and support materials for the game, particularly some of the videos on the site.

The one I want to share with the class is called "The Frag Dolls." I watched this video that is just a few minutes long. It features footage from a gaming convention or some kind of competition or event. From what I gleaned, Ubisoft, who must now have some sort of relationship with this game/project, assembled a group of gamer girls who also happened to be "hot" (in the gamer convention sense), andthen let people challenge them on AA.

From the comments of the Frag Dolls, it was apparent most of them hadn't even played the game before, which I found amusing. I wondered if they were maybe Ubisoft employees, or something. Given that, I also found it amusing that they were mostly kicking ass for the majority of the competition.

In the interest of brevity, I'm not going to spend too much time trying to deconstruct all the issues at play here of commodification, gender portrayal, selling via sex (appeal), etc. It's all pretty surface. One thing that also bothers me, though, is the term "frag" in the first place. I realize that this is now common parlance in video game culture, particularly in FPS games and in militaristic ones, but I really have trouble separating it from the way it was historically used in Vietnam and elsewhere, where it meant murdering a CO of your own unit (who was usually a jerk, a bad person, mistreated soldiers, etc.). It's just an ominous, creepy term to me. The way it's bandied about now just kind of weirds me out. The way it was then applied to a bunch of T&A girls (who were also obviously really good gamers, but that is secondary to why they were chosen) just seems crass and disrespectful.

I dunno.

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