The video game industry's mix of unchecked testosterone and nerdery lends itself to 'booth babes'—hot women paid to hawk product at events. One doe-eyed journalist was taken aback by the debauched scene at last week's Game Developers Conference.
A room at San Francisco's W Hotel was made up to look like an underground Hong Kong strip club to promote Activision's new game True Crime. Ben Kuchera, Ars Technica's videogames columnist, entered the faux "Club Bam Bam" and gazed upon this modern day Gomorrah:
Two stripper poles were set up in the room, and beautiful women used them to demonstrate how long they could hold their own body weight upside down. Camera phones were out, free drinks were enjoyed by all, and camera crews worked the room fervently. This is video games.
This is video games. Video games is like a weird strip club for people whose fetish is watching women do handstands? Sounds about right, actually. Like many strip club neophytes, Kuchera was a little uneasy by the raw female display and sat far away from the action. But the action came to him:
After taking my soda and iPhone to a corner seat to check my messages and post a quick tweet, I was approached by an attractive Asian woman. "You have the best seat in the house," she told me, gesturing. "You can see both poles!" Uncomfortable, I nodded. She leaned towards me. "Which one do you like better?"
An attractive Asian woman! Must... resist... But Kuchera, as a "married prude," was having none of it. He left. And later, likely sitting alone in his dimly lit hotel room, mind racing over the Felliniesque carnival of flesh and photography that turned his life upside down, he wrote:
There was something about the rows of gaming industry folk and writers standing around the girls, talking pictures, that made my skin crawl. To be fair though, we're simply cogs in the same machine.
After all, we took pictures as well. And of course, we're talking about True Crime. The mission, as they say, is accomplished.
The "mission is accomplished," maybe, but try telling that to those poor pole-dancers, the 'talking picutres' kept in cages at Activision HQ until the next time their services are needed in the name of profit, that unholy slave-making God. Save us, Ben Kuchera! With the right combination of button-pressing and joystick maneuvering you can vanquish our corporate overlords and reach the next level... of life.