One-Sided Volleyball

Wired News reports that video game maker Tecmo has settled a lawsuit out of court against the proprietors of a game-hacking web site called NinjaHacker.net. The issue at hand involved custom content created by users for games that had been legitimately paid for, in which reverse-engineering allowed for on-screen customization — in this case, rendering the female characters of Dead or Alive Xtreme Beach Volleyball completely nude.

Courtesy of TecmoCourtesy of TecmoCourtesy of Tecmo

As one can see from a quick sampling of the game's original screenshots (ie. pre-nudification), a moral outcry over pornography and the objectification of women does not form the basis of Tecmo's legal challenge. In fact, at popular gaming magazine site IGN.com I was only able to find about a half-dozen images out of 293 in which the women were actually playing volleyball.

Rather, the issue has to do with control over the expression of the intellectual property, as well as silencing any attempts to modify that expression. This silencing extends to the legal settlement, in which the defendants cannot even express themselves with reference to the lawsuit. It is important not to be blinded by the produced sexuality of this event; it is the desire to communicate — an impulse even more fundamental than sex — that is at issue here, and the silence is becoming deafening.

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  1. Siobhan Moran says:

    The images presented in this blog are quite similar to ones that were shown during 3P70 lecture on October 29. Just like this website selling women's bodies through sport, volleyball leagues do just the same. Today on TSN they were showing a national volleyball championship in California. The female athletes were wearing bikinis. The networks as well as sponsors of the event rely on the women wearing barely anything at all to sell their products. The women even had temporary tattooes of companies like Gatorade and VISA on their bodies. Why is there such an outcry at a video game depicting women as sex objects while there is no such response to it occurring in real life?