Tokyo Game Show 2016 officials had to lay down the law Friday as they called for one of the exhibitors to put a stop to booth visitors fondling a mannequin.
Developer M2 Co., Ltd is one of many exhibitors at the event showcasing the capabilities of VR technology. Using their e-mote system, the Japanese developer, has paved the way for gamers to create 3D characters and interact with them. To demonstrate the capabilities of coupling this system with a set of VR goggles, M2 have brought along a mannequin (dressed up like some sort of anime character - female of course) replete with sensors attached. When touched, the sensors prompt the character seen through the goggles to react in some way.
Intended or not (and this writer doesn’t know), it should perhaps come as no surprise that some of those giving the tech a try went for the breasts (apparently they have, sorry, had sensors) to see what would happen. A few too many, in fact, as TGS 2016 organizers called on M2 to put a stop to this fondling, with some reports reading that the ‘breast sensors’ have since been removed. We’ve not seen any official word but as the Tokyo Game Show is one for all ages, rumour has it that organizers feel having a bunch of guys line up to fondle some breasts, however ‘virtual’, isn’t a good look.
So where do we go with all of this? Or more pertinently, where is all this going? Well, let’s be brutally honest, probably in part, pornographic. We don’t know how the VR character reacted to having their breasts fondled but you can bet your favorite console it wasn’t in the way of displeasure. Whether or not this was the plan from the start, the capabilities for porn are, like it or not, undeniable, and adult industry big wigs are surely keeping a close eye on how this kind of VR tech develops (at the same time as coming up with some creative scenarios, no doubt).
Were the organizers right in their ‘no fondling’ policy? Well, given that this is show where all ages can enter, probably so. Although, they could have just put the exhibit behind a curtain. However, this writer would like to think they put their foot down on creative grounds. Yes, the tech involved is staggeringly clever, but in this instance it’s been put to equally boring use; female characterisation in dough-eyed manga/anime form subject to the whims of a sweaty man? Are we not rid of this yet? Sadly not it seems.
But we can’t just direct all our attention onto this poor mannequin. The Tokyo Game Show, and many other shows like it, is full to saturation point with hormonal men, and sex as marketing. Everywhere you look, there are young women in skirts as short as belts posing and pouting for photographs. This is market forces and what it takes to hand out the flyers and draw the uninitiated to booths. This is what works (yes, including on this visitor). Somewhere in the show is a stage featuring two bikini-clad women in a clear glass bathtub posing with some mobile devices. A show for all the ages you see. Still, the mannequin should at least have had some privacy.
Maybe we should all be grateful that this has been restricted to the mannequin. In recent years San Diego’s Comic-Con extravaganza and others like it across America have seen cosplayers victim to catcalling, groping, stalking, and assault, all of which has been given the term ‘creeping at con’. As such, organizers in San Diego have come under pressure from rights groups to enforce codes of conduct to ensure the safety of all visitors.
That a ‘code of conduct’ should be needed to prevent this kind of thing is a damning reflection of the mindset of some, and shows that perhaps the Tokyo Game Show is doing much better. Still, had they better bring back that mannequin after all?
Were TGS 2016 organizers correct in their actions? Have your say below.