I was looking forward to playing Lollipop Chainsaw, as it reminded me of another game that featured a lollipop-sucking heroine, Bayonetta, and I wanted to see how it measured up. I found Bayonetta to be a well-made game that nonetheless perpetuated a puerile “otaku” sensibility when it came to sex. I never felt that the game’s winks and nods did much to alloy the fundamental fantasy being acted out—that if the player pushes those buttons fast enough, Bayonetta will strip off her clothes and prostrate herself before the camera. (I think those who disagree and say that Bayonetta is about female empowerment have a valid argument. My view is just that the “magical vagina” trope, which is as old as fiction itself, does more in this game to appease the base urges of men than it does to celebrate the strength of women.)
Imagine my surprise when I found Lollipop winning me over, to some degree, at least. Its format is familiar and brainless—you fight off wave after wave of zombies—and there’s not much to say about it. (I did see one critic complain, without irony, about “unimpressive blood splatter,” which, come on, people.) But I think that despite its repetitive feel, Lollipop serves as a clever and fun sendup of the badass-buxom-beauty stereotype, like Kate Beaton’s brilliant “Strong Female Characters.” Steve Heisler disagrees—he thinks that the game’s camp perspective is too scant and timid to distract from its horndog heart—kind of like how I felt about Bayonetta. I enjoyed our exchange. He makes some great points here. If I learned anything from Bayonetta, it’s that there’s often a thin line between parodying a stereotype and perpetuating it, which leaves plenty of room for debate.
By the way, regarding the role of the boyfriend, Nick, Destructoid’s Jim Sterling has some similar sentiments to mine. He takes a little different tack—I don’t get the “see how YOU like it, boys!” vibe that he does—but overall I think he makes a good point.
Also, the fried Twinkie was terrible.