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Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Trail-Blazing, Brave Women of Sexy Poker

By LUDWIG VON KOOPA - KoopaTV supports the cast of Sexy Poker.

Today, I'm going to discuss the Gameloft game Sexy Poker, which came out on the WiiWare service in 2009. I did a Let's Play of it, as you may already know. (As you may also already know, it's all Kamek's fault.) The only characters in Sexy Poker are the women, and the only other objects of interest are their clothes and the cards that you play Poker with. (Or Blackjack.) According to my Let's Play, the anime-styled women were voiced by men. (In reality, they're actually females.)

So... what's there to talk about? The game is garbage. The music is pretty nice, but it's apparently not uploaded to YouTube. Well, we're going to talk about the women themselves and their decisions and accomplishments, because we're continuing KoopaTV's "Women's History Month" week!

Sexy Poker features six women:
  1. Sakura, a nurse. (21 years old.)
  2. Emi, a professional prostitute. (22 years old.) 
  3. Yui, a police officer. (30 years old.)
  4. Misaki, a racecar driver. (29 years old.)
  5. Mika, a pro athlete. (26 years old.)
  6. Ryoko, a business executive. (24 years old.)
For whatever reason, all of these girls seem to like card games. And they're pretty good at them, especially Misaki, who required two videos to beat. These women are actually all trail-blazers. You see, people of all professions and such like a good game of Poker. And why not? It's a great game, and its bluffing mechanic is an amazing emergent quality that makes Poker withstand the test of time. David Sirlin particularly likes it to the point where he adopted Poker-like aspects to his own card game, Pandante.

However, Poker suffers a similar problem that the videogame industry does, actually: It's very male-dominated, especially at higher levels of play. So you're not going to see many women shelling out hundreds of dollars in Poker in real life. In fact, according to that article I linked two sentences ago, most women would prefer to play Poker online because they are intimidated by misogynist men and male-only bathrooms. Men stare at women Poker players differently, often to the man's own peril, but it brings an uncomfortable "fear aura". (It can be argued that having a fear aura is desirable at competitive play because that's the whole point of a psychological game.) In many ways, Poker is a legitimate example of the spirit of Feminist Frequency's "25 Invisible Benefits of Gaming While Male". (Which were found to be illegitimate for videogames in that fact-based article.)

Trail-blazing, brave women.

Not only are these women surpassing expectations and breaking stereotypes, they're also successful in their own right. Take Ryoko. She's a high-level business executive, as she deals with mergers and acquisitions. She actually enjoys them, which is a telling sign of her skill. I can tell you that mergers and acquisitions are some of the hardest things to do in the business world. Making two companies into one? Super hard. There are these "synergy" things and trying to do "valuations" correctly. And then some people have to be laid-off because you're not really gonna keep all of those employees from the other company, since that can be pretty redundant. And you have to make all these decisions and a lot of it is just guessing. It's frightening, and the risks and cost of failure can be huge.

Ryoko Sexy Poker WiiWare girl strip Gameloft business executive woman female fetish anime
Ryoko the executive. ...Also I put two different textboxes into one.

Seriously, most people fear mergers & acquisitions. Behind office doors, people groan about having to do the math work for 'em. Ryoko? She takes 'em head on, breaking glass ceilings. See, not only is she the "final boss" of Sexy Poker, making her the most-skilled Poker player of them all, but she also is a woman in the very male-dominated corporate business world. Businesspeople will tell you all the time that there is a lack of women in executive positions. So she's a pretty amazing woman, even if she doesn't look like someone who'd be named "Ryoko".

Misaki and Mika similarly are in women-underrepresented industries. They're doing precisely what high-profile feminist Anita Sarkeesian has prescribed as a way to better the situation of under-representation: Start representing! However, Gameloft did not need a development team full of women to accomplish a game where the only characters are women. This is in contrast to Giant Spacekat which is an all-female development studio that also made a game that had an all-female cast. (The all-female cast has a side effect of being totally hideous to everyone, while the Sexy Poker women are appealing to all genders, even ones we don't even know about.)

On that note, pretty interesting that Gameloft (which is Ubisoft-affiliated) had no trouble including females in their game, like Ubisoft did with Assassin's Creed: Unity. You just gotta stop and ponder how these smaller companies are able to do what biiiig Ubisoft couldn't!

And we're all the better for it. (Actually, the game was banned in Australia. So most are better for it.) Props to these women!

...Not that I want a sequel or anything. Lemme repeat: The game sucked.

Ludwig's Sexy Poker videos are some of his most popular on YouTube. Find out which girl he likes the most by watching his Let's Play of it at PrinceOfKoopas!

Ludwig called Sexy Poker "disgusting" here.
Ludwig gives a lot of screen-time to Yui the police officer in this article, who promises to give Ludwig the treatment he deserves.
These six women are trail-blazers, and so are these five women who could be president.
To prove Ludwig's point, three years later he writes about another strip poker game, Poker Ladies, which wasn't trail-blazing.

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