Senran Kagura Peach BallSwitch¦ Party
It’s been said in the past that there’s nothing stranger than folk. You probably only have to look at the person opposite you currently to agree to that.
And although there’s a lot to admire about Japan and its people – robots, Manga, Godzilla and Samurai flicks to name but a few – their gaming habits are often on the peculiar side, as this odd game is the perfect illustration.
Peach Ball is a spin-off from the weirdly successful Senran Kagura franchise, that started life in 2011 on the Nintendo 3DS as a side-scrolling beat ‘em up involving female ninjas. Since then, the characters have developed, as it were, and appeared in various genres, a bit like Mario has gone on to do, but with far less clothes on and alarmingly larger breasts.
This incarnation, sees the young ladies literally appear on a pinball table, in the most un-PC pinball game imaginable.
The most intriguing and disturbing element of the game is story mode. It vaguely consists of young, busty girls wearing revealing animal outfits – dog, cat, bear, rabbit, etc – and behaving somewhat like the animal they’re dressed as. The only way to ‘save’ them is to have them kneel at the top of a pinball table, and for you to strike them with your ball.
After a while of building up the points, you will enter a Sexy Challenge; a mini-game that has you striking objects in a smaller area. Once you’ve passed, you’ll return back to the main table. Again, you have to reach a further Sexy Challenge, with the same goals. The final task is a Super Sexy Challenge – their words, not ours – that sees you flicking your balls at either the breasts or buttocks of the young woman. Do it enough and you would have ‘saved’ her. She is of course grateful, as you would expect, and returns to full human form, fully clothed. You can’t help but notice that the size of her breasts are still somewhat mountainous, however.
It’s truly difficult not to get morally riled by a game like this. It’s not enough to feature young women – and only women – to objectify sexually, but you also have to indulge in physically beating them up by hitting them with your balls. You can just imagine Freud having a field day with it – after trying to beat the table’s high score, natch.
It’s clear that #MeToo loses a helluva lot in translation into Japanese, as this game is just demeaning and degrading to women on so many levels. The irony is of course, that it’s available on Nintendo’s Switch, who have built their entire empire on being family friendly. Clearly their definition of family now includes paedophiles. Good to know.
Many might find our comments an over-reaction, perhaps coming across as even prudish, but game developers have to take responsibility for the work they produce, and a game like this that is just a form of pure titillation, is not OK.
Even if you ignore the overt sexuality, which is by no means easy, the pinball mechanics aren’t even all that. It’s the same table available throughout, with just a few variations on a theme visually. We also found there to be a spot of lag using both the Pro controller and the Joy-Cons, which only added to the misery.
The game also hasn’t been localised for the English market, so there’s a lot of text to read, and with much appearing on the table itself during play, it isn’t ideal when you’re doing your best to strike a young lady.
Clearly there’s a market for games such as this, which is probably the more troubling and frightening aspect to this title, but just because it’s considered niche, doesn’t make it right.
In an attempt to be vaguely balanced, is it fair to slam a game like this morally, and yet pick up third-person shooters and enjoy gaming killing sprees? Probably not. But by dressing up cutesy visuals in an attempt to justify striking and undressing young women is simply not acceptable.
If you do get off on this sort of stuff, fine - that’s what the internet was invented for, after all – but by making this kind of filth available on a platform primary aimed at a family audience, it’s sending out the worst kind of messages possible.
Flipping balls to this, that’s what we say.