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Gaming’s current fashion trends

Fashion has gone through some ‘interesting’ developments of late. There are your emos and your moppy haired scenesters. Platinum blonde is out and girls have reverted back to dark, black and yellow is considered sexy, and jolly rogers aren’t just for rockstars anymore.

Evidently, even video games go through their seasons of fashion and like in real life, it can sometimes be a tad difficult to keep up with what’s in. Allow me to turn your attention to the digital catwalk. Let us gaze and explore the current fads of gaming’s model citizens. DJ, play that 8-bit track!

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The Blonde Femme-Fatale Look

Sarah Bryant of Virtua Fighter and Nina Williams of Tekken were the first to sport this look, complete with dark purple leather. Being that these ladies strut into the arcades around the same time, it wasn’t uncommon then to confuse one with the other. But as time passed, many women in the video game universe have come to recognize the swag this look carries and we’ve got ourselves a cold war catfight.

In the wake of her return for the debut of Mortal Kombat, Sonya Blade has decided to auction off her military wear on eBay before slipping into something tight. Though maybe trying too hard, Jill Valentine has decided to go from brunette to blonde and brings her stuff to Resident Evil 5, even going as far as making people pay for making individual appearances in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. Tsk, tsk Jill, gettin’ all Megan Fox with your famous self. Meanwhile, Harley Quinn has apparently rediscovered her womanhood and will be flaunting the mostly blonde, and covering those curves in her own shades of dark, in the upcoming Arkham City.

Call it a copycat gimmick, but can you say no to blondes in leather? Mmhmm, didn’t think so.

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The Caucasian Sammo Hung Fan Club

Street Fighter IV and Tekken 6 didn’t just bring us our first options into the new gen fighting foray. Introducing Rufus and Bob. “Does this make me look fat?” Don’t answer that. When you move like the wind like they do, and pack enough power behind all their unfounded acrobatics, who needs calorie counting? But please, don’t go volunteering yourself as their designated driver.

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The Metrosexual who saved/scared us all

Pretty boys have been as timeless as the pastime of gaming itself. While Westerners may roll their eyes, like boy bands, they’re still very much popular amongst the Asian demographic.

While they give hope for childlike male gamers in getting the girl, and continue to perpetuate the ladies’ misplaced desire for the fairy tale prince (as their burly boyfriends sit in prison), metrosexuals of all walks of the moral spectrum are a favorite amongst game designers given the natural versatility and creative leg room that comes with their inception.

In the many years of gaming, we’ve come to see varying degrees of man beauty in our favorite heroes and villains: from the humble yet prominent presence of Jin Kazama and Kyo Kusanagi, to the badboy edginess of Dante and Sephiroth. Then there were the awful extremities of Seymour Guado, Kuja, and Ash Crimson.

Perhaps the best example of confusing hate with envy stems from the fact that the dream killers that are sweat, gravity, and taking a couple hits to the face does absolutely nothing to their hair and skin.

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Too Young to Drink, Too Young to Think

A common trend amongst certain fighting games and RPGs, and definitely a popular one amongst the universes of Final Fantasy. Girls who come to mind are Yuffie Kisaragi, Rikku, and Vanille. These usually underaged scamps just can’t seem to keep a lid on their scantily-clad perkiness. Much of their choice in apparel allow a large range of hyper active motions, and show off (hopefully) enough to have one gloss their presence with inappropriate imagining. Final Fantasy has definitely come a long way in being the Alabama of gaming. “Do you think this makes me look cute?” “I think ‘Shut Up.’”

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Heroes In Full Body Tech Armor… by Armani

First to sport this was none other than Samus Aran. It was bold, it was unique, and it was something that no one else thought possible to follow. Much like Grace Jones, until Lady Gaga.

In the many years that followed, protagonists have come to accept that it’s not just Storm Troopers and other villainous goons that can work that armor. Isaac Clarke of Dead Space and Sam Gideon of Vanquish have gone guns blazin’, good guys praisin’. Following up are Nomad and Alcatraz of Crysis fame. Sure, the purpose of such gear is to better protect one from explosions and otherworldly menaces, but you can’t deny that the benefits of truly hiding ones emotions keeps one lookin’ sharp! So wear that piece proud young buck, and remember to smile… even though no one can see it.

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Keep it Short, Keep it Tasteful

Who needs a full head of hair and androgyny to fight for the in-crowd? If you’re proud of your masculinity, and don’t have the time to comb your hair when the world’s at stake, you can’t go wrong with going Statham!

Mass Effect’s Shepard and the inFamous Cole McGrath go to show that there’s nothing more rewarding than building a body count while feeling the cool breeze on your scalp. Even Starkiller of The Force Unleashed is getting in on that.

Though it may seem inconceivable to mess up this look, Max Payne unfortunately threatens to just ruin it all. Max baby, is that “wardrobe malfunction” I read on your gut?

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Chicks… with Swords

Strong enough for a man, but made to bring out a woman’s eyes. As it’s become more common to see babes carrying guns, so it has come to pass for girlfriends to get their medieval on.

Interestingly, the most popular sword wielding women to date, Baiken of Guilty Gear, Nariko of Heavenly Sword, and Lightning of FFXIII, seem to share a common appreciation in having a red shade of fiery hair, and embroidered white garments that display a generous portion of skin. That’s right honey, swing that thing, and spread us some butter while you’re at it. No ma’am, I did not just say that.

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Lolita

Suddenly, French maids. For those who aren’t up to date with Japanese culture, while Japanophiles make up a portion of the western population, Francophiles are very much defined in today’s Japan. Thanks to massive contributions from Visual-K, cross-dressing rockstars, ‘Lolita’ has gradually become a popular trend amongst Otakus which explains the sudden increase in anime and game girls dressed in frilly styles. Though Westerners can’t explain it, or even begin to appreciate it many cases, the arcane obsession can be sensed from miles away… but then again, that pretty much defines much of modern Japan on the whole.

Examples include Lili and Alisa of Tekken, Iroha of Samurai Shodown VI (so popular, she has her own cellphone game in Japan), and the girls of Deathsmiles. It’s not just a fashion statement, it’s a fetish… no seriously, it is.

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Hands off the Mask, Cabron!

The Lucha Libre scene has begun taking the world by storm. In response, virtually every fighting game today has started throwing a luchadore character into their mix.

Technically, King, Armor King, and Tizoc/The Griffon were the earliest characters that portrayed luchadores, all having their mannerisms influenced by famed luchadore Fray Tormenta. All three implemented the older use of ceremonial animal masks, which isn’t very well recognized today.

But now, fighters have begun incorporating the more recognized style seen in the likes of El Fuerte of Street Fighter IV, La Mariposa of Dead or Alive, El Blaze of Virtua Fighter 5, and Jaycee of Tekken Tag 2 . Even Raiden, SNK’s oldest masked wrestler, has made some changes in his appearance for King of Fighters XIII, going from Vader-esque to keeping it loco.

Despite the resurgence being a tad excessive, it’s a long awaited break from Bruce Lee clones and Ryu knockoffs. Pass the civiche por favor.

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Fighting in the Shades

No matter if it’s real life or the video game galaxies, shades will never play out. Just ask Proto Man or Duke Nukem.

Johnny Cage and KOF’s K’ are also amongst favorites, both used to have to put away the eyewear before going to town on opponents. But nowadays, #$%@ it, keep those babies on, the intimidation factor can go a long way. K’ and Albert Wesker have also learned that shades not only bring out one’s inner bad ass, but also can be thrown at their enemies to sound off a major ass whooping.

Tekken’s Raven goes to show that with a little ninjitsu, your shades will never have to leave your face. Unfortunately, not everybody can be a silent assassin of the shadows. K’, Wesker (MvC3), and Cage are no exception, but as they’ve demonstrated, it’s best to keep an infinite supply of spares in a magic pocket when you “lose” a pair. So put yours on… now gas, brake, dip, dip!

We hope you enjoyed Thunderbolt’s surprise runway show! Remember darlings, keep on playin’, keep on readin’, and keep it FABULOUS!

The author of this fine article

is a Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in August 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @S_Chyou.

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