It may be a stretch to say that Suda51 is the Verhoeven of videogames, but the two certainly share some similarities when it comes to their ability to satirize, to be unique, and to be misunderstood.
Lollipop Chainsaw, the recent major release from the b-game auteur, is perhaps the epitome of the bad-but-good videogame. Loved by some, hated by more, here is a work of brazen indulgence par excellence. One that defies the idea that sub-par gameplay automatically equates to a negative experience.
If it sounds ridiculous, that's because it is.
For those without firsthand experience of the game, Lollipop Chainsaw's plot revolves around the adventures of zombie-hunting American blonde teenager Juliet Starling. Part of a family of zombie hunters, Juliet saves her high-school from the undead and returns things to normal so that she can live her life in peace with her boyfriend, Nick. Nick, by the way, takes the form of a severed head that dangles from Juliet's size zero waist.
If it sounds ridiculous, that's because it is. Rest assured, though, no matter how bizarre the description, nothing is as crazy as actually taking the game for a spin yourself. This exact dedication to being whacked-out crazy is the basis that many have used to attack the game, calling it misogynist, inane, thoughtless and insensitive. Combine such descriptions with 'underwhelming combat' and you've got yourself an accurate summary of many Lollipop Chainsaw reviews.
What such opinions seem to forget, however, is that on the surface this is a game that sets out to be exactly that. Yes, it seems misogynist and thoughtless, but that it is this way by design transfers it from failure to satirical greatness. And I do mean greatness.
It becomes parody
Juliet is every bit the embodiment of a crude American sex icon. She is leggy, blonde, incredibly short on waist, and incredibly big on bust. She has a penchant for short skirts and flirtatious winks to the camera... a camera that wastes no opportunity in filling the screen with boobs and ass.
However, the downright ridiculous nature of Juliet's sexualisation prevents it from being sexual at all. It becomes parody, a satire on the media's image of the American blonde cheerleader and its role in popular culture. The knowing winks to camera letting everyone know just how big a joke this whole thing is supposed to be. Juliet's image highlights the genuine misogyny prevalent in other games featuring female characters - games that promote their characters as sex objects without any sense of lampooning.