NAG has decided to change the controversial artwork it commissioned for rAge, which featured a scantily-clad version of the Expo’s mascot, Roxy.
rAge is an annual expo for video game and geek culture that is run by NAG – an online and magazine publisher.
Artist Caroline Vos said the brief she received was “to create Roxy with a classic retro space pin-up feel.”
The image stirred controversy online, with columnists and bloggers arguing that the new Roxy was not appropriate, and questioning whether she should represent rAge.
“The latest version of our rAge mascot, Roxy, caused a bit of a stir after we published updated pictures of her recently,” said Michael James, head of NAG.
James said the sentiment was that Roxy’s outfit was too revealing, flying in the face of recent articles about how women are portrayed in video games.
“When we commissioned the artwork this is more or less what we asked for: we need Roxy in space, wearing an outlandish futuristic outfit, fighting off some alien monster.”
He said they spent more time discussing the planet, the ray gun, and how they were going to incorporate the rAge logo in a cool way more than anything else.
He confirmed they asked for a pin-up girl style poster – like something you’d find on the nose of a B52 bomber.
“For us, Roxy has always been a strong female character in a world dominated by male stereotypes, and she takes no crap from aliens, zombies, and so on. This is how we’ve always thought of her.”
James said, in hindsight, the image of Roxy didn’t fit into the dynamic of the expo.
“rAge has always been a family-friendly show. We also should have taken into consideration all the current thinking on female characters in video games.”
He apologised for the original image, and said they changed her outfit to something more appropriate.
“We’re really sorry to those people who took offence to the original Roxy artwork.”