Jonathan Ingram, one of five police officers trained to serve on Earth’s first space colony, is presumed dead after his suit malfunctions during a training exercise. Twenty-five years later, he is found alive and of the same physical age as when he disappeared, the suit having kept him in suspended animation. Unable to return to his old life, Jonathan becomes a private detective in Los Angeles.
The Policenauts don’t last long before three of them start a conspiracy to kill Jonathan while making it look like an accident. Of the five, Ed Brown ends up being the only Policenaut who evinces some semblance of moral sanity.
What makes the premise of Policenauts unbelievable immediately is Hideo Kojima writes these police officers as being trained to be astronauts.
Becoming a police officer is vastly easier than becoming an astronaut, so wouldn’t it make more sense to train astronauts to be police officers? Policenauts’ suspension of disbelief is immediately broken by this oversight. The story maintains its ridiculous tone with the revelation that a buffoon like Jonathan Ingram is the first person to walk on Mars. Jonathan keeps a newspaper clipping of this tremendous historical milestone in his crummy office.
The player assumes the role of this Jonathan Ingram, a bigoted detective who has the predilection and opportunity to sexually assault nearly every woman he encounters during the course of his investigations. The reason Jonathan travels to the Beyond Coast space colony is because his ex-wife Lorraine, now physically aged twenty-eight years older than him, shows up at the front door of his private investigation agency. Kenzo Hojo, the man Lorraine married after Jonathan’s disappearance, is now missing. This prompts Lorraine to ask her original missing husband to find the new one.
Upon entering Jonathan’s detective agency, Lorraine hides in the shadows by the door. She refuses to let Jonathan get a close look at her while she provides the details of her husband’s disappearance.
“Jonathan, don’t look at me like that,” Lorraine says, “I’m fifty-five now.” The only reason Lorraine isn’t comfortable with Jonathan looking at her with sexual avarice is because she’s physically older than him now. Her beauty, apparently, has been tainted with age; otherwise, she would be okay with Jonathan’s leers.
There are no in-game family pictures of Lorraine without a husband next to her. We hardly learn of what she does outside of marriage and children and fussing over her appearance.
Lorraine elaborates, “I want you to remember me the way I was when we were together”, which reinforces the idea that she is only worthy of a younger-looking man’s affections if she retains a measure of youthful beauty, and only wants that aspect of her to be remembered. This explains the photographs of Lorraine in her twenties in Jonathan’s possession, and Lorraine, unbidden, telling Jonathan that her daughter Karen will be “twenty-seven soon”, and that she’s “still single”.
After she explains that her husband has disappeared, Lorraine is killed by a bomb planted in her car outside Jonathan’s detective agency. Lorraine’s death then functions as an impetus for Jonathan’s character and drives the plot. Now Jonathan will certainly search for Lorraine’s missing husband as well as her killer, braving his convenient cosmophobia with newfound resolve.
In a remarkably clever and original development typical of Kojima’s storytelling astuteness, the male character comforts the female character as she quietly slips off to compound his ineffable sorrows. Jonathan then takes it to another level of man-centered grandiosity, though.
Both Jonathan and an LAPD officer who has just arrived on the scene are standing over Lorraine’s body. “Poor thing,” the officer says, “She came from Beyond, huh?” referring to the space colony near Earth.
“No,” Jonathan says, correcting the officer. “She came back.” Jonathan then casts his glazed eyes to the skies and melodramatically declares over Lorraine’s corpse: “She came back to me.”
A segment in the beginning of the game is dedicated to building her character so the player can at least try to feel something when she does die. Videogame writers can kill off any female character to motivate the typical sociopathic Western male protagonist—they merely need about fifteen minutes of the player sifting through mementos or listening to monologues. That, and a cutscene or two with the soon-to-be-dead female character that provides the illusion of meaningful interaction. Kojima fleshes his characters out in broad strokes out before he tears them down, and he usually plants an asterisk or two along the way.
“Asterisks”, as I put them, are utterly brilliant escape clauses for genius writers who frequently write unquestionable material. They are super-clever justifications that never fall apart under scrutiny.
The most telling thing about using trope analysis for Hideo Kojima’s characters is how effective it is. One can probably manage to break down everything into tropes, but there’s no breaking down Kojima’s characters into tropes—they already are tropes. They are the embodiment of patterns, of repetition, hence the endless proxies and self-referencing evident through the narratives in Kojima’s videogames. Kojima games retain these proxies and self-references across decades.
At this point it seems pertinent to say it is possible to play through Policenauts sexually assaulting nearly every female character Jonathan encounters. Exempting Lorraine, Jonathan can touch the breasts of every female character in the game with a dedicated portrait (at least, it’s possible in the 1996 Sega Saturn version). With the original PC-9821 release of Policenauts in 1994, a few female characters could not be molested and harassed by Jonathan. Meaning the number of times the player could choose to sexually assault female characters actually increased over Policenauts’ two years of re-releases. Meaning time from people’s lives and an unknown amount of money was specifically dedicated to adding more optionally gropeable women with re-releases. Sexual assault may have been seen as desirable bonus content or something to enhance the game itself.
The options to ogle, sexually assault, and harass nearly every female character seem integral to Policenauts. There is something about the narrative that demands the female characters be vulnerable objects, essentially at the mercy of Jonathan should his interests ever sway from detective work. And unlike in Snatcher, the player can only choose to sexually harass and assault female characters. Not that the extra options would make it better, but the unequal treatment is worth noting.
Sexism Takes Flight
After Lorraine’s death, Jonathan charters a flight to the Beyond Coast space colony. Jonathan’s predatory nature cannot be contained even on the trip there; he calls a flight attendant, and a woman with inviting posture appears. She has her arms open, her hands resting on the tops of seats on either side of her, her hips turned so the curves of her body are accentuated from Jonathan’s—the player’s—point of view. Her body fills the screen’s frame, which hangs at a low, oblique perspective toward the aisle’s floor, as if Jonathan is about to fall out of his seat from trying to get an ample look at her.
“Am I glad I picked this flight,” Jonathan says if the player chooses to look at the flight attendant, even though the player can already see her. He adds, “I might not have met such a beautiful stewardess otherwise.”
This remark has offensive connotations, but it may not seem so at first glance, so we are going to embark on a short history lesson about “stewardesses”.
Originally, all flight attendants were male, but, in the early years of commercial aviation in the United States, it was believed that the presence of female flight attendants over male attendants would comfort the predominantly male passengers and reassure them of the safety of air travel. The thought process went something like this: If attractive young women were on a flight, it would be harder for the men to be scared or admit their fear of flight, as women were perceived by many men in society as weaker and more prone to fear. It was also believed that women, who are perceived as being subservient to men, would better cater to male passengers.
Despite the image of female flight attendants being waitresses or food servers, they also took part in many safety procedures, including helping male pilots refuel planes and push them back into their hangars.
Women were hired not only for their knowledge and capabilities, but their physical characteristics. Referred to as “sky girls” by Boeing Air Transport, a female flight attendant had to be a registered nurse, single, of a certain age, no taller than five-foot-four, weigh a certain amount, and be considered “attractive” to the men in charge of the hiring process. As a 1936 New York Times article describes: “The girls who qualify for hostesses must be petite; weigh 100 to 118 pounds; height 5 feet to 5 feet 4 inches; age 20 to 26 years. Add to that the rigid physical examination each must undergo every year, and you are assured of the bloom that goes with perfect health.”
The airlines’ carefully cultivated flowers, oh-so-nice to see in bloom. Airlines didn’t want anyone seeing their flowers wilt with age, however; upon reaching ages around thirty-two or thirty-five, female flight attendants were required to retire to ground jobs. If any of the prerequisites in their hiring later changed,—including their being married, pregnant, or gaining weight,—flight attendants were to be fired.
Things didn’t change much by 1966; in a New York Times classified ad, the requirements for female flight attendants reads: “A high school graduate, single (widows and divorcees with no children considered), 20 years of age (girls 19 1/2 years of age may apply for future consideration). 5’2’’ but no more than 5’9’’, weight 105 to 135 in proportion to height and have at least 20/40 vision without glasses.”
During the course of the next decade, the Stewardesses for Women’s Rights group publicly and judicially protested sexist advertising and discrimination by airline companies. By the 1990s, repeated lawsuits and legal negotiations led to an amendment of the age and weight restrictions and the no-marriage-or-children stipulation being removed from practice. The word “stewardess” carried such offensive connotations at this point that referring to a female flight attendant as such would be seen as a social misstep.
There, now it’s easier to see why a sexually disturbed bigot like Jonathan Ingram calling a female member of a flight crew a “beautiful stewardess” is offensive.
There’s an unshakable dissonance in the player being able to look at a female character’s body onscreen with their own eyes—a real-world action, of course, divorced from the game’s narrative,—and there being the option to align the in-game cursor specifically over the part of a character’s body that the player wants Jonathan to look at. The player can do this with any other visible part of the game’s world. It would, at times, almost seem like an admission of guilt to choose to make Jonathan look at something. However, there is never any confession of guilt or lasting admonishment; only Jonathan as the avatar, the disembodied pervert ghost who comments on or touches a female character’s body part. There are no lasting consequences that alter the narrative beyond a few lines of text.
When touching the flight attendant’s breasts, they have their own specific animation for movement, complete with an accompanying gasp from the attendant that is far from indignant. For these and other breast animations (yes, there are more), someone hired Kumi Sato, whose job is listed in the credits as “Breast Bouncing Supervision” among her multiple credits as the lead developer on Policenauts’ CG, texture, modeling and wireframe work.
“I’ve never felt a pair in zero gravity before,” Jonathan says before he grabs the flight attendant’s breasts. “This would really help my SAS.”
Raising her voice now, the flight attendant asks Jonathan what he’s doing when it’s quite clear what he’s doing. Touching her more leads to her calling Jonathan a pervert, threatening to call “one of the male attendants”, or throw him off the flight. No such event occurs, and the attendant’s kind gaze directed at the player soon shifts to a glower. She has a few extra lines of unhappy dialogue if the player chooses to talk to her about different subjects after Jonathan sexually assaults her. There are no lasting repercussions to these actions. The female flight attendant basically functions as an encyclopedia that the player will never be able to successfully ask out to dinner.
By ogling and touching various parts of the female flight attendant’s body, we are given various explanations of how her clothing, or lack thereof, helps with the side-effects of zero gravity. We are told why her legs are so thin (because of a zero-gravity condition called “bird leg”) and why her face is so puffy (because of a zero-gravity condition called “moon face”). Likewise, when the player checks the attendant’s breasts, they are told by the flight attendant that she’s not wearing a bra, and the scientific reasons why. It’s tantamount to a smirking child doing a presentation on zero-gravity in science class, and then pointing to the pair of breasts on their mockup of a woman as the rest of the class giggles. Even the children in the class can see why the smirking child chose to present this picture of a woman in such a manner.
Once the flight attendant leaves, Jonathan is left to stare at the man sitting beside him, who is named Tony Redwood. Should the player hover their mouse cursor over Tony’s face and choose to “look” at him, Jonathan will ask why his skin is so pale and “that color”.
Jonathan repeatedly remarks that Tony’s appearance is off-putting should the player keep choosing “look”. Jonathan will think to himself that Tony looks like a zombie. The player making Jonathan repeatedly stare at Tony’s face is handled by characterizing Jonathan as a bigot.
Tony is part of a group of people called Frozeners, who are artificially inseminated and birthed through special methods. They use white, artificial blood and have been genetically engineered to be physically superior to ordinary people. Many Frozeners have very pale skin and bony faces, with only the sclera of their eyes being visible. Due to this, Tony says, he sees a lot of prejudice toward those like him. Jonathan assures him that he’s “not like that”, though he is shown here and later as being exactly “like that”.
While there is fictional racism in Policenauts’ worldbuilding attempts, these same characters will make bigoted remarks against real-world demographics or tolerate them at other times.
And then you have a Japanese receptionist being called “Oriental” again, just like in Snatcher. Might be a translator slip-up again, however.
Jonathan arrives at the Beyond Coast space colony and immediately heads to its police department, which is where his old friend Ed Brown works. Upon entering the police department, a pink-haired woman wearing a revealing red tube top and miniskirt regards the player intently as she leans against the reception counter, her hand and purse resting on her hip. Jonathan immediately assumes she’s a sex worker, and this intuition is portrayed as being part of the erudition he’s acquired as a private investigator and police officer, so, of course, he’s correct.
“The call girl,” Jonathan inexplicably declares to the aether as he observes the woman, “A staple of modern society.”
The policeman attending the desk isn’t simply ignoring the woman, either. When asked about the security on the space colony, the receptionist says that it’s the same as every major city back on Earth. All Policenauts’ male receptionists double as police or security officers and don’t wear revealing uniforms like female receptionists do. Referring to the pink-haired woman in the red tube top, the receptionist says, “See her there? Comes with the territory. That’s what happens when any large group of people live together.”
The receptionist is apparently a sociological expert who understands human nature perfectly, and thinks when any large group of people get together, a woman gets into sex work. Clearly a point was made to make the receptionist cop seem savvy,—he even has sunglasses!—so Kojima is trying to say something by attempting his ill-advised world-building through this mouthpiece, but all he manages to do is write something vaguely contemptuous of women again.
Really, what does “That’s what happens when any large group of people live together” mean? Overpopulation? Overpopulation leads to a lack of financial means for everyone, but that doesn’t necessarily drive women to sex work. When the population of an area increases, it’s obvious that crime rates will most likely increase. Is Kojima saying that crime is everywhere and, wherever more people gather, laws are inevitably broken? What’s revelatory or necessary about such a statement?
Is Kojima saying that there’s just something about living in a big city that always makes some women want to have sex for money?
“This is bound to happen when a million people get together,” the receptionist continues, “Theft, prostitution, drugs, murder…take your pick.” What’s more telling, other than the lumping of these crimes together, is that a female sex worker is the one used to represent these four crimes. How in-keeping with Kojima’s established form for him to opt to portray a woman committing unlawful promiscuity inside a police station right next to police officers rather than write in a drug dealer, a thief, or even a murderer. It’s not like murderers are taboo in videogames. We may be invited to take our pick in this interactive adventure, but Kojima has already taken it for us.
Talking to the woman leads to her asking “You not from around here? Interested?”
How do they always know? Jonathan thinks to himself.
“Wanna get away from here, baby?” she persists, “Real good price, I promise.”
“They bring you in, did they?” Jonathan asks, implying the police arrested her.
“Something like that,” the woman says, “So what do you say, baby?”
“Sorry,” Jonathan replies, “but I’ve got business of my own to take care of here.”
The woman is incredulous. “What?! You’re one of them too? I don’t believe this. I must be losing my touch.” According to the game, prostitution imparts crucial profiling skills through practice—just as a good cop should be able to spot a sex worker, a good sex worker should be able to spot a cop.
“I’ll bet she ends up here a lot,” Jonathan says as he looks at the woman’s body and then adds, “She’s got spunk, I’ll give her that.” Just as Isabella does in Snatcher, though, the woman suddenly becomes indignant when she had once welcomed Jonathan’s gaze. “Hey!” she shouts. “Where do you think you’re looking!” Talking to the woman further has Jonathan asking how “business” is, and she reacts by shouting epithets at him.
Buns and Meat (Or: The Relationship Between Meryl and Hamburgers)
Following the horrible sex worker scene in the police department, Jonathan goes downstairs to meet his old friend Ed Brown, who has been relegated to the department’s basement. Jonathan teams up with Ed through most of Policenauts’ remainder. Along the way, Jonathan also encounters Meryl Silverburgh, a female character whose portrayal here is somehow even worse than that of her counterpart in Metal Gear Solid. She is frequently shown alongside Dave Forrest, a character who is later shot and killed by Tony Redwood.
After Dave says this, he dies, and Meryl’s character is given the illusion of depth. It’s an old standby of Kojima’s to kill off a female character to build his male characters, and this is the only instance in Kojima’s entire ludography where he does the opposite, killing off a minor male character to develop a female character. It’s not exactly eloquently done, either; I’m not quite sure if Dave confessed his love for Meryl, or if he just said he loved the way she smelled more than he loved hamburgers. I suppose it’s progressive for videogames that a male character holds a female character in higher esteem than a hamburger.
As luck would have it, Dave has died in front of a store filled with fake designer purses, but Tony Redwood has planted a bomb in an original designer purse and hidden it among the fakes. Ed and Jonathan don’t know how to tell an original designer purse from a fake one.
It is here Jonathan and Ed meet the owner of the store, who is the only female character in Policenauts—or any other game Kojima has ever written and directed—to have a speaking role and not be obviously portrayed as being attractive. When Jonathan meets the shop owner, she is in a state of panic due to the bomb crisis unfolding in front of her. In the Sega Saturn version of Policenauts, Jonathan sees this as an opportunity to sexually assault the shop owner by bouncing her breasts with his hands. Perhaps Policenauts’ developers realized that an older female character had unfairly escaped a sexual assault opportunity.
In the original PC-9821 version, Ed’s daughter, Anna Brown, arrives in a police car holding her original designer purse so Jonathan and Ed can tell an original from a fake. This makes partial sense since Anna was shown as having the purse before. Though, since it did not make much sense for Anna to show up out of nowhere with exactly what Jonathan and Ed needed, this was changed in subsequent releases.
In newer versions of Policenauts, Meryl shows up behind Jonathan and Ed, offering them her original designer purse. Upon being asked where she acquired it, Meryl’s eyes are downcast as she says, “Dave gave it to me. Said I wasn’t feminine enough.” Yes, this is the added explanation given for Meryl having the correct purse when rewriting one of the game’s sequences. Dave gave Meryl an expensive bag to look feminine because she was too masculine.
That Davey is just a big ol‘ sweetheart.
In the next act, Meryl can be found sitting at her desk at the police station. When asked how she’s doing, Meryl replies, “I’m getting rid of whatever woman’s left in me—until I get back at them for Dave.” This is because, as a Kojima woman, Meryl would be useless in her quest to find Dave’s killers unless she endeavored to become more like a man.
“She’ll be fine,” Ed says, “She’s a strong woman.” Ed only stops to tell women when they’re strong or successful, as it’s already expected when a man accomplishes things.
Upon meeting Meryl, the player has two options: to look at Meryl or to talk to her. In order to do that, the player must lay their cursor over a part of Meryl’s body and click. Two options then pop up: “Look” and “Talk”. Depending on where the cursor is, there is sometimes a third option: “Touch.” Examining Meryl’s face for the very first time leads to Jonathan saying, “You’ve got a cute face. I can see a flirty side to you.” Meryl replies with, “You should ask the chief about the last guy who tried to hit on me.” She tells Jonathan not to say that again, and says he should instead compliment her beauty in a less sexual way. She suggests that Jonathan say something such as “Oh, Meryl, you’re simply radiant.”
Reminiscent of the sexism of Solid Snake in Metal Gear 2 and Metal Gear Solid, Jonathan looks at Meryl’s gun in her underarm holster and says, “That gun seems a little big for a woman.” Meryl’s reply: “This is a Magnum Monster Special, the biggest lift gun in the world.”
Meryl, like her counterpart in Metal Gear Solid, has a tattoo of the old FOXHOUND logo from Metal Gear 2 on her left arm. “Is that a real tattoo?” Jonathan asks.
“No, just a paint tattoo,” Meryl says, “It stays on for about half a year. I am still a woman, after all.” This makes no sense. What does this seemingly inscrutable comment say? Judging by Meryl’s portrayal here and in Metal Gear Solid, Meryl is trying to eschew femininity and embrace masculinity. Yet, because she’s a woman, Meryl can’t bring herself to get an ink tattoo, which is something apparently seen as an inherently “manly” thing to do. No matter how much Meryl seeks to be more masculine, an unalterable part of her female brain precludes her from sullying her pure, beautiful skin forever with a permanent tattoo. ’It would be unthinkable, should a woman’s beauty be marred by such an undertaking.
Of course, it’s possible to have Jonathan look at Meryl’s breasts using the cursor, causing him to say, “You really…fill out that shirt.” Meryl’s response is, “What do you expect? I am a woman. Why, you wanna get to know me even more?”
“Nah,” Jonathan replies, adding, “I’d probably break something” in a joke about Meryl’s fragility (as a woman).
“Wimp,” she remarks.
If the players continues to look at Meryl’s breasts, she’ll say things such as, “So what do you think of my gun rack?” Women’s breasts are weapons.
Referring to her breasts, Meryl says, “You wanna touch these, you have to beat me. That’s how I decide if someone’s good enough for me.” Jonathan asks Meryl to name her terms. “How about beating my high score in the shooting trainer?” she says, and then later continues, “You get over 550 points, they’re all yours.”
This mirrors a similar instance in Snatcher, wherein Isabella Velvet tells Gillian that, if he wants to touch her breasts, he’ll have to beat the the high score on the arcade cabinet called Punch the Snatcher nearby, though the machine is broken and impossible to play. Policenauts, however, being advertised as “The Next Generation of Snatcher” and dubbed Snatcher 2.0, improves upon this previous oversight, and allows the player to actually achieve a high score utilizing the game’s combat mechanics in order to touch a certain female character’s breasts. Only by perfecting their murder skills may a man grope freely.
Upon besting Meryl’s target practice record, Jonathan says to her, “I’m here to collect,” meaning he’s there to collect his prize.
“You won fair and square. Go ahead, lover boy,” Meryl says. The game then segues into a brief animated sequence showing Meryl’s breasts bouncing, providing the illusion that Jonathan is touching them. This is accompanied by stock sound effects of an elephant trumpeting or a wildcat growling. Wondering what Meryl has under her tank top, Jonathan and the player can keep touching Meryl’s breasts until she says Jonathan has “had enough”.
Considering this is probably the only remotely consensual moment where Jonathan can touch a woman’s body in the game, it’s worth mentioning the attempted humor in this instance is most definitely not exclusive to touching Meryl. Non-consensual sexual behavior and even sexual assault are also treated as humorous prospects by Kojima. The touching of non-consenting female characters’ breasts in the game is accompanied by lighthearted sound effects of the breasts bouncing, as well as dialogue intended to be comedic. There is sometimes hardly any difference or simply no difference between the tone Policenauts takes regarding consensual and non-consensual sexual contact.
When asking Meryl about herself, she replies, “I’m mainly into bikes and combat. I like men, but…not in THAT way.” This trickles into Meryl’s character in Metal Gear Solid, who professed that she was unable to be attracted to men due to psychotherapy. This Policenauts version of Meryl lends credence to my analysis of Meryl in Metal Gear Solid, where I explain the general idea of Meryl from game to game is that she is a character who is captivated by the idea of men and seeks to be more masculine.
Asking Meryl of her past leads to her reciting: “Ever heard the saying, ‘Never ask a woman about her past, or a man about his future’?” An adage generalizing most of the earth’s human population in one brief pecking of the writer’s keyboard. What is this but unwisdom?
“Yeah, a woman about her past…,” Jonathan replies. “Ain’t that the truth.” Note that Jonathan, the main character, the player’s avatar, only confirms that what Meryl said about women was the truth. It is with ashamed secrecy that a Kojima woman conceals her past, lest character-damaging secrets come to light. Purity is important in Kojima women, and even more important is that Kojima men decide the future.
Anna Brown is based on Traci Wolfe’s Rianne Murtaugh character from the movie Lethal Weapon, right down to her hairstyle. In Lethal Weapon, Rianne has a crush on Martin Riggs, the analog for Jonathan Ingram’s character. Apparently this means Anna has to have a crush on Jonathan. Ed Brown’s analog, Roger Murtaugh, has three children in Lethal Weapon. It’s telling that the only child Hideo Kojima took from Lethal Weapon and wrote into his own story is Rianne, the teenage daughter.
So we first encounter Anna in a form-fitting, one-piece gymnastics outfit. Even Ed says, “A little revealing, isn’t it?” While this is happening, Marc, Ed’s adopted son, cowers from Jonathan and Ed behind Anna. As he does, Marc makes sure to grasp Anna’s bare thighs and hold her tightly as he glares at Jonathan and Ed like a scared animal. Anna, of course, has to explain for Kojima why she’s wearing her uniform outside of practice: “It’s great at absorbing sweat!” To this, Jonathan responds, “I’m more interested in what’s under the uniform.” Ed scolds Jonathan and reminds him he’s talking about his young daughter, but it’s silently accepted at this point that Jonathan isn’t listening and Ed is completely ineffectual.
Anna isn’t wearing the uniform because she wants to; she’s a videogame character, she has no choice. Anna is only depicted wearing it for the player’s gratification. Our reaction is intended to be closer to Jonathan’s. Why else would we be put in a sexual predator’s shoes and be granted opportunities to sexually harass and assault women? The pattern of objectified woman after objectified woman being opportunistically placed before the player should be quite obvious.
When being shown around Ed’s house, it’s possible to check a poster of Anna made from a picture taken during a gymnastics competition. If the player examines the poster, Jonathan says of Anna: “Good thing she didn’t get her looks from you. That would be one fugly poster.” The translators obviously put their own spin on Jonathan’s remark on Ed’s appearance here with “fugly”, a portmanteau for “fucking ugly”, but what bothers me is that Anna is not considered ugly by Jonathan by the sole virtue that she doesn’t look like Ed. Instead, Anna is considered beautiful because her face is drawn more like Jonathan’s. As Jonathan says afterward, “Anna really does have a nice face.” All of this nonsense about Ed being ugly wouldn’t bother me so much if Ed’s appearance didn’t uncomfortably remind me of a caricature sometimes.
Papa Ed, as drawn by his adopted white son, Marc Brown.
Ed Brown ended up adopting Marc after killing his father, who had killed his mother, right in front of him. Ed did this while on police duty to protect himself and Marc, and we assume he had no choice. Marc is traumatized and speechless as a result of the incident, but Hideo Kojima frequently misdiagnoses Marc’s affliction as “autism”, which does not make sense. Ed also doesn’t know why Marc is cowering from him and hiding behind Anna all the time when he’s around—even though he killed Marc’s family right in front of him. Real people are not this oblivious.
Ed’s wife and Anna’s mother, Catherine, has already died of disease by the time Policenauts takes place. She is only mentioned in passing and we see but one picture of her.
Ed will never do anything but yell and stamp his feet at Jonathan’s actions. If Ed has seen Jonathan do things like this before, Ed will merely comment on it. Then Jonathan will either outright deny these claims or say something akin to “Yeah?” and the conversation will end. There are no repercussions or an explanation of why Jonathan’s behavior is unacceptable. Instead, he’s allowed to run wild. When Jonathan further expresses sexual interest in Ed’s daughter, Ed will say, “Go ahead. Try it. I dare you. See what happens.” Yet it’s quite apparent that, if Jonathan does try to touch Ed’s daughter, he will do nothing at all and instead watch helplessly.
“Dad!” Anna says, and then focuses on Jonathan, adding, “Funny you should mention that, Jonathan.” “Oh, no!” Ed says, “Don’t even think about it!” Anna asks her father why she can’t be with Jonathan. “I’ve known him long enough,” Ed says, “Easily the biggest pervert I’ve ever met. Poor guy just can’t help himself.” Jonathan turns to Ed, firmly whispering his name as if to scold him for ruining his chance with Anna. “Don’t you even joke about eating her again!” Ed replies.
In the end, as always, the player can choose for Jonathan to touch Anna’s breasts against her will, and neither her nor Ed will do anything to stop him. If the player chooses to return to Ed’s house at night during the game’s second act, Anna will be in Ed’s living room. She has her hands on her hips, and is wearing cut-off jeans as well as a yellow crop top. If the player chooses to look at Anna’s face, Jonathan will say, “You’re a nice-looking girl. Surprising your [sic] half-Ed.” If the player checks Anna’s face again, Jonathan will say to Ed: “I just pictured your face on Anna’s body and it wasn’t a pretty image.”
If the player hovers the cursor over Anna’s breasts, Jonathan will say, “Wow. I’m speechless. And that doesn’t happen to me often.”
Ed is present in the room, and he says, “Jonathan, you…you truly do need some kinda help for this thing.”
Jonathan says, “I know” and sighs.
“To tell you the truth,” Ed says, “I’m really not that worried.”
“No?” Jonathan replies.
“From what I’ve seen,” Ed says, “women seem to have this natural dislike for you. Can’t imagine why. Just so you know, he has a penchant for fondling women, Anna.”
“Really?” Anna says.
“Yeah, right,” Jonathan says, “like I’d do something like that. He’s kidding.”
“Oh,” Ed cuts in, “am I?”
C’mon, Ed, don’t say anything, Jonathan apparently thinks to himself.
When the cursor is clicked over Anna’s breasts, there is a “Touch” option. When this is chosen, Jonathan says, “Inspection time!” and jiggles Anna’s breasts. Anna yelps and then cries, “What are you doing!” when it is very obvious what Jonathan is doing. “You passed with flying areolas,” Jonathan says, or, at least, that’s what he’s translated as saying. “What the hell do you think you’re doing to my daughter!” Ed says. “Relax, Ed,” Jonathan replies, “How else am I gonna get data for my thesis?” “I’ll ignore all this shit out there, but hands off my girl,” Ed says, essentially admitting he’ll turn a blind eye to sexual assault as long as it’s not done to his daughter. “Deal,” Jonathan says, meaning he will not do it again.
However, it’s still possible for the player to choose the “Touch” option when hovering the cursor over Anna’s breasts, and if this is done, Jonathan will say, “Better double check.” He then touches Anna’s breasts again. “You’re crazy!” Anna cries. Ed cuts in, saying, “Do it again and you know what’ll happen to you, right? Right?” “Sorry,” Jonathan says, “my hands just kinda…went out there like that. Damned tic.”
If the player chooses to look at Anna’s breasts again, Jonathan remarks, “This is torture. Or more like…glorious nectar.” And then he thinks: They felt as big as they look.
Jonathan doesn’t reply.
The player can also hover their cursor over Anna’s exposed midriff and choose the “Look” option, which causes Jonathan to say, “You’ve got a cute belly button. That’s a mark of mammals. So are nipples, too, come to think of it.” “What was that?” Anna says. She is presented as dim-witted and defenseless in this situation, and only her father can successfully defend her.
Jonathan Sees a Doctor
When Jonathan and Ed visit a hospital to see Chris Goldwin, the hospital’s director, they won’t even make it to the reception desk without Jonathan commenting on the women in the hospital—that is, if the player chooses to look at the people in the hospital before approaching the reception desk.
Once control is left to the player, they can hover their cursor over the three female characters behind the counter, and look at their bodies. Jonathan, and even Ed, will comment on how “sexy” and “cute” the women are. They’ll even look at these characters and comment on whether they would have sex with them or not. They’re essentially a group of teenage boys standing in front of a magazine rack in a store, pointing at women they find themselves capable of having sex with in their juvenile, solipsistic imaginations.