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How Viewtiful Joe inspired my choice of underwear

The following is a true story, seriously.

The year was 2004. As a young student going to university for my English & Philosophy degree, I had more control over my own schedule than I’d ever had before. I took advantage of all the free time between lectures to play video games up in my room on my new PS2. A lot of my gaming influences stem from those days.

I’d already gotten Final Fantasy X and Soul Calibur 2 along with the console, and played the first Devil May Cry. One day in the game store I found that Viewtiful Joe had a PS2 version as well. I’d already seen the game recommended by a program on TV, but this version had a substantial bonus: after you beat the game once, you could play as Dante from Devil May Cry. (Somehow there’s a lot of overlap between Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe.) I probably would have gotten the game anyway, but Dante’s presence made the purchase a no-brainer for me.

At the time, Dante was something of a hero to me. His confidence and playful attitude in the face of evil was something I aspired to have myself. Even though it probably wasn’t a good idea, I even took some cues from his sense of fashion!

When playing as Joe himself, Viewtiful Joe‘s main gimmick is that you power up into a superhero when your VFX meter is filled, but you can lose this state and become more vulnerable if you run out of VFX.

Dante doesn’t have a powered-up Devil Trigger form in this game. Instead, his normal outfit is considered his powered-up form.

That’s where his underwear came in. Before he gets the V-Watch in the game, Dante isn’t wearing his signature red outfit and instead appears in just his underwear. This is something of a Capcom tradition, and dates back to Arthur from Ghosts ‘n Goblins being stripped to his boxers after his armour is hit. As far as I know, this is the only depiction of Dante’s underwear even if it doesn’t feel remotely canon.

Now that I had left home and my Mum wasn’t choosing my underwear any more, I thought it would be good to try something new. Normally I’d worn white Y-fronts, but the next time I went shopping, I bought my first pack of black boxers and they’ve been my underwear of choice all these years. As it happens Dante’s underwear was black briefs, but somehow I mis-remembered this and chose boxer shorts.

To this day, I still wear black boxers, so it’s safe to say that Devil May Cry and Viewtiful Joe have had a permanent influence on me. It’s strange to think that many of your choices are influenced by the media you consume.

Thanks for reading,

Kenneth Dunlop


Published by Kenneth Dunlop

Earth's Mightiest Game Designer. Making Super Space Galaxy. Previously made Super Space Slayer 2.

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