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,