Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Sex Games, part 0: the sex games awaken

This post is part of a series adapted from my talk at GaymerX. No, I don't know when the video recording will be uploaded, sorry.

So, let's talk sex games. As a possible "GAYmer" at GaymerX, maybe you're thinking of games like Mass Effect or Dragon Age, or hot Ryu, or Mario and Luigi, or maybe even some games like Fallout which have specific game systems that support gay roleplaying.

These are OK, I guess, but none of these games are primarily about sex. In fact, they are mostly about jumping around and killing shit... which isn't bad, but it's not gay sex. Now, where am I going with this?...

Take something like Dragon Age, which is very popular for its gay characters and sexuality. But the sad truth is that 99.9% of Dragon Age is NOT gay sex! All these BioWare RPG games tastefully fade to black just as soon as they're getting hot and ready. But what if we just cut out all those kinda boring not gay-sex parts? What if we made games that were just 100% pure gay sex? What would those games look like?

Another world is possible! And that world is SEX GAMES. Because if you are so damn thirsty, you don't settle for a tiny thimble of water -- if you are thirsty, you should chug the whole damn bottle.

A sex game is a game primarily about sexuality. They are games where sex isn't just a brief cutscene or foregone outcome. Instead, these are games where we actually perform some aspect of sex, or the game asks what it means to perform those aspects of sex. Where Mass Effect fades to black, these games begin.

Personally, I've made a bunch of free gay sex games this past year, and you can totally check them out here:
  • Hurt Me Plenty, a simulator game about spanking a dude
  • Succulent, a musical game about helping a dude fellate a popsicle
  • Stick Shift, a driving game about giving your gay car a handjob
  • Cobra Club, a photo studio game about taking dick pics
  • Rinse and Repeat, a grooming game about taking a shower with a beefy dude
But I also don't want to pretend I'm the only one doing this. I'm not! My games are just part of this much larger shift by many designers around the world, especially many women / queer / trans designers, to try to imagine what a "sex game" can even look like.

The sex in my sex games is just one idea of sex, constrained by my own artistic background and personal experience. When there are so many diverse ideas of sex and ways of thinking about sex, it's important that we learn about and enjoy all these different flavors. So now let's hear about 25 more sex games!

Keep in mind that my list is by no means exhaustive. (Right after I finished my talk at GaymerX, so many people came up to me excitedly told me about even more sex games that I had completely missed!) I'm also definitely not the first to think about "sex games" -- for instance, Cara Ellison had a great "S.EXE" column at Rock Paper Shotgun, and Merritt Kopas wrote about sex games in The State of Play book and curates the occasional sex game at Forest Ambassador.

As for me, here's my personal taste / what I was looking for:
  • look outside of mainstream AAA game industry output
  • limited only to Western-made games, in English, from the last few years
  • explore sexuality in some way beyond typical commercial studio pornography
  • try to be gay, or at least avoid typical cis-hetero-monogamous-dad-missionary sex aesthetics
Across the next few weeks, I'm going to publish some additional "chapters" that loosely organize and discuss these games under some general themes. These categories are not intended as rigid classifications, but rather they represent just one way of thinking about these particular games, and I felt like these games were sort of in-conversation with each other in an interesting way.

(Links will be added as I publish more posts.) These posts are:
  1. SEX AS BODIES, games that focus on the shape and space of sex.
  2. SEX AS POKING, games that are specifically about small brief sexual touches.
  3. SEX AS AUTHENTICITY, games about whether the sex was meaningful or real.
  4. SEX AS POWER, games that emphasize the power relations between participant(s).
  5. SEX AS IMAGE, games that are about sex as a concept or object to behold.
Again, I'll periodically update this main post with links to those future parts.

Or, just follow my Twitter (@radiatoryang) and/or bookmark this blog for those updates. See you soon!