Space Oddity: Lesbian Spider-Queens of Mars

By Alec Meer on April 8th, 2011 at 12:35 pm.

No, no nipples for you today

Anna Anthropy / Auntie Pixelante (of Mighty Jill Off and Redder fame) takes a big old swing at a proper mainstream audience, with this playful b-movieesque, 8-bitesque web game for the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Are you all titillated by the title? Are you? You’re a very silly boy/girl/spider-queen, aren’t you?

It’s a twitchy maze-shooter, a little in the Pac-Man vein but with a more openly aggressive player character. You are a Spider-Queen (I can only presume a lesbian one) and you’re attempting to stop a slave revolt with the help of a constantly firing laser beam (aka ‘bondage ray’) that imprisons the now armed and angry slaves on contact. Meantime, increasingly heavily-armed slaves are trying to hunt you down, so it’s game of chasing whilst being chased. The exact nature and purpose of the lady slaves is perhaps not explicitly described, but I think you can probably work it out.

It’s very simple, very knowingly silly, but very tight – an accurate evocation of the unflinchingly absolute control systems of the era of games it’s homaging/mocking, I’d say. Initially slow-paced and apparently heavily weighted in the player’s favour, it quickly becomes high-speed and intense.

The retro aesthetic and gentle (and less gently ironic) S&M themes might mean it’s very much a part of the Anthrophy oeuvre, but the strangeness of the always-on weapon means it’s an interestingly strange and challenging wee thing in its own right. There’s a little more about its genesis and inspirations (primarily Wizard of Wor, which I confess I’ve never played) here.

Play it in your browser, for free, now. No, there is no graphic nudity. Do grow up, lad.

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31 Comments »

  1. CaspianRoach says:

    It has “Lesbians” in its name and not a single nipple? Boy am I sad.

    • squidlarkin says:

      Having been one of the playtesters, I’ve gotta say that I, too, am saddened and surprised that the nipples are gone.

  2. JackShandy says:

    Is it wrong to wonder at the biology of an entire race of lesbian spiders? Perhaps they split in half like Ameobas.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Maybe just the Queens are lesbians.

    • ExMortis says:

      Big Black Nemesis!
      (cmon, this is a UK site, someone has to get this)

    • theunshaven says:

      ExMortis: I love that song, but was convinced for a long time that the lyrics went “Priests and animals, three-storey cannibals, everybody happy as the dead come home.”

      Reality has informed me that it’s actually “prehistoric-animals” rather than the cannibals riff, and that I have some other things wrong too.

      Reality can suck it! I still hear my version.

  3. Bhazor says:

    Lesbians on Cartoon Network? Things have clearly changed since Dexter’s Lab.
    Unless you meant Adult Swim, which is… pretty different.

    For some reason I always thought Mighty Jill Off was by Leigh Alexander. I really have no idea why. So apologies Auntie for that. Apantie.

  4. Wulf says:

    …whaaaaaat?

    Hahahahaha. Well then. That’s certainly interesting, funny, and a novelty.

  5. Rii says:

    I’ve never been a lesbian before.

    Or a spider, come to think of it.

    • DeepSleeper says:

      I’ve never had mind-control lasers before.

      I’ve never WANTED mind-control lasers before. Now I totally do.

    • Hematite says:

      Rii, meet Bioware. Bioware, Rii.

      On a related note, why do I feel completely comfortable playing as a female character, but there’s no way in hell I’m hooking up with a guy in a game? Truly, the gender issue flame wars have just begun.

    • nemryn says:

      But you have been a Martian queen?

    • Rii says:

      @nemryn

      I don’t like to talk about it.

  6. RobF says:

    Anyway, the game then, yeah?

    Fucking brilliant. I’m totally jealous of how perfectly this mimics early arcade era gaming but affords itself the luxury of more modern things being included. (Slower difficulty ramping as there’s no urgent need to turn a cashprofit from the player and death is not necessarily the end being the primary thangs)

    To pull that off and have it so that it would sit comfortably in either age is smart stuff (Forget-Me-Not on iOS is the only other example in recent times of a game that does the same trick).

    Wonderful stuff. Love it.

    • Wulf says:

      I completely concur with this, I had a blast playing it and found it interesting, and fun, on many levels. It’s the sort of thing that made me grin with amusement, have fun, and think. For that I appreciate it. It also reminds me of how generally uncensored games used to be, because as I played this my mind kept straying back to the likes of Leather Goddesses of Phobos.

  7. Shadrach says:

    Wizard of wor was truly excellent, one of the first “multiplayer” (meaning two joysticks or shared keyboard) games I played. And it was super-hard against the pretty clever AI too.

    Since I am also a fan of anything to do with Lesbian Spider Queens of the Martian variety I will definitely check this out.

  8. AiglosCelt says:

    I enjoy Pixelante’s games but am I ever sick of the HEY GUYS I’M A LESBIAN YO DID YOU REALIZE I’M A LESBIAN HEY BY THE WAY DID I MENTION I’M A LESBIAN shtick.

    • Wulf says:

      As a gay guy I get sick of this in many mainstream games, too. Uncharted sometimes annoys the hell out of me because Drake comes over as a total prick, and pretty much every straight person I’ve talked to about this doesn’t see it, only I see it because I’m put off by his attitude. There are many chauvinists to be found in mainstream gaming as well that fly under the radar of the average person.

      Really, what you’re noticing is something that’s been going on for a long time, just not from a perspective that you’re used to. And that’s interesting, isn’t it? Someone is basically creating a game which is anti- to a bunch of games that tend to be dumb male power fantasies. I actually find it oddly refreshing.

    • AiglosCelt says:

      itt gay guy assumes he’s the only non-heteronormative person in the world. Who said I haven’t noticed this before? Who said I’m viewing this from an outsider’s perspective?

      I recognize the parallels, but this is hardly refreshing. What certain mainstream games as well as pixelante’s games communicate to straight people is that all homosexuals/transgenders/whatever care about is their nonstandard sexuality. That their entire personality is dependent on the fact that they don’t enjoy VAGINALLY PENETRATIVE SEX IN THE MISSIONARY POSITION FOR THE PURPOSE OF CHILDBEARING. Unfortunately for some this isn’t so untrue either, I can’t tell you how many gay acquaintances I have whose character I’d be unable to describe without referring to their orientation. Their entire being is completely invested in their sexuality. Judging by many Pixelante’s games, as well as a lot of her writing on her site, she’s dangerously close to this state as well.

      I’m all for diversity in games, but these so called celebrations of homosexuality only serve to alienate a whole lot of people.

    • Serenegoose says:

      That’s an amazing double standard. I don’t see a straight romance in 99% of all media everywhere and conclude that ALL STRAIGHT PEOPLE care about is their standard sexuality, but one lesbian puts lesbianism in her game and you can conclude that ALL LGBT PEOPLE ONLY CARE ABOUT IS THEIR NONSTANDARD SEXUALITY.

      That’s absurd, you see.

    • AiglosCelt says:

      The point is not that the references to her sexuality exist, it is the fact that these games, and these lesbian characters, have literally no distinguishing characteristics apart from their sexuality. You might as well replace their sprites with just a big text box saying A LESBIAN in big bold neon letters. The fact that you seem to think that’s a fair depiction makes me titter.

    • AiglosCelt says:

      I should note I don’t particularly approve of straight “romance” in games either, since it tends to consist of the most awkward, lewd attempts at flirting transitioning into jerky, needless bump-n-grind footage (Oh Bioware, what have you become). I’m not just picking on THE GAYS (TM)

    • albatrocity says:

      Redder and When Pigs Fly were as not about gender as games come.

  9. DeathBunny says:

    Hey where is the outrage we saw from Duke Nukem.

    You should all be running around being all angry that there are Tits in this game.

  10. Alec Meer says:

    Had to do a big clean-up here as things were getting out of hand. Sorry to those whose thoughtful comments were lost as a result.

    Video games!

  11. Grape Flavor says:

    okay delete this one too. another ghost reply.

  12. Tetragrammaton says:

    Wait, there are people who don’t think Drake is a massive bell-end? News to me.

  13. bascule42 says:

    More openly aggressive than Pac Man? The little bastard ate everything in his path. I mean EVERYTHING.