Posts Tagged ‘S.EXE’

S.EXE: Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis

By Cara Ellison on September 12th, 2014.

Indiana Jones and the Fate of HIS FACE

A long time ago, when I was just a fledgeling writer who had just attended her first Game Developer’s Conference and only accidentally brushed shoulders with Tim Schafer at a bar, I was surprised to get a message on Facebook from Noah Falstein. He had noticed that my cover image was of the 1992 LucasArts point and click adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. He saw it on my page thanks to a connection of a friend of a friend. He ‘liked’ it. And I realised: Noah wrote that game.

I guess that was the moment I knew I was privileged to be able to talk to the people who make the things I care about, and that I should spend my time critiquing their work. This week’s S.EXE is about the ‘team’ narrative strand of Indiana Jones And The Fate Of Atlantis. It’s got clinches worthy of Hollywood. I’ve not seen a kiss in a game that’s ever topped Sophia and Indy’s frequent tonsil-scraping embraces.

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S.EXE: F**k Everything (RNSFW)

By Cara Ellison on August 29th, 2014.

Fuck Everything

Well, it’s been a hellish two weeks, RPS. This week’s S.EXE comes to you from the heart of one of Europe’s most beautiful and sexually liberal cities, Amsterdam, where I am sat with a glass of Pinot Blanc, bread and some sort of Gouda, watching the internet try to hack away at the self-esteem, security, and self-belief of women who make and talk about games. I know it got to me: I sent a message to a colleague to ask his professional opinion. If I, a woman, wrote about a feminist game maker in this climate, would it be an irresponsible act?

I decided, with the gamemaker’s permission of course, to fuck all that worry to one side. It is not Regency England. Women do not need to ask a man’s permission to do fuck all, least of all worry what some anonymous ones on the internet think about anything. That’s what art is about: expressing what you want to. Let’s go on a journey into some real weird shit, RPS. Women are here. We are going to stay if we want to. We are going to talk about what we like. Today what I want to talk about is fucking chairs, fucking women, fucking men, and fucking monsters. If you don’t want to come that’s okay, but this here peculiar territory at 9pm is mine and no one else’s. This will not be safe for work. Let’s Fuck Everything.

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S.EXE: Dragon Age II And The Long Road

By Cara Ellison on August 15th, 2014.

same

I usually discover the best stories about games over a quiet drink with a friend. This week I am residing in the Isle of Wight, working with the artist Howard Hardiman, author of The Lengths. The Lengths is, amongst other things, an exploration of the world of male gay escorts based on real conversations with sex workers; illustrations and dialogue of the feelings and life of someone who lives to please other people. I found myself in The Mess asking Howard which games he liked that expressed something about the relationships between people. This will contain spoilers for Dragon Age II.

Howard explained to me that Aveline’s crush on a coworker in Dragon Age II almost broke his heart. So we went back home to play The Long Road.

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S.EXE: The Arboretum

By Cara Ellison on August 1st, 2014.

This week on S.EXE I am bringing to your attention the slowburning intimate relationship of two people in Matthew S. Burns’ The Arboretum. The Arboretum was just released on the always excellent Unwinnable dot com, a place that welcomes experimental writing and game design and published yours truly before she really knew who she was. The Arboretum is a gentle and deftly-written text adventure, linear and beautiful in texture. It is a delicate exploration of the feelings of two teenagers whose only dating advice came from hentai and anime, and their fumbling fights their own expectations of romance.

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S.EXE: Hentai Edition (NSFW)

By Cara Ellison on July 18th, 2014.

Nina and I are NSFWI have been aware, for a while at least, that for S.EXE you wanted me to do something on Hentai/eroge/H games, and so this week I fulfilled your wish with Da Capo.

For a pretty long time I didn’t want to cover Hentai, the main reason being that I couldn’t find one that appealed to my personal libido and I am very selfish. (Though when living in Japan I did spend a lot of time in manga shops and in sex shops merely attempting to understand the discourse around sex in Japan (I wasn’t getting laid at all).) (Maybe my lurking in those places was the reason?) But the other reasons I didn’t negotiate these waters sooner is that I find them full of problematic approaches to youth, incest, to consent, and to sex that even as an adult who enjoys a perverse fantasy or two it breaks me out of that and into the ‘this isn’t hot this is a nightmare’ mindset. It turns out even Hentai games with all men in them can be predicated on sexual assault scenarios. But I delve into Da Capo just for you, my dears.
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S.EXE: Groin Gravitators

By Cara Ellison on July 4th, 2014.

COME HERE YOU BIG OWLHAIRED FOOL

My circumstances have changed yet again as I make my way around the world on a silly adventure with game developers. I find myself writing this week’s S.EXE in the muggy heart of the most boisterous American city, New York. It is currently pissing it down, and yet, as my friend Rob Dubbin remarks, it is hot like ‘a city on the surface of Venus’ and comes accompanied with a particular pungent smell.

My computer is hating Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, so before I wrestle the next instalment of my diary into the RPS featuresmachine, I thought I’d utilise the things around me to bring you a change of scenery. These things are: my partner in crime and Kotaku comics Elizabeth Simins, beer, and a copy of Andrew Gray’s Groin Gravitators on Ouya or internet. Join me to play a game about Peter Molyneux’s groin!

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S.EXE: Vampire The Masquerade – Bloodlines Part 1

By Cara Ellison on June 20th, 2014.

Snacking was never more dramatic

When you think of California, you probably think of sun, people wearing shades, the wide, flat pavements sunbleached and neat. But when the night falls in Santa Monica, CA, it gets mortuary cold. I’m staying there this month and I found myself thinking of Jeanette the other night. Something about a tumultuous relationship, smudged kohl, and Jeanette.

So I paid for another copy of Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines, and I went to visit video games’ most animated goth chick seductress. She lives above the Asylum club in a Santa Monica where the sun never comes up. For this week’s S.EXE I thought I’d write you the first part of my spiral into the dark, sexy overtones of one of the best-written western RPGs we’ve got, and my quest for someone there who gives a damn about me.

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S.EXE: Snowblind Aces

By Cara Ellison on June 6th, 2014.

Ah, mes cheries. This week’s S.EXE is a romantic tale of two hot-shots in a clinch. It’s hard to find well-written romance in games, but it’s also hard to find dialogue that’s naturalistic or flowing… Unless you go to the tenderly-kept gardens of the Interactive Fiction forums, where, somewhat ignored by Gamers At Large, the wordsmiths of choice and nuance solder their delicate meanings together, folding out words, opening up new landscapes purely constructed with the master knowledge of parser instructions or hypertext. So today we’re heading that way to the lovely little romance game Snowblind Aces, a short, replayable adventure in the vein of the Saturday afternoon matinee movie. It stays on just the right side of Indiana Jones cheesiness. It’s parser-based, so get ready to type GET YE FLASKE a lot, or MAKE LOVE TO BEYOOTIFUL WUMAN, and have the game stubbornly refuse to laugh. (Not really: this game is as straightforward as interactive fiction gets.) (Come the heck on!)

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S.EXE: Merritt Kopas On Porn, Pain, And Power

By Cara Ellison on May 23rd, 2014.

This week’s S.EXE entry is an interview with a person who speaks and writes regularly about sex in games and who has made games about relationships along the way. I first became aware of the multimedia artist & game designer Merritt Kopas through her shrewd skewering of games on the website Nightmare Mode, for which I was also writing at the time. The website has since passed away into cyberspace heaven, the archives of which are here, but Merritt has grown as a designer and game theorist in an inspiring way since we went down our separate paths, making games such as Lim, Consensual Torture Simulator, and Positive Space.

She started up the curation site Forest Ambassador [disclosure, my sex game Sacrilege also appears on this site] to “showcase a wide range of accessible, free games for nontraditional audiences”. She now speaks regularly on the intersection of bodies, sex, and violence at game conferences, and recently spoke at the Feminist Porn Conference about sex in games. Paolo Pedercini says of Merritt Kopas: “as mutant practitioner-theorist, [she] managed to contaminate the living gaming discourse, emerging as a powerful and yet nuanced voice in the indie movement”. I asked her about her work and outlook.

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S.EXE: Increpare’s Striptease (NSFW)

By Cara Ellison on May 9th, 2014.

Today’s sex and/or relationship game is Increpare‘s puzzle game Striptease. I’d like to point out that this game, though it might seem from its title to be lighthearted titillation, contains depictions of violence against women and addresses issues of sexual assault. If this might trigger or distress you in any way, I’d recommend to take care in reading this, and consider whether playing this game might distress you before playing it.

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S.EXE: Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn

By Cara Ellison on April 25th, 2014.

Many of Tale of Tales’ games have erotic undertones, and you might begin to wonder exactly why that is. You remember I wrote about Tale of Tales‘ FATALE earlier in this column, of course. And after winning the Nuovo Award for Luxuria Superbia at the IGF Awards a few weeks ago, Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn explained in their acceptance speech that they did a lot of ‘research’ together for their award-winning game. Because Luxuria Superbia is about touch, pleasure, and joy, and can make you blush when you play it, you can imagine the sort of research they were referring to.

Well, the erotic undertones are because Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn are married and have confessed they are good at two things: making art, and f**king.

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S.EXE: Teen Girl Squad

By Cara Ellison on April 11th, 2014.

Jack! I'm flying Jack!No, not the beloved Homestar Runner animation, this fortnight it’s a celebration of teenage girls and their sexual agency being front and centre of the narrative! “Hey Cara,” I might hear you say, “I have never heard of a game that even gave the tiniest crap about teenage girls’ libidos!” Well, I’d say, you’ve clearly never been near the Otome genre, or a copy of Duel Love, but that’s okay. We’ll leave Otome to another day, because I found two perfectly free games that give women a good sense of bodily autonomy without having to relate their self-worth to what a dude thinks of them. How healthy!

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S.EXE: OutRun 2006

By Cara Ellison on March 28th, 2014.

The sound of the sea on the menu of the classic arcade racer OutRun 2006 is drifting through Tim Rogers’ Oakland apartment. For whatever reason I find myself in the ex-Grasshopper Manufacture designer’s house, and this guy is making a game, ‘Videoball’, that demands that the voice actor on his new game sound like she comes from OutRun 2006. So I am playing OutRun 2006. It is eye-wettingly beautiful. It is heartbreakingly so. I could cry but I’m dehydrated from California’s stubborn sticky hotness and how gosh darned vegan everything is.

The screeching of the children from the school from across the freesia-fragranced, sun bleached street has subsided, and Tim is cutting audio clips and swearing at the wi-fi. And the game’s menu, the game that Tim once called ‘Love: The Videogame’, well, the game’s menu is doing a perfect impression of contentment. This game is no longer available due to licencing troubles, but man, if anything was ever a game, this, THIS was a game. And I’m on a quest for the ‘ejaculatory gag’. You know, the one that Kieron mentioned in 2008, and I have never found: “I’m still terribly amused by the hyper-cheesy ejaculatory gag half-way through.”

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