I’ve been doing a series of Let’s Play videos exploring old adventures, text games and lost design forms from the 1980s Apple IIe and Commodore 64 era and beyond. In a time when young men shout over new action games, I will talk softly over strange old ones.
The 1980s gave us a smattering of cartoonish, often crude graphical sex games — almost as if the player, assumed to be a “he”, were himself the butt of a joke for even questing for sexual stimulation from a computer in the first place. This excellent Atlantic piece about The Softporn Adventure, widely considered the first erotic game, describes the common tone the game set: it’s a “gawkiness”, a car accident of earnestness and chauvinism. As I grew up in the 80s myself, their awkward visual language is almost inseparable from the ticklish squickiness I felt whenever I accidentally brushed against that kind of sexual imagery as a kid.