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I Don't Think Hot Coffee Is Actually About Coffee

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Everyone, I think I’ve accidentally stumbled onto a terrible truth. Sure, Pippin Barr‘s latest savory sip of Flash cleverness, Hot Coffee, seems innocuous enough. I mean, there’s drink preparation and pleasant conversation – that’s it. But then, I got to thinking: who – aside from deadline-drowned games writers in a bleary-eyed state of perma-frazzle – drinks coffee at night? And the rabbit hole runs deeper. Don’t get me wrong: I enjoy a bubbling cup of energy tar as much as anyone, but who actually loves the stuff this much? Guys, they say… they say some things. Scandalous things. I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but this is probably the end of the gaming industry as we know it.

Right then, enough of that. As per usual with Barr’s projects, this one’s actually pretty fascinating. He discussed it on his blog, with particularly enlightening snippets including:

“So when I started Hot Coffee I was pumped (you’ll have to excuse every single word sounding like innuendo, I don’t mean it) about the idea of making this a totally “all comers” (oh god) game. So women could play it and imagine the other person was a man, or a woman, and men could play it imagining the other person was a woman or a man. And any other combinations I’m missing. And all would be happily feeling awkward together. But in the end I don’t think I’d want to deny that the game pretty much reads as having a male ‘avatar’ and a female NPC engaged in entirely heterosexual coffee preparation. Which saddens me, because it indicates a lack of imagination.”

“I’m sure it’s possible to make this kind of game with a more female sexuality behind it, anyway. Perhaps a large part of the problem is just that the dream of making the game agnostic to sexuality and gender was never going to work – that we experience sex so differently that you can’t generalise to “just sex” but have to come down on one side or the other when translating to a game. I simply don’t know. It’s a frontiere. We need to send our best men and women – straight, gay, and anything else – out there. Maybe something like [PS3 indie darling] Flower could serve as a potential counterpoint, all that swirling… anyway…”

He also, in part, chalks his resulting male focus up to his most blatant point of reference: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas’ infamous “Hot Coffee” controversy. Regardless, it’s great that someone finally had a big ol’ interactive think about it, and I can’t deny loving the idea of a single-PC multiplayer version of this where two players sit side-by-side and awkwardly swap sensual brews. So bravo, as always, Mr Barr. You’ve probably ruined coffee shops for me, but it’s a small price to pay for the Citizen Kane of whatever this is.

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Nathan Grayson

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