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S.EXE: Ute by Lea Schönfelder (NSFW)

Graham said I could name the column this

Featured post Lady of many mans

S.EXE is a new monthly column written by Cara Ellison which explores sex and relationship games. The column is published on the third Friday of every month and, like Cara herself, is NSFW.

Rhythm, thrills and bodies are all things games are good at, so where’s the goods my friends, readers, players? Where’s the junk all up inside that trunk? Wherefore does the mainstream ignore our fiery loins and blustering hearts, and refuse to lay claim to our feelings and intimacy? Why do mainstream games render our lives as placid jogs through sanitised, picket-fenced streets, and never as joyful sprints through neon jungles lit up with the expression of our needs and our far-reaching hunger for pleasure?

I do not know the answer, denizens of netclick cities, but this column desires to devour the games that address the sexy parts with thought and consideration and perhaps a little experience. Are You Experienced? Well it’s okay if you’re not because I’m here. My name is Cara. You may remember me from such puns as Highway To The Bonerzone and ‘booty hall‘. This is my new monthly column: S.EXE. Let’s start with Lea Schönfelder’s Ute. THIS WON’T BE SAFE FOR WORK YOU KNOW. LEAVE YOUR COAT AT THE DOOR.

Grandma could I just go to the gym today instead

Lea Schönfelder is nominated in the Nuovo IGF category this year along with Peter Lu for Perfect Woman, a game in development for Xbox One, PC and Mac, but Lea’s been experimenting with transmedia for an age. The German game designer’s game Ulitsa Dimitrova was under discussion by the Russian Parliament to be banned due to its bleak portrayal of a Russian street child’s life, and she received an Honourable Mention in the IGF Student Showcase in 2011 for the free browser game we’re about to get close with: Ute.

Ute’s a woman whose grandmother sends her on a mission: to fuck as many men as she can before she gets married. Ute can grab a guy (spacebar to seduce), take him to an out-of-the-way corner, and then have outrageous sex with him (more points are awarded if you press the arrow keys in a designated rhythm). But Ute has to climax before another man walks by: if he catches some driveby dogging, his heart and the heart of the man you are sleeping with will be broken, and you will never get to sleep with either again, or more importantly, Ute will never get to marry them. The idea is to rack up as many points by sleeping with as many of the eleven men as you can. It’s actually kind of difficult to do this as there’s no damn privacy, and men keep walking in on me before I’ve even screamed my victory (and in the game). Incidentally, Ute’s orgasm noise is the cutest thing I’ve ever heard.

My favourite thing about Ute is her face after being interrupted clearly showing no shame whatsoever

Like real sex the timing can be tricky and the rhythms certainly differ man to man (I like to think of it as compatibility) and it’s interesting to note that you can learn to judge how much time you have and how to… make it end faster… with a little practice. I used to think when playing that having sex with the same man more than once gave you less points, but I’m not sure that’s true? This might just be me doing some sort of confirmation bias. Perhaps you can debate the scoring system in the comments. GO FORTH AND PREY UPON THE FINE MEN OF UTE.

This guy is adorable

There’s a huge variety of men out there (in the game): there’s the mysterious detective man whose sexual style is to windmill his junk around in the dark, Che Guevara whose sexual proclivities extend to some sort of cigarplay, and Martin Lebowski, President of the Employers’ Association. (I seem to recall he likes being whipped.) The yoga man has some extraordinary poses and for all intents and purposes is scarily bendy. There is also a small boy of 14 amongst the selection of men. But one of the problems this game posits is that once you press spacebar you only then see who it is you have committed to sleeping with. Ute has no idea, for example, that this person is a 14 year old boy until she’s already said she’d get on top of him and throw a bucket of water on him after each thrust. It’s initially shocking but it gets the point across (pun unintended). The more I think about this game, the more layers I think it has.

All of the sex animations are enjoyably outlandish, an obvious ‘collection’ reward for scoring each man. It’s completely great that Ute visibly seems to enjoy all the sex acts – something big budget games are particularly guilty of portraying is that women are somewhat dead-eyed wet fish in bed, beings who merely moan slightly at the delivery of dudeflesh in the manner of Shirley Manson getting the wrong latte. In this game, there’s quite an equal amount of nakedness on both male and female characters, and they’re both usually having a flipping riotous time. This is refreshing considering we usually only get a Geralt-eye-view of women, depriving penis lovers of any joy – and shame on the callous games industry I say.

This is not to say Ute is particularly ‘graphic’: it is just line drawings of wangs. I had to send Graham an email subject line WANGS with the text “Graham, the screenshots for this game I am sending you have a lot of line-drawn wangs in them. What is the RPS policy on wangs.” It turns out RPS has a clear policy on wangs. This policy is Kieron Gillen-written. KG thought dongs were 1) very funny and 2) that they warranted lists.

Che Guevara is a dead revolutionary who enjoys sex with German women and cigars

When you’ve broken all the men’s hearts but one, you are left to marry that last man, which ends the game. Your grandmother congratulates you on however many men you managed to sleep with before you were swiped off the market. And you get a nice little snap of Ute with her new husband, although she usually looks more pissed off than happy about the ceremony. The Drug Dealer guy is always wolf whistling at some other woman in the wedding photo. But I did make her happy by marrying the pizza guy once.

I married the pizza guy, here he is, and we got a pizza wedding cake. This is actually Jenn Frank's dream wedding

The structure of the game has a lot to say about the sexual constraints heterosexual women find themselves in. Society’s attitudes towards sex and monogamy creates a currency of us; the marriage market for men and women that Jane Austen described still seems pertinent in that light. Women might feel as if they’re ‘spoiled’ if they admit to a prospective love interest that they have been with other men, just as Ute breaks two men’s hearts every time she is discovered indulging her desires. And they do fulfil her desires: the game’s win state is when Ute climaxes, not when the man does so. Ute chooses whomever she’d like to sleep with, but ultimately, her life is still a market in which men seem to regard her sexual choices as so disgusting or distasteful as to avoid her for the rest of the game. Unless it really is that they are all in love with her and become broken hearted (which, though she is lovely, I wonder if it’s more of a comment on possessiveness than much else). Ignorance of Ute’s true self is the only state in which men seem to want to be in a long term relationship with her. And that relationship is often not even her choice; it’s just the last man… standing.

A good number methinks

Ute’s a charming main character wearing dainty heels, her strolls accompanied by calming lounge music, and I often feel as if men disturbing her sexytimes really is an invasion of privacy and space. The jarring noise of your discovery by another man is frustrating, there is a real twinge in the feeling of being judged. But for the men too, there is cutting social commentary: they are judged solely on their profession. Their job title appears as soon as you elect to sleep with them, and even their sexual mores are connected to what it is that they do. It’s interesting to see the inversion of what usually happens in games: in this, men have no sexual agency. They are collectibles. Ute uses what seems like their inability to say no or their taking whatever they can get for her own gratification, even though she too is eventually being punished for it.

It’s rewardingly complex as a narrative told through mechanics. There is no dialogue apart from the small intro and outro with the grandmother. Games that have something to say, not only thematically, but throughout the actual structure of how it works can effectively critique a social system. This game conveys Ute’s agency and desire for fun whilst also indicating there are still constraints on her ‘freedoms’ or sexual liberation. It takes a game system we so often see without consequences – say, again, The Witcher and his prostitutes – and makes it far more interesting by imposing limits and outcomes on the play. It’s also more interesting to play than just paying a busty 3D lady to trigger a cutscene in which she dramatically and floridly drapes herself on Geralt’s cock. This isn’t to say I wouldn’t too, but I’d be a little more enthusiastic about it, and I’d probably assault the cameraman and forcibly point the camera at Geralt instead.

It’s possible to game the system, and marry the librarian like I always wanted, but it takes practice, a somewhat ruthless heartbreaking attitude, and the ability to be able to ignore the only person in the room you’re attracted to.

So hunky.

These videogames are very gritty and realistic these days.

Many thanks to game designer Jana Reinhardt for pointing me towards Ute. You can play Ute here, and check out Lea Schönfelder’s upcoming game Perfect Woman here. See you in a month! Cara XOXO

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Who am I?

Cara Ellison

Contributor

Senior Scottish Correspondent, often known as the Notorious C A E, though mostly by her mum

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