S.EXE: Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn

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.

Michaël, Auriea and I are sitting in a hostel bar in Berlin at the beginning of the month, where we’re hanging out before speaking at independent games festival AMAZEfest. I want to know about how their relationship, and to a certain extent, how sex, influences the games they make. Terrible German techno accompanies us in the background whilst they regale me with tales of the early indie scene, and an internet that sounds like the wild west, at least in the corner they were inhabiting.

“I’m going to open with saying you are the king and queen of ‘art and fucking’ in videogames,” I say.

“I can live with that,” Auriea says, whilst Michaël grins.

Before they formed their game company Tale of Tales, Auriea Harvey & Michaël Samyn began talking to each other in the early days of the net where everyone wrote to Livejournals and websites had those sparkles that follow your cursor around. They met and conducted their early relationship across forums and made digital art for each other; in many ways it was a digital romance, and still is for both of them.

“It was a way of dealing with things,” Auriea says of their online relationship in the early days. “It was kind of dramatic when we got together.” She describes a difficult personal situation for both Michaël and her, where they had other responsibilities and were in two different countries, Auriea in the US and Michaël in Belgium. But they knew they wanted to be together. “We fell in love,” Auriea said. “It was instant.”

“The first sex chat we had is online, you just have to know where to find it,” Michaël says. “…It started online as very poetic sex chat. It was in the context of art. We were artists on hell.com and we were trying to use this video chatting software for some performance…”

“There were a lot of people there, chatting,” Auriea explains, “but we just did a private thread on the side. …It wasn’t smutty at all. It was really beautiful.”

“It was very sexy,” Michaël says.

I feel sacrilegious putting Tekken screenshots on a PC gaming site

They describe falling in love over a matter of months. They moved in together. Then, when they stopped making digital art about themselves, they began making art commissions and websites with Entropy8Zuper (between 1999 and 2003), and graduated to making games. The internet had started to become boring to them – just CSS and databases, Auriea says.

“We were playing all these games just for kicks… After our wedding, what did we do? We took the big bottle of champagne back to the house and played Tekken 3. Tekken Tag Tournament.”

“That was like a sex game to me,” Michaël says. Loser takes off clothing? I ask. “No no,” Michaël says, “It’s in the game. The characters touch each other.”

“I use moves really well,” says Auriea, with a sparkle in her eye.

“The throwing each other on the floor,” Michaël says. “Jumping on top of each other.”

“But we were playing all these games for kicks… Eventually we just got really bored with films, and we started renting games instead. …We’d always be reading the back of the game and realising the description of the game was never the game inside. …We had all these opinions… One day we were like, why don’t we just make a game? This is sort of like what we are already doing only it’s on a disk.”


“…Our first real game was about an eight year old girl, she was like our daughter,” Michaël says.

“We started to think that there were other aspects to be explored other than sex and longing,” Auriea says.

I guess that period of longing was over by the time you had formed the company? I say.

“But even aspects of us were in the Endless Forest,” Michaël says of their earliest game, an MMO where you play as a deer who can only communicate through sounds and body language. “Both of us have special forces in that game that the players don’t have, we can do things together. There are statues of twin gods, and we can make them fly around and make rainbows and explosions of flowers.”

“The Endless Forest was a really magical thing. It’s a really beautiful thing if I do say so myself. I still love going there,” Auriea says.

Michaël describes the origins of the Endless Forest as being an extension of his and Auriea’s personal relationship. “One of the things that we wanted when we made the Endless Forest was to create something that people could enjoy all the time without us being there,” he says. “It was grounded in something that we did together which was called Wirefire, a Flash based, web-based VJing tool. I had a folder with all sorts of animations, sounds, images, she had one, but we didn’t know of each others’ folders.

“Every Thursday evening we would do a one hour performance, where we started mixing – it was like a visual communication through time, and people could come and watch the show. But we also used it as a very intimate way of communicating. Of talking about things that were difficult to talk about. But we were a little bit annoyed by it because it only existed when we were physically doing it. That’s one of the reasons we were attracted to the MMO aspect.”

They get to telling their favourite stories about the Endless Forest.

“There was a group of people surrounding Jeff Minter -”

What? I say. Jeff Minter?!

“Yeah, Jeff Minter played the game,” Auriea says.

Michaël explains, “Him and his little gang would just sleep on a certain hill in the forest, so the next build we put a mushroom circle where they were sleeping, around these sleeping deer, and it became a magical power, if you were to lie next to a sleeping deer you got a special spell.”

Minter Hill, I say, somewhat enchanted by the idea.


Let’s talk about Luxuria Superbia, I say. It’s very explicitly sexy: it’s about ‘pleasuring’ an environment that responds to your touch, and it rewards the player with provocative messages. Michaël tells me that the …flavour text… for the red flower is literally quotations from pornography, in a way that reminds both him and Auriea of their early sex chats online, of the way they still talk to each other. I suspect that this content is something games journalists, and the gaming public, have not often been confronted with in a game.

“A lot of people did start thinking about their relationship to these devices,” Michaël says of how people responded to Luxuria Superbia. “And sex in general, sex in games. A bit more than we expected. But that was kind of pleasant, even when we’re not being heavy, people can be with our games. But the best reaction was just seeing people playing. It was very interesting, because it’s very recognisable as an experience – people totally get what it’s about very quickly. And you can share this with a complete stranger… I found that very charming and warm. You have this connection with this other human being about this thing that is very intimate. You’re not really going to go into details about it, but… we’ve both done this, we’ve both felt this. You can feel a bond with a total stranger over this thing you can’t really talk about. That was really beautiful.”

“We had a great experience at GDC where we had the four controller version,” Auriea says, “and there were three other people who were all playing together on the last circular level. Everybody was working really hard, and I joined to help, and they were like ‘we can’t get the thing to finish, we’ve been doing this for ten minutes and our fingers are getting tired!’ And I was like okay everybody, just pick a direction, and go there, and don’t move. All four of us were there not moving, and all of a sudden the thing went [hand gesture] and started like, coming, and we were just like ‘HOLD IT HOLD IT HOLD IT YEAH DON’T MOVE DON’T MOVE OKAY’ and we were all just standing there like… ‘Yes yes yes yes yes…’

“And that evening we get thank you mail from all their girlfriends,” Michaël deadpans.

But what’s the aspect that most people don’t notice about Tale of Tales games? The humour, Michaël says.

“There’s always a layer of humour,” he says. “Usually when sex is in a game, it’s about a challenge, winning – a reward. That’s not what sex is, you know? Things go wrong when you have sex -”

“It’s often quite embarrassing, awkward,” Auriea says, laughing.

“But you love each other, so it’s really not a problem,” Michaël says rather optimistically. “In fact, it’s really kind of funny that it happened, that you came too soon. That you farted. It’s all part of the experience. And everybody knows that… Games are so much about getting a 10/10 score or something, but sex is very playful, but it’s not about perfection. …A game doesn’t even have to be about sex, but the way people play, the way people play with each other in bed or wherever, is very interesting in terms of design, and it really makes you think why are all these games so rigid? So non playful?”

Is Michaël calling today’s games structurally frigid? I feel like he might be. Loosen up, games.

Both Auriea and Michaël are working on new games for your delectation, one of them the upcoming ‘Sunset‘, but you can catch RPS’s review of Luxuria Superbia here. Did you also know that Auriea was voted Riot Grrl’s sexiest person on the internet in 1997? Well now you do.

See you next fortnight, S.EXE lovers. If you’re into it, you can check out my previous columns here.


  1. Noburu says:

    And now im in love with him after seeing dat beard!

    • Jalan says:

      His “you’re just too stupid to grasp how deep my games are” attitude clashes with his manly beard.

      • Urthman says:

        Yeah, but he’s only being polite, because the truth, “you’re just not sexy enough to grasp how deep my games are” would be too mean.

      • LionsPhil says:

        It’s not so much manly as lopsided, disconnected, a really a bit crappy. It looks like the beard you get in a character generator. Admittedly a better one than the ones that just texture a dark smear on there.

        Not that the pair of them giving a down-the-nose aloof look is helping them look any less like a pair of self-important tossers.

        • Dux Ducis Hodiernus says:

          I like how everybody is talking about his beard when it has nothing to do with this, even going as far as straight up criticising and insulting it…

          I mean, sure you might dislike what they make or whatnot, but I really really don’t understand the personal insults. It’s not like they’re going out and calling you a tosser or ridiculing someone elses looks.

    • Jerppa says:

      I thought it was a wool collar.

    • Geebs says:


    • Davie says:

      Cripes, they are both ridiculously attractive people.

      • JFS says:

        … depending on your age, maybe.

        • Kitsunin says:

          Older folks probably wouldn’t think they’re attractive, then? ‘Cuz I’m 19 (and I agree)…

          • Myros says:

            50 here, cute as hell is my judgement.

          • JFS says:

            Well. Go out then, and make some lonely average middle-aged people of your desired gender happy. I’d wager there’s about a billion of them on the planet.

            Sorry, I just don’t see any attraction there. To me, they seem like the epitome of Western middle-class mediocrity. Nothing against them or their games, but how on Earth are they attractive?

          • steviebops says:

            ‘epitome of Western middle-class mediocrity’
            That’s an incredibly snobbish comment.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          I’m 27 and those people look damn sexy. Also I really don’t see this arrogance of which you speak.

  2. steviebops says:

    ‘confessed they are good at two things: making art, and f**king.’. Humility, not so much.

    • Cara Ellison says:

      I hear humility’s what makes one a good lover and a great artist.

      • steviebops says:

        The inverse is hardly true either. Are you a proud or humble lover?

      • Nate says:

        Are you being sarcastic?

        There’s some worth in investigating what role humility plays in art and lovemaking. The funny thing about both is that there is no clear consensus on which is the good stuff.

      • Deano2099 says:

        That’s the point though isn’t it. If you’re a good lover, you’re confident in the bedroom, and you show it through being a good fuck. If you’re a great artist, you show it by making great art.

        The artists that tell you their art is really great, and they’re just so interesting and subversive that some people don’t get them? Well they’re the guys in the club that tell you that they’re really good in bed.

    • PopeRatzo says:

      Well, that beard is so bad he’d better be a good f#ck.

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Wow, who lost their mind and appointed you the authority on human attractiveness/beards?

        • Emeraude says:

          I… may have… forgot to take my pills again, so it’s all a blur. But I just may have.

          I take it back though (Ah, the wonders of tyranny).

        • Dances to Podcasts says:

          To be fair, the whole weirdy-beardy trend is ending as we speak and will look quite silly in a few more years.

          • steviebops says:

            Thank God.

          • SuicideKing says:

            Didn’t they say that in the 70’s too?

          • Kitsunin says:

            It goes in phases. Because attractive people with beards are all over the place right now, attractive people without beards start to seem more attractive since they are less common, and then we will see more and more until it swings back and we go to beardiness again.

          • Ergates_Antius says:

            As someone who has had a beard for some years now and certainly not as a result of some ‘fad’ I take offense at “weirdy beardy”.

          • LionsPhil says:

            Dale Winton now has a beard, so I assume it’s already reached uncool again.

            I’m going to stick with the wisdom of The Protomen.

        • FFabian says:

          Why don’t you link me to some of the beards you’ve produced on the topic. Until then, I don’t think you can really say he/she isn’t an expert on it.

    • waltC says:

      “But you love each other, so it’s really not a problem,” Michaël says rather optimistically. “In fact, it’s really kind of funny that it happened, that you came too soon. That you farted. …”

      What an exciting premise for a game. Uproariously hilarious…What limitless imagination, what unbounded creativity…what…a load of crap.

  3. LevelHeaded says:

    Embarrassingly bad article and games.

    • DantronLesotho says:

      How is this a bad article? It’s a profile on a developer and their games. It was well written and had sparkly dialog.

      • The Random One says:

        The only reason you used the word “sparkly” is because Cara primed you by reminding you of the sparkles that followed the mouse in Livejournal. She’s inside your head, man!

    • LordOfPain says:

      I’m with you there. I cringed through every bit I could stand to read.
      Personality disorders, ahoy!

      • PedroTheHutt says:

        As someone who interviewed Samyn back in 2007 when I still studied journalism, yes, yes, his ego is quite off the charts. And genuinely belives himself to be far better than most anyone working in the AAA games industry (which he believes should be destroyed if the medium is ever going to advance).

    • Bradamantium says:

      I found both the article and the games to be unique. What is it you’re here at RPS for? Reading about EVE, or the punny headlines, or to make fun of John every now and then? Subsequently, how’d you end up here in the comment section of S:EXE just to tell us how shit it is?

      Buzz off.

      • Nenjin says:

        Something about a game I’d actually play, that isn’t using sex as link bait?

        At one point I was like “Good on them” for trying to reclaim sexuality from the games industry through journalism. Now it just seems like titillation for its own sake.

        But I guess if Kotaku can do what it wants to get page hits, RPS can too.

    • aleander says:

      Oh yes. I think the article isn’t objective enough. Also, I couldn’t tell if the reviewer liked the beard.

  4. DantronLesotho says:

    What is f**king? Is it like Nidoking? I don’t know what the stars are supposed to be! I need an adult!

    • Ich Will says:

      A long time ago, when we still called Native Americans “Indians” – presumably because we hadn’t yet discovered the world was in fact a sphere, there was a programming language called C.

      C was a noble and ancient language, the most powerful of them all. Then, one spring time, there was a murmuring and a rumbling – the words that no-one dared speak was “Object Oriented”. The movement grew in power until after a particularly vicious arrest of a young man for graffiting the phrase “merge abstract data types with structured programming” on the Flotsam, MA branch of Happy Shopper, the world erupted in riots.

      Eventually these upstarts stabilised and consolidated power. Of course we know them now as Ada, Ruby, Perl, Python et al. That ancient monarchy, C split into C++, C#, Java and of course Objective-C.

      But C survived, now just with the spark of life. There was in-fighting, many pointing of fingers until eventually a splinter group emerged, F. The leader crowned himself king, but still, there were those swayed to the dark side, and a vile hybrid – half procedural, half object oriented was spawned. That which should never be named. I will name it now, today, it was called F**.

      Part procedural monarchy, part object oriented democracy, these bastard children both elected MP’s to sit in parliament and were ruled by a king. the F**king.

      I thank you.

      • AngelTear says:

        *claps, throws monies in your direction*

      • Dances to Podcasts says:

        RPS should have a comment of the month contest or something.

      • Thermal Ions says:

        I feel so ashamed that having been seduced by OO, to which my university professors are complicit, that I never even knew about F**, let alone F**king. I shall now go forth and ask everyone I meet if they will help me learn more about F**king.

      • Raiyan 1.0 says:

        I rather prefer a C# NT kernel environment myself.

  5. Michael Fogg says:

    Just as I thought these nongame purveyours can’t get any more obnoxious…

    • AngelTear says:

      Just as I thought these people that make games I do not like (and possibly haven’t given a chance to) couldn’t have another interview, stating opinions I disagree with…

      There, I fixed both your grammar and your choice of words ^_^

      • Michael Fogg says:

        Oh c’mon, the term ‘nongame’ was coined and is promoted by Samyn himself, check out his ‘nongames manifesto’ from a few years ago. A few minutes of entertainment guaranteed, he says things like ‘the reason we need game criticism is to tell the public why Dear Esther is superior to Call of Duty’ and many other gems.

        • AngelTear says:

          I’m aware of the NotGames Manifesto.
          What you don’t seem to be aware of, is that it’s a voluntary turnaround of the meaning of the word, from negative to positive.

          In other words, what you just did was like calling someone gay as a way to insult them and then justifying yourself saying that they call themselves gay in the first place, as if the word was being used in the same way in the two different contexts.

          • PopeRatzo says:

            I’m aware of the NotGames Manifesto.

            If you had been, you wouldn’t have jumped all over the OP’s usage of it.

            But I do like the idea of flipping the meanings of words from positive to negative. It’s a lot easier to make “bad game” mean “good game” in your world than it is to actually make good games. I guess.

          • AngelTear says:

            Again, even if I call myself gay, I can still tell when someone calls me gay as a way to insult me, based on tone and context. The word “Obnoxious” was a good tell of which way the word “notgames” was meant to be interpreted.

            But nice try.

            Please enlighten us by unveiling the canon of “objectively good games”. At least, you have promoted ToT from notgames to bad games, I guess that’s a start.

          • HadToLogin says:

            I still wonder why Dear Esther or Gone Home are called video games and Virtual Louvre ( link to musee.louvre.fr ) isn’t.
            More clunky movement anims? Lack of one room that will start credits-roll?

          • 1101101 says:

            The important question you have to ask yourself is why that distinction is relevant. Gone Home is exactly what it is and it doesn’t suddenly become something different just because you think it is a game or not. That distinction is just not terribly relevant either way. What’s interesting about a discussion on what’s a game or not (or what’s a rogue-like or not or whatever is the current trendy discussion about definitions) when you could instead actually talk about that thing that might or might not be a game?

            However, it is pretty easy to point out differences between a virtual tour of the Louvre and Gone Home. I would certainly argue that using typical first person game conventions for navigating the world is a small part of what makes it a game (though I do not want to argue that using those conventions is either necessary or sufficient for something to be a game). More important is the clearly defined goal – Find out what happened to Sam! – and the story arc connected to that. In Gone Home there are even some very explicit and gamey obstacles that have to be overcome. Having to turn on the lights in every room to be able to explore and progress is less gamey than those explicit obstacles, but still somewhat gamey and similar in kind to the more explicit obstacles.

            You also shouldn’t discount merely having to explore and traverse spaces to reach a goal as a game mechanic. In my childhood I gave up on so many games, not because I was unable to kill enemies, no, most frequently because I was unable to traverse the virtual spaces towards the goal. (This is just my long-winded way of expressing that not even explicit obstacles are necessary for me to consider something a game.)

            Additionally, I want to make the point that I’m not in principle opposed to the claim that the virtual tour of the Louvre is at least in parts like a game or on a trajectory to maybe become a game with only a few changes. Certainly, if it gave you the goal of reaching the Mona Lisa then I would consider it a game. (Maybe not a very good one, but still a game.) Street View is conceptually similar to this Louvre tour and all it took was adding a goal – Guess which location you are looking at! – and Street View was suddenly transformed into a thoroughly entertaining game.

            Maybe you don’t agree with this definition of what a game is. That’s fine. We don’t have to all use the same definition, as long as we are clear about what we mean. I think my explanation should have made it clear to you why I personally consider Gone Home, Dear Esther or all Tale of Tales games games. Now, can we please talk about the games (or not games, whatever definition you prefer) instead of wasting our time with definitions?

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        Oakreef says:

        Cara one day you’re going have to stop giving me new Twitters (Twitter users? Twits?) to follow.

        • Michael Fogg says:

          I just happened to check out Tale of Tales twitter to discover such very inspirational quotes such as “Third world citizens must start seeing themselves as revolutionaries instead of mere victims” “Che” Guevara. I think this demonstrates the maturity and cognitive level of our dear ‘artistes’, saviours of gaming etc.

          • Kaeoschassis says:

            I am really struggling to see your argument here. Is this meant to be ridicule? If so you’re failing badly, if not I’m completely lost.

          • The Random One says:

            The idea that third world countries dwellers see themselves as victims is pretty ridicule, actually. But I don’t think anyone is holding these people to be perfect purveyors of perfection. They do some interesting stuff that’s pretty unique and worth checking out, even if you don’t like it.

          • Michael Fogg says:

            @ Kaeo On the other hand your ridicule is excellent, sir, I suggest you start a Patreon drive so you can get paid for it.

            What I wanted to point out is how vapid these two self-proclaimed ‘artists in interactive entertainment’ are for putting random anti-capitalist slogans on their official company tweeter, including quotes from acclaimed mass-murderer el Commandante.

          • HadToLogin says:

            Well, Che didn’t mass-kill Jews, so he’s cool guy.

          • Bull0 says:

            Co-opting Che Guevara. Like nobody ever did that before. You’re right, total outrage.

            I liked the thing about being “self-proclaimed artists in interactive entertainment”. They’re artists who make interactive entertainment – what exactly would you proclaim them as? No, wait, don’t answer that.

          • Michael Fogg says:

            @Bull-O I would proclaim them pretentious gits.

            Just because clueless people continue to idolize Che doesn’t make it right. The farce of being a Twitter revolutionary from the safety of quasi-socialist Belgium just can’t be ignored.

          • DrollRemark says:

            You know how you’re fond of taking a single quote and using it to define someone?

            “quasi-socialist Belgium”


          • Bull0 says:

            @Michael Fogg lol, it was fairly clear when I said “No, don’t answer that” that I knew exactly what you’d say (and thus it was totally banal)

            I’d proclaim you a jam sandwich, by the way

      • JamesTheNumberless says:

        I’m now very cross with almost everybody I follow on Twitter for not retweeting this one already, or otherwise telling me they were following it.

    • Phasma Felis says:

      Just read your other posts on this thread.

      Wow. You are really, really angry that some people like things you don’t like. I think you’re actually personally offended that not everyone shares your tastes. Have you ever stopped to consider what that says about you?

      (No no no, don’t launch into a “but they’re really not games” rant. It won’t mean much to me, since I haven’t played Luxuria Superbia and don’t have much interest. But see how I can say that without sneering? That’s important. Think about it.)

  6. SillyWizard says:

    Ha. Gross.

  7. The Random One says:

    I really like Tale of Tales, but I can never shake the feeling that if there were other people making deep art games about love and intimacy, they’d be the worst ones.

    • AngelTear says:

      I hear you.

      I’m not sure whether it is because they’re exploring new territory, but the theory and meaning behind their games fascinate me a lot more than what the actual games in practice manage to achieve.

      • PopeRatzo says:

        I’m not sure whether it is because they’re exploring new territory, but the theory and meaning behind their games fascinate me a lot more than what the actual games in practice manage to achieve.

        That’s convenient. So in theory, they could have just explained their “theory and meaning” and left it at that, skipping all the time-consuming “game-making” part.

        That’s actually my approach to conceptual art. Imagine the most beautiful, transcendental painting you’ve ever seen. Now imagine my signature at the bottom. I’m expecting ARTnews to do a cover story on me any day now. I better go check my spam folder so I don’t miss their email.

        • The Random One says:

          Thanks for your honest and sincere explanation of your approach to art. Tale of Tales is still preferrable, because even if they fail to do what they set out to do, we can still discuss the ways in which they failed and try to estabilish a road map to where we wish they were. We can’t discuss the failures of your imagined art, because 1) they don’t exist because they’re not real and 2) they don’t exist because it’s been imagined as perfect.

        • woodsey says:

          Oh, shut up.

          Like you’ve never watched/played/read something and found the overriding concept fascinating but the execution wanting. There’s nothing illegitimate in still praising the concept or the attempt.

        • AngelTear says:

          Well, I guess you have never heard of a game that was supposed to be good on paper but wasn’t well-executed in practice. I’m not sure what exactly is convenient, since I just said they don’t live up to what they try to do…

          Right, sorry, my bad. I didn’t realize you were being willingly obtuse in order to flame ^_^

        • tasteful says:

          FINALLY someone has the guts to call bullshit on conceptual art

          • SonofMacPhisto says:

            Yes, it’s absolutely bullshit that artists waste our time and don’t go straight to their magnum opus upon puberty or whatever. A curse on them, I say!

          • DrollRemark says:

            RPS Internet Website Commenter PopeRatzo has saved art!

          • LionsPhil says:

            It’s “bullshit” that it’s not discarded the same as every other profession’s apprentice learning material, yes.

          • SonofMacPhisto says:

            Discarded? As in ignored like a piece of trash? Why on earth would you do that? Or do you mean something else?

          • JamesTheNumberless says:

            @SonofMacPhisto Right, would have saved a fortune in paint if they just tore Michelangelo from his mother’s breast and smeared him across the ceiling.

  8. cpt_freakout says:

    Just when it was getting interesting it ends! (No double entendre intended :P) I like the way they think about touch and Tekken, because there’s always been the possibility of an erotic interpretation of fighting games. I’m too tired to make anything out of it, but it’s a very interesting approach. I hope this interview has a second part with them talking about their other games, too. Otherwise it was nice, but definitely too short for my taste. :)

    • The Random One says:

      It’s too bad that fighting games seem to default to overt sexiness (i.e. BLOODY GIANT TITS) when they could be more subtle and about the intimacy of touch.

      But if you had to memorize the fucking combos it’ll still suck!

      • Faxmachinen says:

        I see what you did there. Also I agreed completely. More zipper simulators, please.

  9. uriele says:

    If they fuck as they make art, it probably feels like jerking off…

  10. Stackler says:

    If I’d be interested in the sex life of other people, I’d still watch MTV.

  11. Sparkasaurusmex says:

    Wow RPS readers are a bunch of prudes.

    Great article.

  12. Antistar says:

    I’m used to seeing that title image as (presumably) Michael’s avatar on the Something Awful forums. For a moment there I thought I was having a stroke when I saw it pop up here on RPS.

  13. PikaBot says:

    Every time I hear Tale of Tales’ name, I think to myself, ‘that name sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before?’

    And then I remember that they’re the fellows who made The Path. The game so obnoxiously pretentious even I had to call it so, and I like Dear Esther.

    • Jalan says:

      After witnessing how Samyn reacted on multiple occasions toward (surprisingly respectful and restrained for the likes of the internet) criticism against the Path I can’t think of the guy as anything but obnoxiously pretentious. I’ve gotten enjoyment (on some level) out of the games he’s done and have respect for the approach he opts to take but find I am unable to just forget about how derisive he was to people who didn’t deserve it. Getting defensive over something you love being blatantly attacked is to be expected but not everyone having a critical thought against a ToT game is some profane clown looking to cut down to bone through use of their words.

  14. mugsgame says:

    Great idea for an article, and very innovative – when was the last time a photo like that headed an article on a PC gaming site? Nice read.

  15. FFabian says:

    Pretentious much? They build themselves a nice comfy rhetoric fortress. If you start arguing against their art/games/concepts you’re probably just too prude or haven’t explored intimacy with your partner as deep as they have (hah pun here).

    Who declared them experts on intimacy and sex?

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Why don’t you link me to some of the stuff you’ve produced on the topic. Until then, I don’t think you can really say they aren’t experts on it.

      • FFabian says:

        “Why don’t you link me to some of the stuff you’ve produced on the topic.”

        Sounds a bit creepy, don’t you think?

      • Ravenholme says:

        I worry at people’s haste to accept self-proclaimed experts, then. You don’t have to be an expert on a subject to recognize that some people are not as expert as they claim.

        What they are is some of the few people attempting to explore intimacy etc in their games. YMMV on the success they’re having (Not much, in my opinion, and I say this as someone who has… experienced all their games barring Bientot l’été.)

        • LionsPhil says:

          Very, very much your first paragraph. Jesus christ.

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          “What they are is some of the few people attempting to explore intimacy etc in their games.”

          That’s more or less what I’m getting at here. There are so few people actually doing this – and so many claiming it’s just outright pointless or even wrong to do – that anybody who tries, anybody at all, has plenty of value, plenty to offer. Even if they aren’t ‘experts’.

          Sorry if that came across wrong, I do in fact agree with your statement.

      • JFS says:

        Yeah, because I have to be a better producer, songwriter and singer than Bieber and his team to critique their music as crud.

        • Faxmachinen says:

          You’re free to critique something solely on personal tastes, but it doesn’t lend you any credibility towards telling experts from bullshitters.
          You don’t have to be an expert yourself to spot a bullshitter, but some fundamental knowledge is required. Fundamental knowledge which I sincerely doubt you have, about music production or otherwise.

      • Ergates_Antius says:

        Why don’t you link me to some of the stuff you’ve produced on the topic. Until then, I don’t think you can really say they aren’t experts on it.
        That’s an utterly ridiculous argument. Since when did you have to be a producer of something to be able to tell that someone else isn’t an expert in it?

        • SonofMacPhisto says:

          Here’s an artificial heart. I’ve never made one before, and have little to no knowledge of the device, or how to make a good one. Good luck!

  16. LordDamien says:

    Guess their games won’t be on the Humble Bundle..

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      …dammit that one was actually pretty witty. Nice.

      • Bull0 says:

        Yeah I chuckled at that in spite of myself. This thread is ridiculous – it’s like people’ve never come across artists before. This is what they’re like, guys. It’s fine.

        • LionsPhil says:

          It’s possible to both be familiar with Artistés and yet still despise them. That doesn’t necessarily burn out or go numb.

          • Bull0 says:

            Well, feeling the need to go off about it implies that there’s some novelty to the fact that I’m frankly missing

    • Ravenholme says:

      I choked coffee all over my keyboard when I read that.

      Nice one.

    • Michael Fogg says:

      Yeah, ’cause the Humble Bundle only accepts actual games, y’know…

  17. SonofMacPhisto says:

    This was my favorite part:

    ““And that evening we get thank you mail from all their girlfriends,” Michaël deadpans.”

    You can’t min/max sexual satisfaction, folks. Haha.

  18. Ravenholme says:

    That said, for me being critical of their credentials, I do agree with this part:

    “There’s always a layer of humour,” he says. “Usually when sex is in a game, it’s about a challenge, winning – a reward. That’s not what sex is, you know? Things go wrong when you have sex -”

    “It’s often quite embarrassing, awkward,” Auriea says, laughing.

    “But you love each other, so it’s really not a problem,” Michaël says rather optimistically. “In fact, it’s really kind of funny that it happened, that you came too soon. That you farted. It’s all part of the experience. And everybody knows that… Games are so much about getting a 10/10 score or something, but sex is very playful, but it’s not about perfection.

    Just… I don’t at all remember that in The Path, for example. Disconnect between intent and delivery? Quite possible

  19. masterofchaz says:

    Played this Luxuria Superbia at an event in Nottingham last year. Approached it without knowing anything about it. Picked up the controller. I got game over in just over 30 seconds. It was then that I realised – “did I just prematurely ejaculate in this game?” I put the controller down, and promptly left the event, red with embarrassment, somewhat flustered and vowing to be much better at video games the next time.

  20. bunionbell says:

    I would really love to see a writeup/profile on Increpare. He tackles sex and sexuality and other underrepresented themes in ways that I personally find to be more radical and subversive than ToT . But I respect their stance and though I have not been the biggest fan of their previous games, Luxuria Superbia looks pretty awesome.

  21. dmoe says:

    “We feel much of contemporary art is in a dire state. Videogames offer ways to overcome the limitations of linear unidirectional media that make them unsuitable for capturing and contemplating the complexity of today. But not without effort.

    We want to make this effort. To create a new art form with a new medium in order to bring art into people’s lives – art that matters, art that affects them, art that connects them to the beauty of existence. This is our subversion. This is our plan to overthrow our inadequate leaders and bring the human race back on its path to the divine.”

    These two are hilariously pretentious. I’ll wait for a good game to come from them though. As of now I’m not being transcended to the 5th dimension with my pal Slappo the Subconscious Unicorn.

    • DantronLesotho says:

      Making art games is an admirable goal, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to accept anyone’s opinion of anything if they think the human race is on a quest to be divine.

  22. Megakoresh says:

    Hmm, normally I’d always appreciate a beard… But this one looked ugly WTF, why did he cut out the sides there, yet left the middle part?

    And dreads… I will never understand how could they be considered good-looking.

  23. Jeroen D Stout says:

    The rage of Caliban continues in this comment section.

  24. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Lovely article about interesting people!

  25. Golden Pantaloons says:

    Nice article.

    I’m glad this S.Exe is mostly an interview, because I felt like the column was getting a little bit stale already. Not because of the writer or the quality of the writing, but because one person’s opinions about sex in games was perhaps not as interesting as it sounded when repeated every week.
    I get that there isn’t that many people to talk to who work in both those fields, so it naturally forces the column into a more bloggy style. But I think it really benefits from some outside opinions and a more journalistic approach.

  26. Carlos Danger says:

    I bet they refer to each other as “My Lover” constantly and creepily. Reminds me why I want to wipe down any seat before I sit down in public.

  27. unit 3000-21 says:

    I don’t get these personal attacks on Harvey & Samyn. They aren’t running in a popularity contest, they make videogames and we should judge their products not how pretensious they personally are. I personally find most of their concepts interesting (as a postmodern man made mostly of quotes [just like “Endtroducing” only not as good] I really could relate to communication via lyrics found on a beach in Bientôt l’été) but their execution subpar but I don’t think it is a good reason to attack their hair or personality. I think we should separate the artist from his art. No one cares that Joyce was kind of a pompous asshole, everybody focuses on his works. I think all artist should be treated that way – those who aren’t geniuses too.