The Politics Of Spanking: Hurt Me Plenty

Check out the poster

[This might well be NSFW if your workplace disapproves of games about spanking a guy]

What you’re looking at is a screenshot from Hurt Me Plenty – a spanking game by academic and sometime RPS columnist, Robert Yang. He describes it as a short game “where you spank the heck out of a dude and learn about how BDSM communities attempt to formalize consent/caring.”

Explaining further he adds, “I was really interested in how we can make games about intimacy without a “kindness coins = sex cutscene” trope, and how we can use expressive gestures to roleplay / think about pain and intimacy. (For the record, I don’t think my game gets it right, and it has a lot of flaws… this stuff is hard to design!)”

Irritatingly I don’t have a Leap Motion controller (the game was made for a Leap Motion jam) which is the way the game is intended to be played, The controller actually tracks your hand movements as you swat at the gentleman’s behind so there’s a gesture-faithfulness which will presumably disappear when Yang implements the non-Leap Motion version.

Fortunately the wonder of Vine means you can still see how it works. [We can’t embed Vines at the moment but will amend when we can.]

If you’re anywhere near NYU School of Engineering’s Game Innovation Lab on 11 December, Yang will also be giving a talk going into more detail about the game, how you adapt concepts from BDSM culture and how you deal with politics of consent and power exchange in a game setting.

How Hurt Me Plenty deals with negotiating consent is something I want to know a LOT more about so I’m impatiently awaiting the release of the non-Leap version. I mean there’s a poster on the wall of the room where you first encounter the guy you spank which – as far as I can tell- says “All power exchange has to be negotiated”.

By the way, the game itself isn’t billed as pornography – Yang thinks there’s too much formality and distance to it for that – but as he says on the game’s Itch.io page, “I can’t stop anyone from getting off to it… But seriously — the most nudity in this game is some hairy beefcake chests and (maybe, if you negotiate it) some naked butts… technically, this is nothing worse than a US PG-13 movie kind of thing.”

A game for which butt physics was invented

That’s also of interest but in more of a sidelong way – spanking is currently a topic of discussion in the UK because, as of 1 December, an amendment to the 2003 Communications Act means porn on video-on-demand (VoD) services is governed by the same guidelines as R18 DVD pornography in the UK.

Sex acts which are prohibited under those guidelines include fisting and depictions of urolagnia (sexual pleasure relating to urine and urination) but there are also implications for spanking and related acts. The guidelines deem unacceptable “the infliction of pain or acts which may cause lasting physical harm, whether real or (in a sexual context) simulated. Some allowance may be made for moderate, non-abusive, consensual activity.”

I’ve been browsing the BBFC cuts list for recent R18 content. A whole bunch of spanking movies seem to have passed through uncut but you’ll find stuff like a cut being ordered for Debbie Does Spanking 2 to remove “sight of dark red marks on woman’s buttocks, indicating burst blood vessels, as a result of spanking”.

Obviously these guidelines are related to film rather than videogames but it’s meant that fetish/fetish-related content, its regulation and the tension between consent and official regulation (some of which the game sounds like it touches on) have been widely mentioned over the last few days.

Any of you lot have a Leap Motion and played? I would be interested to hear your thoughts on how it works, otherwise I’ll wait for the spacebar spanking version and get back to you.

48 Comments

  1. Jamesworkshop says:

    use a wii balance board to sit on because face sitting was covered as well

    link to jezebel.com

  2. unkind says:

    Seems weird to have so many sex related articles from tiny games nobody is going to play in the first place. You guys don’t cover a lot of good games already. I love reading these articles but I find myself cringing every other day when i open the page up lol.

    • Jeroen D Stout says:

      Stranger to have so many violence related articles, surely.

    • Smion says:

      Rofl Imho

    • LennyLeonardo says:

      “…tiny games nobody will play…” Perhaps that’s why RPS writers like to give them more coverage than other outlets? And/or maybe they’re just interesting games. Sex is an interesting subject, after all.

    • Tssha says:

      I come here because I discover new games I’d never have played otherwise. In cases like this, where I have no interest in playing the game in question, I come here for the insights and perspectives, and because the articles are interesting in and of themselves.

      An enjoyable article, to be sure.

      • All is Well says:

        This! And what LennyLeonardo said. What’s the point in reading article after article about games everyone’s already familiar with and that will get lots of attention elsewhere? Why should we want more articles about, for example, AssCreed (of which there are plenty, both elsewhere and here on RPS) and less about a game where you spank a guys ass?

    • Niko says:

      You just had to end it with “lol”, didn’t you?

      • unkind says:

        I felt weird even typing it thus the “lol”. I’m from an era where we used “lol” a lot, i know its now trendy and cool to not use it, but i don’t care. Videogames don’t need to be edgy, weird, and full of sex, imo tbh bbq. Sex is shoved down our throats all day in all forms of media and even how people dress nowadays. Having an article about… _this_ game instead of something people might actually play (outside of the likely way less than 1% that will play this) just seems illogical. Protip: that doesn’t automatically mean some shitty AAA game everybody doesn’t want to hear about anymore.

        tldr; It just seems to me, like instead of learning about and playing actual games, there’s a bunch of just finding weird shit and making tiny pointless articles about it with no real point other than to get clicks.

        • Cheeetar says:

          lmao

        • Jambe says:

          I find your concerns and reactions depressing.
          I like sex, kinks, and writing/gaming about such things.
          I don’t cringe about those topics.
          If I had my way, RPS would have still more niche articles.

        • LennyLeonardo says:

          Perhaps more will play these small games if they get more coverage? To complain that RPS shouldn’t write about games which are obscure is a little backwards. Also I disagree with the principal, as well as the logic.

        • sinister agent says:

          Using “lol” was always crap.

          Sincerely,

          1998.

        • Hmm-Hmm. says:

          I think if you’re looking about the insight in the latest AAA experiences (and only that) you had best find take yourself over to another place on this here world wide web.

          On the other hand, if you’re interested in more than that, feel free to stick around.

    • noodlecake says:

      That’s because this game has some artistic intention rather than just being intended to be wank fodder.

      RPS often report on games that are interesting from an artistic perspective where the developers are attempting to say something that other games haven’t attempted before, or have unique mechanics that evoke feelings from people that are unusual to video games.

      It’s one of the reasons that I go to site for me, as an art student. Lots of their articles are really helpful for my research, or for inspiring projects!

      You can get that from other sites, like PCGamer, but it’s often not done as well, and then you read the comments section and realise that RPS is like this happy bubble on the Internet where people aren’t constantly rude to each other and don’t sneer at everything that has some vague semblance of intellectual stimulation.

      I read an article about Shelter 2 on PCGamer, and it was a nice article, but in the comments there was almost 100% (furious) consensus that PCGamer journalists were pretentious “hipster douchebags” because they expressed positivity towards a game that had “hideous looking graphics that would have been rejected in the 90s”. There were even some people bringing up #GamerGate and saying that the journalist had most likely slept with the developer.

      I’m personally not sure whether the visual style of Shelter 2 works, but I’m glad they are being brave enough to run with it.

    • Premium User Badge

      phuzz says:

      You’re not thinking cynically enough, if RPS just covered manshoots then they’d gradually run out of readers, but if they cover sex games, then their readers will also have sex and then have children and so the readership will grow to the glory of Horace.
      Obviously.

  3. thestjohn says:

    Negotiating consent seems to only involve handshaking until an intensity, level of undress and safeword are selected, and you can withdraw your hand at any time during this stage to “renegotiate” these variables if you don’t like them. On another note, either the way Leap Motion senses different intensities of slap is a bit coarse grained, or I don’t know my own strength, leaving all those poor submissives with arses glowing so red they shine out through their clothing.

  4. JP says:

    “All power exchange has to be negotiated” also appears in Anna Anthropy’s “Lesbian Spider Queens of Mars”, as a kind of “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” civic responsibility message. Rad!

  5. geldonyetich says:

    You know, if the BDSM culture is looking to endure pain and suffering in the medium of video games, there’s plenty of video games we could recommend that are genuinely painful to play.

  6. waltC says:

    “fisting…sexual pleasure relating to urine and urination…”

    O…M…G. Calling the men in white coats with the butterfly nets…! Get here, quick…;) What’s next, I wonder…a game about eating roaches “in the wild”…or something equally as “delectable”…I know, how about eating raw centipedes/millipedes? Some things are just immeasurably idiotic, imo, with no other socially redeeming value.

    • Niko says:

      Eating raw centipedes isn’t much more idiotic than eating shrimp. Sure, you better cook it first, but it’s not “immeasurably idiotic”.

    • sinister agent says:

      Hey man, that’s fine by me. More fisting for the rest of us.

    • noodlecake says:

      Really? Why? They are things that don’t cause physical or psychological damage to anyone, but enjoyment for the people involved. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense that people are turned on by things not directly related to sex, but why care? There are hundreds of thousands of people in the UK on Fetlife, and most of those people have fetishes that exist outside of the normal “missionary position sex and oral”, and there are undoubtedly many people who have fetishes in the UK who aren’t on Fetlife, so that number is probably higher.

      I can understand with certain things. There is a fetish for “crushing” which means that people get turned on by men or women seductively taking the lives of other species of animal (usually insects) which I found horrifying and pushed to get banned on Fetlife along with the vast proportion of the members on there. That does cause harm to others though. The insects involved who can’t consent (although that’s also true of animals in the meat industry and I eat cheese so there’s a degree of hypocrisy there). Normally behaviour like that in children is seen as psychotic and the behaviour of future serial killers.

  7. lowprices says:

    Oh good. I was worried Cara was just teasing when she mentioned this in the S.EXE column.

  8. Halk says:

    Daddy needs a good spanking! Can’t wait to play this with my mom when I get home from school.

  9. All is Well says:

    Well, I take it this article means RPS has officially hit rock bottom. You guys are just pulling stuff out of your asses now, aren’t you? Spanking games, baby articles, there’s just no end to it. I used to love RPS but you’re quickly becoming the butt of the joke of the whole internet, and I’m having trouble getting behind it. Don’t you have anything better to do than to fanny about all day long?

    Man, I’m pretty bummed out by all this. I’m just going to take the rear exit and never come back!(side). :)

  10. AXAXAXAS MLO II: MLO HARDER says:

    This is nice, but from the name I thought it was a game about Chrome blocking recently-released indie games because all it knows is that it’s an .exe file that few people have opened and assumes it’s a virus.

    Also, Anna Anthropy was posting highlights from the regulations that ammendment refers to, and it’s mindboggling. She concluded it was written by someone who had never had sex but had thought about it a lot. (My personal favourites: vomit is allowed, as long as it’s not actively enjoyed by anyone in the scene, and sex at gunpoint is only allowed if it’s “realistic”.)

    • LionsPhil says:

      Link? Or is this in some hateful, unreferencable 2.0 format, like a scattered series of tweets?

      • pepperfez says:

        Her notes on it are tweets, but the information is drawn from here (textually NSFW). You’d think people would stop pushing censorship laws after realizing that they always sound immensely comical.

  11. El_Emmental says:

    Is this the spiritual sequel to link to youtu.be ? :P

    (back when Flash was the new big thing)

  12. El_Emmental says:

    edit: ( … comment bug ? o_O)

    edit 2: hm, actually the initial comment was deleted. I believe my points below still stand. FYI, the initial comment was complaining (in a quite impolite manner) that the topic of sex was only covered by female writers (describing them in a superficial and rude way).

    My answer to that comment is/was the following:

    “No, I think the male writers aren’t touching these subjects because they’re terribly afraid of being misunderstood or making a mistake, and suddenly becoming the target of social network/social media attacks leading to their complete blacklisting everywhere in the media circles and even their social circles. Happened before, etc…

    Obviously talking about these topics *is* going to lead to attacks from random strangers (like all currently controversial topics – racism in the US, the islam religion, the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, or immigration), but being branded “racist” or “sexist” in public by thousands of people (including your former friends/colleagues) is also going to completely annihilate your social and professional reputation and existence within your own circles. It is social and professional suicide to take that risk.

    So in the end, the female writers end up being the only ones left who can (de facto) openly talk about sex/sexualization: they’ll get the “huur duur stoopid womenz, get bak 2 the kitshen” and all kind of ‘Internet Tough Guy’ threats, but they’re much less likely to be targeted by media/media-friendly people for a possibly-sexist comment or a harsh criticism of an anti-sexism activism.

    So yes it is unfortunate to have a sexist approach when it comes to discussing and covering sexism and sexualization, but that’s the way it is now, on the Internet. It is not RPS writers’ fault, it is the result of how anti-sexism militants consciously and unconsciously organized online and defined the forms of activism they would pursue.”

    • BobsLawnService says:

      As the author of the original post which was deleted I have to disagree with you. I’d really like to see these topics being distributed evenly amongst the writers in a gender blind manner. Instead RPS seems to play to the negative stereotypes to the point where you wonder if they have lost all self awareness. You cannot perpetuate these tropes then go on to write criticism of the same tropes.

      Cara is now that chicken who writes about sex on RPS to most people. I’d like to see Phillipa avoid that fate and have her shine as a games journalist.

      • El_Emmental says:

        I too wish these topics were covered by all RPS writers – getting many different perspectives on the same issues – but I’m afraid it would result in so much negative reactions and attacks by people holding a media power, that RPS would have to drop it again. Whenever there would be any form of criticism or dissenting opinion on sexualization, sex, sexism and anti-sexism activism, if the author was to be male it would be a big problem for the Internet crowd, it’s not something that would be tolerated.

        The problem is that the attacks wouldn’t only come from average Internet users who don’t hold any media power (like whenever you post an opinion on anything remotely controversial, you can be sure you’ll get all kind of threats directed at you, from people all around the world) – these attacks would also come from people capable of spreading libels and career-destroying rumors in the professional sector of RPS writers. You only need a few hundred people repeating that writer ABCD is supporting rapists, pedos and other heinous criminals (with a “no smoke without fire” addendum) to get the targeted writers to never find any job again in the media sector.

        I don’t blame the RPS writers for that situation, and I’m not sure there’s any satisfying solution: don’t talk about sex at all (yay american puritanism) to avoid controversy and attacks, or try to talk it through writers who are the least-likely to be professionally-annihilated for that. Even if I hato to accept it, it does result in pigeonholing writers who-are-also-women.

        Like I’m pretty sure we wont see any articles on racism and the concept of ethnicity in video games, until RPS hires someone who is “allowed” to speak about it because of its race/ethnic origin/skin color. And (s)he gonna be the “token ethnic gal/guy”.

        In the end, I think it was pretty clear right from the start that RPS wouldn’t really tackle sexism, let alone genders – the subject is too heavy, too large and too difficult to discuss. Even the topic of DRM and ownership was barely scratched, despite being about software, online distribution and video games – 3 things that can be directly related to the “core” nature of RPS: an online news website about PC video games.

      • Alice O'Connor says:

        But no one “distributes” games or stories amongst RPS writers, no one insists that only female writers cover anything to do with sex. We choose the topics and games we want to post about. Pip wanted to write about this, and the post clearly isn’t the puerile gigglefest you were calling it.

  13. Eebahgum says:

    Now with mouse and trackpad support. I’m in!

  14. Kerr Avon says:

    Good article, keep them “coming” ;) Don’t you think the second picture would’ve been better though, if the underpants being worn were white oversize y-fronts and he was wearing a white Marks and Spencer polyester shirt and tie tucked into them? Of course, with Adrian Edmonson standing behind him, wielding a cricket bat? We miss you, Rik… :/ link to youtube.com

  15. cpt_freakout says:

    Now this is an AssCreed I can get behind of.

  16. Geebs says:

    Thing one: it’s oddly prudish to tell people that “you can’t stop them getting off” to your wank material.

    Thing two: this was a lot more disturbing when it was Black and White

  17. Ryuuga says:

    I still say the movement in that vine above is hilariously exaggerated! Dang, the poor man is flapping like a rag doll, how hard is he being spanked, anyway? Is the player character a titanic Cyclops with a BDSM bent, or what?

    That said, hurrah for spanking games, and let’s have many more of them!

  18. GreatBigWhiteWorld says:

    Interesting concept, but I’m a sub =(

  19. blwpyrtv says:

    Sadly, someone will probably develop (or already has) a game like this where the “target” is a child. And as you know, minors (plus legally adult high school students) are the only fair game for nonconsensual corporal punishment in real life (ref: http://www.spankingcanbesexualabuse.org)