“I’m in love with my car,” sang Roger Taylor in a Queen song named just that. They didn’t let him sing lead vocals often, so I guess he’d been bottling that up. Robert Yang’s latest short game is about a man who is, at the very least, in lust with his car. And his car – his gay car – is totally into it.
Stick Shift [official site] is the third game from Yang in the past few months that has been so absurdly, wonderfully, and charmingly gay. You’re trying to get your car off, see, working the gear stick and smoothly changing gears. Oh yes.
It’s silly and funny, embracing the absurdity of some guy wanking off his car, but I got really into it. I moused back and forth vigorously to rev the engine while the soundtrack built and nodded along with the driver as he rose into euphoria. Accelerate smoothly, don’t grind those gears, and work the shaft well, and both car and driver may end up satisfied. Vapour oozes and drips from the exhaust pipe. Have a cigarette and wait for a timer to run down until you’re both ready to go again.
Or you might stall it. Oh dear, you.
Or you might get pulled over by the cops, two armed policemen who’ll stop you from riding again for a few minutes. You can blow kisses in protest but each increases the penalty by ten minutes.
Here, do read this fine statement explaining more about the game, his inspirations and his intentions. It’s pretty fascinating, getting into topics from Andy Warhol to the Stonewall riots.
Yang also dabbled in time-outs with the first of these gay games, Hurt Me Plenty. If players break the boundaries of consent with the guy they’re spanking, they might end up blocked for days from playing. I’ve really enjoyed this gay trilogy (the second being demonic ice lolly-sucking game Succulent). The games have felt around issues of representation and expression with a lot of cultural and political underpinnings, but still been quite fun and funny.
Stick Shift is pay-what-you-want for Windows, Mac, and Linux from Itch.
[Robert Yang has written for RPS before, interviewing devs while collaborating on games and levels in the Level With Me series. Do read those if you haven’t: they’re ace.]