Cobra Club: Boner Photography For All [NSFW etc]

The safest for work of all my screenshots

This post is about Cobra Club [official site] – a photo studio game from Robert Yang which revolves around the act of taking pictures of your character’s penis and choosing which, if any, to send to other characters who message you in the game. Quite frankly, everything after the jump will be NSFW. Especially the erection slider.

I’ve been keeping half an eye on Cobra Club for a little while now, partly because Yang makes interesting things and partly because there were some amusing hiccups in development. But now the game is out and the multiplayer server has stopped falling over under the weight of dick pics so I ventured forth to see what was what.

It’s a neat experience – humour, thought and pictures of knobs combined. You’ll stand in front of a mirror, posing for your pic. The camera naturally centres on your tallywhacker but you can pan around or add filters to the shot to achieve – well, whatever it is you’ve decided is your aim. I spent a fair amount of time producing more arty shots [read, off centre] and playing with angles, sometimes hiding other parts of my body either through close cropping or amending them through use of those Instagrammy filters.

I also spent a lot of time trying to work out the optimal level of arousal for my penis in these pictures. The penis I’ve been given reminds me of a cheery forest mushroom from a Disney movie, ready to break into song after poking its head out from the undergrowth. I’ve actually unlocked the ability to fiddle with its girth and length and so on but I’m quite fond of what I started with now.

Here’s a demonstration of how the erection slider works – it’s comical but you also end up focusing on the aesthetics rather than the fact it’s a penis. Or at least, I did:

I also found myself taking other pictures and trying to bend the camera to better explore this dude’s bathroom. Or perhaps his mum’s bathroom given she knocks on the door at various points while you’re monopolising the room (it’s a great addition to the game as I genuinely gave a guilty start while trying to frame my balls optimally). There’s a God Bless Our Home tapestry, dried flower arrangement, framed seashells and so on. I spent some time taking pictures of the toothbrush. Suggestive but not in-your-face – it would do for a profile pic for my in-game character.

Sometimes I worry that I haven’t got the hang of dick pics yet. Sometimes I think I’m really bloody good at it and would get an A on Critique My Dick Pic.

Beyond the aesthetics of dicks, though, Yang is also playing with ideas of surveillance and of privacy and self-presentation. He talks specifically about the Edward Snowden interview John Oliver conducted for Last Night Tonight where dick pics are referenced in relation to the data the US government collects as part of surveillance programs bringing into question the consent and privacy of the sender.

“Popular discourse rightfully centers the consent of dick pic recipients, but government mass surveillance (Can They See My Dick?) also threatens the consent of dick pic senders, as state spy complexes admit they “collect it all” with almost no oversight or transparency.”

When you zoom out and get far more of your character in shot you’ll notice his face is pixellated – a nod to the desire for privacy, for not being outed, even to you, the usually powerful puppetmaster. It’s really effective, I thought.

I don’t want to spoil the end game but in case you’re all “Is this just applying a bunch of theory to a fun-in-varying-degrees dick pic simulator?” know that if you’re playing online the game does hone in on some of these ideas and makes its point more overtly.

[Robert Yang has written for RPS before, interviewing devs while collaborating on games and levels in the Level With Me series. They’re rather good so if you have a few minutes I’d advise you catch up on them.]

38 Comments

  1. Dale Winton says:

    Don’t know what to say

    • caff says:

      Beep beep! That’s the sound of supermarket sweep!

      Sorry I couldn’t resist.

      But in all seriousness, all games need an erection slider.

  2. leeder krenon says:

    brings a whole new meaning to the term “e-peen”

  3. Jalan says:

    I don’t know what it says about me, but that last shot depicts less a penile shaft and more a twisty piece of fast food garlic bread to me.

    You don’t really appreciate a Friday morning without dick pics until you find yourself looking at just that.

  4. jakem72 says:

    I have long been a fan of penises. Both my own and others’. But that penis frightens me.

  5. AriochRN says:

    What the Dickens?! Is that a gentleman’s left plum in the header image?

  6. Freud says:

    Is there an option to play non-circumcised? If not, I’m not interested.

    • pepperfez says:

      Why must you always overthink representations of penises so much?

    • yan spaceman says:

      … I would imagine a flexible foreskin to be something of a programming nightmare. Is it just me or do those knackers look a little too separate, like the guy has a vacuum sealed scrotum?

      • yhancik says:

        “I would imagine a flexible foreskin to be something of a programming nightmare” is not something I ever imagined I would read.

        (must make a Flexible Foreskin Gamejam now)

        • edwardh says:

          Hell yeah! I hope RPS will do a report on it. ;)

        • jrodman says:

          I’m now imagining complaints that people cannot achieve 60FPS with flexible foreskin modelling at the highest quality setting.

    • AriochRN says:

      I think there should at least be options for the more hirsute gentleman, perhaps TressFX enabled clock-springs on the awd baw-bag

  7. Not_Id says:

    Wot a load of bollocks!

  8. Banks says:

    Can you take a photo from behind?

  9. melnificent says:

    Facebook message simulator?

  10. Continuity says:

    dear god why

    D:

    • Not_Id says:

      Because selfies drove the developer mad?
      So mad, he went and made a selfie game.
      From now until I die, he will always be known as Robert Wang.

    • Mr Coot says:

      My sentiments also :/ Then I think, that people have been doing this sort of thing since at least 1917 when Marcel Duchamp attempted to exhibit a porcelain urinal known as ‘Fountain’ in an exhibition. I don’t understand it, I don’t like it, but he was recognisably great, so I’ll let people who do appreciate what’s going be the judges.

  11. cpt_freakout says:

    So that means there’s a chance LoinPuppy848 is a government agent in disguise? What a bunch of dicks.

  12. ChrisGWaine says:

    Ah, there. That’s it. That’s the one we’re looking for – the last chicken in the shop look.

  13. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I played Robert Yang’s Succulent. That was great, but ended with a bit of a jump scare. I really hate when games do that, so I want to know – does this game have anything similar?

    • Premium User Badge

      Philippa Warr says:

      No – the end game is a different kind of thing. The only time I jumped was that guilty start when my in-game mom started knocking on the bathroom door

  14. eggy toast says:

    Just make a Tumblr and sexy stranger girls in other places, it’s literally this IRL but other people send you their bits back.

  15. drfdisk says:

    So is the “John Bobbitt Simulator 2015”?

    • Jalan says:

      So, snap photos of your dangly parts enough times and the woman beating on the bathroom door eventually breaks it down and castrates you. You spend a stretch in a hospital as doctors work tirelessly to re-attach “lil’ John”. Once fully recovered, you announce your return to the world at large by participating in a porn flick.

      • drfdisk says:

        I was thinking more along the lines of the dong in the game looked somewhat like the post-mutilated Bobbitt one, but yea, that works too.

        • Jalan says:

          Weirdly enough, I’d actually be more inclined to play it if it was a mock of his life set within the scope of the current era. Not because I’m a fan but because the sheer morbid curiosity would just compel me to do it.

          That said, you’re not wrong about the looks. I’m only basing it off the screens in the article but it looks like the longer you go, the more horrifyingly unrealistic the bait and tackle becomes.

  16. Jackablade says:

    The industrial designer in me wants a lot more options. Why stick with regular weird, lumpy member, when you could redesign it into something much more streamlined, aesthetically pleasing and less vulnerable to extremes of temperature and impact damage.

    • Jalan says:

      So… essentially, you’d want the ability to fiddle around with it like it were one of those specialized balloons used for animals and the like?

      • Jackablade says:

        Sounds like a good start.

        While we’re on the subject of male genital manipulation, it seems like high time we had a Puppetry of the Penis game.

  17. Cederic says:

    Disappointed that RPS hasn’t highlighted the obvious support this game provides to purveyors of genital mutilation :(