Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Oh good grief. Tender Loving Care was an FMV game from a couple of former Trilobyte developers, and last week was mysteriously released on Steam. And… wow. It’s… it’s weird.Bad. Very, very bad. A horrible effort, in which your role is to link soft porn video clips together by clicking on a map, and then – and I swear I’m not making this up – get asked weirdly personal questions about masturbation and sexual preferences by Jon Hurt.#
That’d be enough for it to be a super-weird game, designed for those who want to see ladies taking their tops off but only at really low res, but it doesn’t get close to capturing the true depth of creepy strangeness. Because this is a game about a couple grieving their dead daughter, and then being dragged into the sinister headgames of a deranged therapist.
Now, maybe this is just me, but when I’m thinking about having a wank I don’t often seek out stories of the psychological manipulation of the mentally ill. I don’t tend to hope for a titillating boobs-and-bums-only sex scene to be followed immediately by weeping and cruelty. (Insert your own joke here.) Also, just after the pretty lady’s shown her very impressive bosom for the fourteenth time, it’s just a touch peculiar to have Kane/The Elephant Man walk onto screen and ask me if I’m in favour of abortion.
I’m not facetiously exaggerating or lampooning here at all. This is exactly what Tender Loving Care is like. It’s weird in every imaginable way. Click on a bedside cabinet, and the camera will zoom in to reveal a phone which is then picked up, and then a number is dialed to a sex line, where a lady in a panting voice describes giving you a bed bath. (I’ve always found bed baths an odd fantasy, since the circumstances in which one would need to be given one don’t necessarily lend themselves to sexy times.) Read anyone’s notes on their computers and they will inevitably descend into a Letters To Penthouse-style recollection of a time they saw a willy or a foo-foo.
Breezy soft porn game: sure. Psychological horror game: fine. But both together is… it’s an interesting choice. Let’s say that.