Posts Tagged ‘S.EXE’

S.EXE: Snowblind Aces

Ah, mes cheries. This week’s S.EXE is a romantic tale of two hot-shots in a clinch. It’s hard to find well-written romance in games, but it’s also hard to find dialogue that’s naturalistic or flowing… Unless you go to the tenderly-kept gardens of the Interactive Fiction forums, where, somewhat ignored by Gamers At Large, the wordsmiths of choice and nuance solder their delicate meanings together, folding out words, opening up new landscapes purely constructed with the master knowledge of parser instructions or hypertext. So today we’re heading that way to the lovely little romance game Snowblind Aces, a short, replayable adventure in the vein of the Saturday afternoon matinee movie. It stays on just the right side of Indiana Jones cheesiness. It’s parser-based, so get ready to type GET YE FLASKE a lot, or MAKE LOVE TO BEYOOTIFUL WUMAN, and have the game stubbornly refuse to laugh. (Not really: this game is as straightforward as interactive fiction gets.) (Come the heck on!)

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S.EXE: Merritt Kopas On Porn, Pain, And Power

This week’s S.EXE entry is an interview with a person who speaks and writes regularly about sex in games and who has made games about relationships along the way. I first became aware of the multimedia artist & game designer Merritt Kopas through her shrewd skewering of games on the website Nightmare Mode, for which I was also writing at the time. The website has since passed away into cyberspace heaven, the archives of which are here, but Merritt has grown as a designer and game theorist in an inspiring way since we went down our separate paths, making games such as Lim, Consensual Torture Simulator, and Positive Space.

She started up the curation site Forest Ambassador [disclosure, my sex game Sacrilege also appears on this site] to “showcase a wide range of accessible, free games for nontraditional audiences”. She now speaks regularly on the intersection of bodies, sex, and violence at game conferences, and recently spoke at the Feminist Porn Conference about sex in games. Paolo Pedercini says of Merritt Kopas: “as mutant practitioner-theorist, [she] managed to contaminate the living gaming discourse, emerging as a powerful and yet nuanced voice in the indie movement”. I asked her about her work and outlook.

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S.EXE: Increpare’s Striptease (NSFW)

Today’s sex and/or relationship game is Increpare‘s puzzle game Striptease. I’d like to point out that this game, though it might seem from its title to be lighthearted titillation, contains depictions of violence against women and addresses issues of sexual assault. If this might trigger or distress you in any way, I’d recommend to take care in reading this, and consider whether playing this game might distress you before playing it.

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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.

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S.EXE: Teen Girl Squad

Jack! I'm flying Jack!No, not the beloved Homestar Runner animation, this fortnight it’s a celebration of teenage girls and their sexual agency being front and centre of the narrative! “Hey Cara,” I might hear you say, “I have never heard of a game that even gave the tiniest crap about teenage girls’ libidos!” Well, I’d say, you’ve clearly never been near the Otome genre, or a copy of Duel Love, but that’s okay. We’ll leave Otome to another day, because I found two perfectly free games that give women a good sense of bodily autonomy without having to relate their self-worth to what a dude thinks of them. How healthy!

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S.EXE: OutRun 2006

The sound of the sea on the menu of the classic arcade racer OutRun 2006 is drifting through Tim Rogers’ Oakland apartment. For whatever reason I find myself in the ex-Grasshopper Manufacture designer’s house, and this guy is making a game, ‘Videoball’, that demands that the voice actor on his new game sound like she comes from OutRun 2006. So I am playing OutRun 2006. It is eye-wettingly beautiful. It is heartbreakingly so. I could cry but I’m dehydrated from California’s stubborn sticky hotness and how gosh darned vegan everything is.

The screeching of the children from the school from across the freesia-fragranced, sun bleached street has subsided, and Tim is cutting audio clips and swearing at the wi-fi. And the game’s menu, the game that Tim once called ‘Love: The Videogame’, well, the game’s menu is doing a perfect impression of contentment. This game is no longer available due to licencing troubles, but man, if anything was ever a game, this, THIS was a game. And I’m on a quest for the ‘ejaculatory gag’. You know, the one that Kieron mentioned in 2008, and I have never found: “I’m still terribly amused by the hyper-cheesy ejaculatory gag half-way through.”

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S.EXE: Hot Mods (NSFW)

This week I have been inspired in my work for this column by the magnificent website Critique My Dick Pic, which attempts to rate the erotic quality of dick pics with 100% no size shaming. I enjoy that website because for some reason dicks, especially erect dicks, are conspicuously absent from our media, including videogames, and I think a good dick pic can certainly be arousing to look at.

Probably most interesting about the site is that the curator, moscaddie, suggests that for maximum sexiness the person possessing said dick holds it or at least caresses it a little for the picture, which gives the dick a less… well, melancholy feel like it’s the loneliest snake in the world (she calls these ‘log’ pictures). Perhaps it gives the picture a sense of movement or purpose. Surely with the help of the best animators in the world, games would be the best place to give a dick a little something to do. Or at least get them to cast a cute shadow over exotic environmental art. Read the rest of this entry »

S.EXE: Tale of Tales’ FATALE (NSFW)

Oscar Wilde-based Orientalism

Shakespeare’s Helena once said ‘Love don’t cost a thing’… Hang on, that wasn’t it.

She said, ‘Love in an elevator, living it up when you’re going down…’ No, that can’t be right. That is somewhat anachronistic.

No, it was ‘Love looks not with the eyes but with the mind. And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind.’

But what about desire? What about lust? Isn’t lust directed by sight? By the act of looking? Can looking be… dangerous? When someone looks at you in a certain way, is that your power, or theirs? When you behold something, can it manipulate you? Maybe Cupid can’t tell us about that. But the Tale of Tales game FATALE is going to show you. Read the rest of this entry »

S.EXE: Matches and Matrimony

IT is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a DOOMBRINGER.

Hello!

My dear friends, on this Valentines Day I shall teach you the ways and arts of attracting undesirable mates from the Jane Austen dating sim Matches and Matrimony. Read the rest of this entry »

S.EXE: Ute by Lea Schönfelder (NSFW)

Lady of many mans
S.EXE is a new monthly column written by Cara Ellison which explores sex and relationship games. The column is published on the third Friday of every month and, like Cara herself, is NSFW.

Rhythm, thrills and bodies are all things games are good at, so where’s the goods my friends, readers, players? Where’s the junk all up inside that trunk? Wherefore does the mainstream ignore our fiery loins and blustering hearts, and refuse to lay claim to our feelings and intimacy? Why do mainstream games render our lives as placid jogs through sanitised, picket-fenced streets, and never as joyful sprints through neon jungles lit up with the expression of our needs and our far-reaching hunger for pleasure?

I do not know the answer, denizens of netclick cities, but this column desires to devour the games that address the sexy parts with thought and consideration and perhaps a little experience. Are You Experienced? Well it’s okay if you’re not because I’m here. My name is Cara. You may remember me from such puns as Highway To The Bonerzone and ‘booty hall‘. This is my new monthly column: S.EXE. Let’s start with Lea Schönfelder’s Ute. THIS WON’T BE SAFE FOR WORK YOU KNOW. LEAVE YOUR COAT AT THE DOOR. Read the rest of this entry »