Editor's Choice

Editor's Choice
A Wink is as Good as a Pixelated Nipple

Colin Rowsell | 6 May 2008 12:46
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So would Monica Bellucci be sexier at high-res 1920 x 1080, with bump mapping, HDRR, per-pixel lighting and AGEIA's PhysX engine taking care of her curves?

Have you ever sat down in the evening with that special someone and said, "Hey, honey, let's dim the lights, relax, play footsie in front of a videogame ... like Gears of War"?

Start your chainsaws, it's lovin' time.

Show and Then Show Some More
If we're talking sex, rather than sexy, videogames have done great things over the years. Right around the time I enjoyed Fast Times' supernova of nipples, Strip Poker 3 was dehydrating my friends and me at an alarming rate. The last two decades have seen titles like Virtual Valerie 2, Orgasm Girl, Bliss, King Stroker, Sextris ... you get the picture. There's a long-standing, wide-eyed tradition of Japanese sex games, many low-budget European titles, and even the odd "mature" French experiment like 1991's Fascination.

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A warning, though: Dr Ruth's Computer Game of Good Sex, 1986, available on DOS, Commodore 64, and Apple II, will have you taking celibacy vows on the spot. Just don't.

Even better than pixelated blobs humping like mad is no blobs at all. "Adult interactive fiction," which means text-based porn adventures, is proof that being an obscure, moneyless subculture has its advantages. Even "legitimate" interactive fiction types shun them, which is like being called fat by William Howard Taft. The AIF titles are promisingly hilarious, such as The Gifts of Phallius 2: Keys to Eternity or School Dreams. Within the AIF community there are favorite creators, how-to lessons, and an annual awards show, the Erins, which at least has more of a sense of humor than SpikeTV.

I downloaded The Gifts of Phallius 2, wandered round, typed things and enjoyed myself. Pure text has one great advantage over both graphics-based games and film: In the absence of anything else, your brain gets to do its erogenous-zone thing at maximum capacity. Not for nothing did the medieval church keep a tight rein on their obscene books list.

So subculture porn we can do. Us and the rest of the internet. But sex is rarely, if ever, the same thing as sex appeal, and for my money there have been too few really suggestive videogames. Even fewer since the 3-D graphics revolution brought awkwardly jiggling polygons into the world. The silly clich├ęs still hold: Most of the usual female suspects are show-and-tell androids, fun on the Phoebe Cates level, yet desperately robotic. But even when there are signs of life, there's often nothing to play off. How many male characters can set pulses racing? How many hot-sparking videogame double acts - couples or partners or even enemies - have ignited your LCD screen with their chemistry?

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