Talk Numbers To Me Baby

Judging by the relative popularity of AG3, there are plenty of people getting their rocks off to these 3-D animated antics. On one level, it demonstrates that AG3 fills a certain niche that regular pornography cannot. Maybe it's the stylized presentation, the player-feedback mechanics of waggling the mouse to control some jerky on-screen thrusts or, aided by the hard work and dedication of the online community, the possibility of seeing a collection of popular anime girls doing the nasty.

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But perhaps there's more at work here. On a deeper level, games like AG3 may appeal directly to a part of the nerd psyche that sees women as puzzles to be solved. This line of thinking is perfectly illustrated by the games featured at Virtual Date Girls, which present players with images of poorly 3-D modeled women along with dialogue and movement options that may or may not lead to sex - it's an erotic Choose Your Own Adventure set in the Uncanny Valley. But the game's provocative visuals mask its true gameplay of managing hidden numerical values like "approval" and "drunkenness" through trial and error. Once these numbers reach an unseen threshold, you date becomes willing to put out (or, alternately, pass out). Getting laid is a simple matter of discovering the correct sequence of actions.

Though slightly more sophisticated, AG3 takes a similar approach. Your harem's disposition toward you is monitored purely as numbers: Friendship, jealousy, love and other feelings that affect how your girls behave are all tracked numerically. To give love (and thus, the potential for sex) a boost, all you must do is find the ways to tip the numbers in your favor. These numbers are hidden from view by default, but creative players have released "trainers" that display the values and allow them to be altered on the fly.

Mathematical calculations form the core of most games, of course, but by reducing women into manageable sets of numerical values, these titles present players with the comforting view that any girl's desire can be "unlocked" with the proper sequence of actions. It suggests that all women are attainable if you learn the correct sequence of events to perform in their presence. Consequently, any rejection suffered in real life is more easily rationalized: It wasn't your fault; you simply didn't have the right code. Such thinking may help explain the proliferation of wikihow (and similar) guides to dating. By reducing the complexities of social interaction to simple bullet-point manuals, the authors are falsely presenting a fool-proof "sequence" to follow, just as the correct sequences in AG3 and Virtual Date Girls are guaranteed to lead to companionship and sex.

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