Dating Sims Get Real

 Pages PREV 1 2
 

Leigh Alexander:
With Encyclopedia Fuckme, Anna tells me she explicitly aimed to move away from that sort of exploitive, unrealistic portrayal of interpersonal relations and female sexuality in particular.

Could of fooled me. No really, if this is her treatise on the "dating sim" it seems just as unrealistic as any portrayal of interpersonal relations and female sexuality as anything else out there.

As mentioned in the "Catherine" article prior to this, the "simulation" of the "dating sim" is a pretty outlandish stretch of the concept of a simulator and save a few examples are not "sims", this is not a "real sim".

Leigh Alexander:
"I like to externalize my desires and fantasies in my games, not just as a cruising mechanism."

No really... you don't say? Most of the bipeds on this planet externalize their desires and fantasies onto everything they encounter in life. It's projection, it's as common as air. Don't like something? Project! Perturbed by something... I got an idea... project! Arguably the digital short story here is "maybe" some form of neurotic coping mechanism, but is it integrated in a meaningful way?

Dunno, maybe in a certain light with enough booze and a dimly lit room... Certainly not to the extent as...

Leigh Alexander:
"In a community as desperately inbred as the one that surrounds videogames, I think it's important to confront potentially sheltered players with the fact that identity and sexuality are far broader than they may have assumed," she adds.

...would have me to believe. Videogames like any modern media is as inbred as any other. Movies, books, music, it is all just copies of other stuff... very little in the way of anything "new". The subtle "power" of femininity has been written about for over two thousand years.

...important to confront potentially sheltered players with the fact that identity and sexuality are far broader than they may have assumed?

A big statement maybe even one with a sense of moral or ethical imperative... but so what, if someone wants to dress up a doll and play house with a toy, by all means, be my guest!

This thing (short story) is a knock about, a "taking a piss" on a genre, perhaps more-so on the "people, real or imagined" that are fan's of the genre (as assumed by the author). Is it a mission accomplished? Does it reveal a "fact" about identity and sexuality? Maybe to the author it did, however, the author seems to put a lot of "identity value" in sexuality, and in that, has a sexualized identity.

I guess it works for her but where in that does the license become issued to confront sheltered players with much of anything, nevertheless sexuality and their (assumed) lack of depth on the topic?

Is not a part of the experience of becoming an adult (or sexual being) the experiential process of coming to terms with ones own sexuality in ones own way? To a degree maybe there is "something" here though the sheer weight of the misanthropy relegates this "education" as mere mediocre cynicism.

Perhaps that explains this very article to pick up the short fall of the work (short story) in question?

All things considered equal I would just assume lend a copy of "A Picture of Dorian Grey" than to encourage a play through of "this". 120 some-odd years old... suspiciously devoid of CAPS which, eh, may be a turn off for some folks.

Okay, here is what I say to all the commenters that say Anna Anthropy is a psycho or an attention whore or who say the game is sick.

This game was not written for you. I totally got it and it's fucking hilarious.

That is all.

-|-:

ms_sunlight:
Okay, here is what I say to all the commenters that say Anna Anthropy is a psycho or an attention whore or who say the game is sick.

This game was not written for you. I totally got it and it's fucking hilarious.

That is all.

The game isn't sick - it's pretentious. If you 'totally got it', then that says more about you than us.

Making it personal, eh? Classy.

What's pretentious about it, then? It's easy to throw that word about, but I'd say, on the contrary, the game is what it is - a schlocky, dirty little choose-your-own-adventure about sex and cannibalism. No pretention at all. If you understand the context and don't get the jokes, maybe it's not for you. Nothing wrong with that.

Well, good article, but what it concerns all seem amusingly contemptible. And no, not because it contain lesbian BDSM and gore porn, that aspect is perfectly fine.

What's wrong is that there are copious erotic text adventure games around already, many dealing with sex and sexuality far more controversial and niche than what's on display here, and many of them with excellent stories attached. So she's hardly breaking new ground here, yet seem to think she's revolutionizing what subject matter games have touched upon.

"In a community as desperately inbred as the one that surrounds videogames, I think it's important to confront potentially sheltered players with the fact that identity and sexuality are far broader than they may have assumed," she adds.

And because she's ignorant about the vast range and plurality of gaming culture, she's vilifying gamers as a bunch inbreed ignoramus, whom she - our local saviour and/or verbal dominatrix - have come to enlighten?

...riiiight.

Also, since fanfiction text adventure games tend to suck considerably more ass than your average anilingus aficionado on a particularly lucky night (...unless you're Gen Urobuchi, that is), she might want to reign in the criticism and salvation promises until she's actually combed through the market for sexually progressive text games and visual novels, and held her own creation up against them.

ms_sunlight:

Making it personal, eh? Classy.

What's pretentious about it, then? It's easy to throw that word about, but I'd say, on the contrary, the game is what it is - a schlocky, dirty little choose-your-own-adventure about sex and cannibalism. No pretention at all. If you understand the context and don't get the jokes, maybe it's not for you. Nothing wrong with that.

Stop being so passive/aggressively patronizing. The 'game' is clearly pretentious:

"Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed"

I'm not really surprised that the writer of this article is impressed with Anthropy's "game" as dating sims / choose your adventure games / visual novels are still pretty new to western audience in general; mostly due to lack of official localizations (these games are mostly made in Japan), the commoner's fear of erotic content (though obviously not all VNs/dating sims are eroge) and common misconceptions (one being that Japanese VN = harem eroge).

Actually the game falls just into "choose your adventure"-category, not "dating sim" as it lacks the statistic based gameplay elements and it's definetely not a "visual" novel either.

For the content itself, as Imperator_DK mentioned there already are games (particularly Japanese visual novels) that deal with similar subject matters (rape, goresex) and actually come with good stories. Examples [1] [2]

-|-:

Stop being so passive/aggressively patronizing. The 'game' is clearly pretentious:

"Attempting to impress by affecting greater importance, talent, culture, etc., than is actually possessed"

Oh, so it is because you say it is, and you can copy and paste from an online dictionary, eh? I'm not being patronising. I asked you to state why the game is pretentious. You haven't managed to explain why a single element of it is pretentious (as opposed to being exactly what it appears to be - a porno-schlock CYOA with a bit of a joke twist). If it was clearly pretentious you'd be able to explain why, right?

And yet another pretentious idiot, trying to look smart by making something that mixes sexuality and violence then screaming about how different their work is. Double points for making statements about current date sims being aimed at games and therefore lacking in understanding of human desire and sexual identity. Triple for saying that the character is 'happy' with their lifestyle, then make them sound like something from a horror a movie.

I'm betting the maker will eventually come out and say that is this a piss-take of the genre as a whole, that eveything is just for shock value. Well good on you Anna you've just done what thousands of fan-fic writers, deviantart users and people all over the internet have done before. Go pat yourself on the back and pull your head out from where the sun doesn't shine, because hopefully noone else will. Hopefully her work will be ignored and forgotten!

And yea I played it. I've seen better text-based games and this just looked immature and was obviously trying too hard.

@ -|-

Just so you know, I've reported your post. Not because of the points you made, but because you called a woman a "bint". I find that to be unnecessary, misogynistic hate speech, and this will be my final response to you.

For the record, I have no connection with Anna Anthropy apart from occasionally having come across her on gaming websites; I have no personal relationship with her. I am a feminist, but I am not a lesbian and my knowledge of lesbian BDSM culture is only that of a vaguely interested outsider. I'm also not uncritical of her games - indeed, many of them appear to be little more than throwaway jabs with little gameplay value, created to make a point. I do, however, think that there's nothing pretentious with saying you're reinventing a genre. Gaming as a medium is one of constant reinvention, that's what so many of us find refreshing about it. Sexuality is not monolithic. Many women find sexual portrayals in games alienating, because most are obviously written by and for a male viewpoint, so the more female viewpoints the better, I say. I'm sorry if that aggravates you.

ms_sunlight:
@ -|-

Just so you know, I've reported your post. Not because of the points you made, but because you called a woman a "bint". I find that to be unnecessary, misogynistic hate speech, and this will be my final response to you.

I think you are confusing irony and hate speech. But never mind, I can move on from being reported, so you can get over your offence. Especially as you do actually at least try to engage some of the points I raise.

ms_sunlight:
For the record, I have no connection with Anna Anthropy apart from occasionally having come across her on gaming websites; I have no personal relationship with her.

I'll take your word for it.

ms_sunlight:
I am a feminist, but I am not a lesbian and my knowledge of lesbian BDSM culture is only that of a vaguely interested outsider.

Thanks for sharing, but this is irrelevant.

ms_sunlight:
I'm also not uncritical of her games - indeed, many of them appear to be little more than throwaway jabs with little gameplay value, created to make a point.

It seems that you also think that she's pretentious.

ms_sunlight:
I do, however, think that there's nothing pretentious with saying you're reinventing a genre.

It's not just the claim, it's the execution. If you make such a claim you really ought to have the talent to produce the goods. Seriously, do you really think there's nothing pretentious about producing a naff porno game and telling people that you are reinventing the genre?

ms_sunlight:
Gaming as a medium is one of constant reinvention, that's what so many of us find refreshing about it. Sexuality is not monolithic. Many women find sexual portrayals in games alienating, because most are obviously written by and for a male viewpoint, so the more female viewpoints the better, I say.

I don't disagree. But this is also irrelevant.

ms_sunlight:
I'm sorry if that aggravates you.

It doesn't (and this statement is actually quite passive/aggressive).

Are people actually taking the game straight? Seems obvious satire is obvious, and I wonder why people aren't taking it on that level.

Or, to put it another way...

Lots of people in this thread are acting EXACTLY like the people who think Stephen Colbert isn't a satire but is to be taken straight.

DracoSuave:
Are people actually taking the game straight? Seems obvious satire is obvious, and I wonder why people aren't taking it on that level.

Or, to put it another way...

Lots of people in this thread are acting EXACTLY like the people who think Stephen Colbert isn't a satire but is to be taken straight.

Oh, I think most people understand that it's supposed to be satire. But that doesn't stop it from being pretentious or make it funny.

The only conceivable way for this satire to work is if this woman's personality was invented just to be able take the piss out of people who are actually like her whilst also trolling those who believe she is real at the same time. I don't think that's what this is, but if it does turn out to be the case then I will accept that I was wrong and that this is actually pretty funny.

But she's not satirizing lesbians, she's satirizing certain types of predatory dating sims.

Thus it's the dating sim which needs to be deconstructed, or inverted....

....say by reversing the predator/prey relationship so that the predator is the protagonist, and by including some horrifying endings designed to show how that shit isn't actually funny?

People are taking it WAY to seriously.

DarkSpectre:
Also this statement here is really disturbing. Sounds like she has a real sick mind.
"I like to externalize my desires and fantasies in my games" If this game reflects her fantasies then she has some serious issues. They put people in mental wards for fantasizing about murdering people...

No. They don't.

At least not in the US. You may live in some African backwater in which sorcery is still a capital crime, DarkSpectre, I do not know. But civilized nations don't incarcerate people for thought crimes. If they did, most scriptwriters in Hollywood, not to mention thriller-fiction writers world wide, or even game designers, would have to be put in mental wards for fantasizing about murdering people. Heck, most consumers of such fictional media would have to be so incarcerated as well, for sharing (and in games, actively participating) in these fantasies.

And no, only for a tiny, tiny percentage of the population is fantasizing not enough, though the media imagines that more GTA players have to enact their carjacking and prostitute-killing crimes. In fact, the US Army has banked on the belief that players of America's Army (or even the MoH and CoD series) will find such virtual offerings a tidy gateway into armed forces, by promising an institutionalized license and opportunity to kill. Amazingly, though, most human beings by far can watch violent movies and play violent games without feeling the cumulative drive to go out and commit murder.

But just because you don't like a fictional offering, or cannot find its appeal doesn't mean the person who wrote it is mentally disturbed.

On Topic: I still find it annoying that any of these such games can be called a dating sim. Interestingly, most eroge that I've encountered features much in the way of fantasy sex, but little in the way of actual courtship, or in gameplay for that matter.

I'd think a dating simulator would look much like Sims 2: Nightlife or Singles: Flirt Up Your Life. I'd certainly like to see more games (or more media in general) in which relationships look more like they do in real life.[1]

Regarding Encyclopedia Fuckme: I think my favorite line in the whole thing is Oh God Anni this is fucking SCARY and HOT but that is a giant fucking knife and we have never really had a conversation about playing with knives yet. which is both indicative of safe, healthy relationship protocols[2] but also delineates the point when this goes from a play scene to assault, since our protagonist has expressed a limit (though rather nicely) and Anni promptly refuses to back down.

The smutty bits communicate well the heat of the relationship, though I don't sexualize the threat of getting filleted. That aspect reminded me somewhat of Tom Harris' novels (Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs are strongly recommended. Not so, Hannibal.) I wanted active resistance to be more effective (getting the fuck out of Dodge) than it turned out to be. And I was dissatisfied with the...rather sudden and fantastic...conclusion, and while I can see what Ms. Anthropy was trying to do, I think a more graceful and grounded-in-reality solution could have been found and applied.

238U.

[1] Such as sex not being a reward for the hero stomping a dragon, or the driving force for a vengeance story. Usually sex is the reason not to answer the call or the reason to hesitate before getting some locally while stationed in Guam. Or, even, cause to get home before Jody comes along. I could even see sex as cause to cry in your beer because your loved one bought it while in action, or worse is now in a coma, thanks to injury under fire.
[2] Expressing your boundaries and respecting those of others, this is a necessary science in relationships that include BDSM, power play, edge play and such, but really should be taught to and practiced by anyone who wants to deal with other living creatures, which is to include humans trying to interact with other humans.

@DracoSuave

I think you misunderstand. I don't take it seriously at all (I'm taking it less seriously than you it seems), mainly because I cannot take this woman seriously.

You may think she has a valid message within her 'satirical' game. She obviously does, but it's such an incredibly pretentious and hamfisted effort that to try and attach any kind of satirical significance to it is being far to generous. I mean, it's not as if dating sim games are a difficult target for satire, so why fail so badly at it?

Actually you can be institutionalized against your will. If the state board of mental health declares that you are danger to other people or yourself you can be placed in a ward without your consent. Most states do not require that you even ever actually harm somebody first. If it can be shown that you intend to or are likely to commit an act of violence against another person then in quite a few states you can be lock away. Fantazing about killing people is different than than simply exploring the topic. The first you are placing yourself in the position of the killer as a way to derive pleasure from the imagined act. This is an early warning sign of serial killers and if we get wind of somebody talking about such things they get placed on a watch list. There is difference between examining the phenomena of violence and actively desiring to create it.

People are desensitized to violence true. Which is why the military uses such things as games and training to prepare the mind for it. The difference is the military does it in a highly controlled manner with constant reinforcement for the need for control of impulses and mental discipline. The last thing the military wants is somebody who is violence loving and trigger happy. They want mentally stable and controlled people. If any kid ever comes into my office and even mentions that they want to kill people they get an automatic fail and don't get to enlist. Death is a terrible thing and there is nothing more destructive to the human mind then the taking of a human life. Somebody who wishes they could be in the shoes of the killer needs serious help.

On the other hand if the fantasy is about placing yourself in the position of the victim then you have another whole problem you need to deal with. That is a speaks to a masochistic mindset and severe codependent approach to relationships. Neither of which are signs of good mental health. Just because you enjoy something does not mean it is healthy.

To DarkSpectre: To really imagine killing people and getting pleasure from it doesn't sound healthy, I agree. But usually is just the power play that actually excites those who take part in such activities. It's just a "game", a bit theatrical, but nothing more (at least, for all well adjusted persons).
Even when the sexual act involves whipping or something close to that, it doesn't necessarily means that the violence is actually what gets them off. A person that has a role of great responsabilities, might want to relax by leaving someone else completely in control of them, at least for a while, for example. It's just make-believe in bedroom, 99% of the times.
If you really were to forfeit your life to someone else completely, of course that's not healthy for that one person, not only because of the risks, but simply because that subtracts you free-will, which is an important part of being human (or at least, that's what I think). That's why there is all that stuff about passwords to stop the act if someone gets hurt or feels he/she doesn't want to do that, it's because that way one doesn't have to worry about mistaking a "fake" scream of pain for a real one, making it easier to keep up the "charade", without really harming the partner. As I said, it's all an act, but one has to make the act "believable" to draw pleasure from it (this is a bit generic, as everyone needs a different degree of realism to come into play, and a lot of people never go beyond talking a little dirty, but it's just to explain my point).

Going back to the game, the text might be found sexy or not (a few times I found it hot, sometimes a little forced, and sometimes just downright creepy), but the main problem here lies in the fact that if one takes the game seriously, it enacts the scene as reality in the game. There is a difference between enacting it in someone's room, and sharing it to the public in what's supposed to be a game, because there is a whole set of rules and knowledge between the partners that gets thrown out of the window. If this is supposed to be taken as a joke, well... It's just not funny. This is supposed to be a parody of the choices-that-aren't-choices in dating sims? Nothing original, nor brilliantly executed. Doing something poorly and then attach the "parody" tag at the end of it isn't enough. And don't get me started on the vagina dentata thing, subverting a trope older than dirt by having the submissive one being the sexual predator (that's the symbolism behind it, unless we have to subvert even symbolism in order to make this thing have a meaning), isn't really something that interesting, it could be shocking if you are a prude, but otherwise it's just a little silly.
So I don't like the "game" (I don't like defining it a game, but interactive story-thingy doesn't sound good), no matter what's the point of view.

 Pages PREV 1 2

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Register for a free account here