I was nine or ten years old when I looked into her eyes and our worlds collided. Mine; the abstract arena of electrons and colors pulled together to form a new age of entertainment with limitless possibilities. Hers; the realization that dodgy graphics and limited memory couldn’t get in the way of cheap erotica. She was Blue Angel 69, an astute example of how the chase is often better than the goal.
The expectation that the videogames industry would at some point deliver promises of truly interactive sex (but not with a real woman) remained with me throughout my teenage years – right up to the point where I installed a 14.4k modem and loaded up the internet for the first time. The need was no longer there for games to satiate my pubescent fantasies, it seemed. Here was a utopia where the floodgates of information had been thrown open, resulting in the widespread availability of pictures of naked women. The fact it neatly sidestepped both the disapproving shop owner I’d had to buy jizz-mags from previously, as well as the U.K. censors, meant it was all the more accessible.
Videogames? They were for shooting people in the face.
It was, then, with some trepidation that I eventually installed Lula: the Sexy Empire. I’d certainly been aware of the sex in games issue before this: Leisure Suit Larry, DreamWeb and a plethora of other titles had either attacked the issue head on or featured controversial elements. But Lula purported to be something different; you could directly interact with this woman and make her do things. Sometimes with friends.
Obviously, it was a disappointment that amounted to far less than the many hentai titles that emerge from the East on a weekly basis. It did make me realize, however, that there was a potential there that could exceed the lures of IRC and “OMG! Got n e pix of J-Lo?” Sure, I never reached Lula‘s climax, but the possibility of her followers giving me greater satisfaction was clear. And the adult industry is always on the crest of any technological wave, right? Those guys and gals are like the space race of yesteryear; poking technological boundaries just to see how far they can shoot next time out.
Unfortunately, they seem to have gotten distracted by DVDs and the continued explosion of internet usage. Multiple viewing angles, “Virtual Sex” titles that let you control the action by selecting chapters, and cheap-to-manufacture and distribute discs have all meant the activities of our favorite stars and starlets have remained in the living room or on the web in all their moaning, writhing glory. High definition is the next big movement, but I’m uncertain just how much detail I need to see. But I digress.
Videogames are what I want. 3D SexVilla and its current ilk offer the most advanced of the Western solutions to my need, yet are oh-so-woeful. Badly animated models manipulate themselves, each other and toys as their skin glows with the artificial sheen of computer sweat. Unenthusiastic grunts and groans blast from the speakers as I desperately try to wiggle the mouse in the right motion to provide the NPCs with the fix they need. Growing bored, I switch the scene to automatic and let them go at it for as long as I can stand to watch. I leave the room to make a cup tea with a mind full of questions, such as “Why didn’t I just download a movie?” and “Is there anything less erotic than a woman being attacked by a badly rendered floating dildo?” Even the lazy addition of a Jenna Jameson model – Ooh! Ooh! Jenna Jameson! – doesn’t help things at all.
No, this just will not do.
The adult industry has failed you and me, ladies and gentlemen. They have failed to exploit an emerging market, they have failed to engage in any real experimentation with a unique interface for porn aficionados, and they have failed to milk us of all the money that they can. Our pursuit for carnal entertainment knows no boundaries, but while the stars engage in ever more depraved acts accessible only through traditional video and pictorial content, we gamers remain at our desks, wondering when they will try something different.
The developer illuminati exchange ideas, hold discussion panel meetings and continue to explore methods of engaging the player through traditional narratives, new control interfaces and the number of polygons whizzing around the screen. Good games are often held up simply because they manage to exploit one of the basic emotions of the human psyche; the truly great are cherished because they hook in to our core emotional centers in some way, achieving true psychological buy-in by pressing the right buttons. Truly a set of worthwhile and lofty aims for any budding potential art form.
Me, wanting truly interactive porn that allows for the satisfaction of my basic sexual desires without me having to confront who I am and what I look like as I look down the barrel of loaded gun that’s held by a real woman who’s ready to let me know just how inadequate I am and just how little she wants me (hey, marriage can be hard)? That doesn’t sound like too much to ask.
Hitchhiker is a freelance videogames journalist who spends too much time playing multiplayer games all alone. It does give him a sense of belonging, though, so that’s ok. He hangs out at www.alwaysblack.com.