A Game of Sex

Video games don’t have enough sex in them. This is not to say that every (adult-targeted) game should have a gratuitous sex scene (though that would probably help), but that sex and sexual relations are strangely represented as it is in games. Considering how intimate, sexual relationships figure largely into the human experience and human culture, it’d be better if we had more realistic representations of them.

Again, borrowing from Chimamanda Adichie’s notion that more stories of different experiences make for fuller representation* by having more sex in games, and various interpretations in games of what sex is and how sexuality is expressed, we’ll have a greater number of games that reflect closely (or have some applicability to) how humans intimately interact in life.

Part of the problem, which I will assuredly rant on for many a blog post, is that the United States, and really all of Judeo-Christian-based culture (now Judeo-Christian-Islamic- or Abrahamic-based culture) has some severe sexual hang-ups that has impaired even our consideration of realistic sexuality, let alone expression of it in media. Europe is better about it. Many of the middle-eastern nations are even worse than the US. And Japan is… well, Japan.

To break the ice (or chip at it, at least, because there’s a lot of ice), I’m going to present a video game right here that presents sex in an unusual way. Ergo:

Zero-G Alien Sex

This game is for two players.

In the Ludam Dare (short-development-time) version of this game both partners would be a circle with their genitals (a small x or o) located randomly on their circumference. Also around the playing field (the screen) three blobby mating zones (with a diameter of four times that of a player cell) would be randomly placed so as to not intersect with each other. Genital location and mating zones are randomized with each level. Procedural design!

The players control their body with standard Asteroids controls (like all space-vector games: rotate clockwise, rotate counterclockwise and thrust forward. No fire cannon or hyperspace). If a player floats off the side of the screen, they wrap around the other side (or top or bottom), and when they hit one another, they bounce off according to Newtonian billiard-ball physics (nothing fancy, such as spin, friction, heat loss, etc.)

To complete a level the players have to bring their genitals in close proximity (within the radius of the genitals themselves) inside a mating zone for a short period of time (three seconds). After a successful mating (and a pleasant mating animation such as a pyrotechnic explosion of hearts) A new level would be generated. The time to complete a level is tracked, and low times are recorded for posterity and displayed on a high-score ladder.

A more thoroughly developed game would include AI for solitary partners (or screensaver / attract mode), and levels with factors that add increasing difficulty, such as:

floating Blockers who project a zone around them that obstructs germination.

Small or moving mating zones. One idea is the stars are right where two or three floating zones have to intersect to create a proper mating zone.

Different shaped bodies (e. g. a pac-man and a pizza slice with the genitals at the point)

Bouncier bodies. If you bounce against your partner, it accelerates your speed.

Floating Jerks (a good name, actually). If they hit a player, it bounces them with a severe speed increase.

Floating Superjerks that will yank a player in a random direction if they pass too close.

Another fancy (procedural!) feature would be to allow the game to generate levels based on an entered (or generated) numerical seed (similar to the one in Windows’ Freecell) so that there’d be an unlimited number of levels that couples could share with other users.

Tada! A game about sex!

* Chimamanda Adichie explains this in her 2009 TED talk which I referenced here as well regarding real-world social and political issues in games. Really, the more we present our controversial and sensitive subjects and the more we talk about them the better we can construct models that better represent them.

Image is of a rendition of Star Castle, the coin-op 1980 video game. The original cabinets used a monochrome screen with transparent gels to give the different walls different colors, but this version is clearly on a color screen. I wanted something pretty with classic 80s Tron-style glowy vector lines to remind readers what that was like (an aesthetic that appeals to me to this day). Sadly, all versions of Space Wars were low-res pictures, or rasterized versions. In the meantime, I should set myself up an image editing suite so I can, well, edit images and make an appropriate mock-up.

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