Sex, games, and sex games: untangling porn, eroticism, and videogames

This was pretty fascinating reading.

And this gave me a hearty laugh this morning.

Most of my time with these types of games was the relative soft-porn of early Leisure Suit Larry, or the slightly more risqué Strip Poker game back in the day. However I did stumble across one more explicit one during my dark piracy days when I downloaded every game I saw on one particular site, and one happened to fall into a fully adult category. I get it for those who might like it, they are titillating, but at least for me, not stimulating. Maybe that’s because we (the general lot of us) have been gamers too long, or serious gamers for too long or whatever. But you could see where some might enjoy it. I have no issues with anyone on my Steam Friends list doing whatever they want. I think the fault here is with Steam’s automatic disclosure of things to your friends list, not with the games themselves. Imagine if every time you viewed internet porn it updated your social account status with the title? That’s … yeah. Not a good kind of social share you want to make.

For the record, if you’re concerned about this, if you want to hide your history, you can play in offline mode while you’re playing and disable Game details in your Steam account privacy settings, which should prevent people from seeing your “recently played” games.

If Steam wanted to support this market, I guess they could have a “never share activity for this game” setting per-game instead of per-account, but I don’t see them doing that.

It looks like Steam only shows last 3 “recently played games” by default, so if you want to scrub it off the recently played list without hiding your entire profile, you can just lauch 3 games to bump it off.

Yeah, I think it’s important to distinguish between games like what the OP was talking about or the four I mentioned, which are porn games there as a vehicle for sexual content that also happen to have a lot more narrative and characterization connecting that content than you might expect, and things like Yu-No, Fate, Muv-Luv, etc which are stories that happen to have some sex scenes in them. In Fate’s case, certainly, the sex seemed to be a pro forma obligatory inclusion based on the market at the time and not remotely integral to the story. Muv-Luv is, in Extra and Unlimited at least, significantly a story about the protagonist’s relationship with whichever girl’s route you’re on, so it’s not quite as perfunctory to have that relationship culminate in a single sex scene, but it’s certainly not the focus of the game. I can’t speak to Yu-No myself but the fact that it’s got an all-ages version at all speaks volumes. I like Depraved Awakening, City of Broken Dreamers, Acting Lessons and Being a DIK and find myself more invested in their stories and characters than I’d have expected…but you wouldn’t do an all ages version of them. They take care to at least offer some sort of lewd scene probably every 20-30 minutes at the outside. You might not take all of them depending on which route you’re pushing for, but they’re all over.

To me, the former is porn, and even with the explicit scenes still in, Fate and Muv Luv aren’t.

I know, I keep bumping this thread every so often (tee hee) even though I may be the only person interested in the topic, but I found this article that covered this very topic and had a bunch of games that would fit the bill that do look interesting. In case anyone else might be interested, here is that article:

Funny timing. @Andy_Bates created this thread for a new game today:

I’m…not sure it’s a sex game. Or at least I hope it isn’t!

I watched that trailer and I’m … not sure exactly what it is. But hey, I don’t kink shame, if that’s anybody’s thing.

Poor Things. The Game.

I feel kinda guilty about linking this, but if you really want to see the world of adult games, including some that are actually very impressive, this board covers them:

Let me make sure it is clear that there are links to downloads of Patreon supported games, i.e. piracy. What is interesting is that the developers are actually in these threads and seem to welcome the PR of the board, hoping that you’ll get interested enough in their games to support them on Patreon to get early access to updates, exclusive content, etc.

(Full disclosure: I know about this board from a developer who knew me from way back in my writing days who wanted to know if I’d be interested in helping him with writing the stories.)

I was looking at itch from the article linked a bit back and it seems like it’s not uncommon for some of those games to be free with the hopes that you’ll sign up for the patreon for future content, so while pirate copies may not be explicitly authorized the devs may figure it works out similarly.

Yep. Just in case, that’s what I was referencing last year on the subject.

(And for context, it’s worth reading the rest of that post to know why most – but not all – creators in this space are very much OK with that board’s existence.)

And just in case, this was my experience 8 or 9 years ago when I was freelancing and doing some translation cleanups in this space. It really hasn’t changed much.

Sites like that one, and similar sites out there have made some of the more creative indie devs in this milieu a pretty decent amount of cash.

I just want to point out that @JeffL seems to have given ended his anecdote a bit too soon. Because I don’t know about y’all, but the question I have is…“Well…?”

I declined. I wrote him an outline of an idea using Final Draft (script writing software) and he was blown away, but it would have been a very time consuming task in a period of my life where I didn’t have the time to give him. Pay was going to be a percentage of his take.

Yeah, I think this is important to point out. Most sex games are utter trash. Total rubbish ware. Complete crocks of shit that suck.

I have a game from a humble bundle monthly a while back called Five Dates. It’s the closest thing I own to a sex game. Does that count?

I couldn’t say, not really familiar with that game. I’ll be honest, I talk a big game, and I’m definitely interested in the hypothetical of games growing up a bit, being sex positive but possibly in a less prurient way (or at least in addition to the prurient material) but I don’t really play these games. Maybe it’s cowardice, just having them show in my ‘played’ history, or having to explain these game showing up in my library to my wife or, even worse, kids. I don’t know, I like articles like the one I linked because I’m interested in where these games are going and what they could be. I have movies on my shelf that contain sex, that deal with sex in a way that’s for lack of a better word, mature. I’m not ashamed to watch them. But I don’t know if there are any games that fall into the same category, they mostly seem like peep shows with a veneer of game wrapped around them. And, just to repeat myself, I have no problem with people playing those kinds of games if that’s what they’re into, it’s just not really for me.

Anyway, if you’ve played or plan to play Five Dates, you can certainly let us know if it’s worth trying out. I’m certainly open to the possibility.

I think that’s the problem. It’s hard to find what you’re describing.

So I don’t plan on playing Five Dates in the foreseeable future. Sorry not sorry.

Re-reading the description though, they call it a rom-com game presumably with FMV featuring non-actors…

Definitely. I mean, even in movies and print it’s way easier to find porn than the sort of thing I’m talking about. And I get it, porn sells, it’s what just about everybody wants, I’m not looking to change the world. Just looking for those occasional nuggets that hell, maybe they’re even kinda porn-y, just not all about that. Have some humor, some characters, for pete’s sake.

To be fair they seem to be legit actors - from a quick look they include a Dr Who companion, and a regular in the series Vikings.