Tag Archives: sex

We Need To Get Better At Talking About Sex

Sex is great and all, but have you tried talking about it?

This is something that the games industry in general appears to struggle greatly with, since adult gaming is still in a weird niche where it’s commonly understood to exist and is appreciated by its core audiences, but at the same time it’s still not particularly accepted by mainstream outlets, who will take every opportunity to deride and downplay it.

The latest of many examples at the time of writing was presented by Nathan Grayson of Kotaku, who derisively pointed out that “two of Steam’s top games last month were anime sex games” before going on to complain about creators catering to “straight men’s sexual fantasies”. But really this is a broader issue that has been worth talking about for some time. And now’s as good a time as any.

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The MoeGamer Awards 2018: Character I Learned to Love

The MoeGamer Awards are a series of “alternative” awards that I’ve devised in collaboration with the community as an excuse to celebrate the games, experiences and fanbases that have left a particular impression on me in 2018. Find out more and leave a suggestion here!

This award was suggested by AK.

A really interesting aspect of characterisation is when creators are able to put together a character who might initially seem obnoxious or odious in some way, then gradually bring the player to sympathise with them — or at least vaguely understand them –over the course of the complete narrative.

It’s a difficult thing to pull off, for sure; the most common approach taken to create this effect is to have an “anti-hero” main character, but in those instances it’s very easy to go overboard on the edginess and just create someone who is an unrelatable sociopath or psychopath.

But when it’s done right, it can make for some really interesting storytelling. So who fell into that category for me this year…?

And the winner is…

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Evenicle: Sex is Power

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It’s strange how certain memories — or fragments of memories, at least — stick with you, long after you’ve forgotten the original context. And yet they continue to be lodged in your brain somewhere, perhaps even colouring your own attitudes.

For me, one such memory is from — I believe, anyway — a childhood trip to the United States, and a TV show I happened to catch a snippet of shortly before I was supposed to be going to bed in the hotel room. I don’t precisely remember what the TV show was; I want to say it was LA Law, but I can’t find any reliable record of the scene I believe I remember to check.

The context doesn’t really matter. The thing that stuck with me was a single line that was part of a heated exchange between a man and a woman. “We had sex; we’re bonded for life.” And that’s a concept that’s very much come to the forefront of my mind since starting Evenicle.

This post contains some mildly NSFW images.

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Gal*Gun 2: Narrative, Themes and Characterisation

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Much like its predecessor, Gal*Gun 2 has a surprising amount going on its story — much more so than its seemingly fanservice-laden premise might lead you to believe.

While the previous game Gal*Gun Double Peace explored the idea of fallibility, and the fact that no two people cope with the knowledge that they are not and can never be “perfect” in quite the same way, Gal*Gun 2 takes something of a sidestep into a related, but slightly different theme: the idea of understanding oneself, and being honest about that “self” with others.

The various characters involved in the narrative all embody this theme in one form or another. So let’s go ahead and take a look at what’s going on in more detail!

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Seven Days with the Ghost: Fragile, Frustrated and Female

Ayako Orihara is frustrated, in more ways than one.

She’s frustrated at the fact her school’s Occult Research Club, of which she is the only member and current president, is likely to be dissolved if she doesn’t find some new members. She’s frustrated at her relationship (or lack thereof) with her mother. And by God, is she sexually frustrated.

Little did she know how much taking matters into her own hands would change her life over the course of just one week…

This article has some mildly NSFW content after the jump.

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Nekopara: Staying True to Yourself

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As the Nekopara series has progressed, it’s clear that Sayori and the rest of the team at Nekoworks have become more comfortable and confident with these characters.

With each new installment, the series steps further away from the admittedly appealing initial novelty value of the main cast being catgirls, and further into stronger characterisation, including deeper exploration of the girls’ personalities, backgrounds and attitudes towards one another.

Nekopara vol. 3, the latest installment to be released at the time of writing (though a vol. 4 has already been confirmed), is the strongest episode to date, featuring some truly touching scenes, wonderful characterisation and, if you’re playing the 18+ version, it has to be said, some of the absolute hottest H-scenes in the series.

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Nekopara: Honesty is the Best Policy

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Honesty is the best policy, as the idiom has it. And the further you delve into the Nekopara series, the more it becomes clear that this enjoyable series of visual novels is designed with this philosophy at their core.

Several of the Minaduki catgirls describe themselves as inherently honest (albeit whimsical) creatures, preferring to rely on their natural instincts and desires rather than indulging the distinctly human tendency to say one thing and mean another… though it comes more easily to some than others.

The rather deadpan Vanilla, who is explored in detail in the first volume of the series in particular, finds it very easy both to be honest — to an abrasive fault at times — and to encourage her peers to be honest with themselves.

Others such as Azuki and Coconut have a tougher time, however, and it’s this latter pair’s struggles with this concept that forms the backdrop to Nekopara vol. 2.

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Puzzler Essentials: HuniePop

HuniePop from Ryan Koons’ studio HuniePot was partly developed as a sort of “protest” game: an attempt to fight back against the growing trend of political correctness that was starting to take root in the games industry.

There was clearly demand for such a game, even back in late 2013; a successful Kickstarter campaign allowed those who were similarly frustrated with the situation to put their money where their mouth was and show their support for the kind of thing they wanted to see more of: something lewd, crude and rude — and unashamed of being any of those things.

The remarkable thing about HuniePop was that it ended up being a damn good game as well as a resounding middle finger to the “everything is problematic” crowd. Not only that, it also demonstrated that independent Western developers were more than capable of putting interesting new twists on Japanese-style aesthetics by combining anime-style artwork with a hilariously abrasive and distinctively modern, American script.

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From the Archives: Embracing the “H”

Sex.

Yes, that was entirely a cheap trick to get your attention, but it’s also the subject of today’s column.

There are some interesting and varied thoughts about sex in games out there, but it’s a subject that still remains largely taboo for many developers, publishers and even critics. It’s also a subject in which Eastern and Western approaches and philosophies differ greatly, and it makes for some fascinating discussions.

So let’s talk about sex, specifically with regard to visual novels.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2013 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been edited and republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

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Virtual Intimacy

The arrival of relatively affordable virtual reality solutions has the potential to allow us to explore narrative and characterisation in all-new ways — and I’m especially excited to see what Japan comes up with. 

An oft-cited strength of narrative-centric Japanese interactive entertainment is the sense of “intimacy” it engenders between the player, the protagonist and the core cast. Visual novels in particular are noteworthy for their in-depth explorations of characters and in allowing the player to “ride along” inside the protagonist’s head as they encounter various situations.

So what might virtual reality bring to this kind of experience? It’s an interesting question to ponder, and an exciting prospect to imagine.

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