Digital Journal -- “A little dildo action might be fun.” Dirty talk is doing it for me. Jenna Jameson, the infamous porn star, wants me to shove a dildo down her throat and I’m not about to argue.
Using my touchpad, I scroll to the dildo icon on the left side of the screen and drag it to her lips. Instantly, she starts sucking like it’s her last meal. Girlish groans gush from my laptop speakers.
“Keep doing it, I really want it!” reads the text bar below a pixel-perfect Jameson.
As you can guess, no females are actually taking part in this encounter. I’m playing the free demo of aVirtually Jenna, an online sex game where you control Jameson any way you want — blowjobs, four-way orgies, BDSM, mutual masturbation, you name it.
This game isn’t brand-spanking new, but the concept is gaining momentum: sex as a main function of a video game, rather than a reward for finding a code. Lust takes centre stage in a form of entertainment usually stereotyped as child’s play.
Sorry, Mom and Dad, video games are growing up. And now they’re taking advantage of raging libidos.
Grand Theft Naughty
You know a fringe passion has reached maturity when a national conference is born out its popularity. The 2006 Sex in Video Games conference debuted in San Francisco, featuring a mix of 200 game designers, pornographers, sexologists and journalists.
It’s about time, says conference organizer Brenda Braithwaite, also a lead game designer on the saucy Playboy: The Mansion. “There’s a whole range of tastes out here to be satisfied.”
A quick tour on the Net reveals her statement to be spot on. Virtually Jenna is the most graphically rich version of poke-the-doll games, where users can live out porn fantasies with Barbie-esque avatars. Singles 2 bills itself as a “cheeky and erotic 3D life-and-love sim.” Less socially acceptable titles include Battle Raper, a Tekken-style game where you knock the clothes off women and then have your way with them (popular in Japan, for some creepy reason). Porn entrepreneurs can learn the craft on Play-Sex-Game, a simulator that creates a custom skin flick studio. Shaving Ryan’s Privates 2, anyone?
Games like these are coming out of hiding because of high levels of penetration (pun intended), notes Braithwaite. Sex games only survive online, she says, because they would never be available in retail outlets. “Even if Playboy: The Mansion was an Excel spreadsheet, it wouldn’t have made it into Wal-Mart,” she says.
Braithwaite is quick to dismiss half-hearted attempts at sexy video games, such as Tetris-type puzzles that reveal a nude body in the background. If a genre is to be taken seriously, it should be considered an art — a statement Braithwaite is often forced to defend.
So when is hardcore sex appropriate in video games? “When it’s appropriate in the arts,” Braithwaite replies quickly. “If Brokeback Mountain didn’t have sex in it, would it be the same? No, of course not. When sex makes sense and it fits, that’s when it works.” She dismisses the outmoded claim that video games are solely for kids, because the numbers support her — the average gamer is 33, and 93 per cent of PC game buyers were over 18 years old in 2006, according to the Entertainment Software Association.
From Lust Till Dawn
“Is sex important in telling movies? Why not the same ability in video games?” Brad Abram is slowly convincing me of the goodness inherent in his lusty game. Abram is president of Xstream 3D, main developer of Virtually Jenna, and he’s a strong supporter of creating realistically naughty games miles ahead of Leisure Suit Larry.
His game attracts 5,000 downloads a day, a huge success for an online-only game without any marketing power behind it. “The artificial intelligence, the intricate facial expressions, all that motion capture…that’s why we’re above and beyond the rest,” Abram says confidently. Of course, the star power of porn queen Jenna Jameson doesn’t hurt either.
Abram has a name for the instant when gamers realize how dirty their avatar can get. “The ‘holy fuck’ moment is when you spin Jenna around and stick a dildo up her ass.” Not everyone’s kink, but chacun à son goût.
Adult games should be looking to the online porn industry for inspiration, which has raked in billions despite opposition from moral conservatives. Senator Hilary Clinton is one of the most outspoken critic of sex in video games, but I doubt she’s taken a tour through Virtually Jenna’s S&M dungeon.
Since most people perceive video games as kid toys, Braithwaite says, sexuality has a hard time finding a prominent place in gaming culture. “I hope attitudes will change, much like they did with comic books,” she says.
The future is anything but vanilla for sexy video games. Braithwaite predicts a surge in games targeting women and their racy imaginations. Plus, massive multiplayer online games like Second Life already feature one-night stands and red-light districts.
Virtual sex is linked to the Net much like fake orgasms are to porn stars. Anyone who wants these games to fade from the public eye should wake up and smell the cum stains.
Getting SeXXxy on My Cell
On my Motorola V551, I press 8 and then 5. The woman kneels down and gives the naked dude a blowjob. I press 5 twice and she stands up. Now I hit 0 and the directional pad left twice and she turns around. The 5-0 combo makes the guy character start pounding the woman doggy-style.
I’m playing the first cellphone sex game released in North America, the appallingly named Goma Sex. The graphics are simple — a naked couple in a bedroom, no naughty bits showing. The goal? Put the couple in as many different positions as possible within five minutes.
The game isn’t fun. But it’s challenging. I’ve only mastered kissing, oral sex, missionary and doggy-style. Reverse cowboy takes some expert skill, but I admit I only found it through frustrated button-mashing. So is this cellphone game for the chronically oversexed or masturbatory masters? To find out, I talked to Chicago-based Goma System’s vice-president, Kevin Lyons.
What makes Goma Sex unique?
Other games are just point-and-click, but our interface mapping [where numbers represent body parts] allows real control of both female and male characters. And our price, $2 (US), is comparable to downloading ringtones or wallpapers.
What kind of cellphone user are you targeting with this game?
Males between 18 and 60 year old. People can also use this application to overcome sexual disorders. For some people, they can learn a thing or two from the game, like trying new positions…and it can be played with one hand, so if users want to masturbate with it, that’s fine by me.
Do you think sex for cellphones will take off like they have for PCs?
For sure. I think the mobile phone is the PC of the future. If sex drove the rise of cable TV and the Internet, sex will drive the popularity of cellphone games.
Goma Systems has launched Goma Sex, the hetero version, and Rainbeau Café, the gay version. Find out more at www.gomasex.com