The combination of video games and sex is so obvious that it's physically painful: guys play video games and guys also like nudity. If you can somehow combine these two things into one wonder product, you've given yourself a license to print sexy interactive money. But if it's that obvious, why is it so difficult to get right? After decades of pornographic video games, we're really no closer to getting it right. But we do have a comprehensive list of things not to do so future generations of smut peddlers can crack the da Vinci code of boning a Super Nintendo.
As Fighting Games
We live in a dangerous world. We know this because someone looked at Street Fighter II Turbo, realized they couldn't masturbate to it and set out to make an pornographic version of it. On paper it's not a terrible idea but in business you need to know your audience, and we're pretty sure fight-porn enthusiasts will have a difficult time buying a computer game while they take turns stabbing each other in Sing-Sing. If you're the sort of person who thinks a stripper isn't properly doing her job unless she's in a rear-naked choke, you'll love games like Strip Fighter. You're also banned from most strip clubs due to your tendency to choke out strippers.
There may have been a time when the concept of women fighting one another for the sake of PG-13 nudity was controversial for a video game, but 1995 certainly wasn't it. Japan's adult video game market wasn't exactly a tightly guarded secret, and while we won't comment on a consumer base that wants to turn fictional women into sex objects while simultaneously using them to beat the hell out of each other, we will say that Mahjong is slightly more interesting when you know there's an image of two school girls making sweet love to an octopus waiting for you underneath the tiles.
As a Form of Gambling
Sex and gambling have a lot in common, mostly that both involve risks and usually end in sobbing. Still, there's a cheap thrill in knowing that a single action could result in a moment's joy or the loss of your pants. Enter Strip Poker for the Apple II.
Despite how easy it is to gain access to a deck of cards, strip poker games are still being produced. If Isaac Asimov knew we'd still be living in a world where lonely men played strip poker with highly sophisticated technology in 2010, his resulting erection would tear through his casket like horses on Cole Porter. We assume this exists purely for computer programers and the blind, because no one else could possibly find static images of poorly pixilated women thrilling without having at least three bodies in their basement.
As a Children's Game
Poker is already a game devoid of morals, so let's say we ruin what little childhood innocence the Internet has yet to rob you of.
If the idea of playing a children's game while the threat of partial nudity constantly looms above you is enough to make your bull run, chances are no one other than the mailman is willing to visit your place of residence. Thankfully, your Nintendo DS can't judge you for your bizarre sexual desires and is instead programmed to fulfill your every demand, regardless of how incredibly creepy it may be.
Enter Strip Rock, Paper, Scissors, which holds the the title of “World's Saddest Attempt to Challenge Oneself for Pornography.” It's not like rock, paper, scissors leaves a lot of room for stratagem and, given that you're playing against still images of nude women, you really have nothing to lose except precious seconds of your like waiting for your Nintendo DS to do something sexy. Meanwhile, the game's layout makes it look like you're threatening to punch, slap or poke the eyes out of the poor woman who's still wearing clothes.
As a BMX Game
Now admittedly, this is a pretty narrow field of games. In fact, intense research indicates that there is only one: BMX XXX. Because nothing says “uncontrollable boner” quite like the thought of a pelvis smashing into a bicycle seat.
Anyone who has spent ten minutes clicking “Random Page” on Wikipedia can tell you that there are a lot of weird kinks in the world of pornography. It's not entirely impossible to think that someone somewhere is thinking impure thoughts about a Huffy right now, but there is no way that those people rallied together and demanded Activision heed their cry for competitive naked biking. And if reviews are any indication, the six people that bought BMX XXX for more than novelty value feel it failed to meet their ever-so high standards of smut (anything with spokes).
As a Puzzle Game
Puzzle games are one of the few genres of video games that will actually teach you something. Naturally, someone had to rob them of that benefit by throwing boobs into the mix. They also tend to ignore the obvious flaw that it's much more difficult to properly rotate the L-shaped piece when all the blood in your body is suddenly rushing to your pants.
In Virus DS, the player must stop the spread of one of humanity's greatest threats while the nurse staff can't help but continually lose their clothing. Ignoring what effects this may have on a sterile work environment, this situation is simply too absurd to maintain suspended disbelief. If an actual nurse couldn't prevent herself from popping out of her top every ten minutes, the ensuing distraction would result in the loss of human life and a police investigation to be later featured on World's Funniest Medical Mishaps. It doesn't matter if you're a family physician or Dr. House; partial nudity trumps Ebola every time.
On an older and infinitely creepier note, X-Man presents you with a much more grim scenario; you want to bone but you're also trapped in a maze of God's cruel design. If you navigate the madness you're rewarded with the best sex scene an Atari 2600 can muster. On the surface, X-Man is an obvious metaphor for a man's willingness to endure anything for sex, and while it's acceptable that the average Joe can maintain an erection while locked in an intricate underground maze, it's much more reasonable to assume that his priorities change from sex to finding a decent pair of pants after completing the sixth or seventh labyrinth.
As Atari Games
Since we're on the subject of X-Man, let's talk about something else that shouldn't have happened.
When Game Designer A suggested making porno games for the Atari, Game Designer B should have promptly punched him in the ass as hard as he could. There's nothing inertly wrong with wanting to make video games with sex appeal, but when the technology you're working with looks like something a Megablocks set threw up it should be readily apparent that your dream will go unrealized. Still, Mystique developed nothing but these abominations, completely ignoring that the steadfast rule that you can't call something pornographic if you can't actually make out what it's supposed to be:
Ehxibit A: Bachelor Party. Without any appropriate context, this image simply displays a gross lack of knowledge about the basic mechanics of sex: one man charges head first into a herd of nude women in the hopes that maybe his penis will find it's way into something pleasant.
Ehxibit B: Custer's Revenge. If the thought of a woman bound to a cactus while you're trying to hide your mammoth genitals from a rain of arrows puts you in the mood for sex, you're either the world's kinkiest botanists or have spent so much time on the Internet that scenarios in standard pornography bore you to tears.
Ehxibit C: Beat 'em and Eat 'em. The problem here isn't that you can't make out what's happening. If the giant penis dangling from the rooftop is any indication, this image implies sex to at least one person. The challenge is trying to find this erotic while wondering when the police are going to come arrest the guy who's violently masturbating from the roof top onto the city sidewalks. There's got to be at least one health code violation there.Written by Ben Dennison – Copyrighted © www.weirdworm.com