July 26th, 2006

Working on a review of VirtuallyJenna for The Onion A. V. Club, I’ve been thinking a lot about so-called “poke the doll” games that make up a good portion of sex-based titles.  We’ve talked about them before, re: orgasm simulators, but what I’m thinking about at the moment, after x number of hours introducing foreign objects into the orifices of Jenna Jameson and her friends, is the other side of things: being the doll.

More specifically, as a sub myself, I wonder if it would it ever be feasible to have a game that allows you to be the passive party.

In some ways, this presents obstacles right away, because if you’re not acting on screen, then you’re not on-screen, so to speak–instead, you’re just watching an avatar.  And even if that avatar supposedly represents you, if she is being done-to instead of doing, what chance to have to indentify with her through action?

Or might the masochistic, the submissive, way to play be “playing” at all?

Tags: Blog

10 Responses to “Being the Doll”

  1. Sam Kelly Says:

    Just because the avatar represents you, that doesn’t mean she has all your capabilities, though – I can quite easily imagine a game where the heroine (for once, a much more appropriate term than “protagonist”) learns to endure more and more, or conquer her automatic reactions, or to please a succession of dominants with different tastes and styles. Not precisely passive, but then what’s “passive” anyway? It’s not like you can avoid reacting in real life. Having your macroscopic agency taken away doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have small-scale options – especially when you can’t always control them or understand what they do. Even if you do manage perfect identification (for instance, I can imagine sex-based cut-scenes or bonus levels in an adventure or a roleplaying game) then I’d think that degree of complete artificial insulation from your “self” would only appeal to a few specific fetishes.

    In fact, though dominant myself, I’d think that that would be a lot more interesting and playable than the comparable dominant game.

  2. Coldstone Says:

    I think you have a very interesting game idea. However, the gimmick of the game would be how the game verifies the ‘submission’ of the player. You could totally have a game where the on screen avatar gives the player commands (and with some cheap technology) might even be able to track player location or useage of ‘accessories’.

    A game like that could even transend the 4th wall and refuse to exit at first until the player performs some action. From my point of a view thats a really cool game idea, its just how much effort goes into allowing the computer to confirm the actions of the player.

    If someone builds it, other people will come.

  3. Cybersexy Says:

    Interesting idea Bonnie. But you can get basically the same kind of action in games like Sociolotron (although I am sure the graphics could be improved in a non-online game).

  4. BrainFromArous Says:

    Who needs a sex game? Masochists should be perfectly happy with Windows itself.

  5. Patrick Says:

    As I understand it, from cultural information and some personal experience, its kind of hard for a girl to just get off by simply being there. You’d need some kind of a “mind-game” of appreciating, encouraging, feeding back ect on the performed sex, in order to push it from the simple “being fucked” to the kind of quality and mood needed for a female orgasm. The best way would be if theres a social subtext to the sex itself, like the first twenty minutes are the date and it build up to the sex, and then you get ten to fifteen minutes of sex, and thats a level. Then theres the macro game of pursueing a relationship and having it evolve into romance, casual but hot fuck friends, or something more lurid. Theres a game idea.

    As far as social game design goes, a mechanic I’m extremely interested in, which is also useful for solving simulation boundary issues, is the “perspective switching” mechanic, where you voluntarily or involuntarily have your agency switched to another character. That might be the key to it all, good sex is 60% about empathy.

  6. Bonnie Says:

    As I understand it, from cultural information and some personal experience, its kind of hard for a girl to just get off by simply being there.
    Hmm, are we implying that girls need romance to get off? I’ve got to say, as the sort of sub a game like this could be marketed to, if someone offered me dating and relationships, or good old-fashion being used, I’ve always to take the latter.

    However, the gimmick of the game would be how the game verifies the 'submission' of the player.
    Ooh, new levels of submission. Although, I do wonder if a RL crossover is necessary. Something about a willingness to submit in-game (and a cooperation to do so) that outweighs the simplicity of submiting IRL….

  7. Anonymous Says:


  8. BlenderRender Says:

    I could readily immagine an adventure-style single-player game in which the player character is a submissive. The player would control an avatar, and might navigate through the game world performing tasks for dominants. Certian items or costumes might restrict the player’s controls or hobble the interface, increase the approval of certian dominant NPCs, or both.

    Much of it would be window-dressing, yes, as the player still has agency. But complete immobility is not neccessary, IMHO, to convey the themes of obedience, submission, or bondage. It wouldn’t neccessarily have to feel tacked-on.

    Heck, all those fetch-the-magruffin quests in MMOs might actually make MORE sense if explained as a BDSM ritual.

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