April 22nd, 2007

So apparently after my recent explorations in i’m in like with you, Scott was talking to some guys he used to work with and they had a good point. Maybe the reason why the games are called “games” and not “auctions” is that auctions sounds more like, well, social prostitution. And honestly, that’s kind of what i’m in like with you is: selling yourself for points.

Now don’t get me wrong, if anyone was blatantly prostituting themselves in that game, it was me. (By the way, I think I’ve been shot down. The auction went up pretty high, but the guy I picked as the winning bidder has yet to ask about, um, services rendered. Next time I’ll try have to bat my eyelashes and set up a game about household pets.) But there is something about bidding to be able to talk to someone…

What makes it even weirder (or maybe less weird) is that no one’s bidding money, just points; the whole thing is self-contained in the game economy. I mean, I get that that’s the whole idea, but even if you’re the sexiest, most popular player, all it will ever get you is farther ahead in the game. Which, of course, raises lots of cool issues about social networking in general being a game-ified version of real life contacts. Wow, you have so many MySpace friends. You win!

Not that point prostitution is new to i’m in like with you. In Habbo Hotel, sex is exchanged for furniture. Sure, that’s points exactly, but the idea is the same: it’s all within the game. Now compare that to something like the sex workers in Second Life who can exchange their Linden dollars for cold, hard cash…

In other news (and talking about selling sex), my piece on selling sex games went up last week at GamesIndustry.biz. Blocked from big-box stores, stigmatized by the industry, where can sex games turn? The same place as hot-blooded social networkers, it seems: the internet.

Tags: Blog

14 Responses to “Point Prostitution (and “Selling Sex”)”

  1. phalligator Says:

    I set up a ‘game,’ but a really lame one, and now I want to erase it and start over, but I can’t. I’ve got some ideas for my next one but I have to wait til Fri!

  2. Bonnie Says:

    Huh, I haven’t tried to start more than one game at once; I didn’t realize you couldn’t. What’s your game about?

    It’s interesting, when I was on there last night it seemed people had actually started it to ask “Will you go out with me?” Some of them have been moderately successful, but it’s still the ones who are more subtle or indirect who get the most points.

  3. phalligator Says:

    My question/game was “Where is Keene Wonder Mine?” Really boring to most people, but I’m a ghosttowner and I love the desert…and I’m not single, so I went with the innocuous for the first time. But something more flirtatious would be much more interesting. I won someones ‘game’ that lived in NY and she even knew where Keene Wonder Mine was. sigh.

  4. Bonnie Says:

    I see, so it’s not like “most creative answer,” it’s like a compatability test. I do wonder how many people have actually met up as a result of the site. It’s just really hard to get in contact with someone unless, you know, you win their game, which would defeat the purpose :).

  5. Scott Jon Siegel Says:

    You know, it’s a little strange, but a fun emergent behavior on “im in like with you” would be people actually creating true games using the site’s bizarre “game” system. It’s an interesting game design experiment; using a format which severely limits interaction, create a working game. Here are the rules:

    The game rules must be explained within the system
    All interaction must happen within the bounds of the social networking system
    The winner of the “game” does not necessarily have to be the winner of the game.

    All elements of iminlikewithyou’s system can be used, including winks, photos, points, and whatever else I can’t think of. I would have so much fun with this if I didn’t already have a hundred things to do. Anyone else?

  6. Bonnie Says:

    Okie, smarty pants game designer, give us an example :).

  7. Kyle Says:

    Hey! I loved your article on Joystiq and I’m a first time visitor. Those commentors can be so mean! Please don’t take it to heart! Anyway, I’m extremely interested in iminlikewithyou.com – it sounds like a huge amount of fun. If you have the ability, could you shoot me an invite? I’d love to join the fun! kyle.carmitchel@gmail.com – thanks again! :)

  8. Bonnie Says:

    Hi Kyle. Glad you liked the piece; I’m about to send you an invite right now. As for those commentators, the truth is luckily, I’ve pretty much stopped listening. Although it is kind of fun letting them get themselves all worked up :). Thanks for stopping by!

  9. Phelan Says:

    I also read and enjoyed your column on Joystick. I’m going to have to start following your blog. I also found the concept for “i'm in like with you” to be really interest. It would be greatly appreciated if you could send me an invite. pheland@gmail.com
    – cheers!

  10. Bonnie Says:

    Sure thing, Phelan. I’m sending the invite over as we speak.

  11. Phelan Says:

    Thanks for the invite. I should also reread my posts before submitting. Typos are the dead of me. X_X

  12. Bonnie Says:

    That’s why I love my own site. When I post typos, I can go into the system and fix them instead of, you know, hanging myself :).

  13. dohnjoe Says:

    Been enjoying your articles since ‘dracula wears eyeliner’. Very thought-provoking stuff. Also, this ‘game’ sounds intriguing. Mind sending an invite my way? noginlame@gmail.com

  14. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    Sure thing, I’ll send that over now :).

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