For most geeks, the only thing that can trump video games is, well, porn. Which is exactly why so many companies are exploring the world of sex based video games. For those old schoolers, you may remember games like Sierra’s Leisure Suit Larry Series, which was a computer adventure game about a guy trying to get lucky in any way possible. Of course we are talking about pixelated cartoonish sexual imagery but hey, back in the day this stuff was awesome! Certain game development companies continue to make straight out porn focused games, but there are also some ‘mainstream’ games including sex as part of a storyline like Heavy Rain, Mass Effect 2 (again), and the always controversial Grand Theft Auto series. With the advent of the video game rating system, it seems like mainstream games that really push the envelope are becoming less and less prevalent. Partly because any game slapped with an “AO” rating practically means suicide for the developer because no brick and mortar store will stock the game. With this move towards keeping our games clean, it seems almost counter intuitive to bring back sex video games a la Lesiure Suit Larry and Benny Hill. It’s a surprise to see new sex-based games hitting the market like Bonetown, Project X, and Digital Playground’s new 3D world, that bring players into a world where they can pretty much do whatever they want without judgement. All of these games feature well known porn stars (helllllooo, Ron Jeremy is in Bonetown), which is cool for fans because they can interact with them virtually like never before.
Unlike Bonetown and Project X, Digital Playground’s Utherverse focuses more on leisure and social networking rather than gaming. Users aren’t expected to complete missions or earn points, rather, they’re expected to roam around the world, have fun, and do all the things they can’t really do in real life (because unless you’re Tommy Lee, it’s doubtful you’re hooking up with porn stars). The Utherverse creates a place for fans to interact and play, making this new genre of sex games a rule free social networking experience. “We don’t refer to the virtual world as a game, but rather as the 3D Web, or the Virtual World Web. It’s really is less of a game and more of the Internet in 3D. It’s a place where users come to have social networking in real time, to watch movies together, to shop for real-world goods and services, as well as virtual goods and services – but there is no objective,” said Brian Shuster of Utherverse. Basically the goal is to have sex, hook up, and do all the naughty things you can’t do in real life without getting yourself in trouble.
While Bonetown and Project X both feature well-known porn stars, Digital Playground’s Utherverse is the first game to feature all Digital Playground branded pictures, videos, and characters, possibly marking a new frontier for porn. Aside from screenings of their DP porns, the game features the contract star, Raven Alexis, a self-professed geek and WoW gamer. For Raven, this new avenue is an obvious choice, “It’s been so cool and exciting so far, getting to know the ins and outs of the game took a little while, and I’ve already met some amazing people. I don’t think that Digital Playground could be teamed up with a better company to begin putting virtual characters of their contract girls into a game.”
The technology behind this emerging trend is what’s really interesting. Utherverse, the company that created Digital Playground’s 3D world explained that the creation of virtual worlds can take upwards of four years and cost up to 10 million dollars. Utherverse took the technology that goes into making these games and created a tool set and prop editor that allows companies to completely customized and create their own world without much coding or time. The way it works is that a company will choose from basic landscape and surroundings and then can further customize with a prop editor, cutting down on time and making the world of 3D games available to many companies. “The prop-editor also allows the user to pull images from the web, web pages, flash object, flash streams or any of the scripts that need to go onto objects. Scripts can include a wide range of tools, including the ability to inter-link objects, so that when a user clicks, they are transported from one are of the virtual world to another, or from one world to another.” For Digital Playground, this meant that they would import lots of fun things like videos, pictures, and toys.
Raven was also able to create her own character in the game, “I did make my own character, which took about a week in total – and she has all kinds of customized outfits that she can wear. For a gamer, it was completely fun for me, and I’m totally addicted to this game! I’ve already been told by many people in game that my character looks just like me!”
The world of online sex games marks a new chapter for the adult industry. Where previously adult stars were only able to interact with their friends through video and a hand full of in-person appearances, companies are now exploring different ways like online games. Are the family collations like MAVAV, Mothers Against Videogame Addiction and Violence that complain about games like Grand Theft Auto going to come after these truly hardcore sex focused video games? Only time will tell.
Guest columnist Lydia Leavitt writes about sex and, oddly enough, social media. For more information on the latest intimate technology, check out 69adget.com and Digital Playground’s Utherverse (NSFW)