Sex, Drugs, But No Violence: A Porn Game With A Message

Video game developer Andrew Hall makes no bones about his lifestyle or the game he helped make that revels in it.

"I have consensual sex and I do drugs," he told Kotaku in a recent interview. "I've never killed anybody before. But in video games you just go kill people all day, it's like nothing. Bam, that person's dead. Bam, that person's dead. That really desensitises you. Murder is a big fucking deal."

That's why third-person action, triple-X sex game Bonetown doesn't include any blood or even the ability to kill people, instead you knock people unconscious during combat.

Hall, CEO of game developer D-Dub Software, sees the video game industry's willingness to allow graphic violence controlled by gamers, but its refusal to include sex or overt drug references as hypocrisy.

He knows that Bonetown, a cartoonish Grand Theft Auto-esque game that contains graphic sex acts and almost non-stop drug use, won't change that, but he hopes it will help create a business model for other sex games that won't include having to go through the game industry to market and sell the title.

In the game, the player arrives in the fictitious Bonetown as man with no friends. The first woman that befriends him has sex with the player on the beach and "shows you the way of Bonetown," Hall says. But then she gets arrested by "The Man" because they just passed the decency act in the town.

"So The Man, who is pretty much corporate America and the video game industry, is trying to make Bonetown a decent place with no sex and drugs," Hall explains. "You see The Man coming in and messing with Bonetown and then the last missions take you to The Man's lair to stop The Man from moralising Bonetown and keeping from being the place where sex and drugs are free to be everywhere."

There's very little about the game that can be safely described in the context of an article that can be read at work or in the view of children. The PC game can be controlled with an Xbox controller and feels a bit like an open-world action game. While there are chapters that need to eventually be completed to finish the narrative of the story, players are able to freely roam around the game's many different settings.

"This is an adult game, but it's not just about jerking off," Hall says, "it's about playing a video game too."

Players can approach any woman on the street and ask to have one of three types of sex with her. Her willingness to have sex will depend on the size of the character's testicles, which are graphically represented by a cartoon in the top left corner of the game's screen. A character can grow his testicles by having more and more sex or using some of the game's many drugs.

The drugs in the game, which include marijuana, peyote, crack and others, both give the player a temporary boost and provide them with a special attack that can be used against The Man's agents that roam the city streets.

Hall said that the developers decided to give the game a cartoon look, because trying to make it photo-realistic would have lead to failure.

"If you want to make a game about sex you couldn't make the girls look realistic because there is that uncanny barrier," he said. "Once you get so realistic it starts to get less realistic. So what we did, we tried to merge anime and Disney together.

"Look at our girls, they have the big eyes, but it's not the shroomed-out big anime eyes. And we had to go cartoon because we wanted our girls to be sexy. We wanted the Jessica Rabbit appeal of 'this is obviously a cartoon, but it's still arousing to me'."

Currently the game, which is packed with sexual positions and tons of graphic cartoon sex, only supports straight sex, Hall said, but that will change.

"Right now it is straight sex only," he said. "The gay market isn't that big in video games. Gay men play video games, but we needed to hit the core market first, the 18 to 35 heterosexual males. We would love to expand to gay, we could add more sex positions too."

While sex and drugs play a big role in the game, comedy is also a chief element.

"It's really over-the-top comedy," Hall said. "When it comes to the comedy South Park is our number one main influence."

The humour of the game is built into the combat, the character design and the levels, and is certainly helped along by the main character's ability to assume the identity of anyone he defeats in combat.

For instance, Hall says, both "White Jesus" and "Black Jesus" are in the game. To prove it Hall ran his character, currently dressed as "The Man", to "Firmwood Forest" where he found a laid back, meditative, pot-smoking Jesus hanging out at a campsite.

"Jesus is chilling in the woods," Hall says as he approaches him. "In Bonetown Jesus is a stoner."

Once Hall's character lays into Jesus with a mannequin arm, the Jesus character starts to fight back with a cross yelling at the Hall's character in a tirade that always ends in the word "man."

"I'm going to beat your ass, man." "Take that man." "You're a piece of shit, man."

After dancing around kegs of water and wine, and swatting at Jesus with the prosthetic, Hall finally knocks Jesus to the ground. Standing over him he presses a button and transforms.

"Now I'm Jesus," Hall says smiling.

Despite how adeptly Hall beat Jesus in combat, he says he doesn't really play violent games. Well, maybe a few.

"I play Grand Theft Auto because I think it's funny," he says. "I don't like the new one The new Grand Theft Auto, they were trying to make it feel like you're really a person in Liberty City and you're really killing people, you know what I mean?"

Bonetown has plenty of weapons, Hall concedes, but none of them cause a character to bleed.

"One thing, we didn't want was blood in the game," he said. "We wanted to be able to have a little bit of moral standing against the video game industry, say, 'You guys in Grand Theft Auto get to go kill women and children and have blood everywhere.' In our game all there is is consensual sex, there's no rape, nothing like that, there's no blood, you never kill anyone, you're just knocking them out.

"It's consensual sex and drugs and is that really so much worse than killing people?"


Comments

    An interesting viewpoint and interesting article. Thanks!

    I assume you dont get addicted to the drugs? Or get STDs? At least in GTA you got the cops after you if you killed people, so there was some repercussion to your actions.

    I guess I'll have to play it to pass judgement, but it sounds pretty lame to be honest.

    The Jesus thing just sounds childish. I'm an Athiest, but having Jesus as a pot smoking hippy is just stupid.

    Also, you get bigger testicles by taking drugs? Since when?

    More frustrating in my mind is the fact that there is very little separation between "nudity" and "sexual content".

    Are we that sexually stunted that in these amazingly realistic, immersive virtual environments where one has the ability to do almost anything (including graphically killing other people), we deem the sight of a naked body underneath armor and clothing to be vulgar and unnecessary?

    Sounds like a game that'd never make it to Australia. Even with an R18+ and/or X18+ rating, the drug use would instantly place it as Refused Classification (not to mention that it combines sex and violence).

    I'm really sick of comments like these "But in video games you just go kill people all day, it’s like nothing. Bam, that person’s dead. Bam, that person’s dead. That really desensitises you. Murder is a big fucking deal."

    I personally don't just kill people in games all day, and yes I know that even if I do that murder is a very different thing. I do agree with the concept of this game, to bring sex and drugs into the light that violence has been for quite some time, but making that comment just makes this stink of hypocrisy.

    Will there be negative side affects for the character's abuse of drugs and casual sex? Probably not. And how is someone being 'knocked unconscious' that much better than them being dead. What's the logic here, murder is a horrible thing, but beating someone senseless till they can't move is ok? I mean sure they could have brain damage, internal bleeding, could be drowning in their own blood, might end up paralyzed... buts it ok, cause they're not dead!

    Sorry for the rant, but I just really didn't like that part of what the guy said. Even so, I do agree with the idea of allowing sex and drugs into games as well as violence, I'm an adult and have the right to see and play what I wish.

    Grand Theft Auto doesn't reward players for killing innocent people, killing "bad" people gets you money but killing innocents gets the cops after you.

    So unless you get the negative effects of casual sex and drugs, his views are full of hypocrisy.

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