Sacrilege, a ‘Dating’ ‘Sim’

“For Unwinnable’s Sex Week, I did not, as others did, indulge in ‘method’ writing, as I am currently as about as sexually active as a nun who has sprained her crotch. However, I really wanted to make a ‘dating sim’ for the Pulse Pounding Heart Stopping Dating Sim Jam.”

So Madam Luna started a dating sim jam. I started writing a Twine dating sim. Here is my first proper ‘game’ that I made myself (outside of my day job at Littleloud). It is about sexytimes.

The club is perfect for exploring heterosexual dynamics, as one of those venues Audre Lorde called “proscribed erotic comings-together…characterized by a simultaneous looking away, a pretense of calling them something else”, an eroticism that boils away with the morning sun, leaving smudged makeup and sullen silences.

Porpentine

Comments have been mainly positive, though my favourites tend to be the negative ones (most of them from Kotaku): ‘I would like the last 5 mins of my life back’. HA. I HOPE YOU NEVER GET IT BACK. I HOPE YOU CRAVE IT ALL YOUR LIFE. FOR I HAVE TAKEN IT. YOU WILL NEED THAT FIVE MINS ONE DAY TO EAT A CAKE AND YOU WON’T HAVE IT. ahahahahahahahaha

John Brindle even tried to analyse how I made Mark so much of an asshole in the game through design.

John Brindle examines my brain

“My rough node/route map of @Carachan1’s ‘Sacrilege’. Check Mark’s asshole valences. Personality through level design!”

The reactions that I really think are important are this: that most of the positive emotional reactions on twitter were from young men. My entire game is written from the POV of a woman character, who is unashamedly a woman, who is young and brash and outspoken and outthinking and neurotic and probably couldn’t be more obnoxious. She is unashamedly 3D, though she only ever exists in text. She is all character, all the time.

THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE MOMENT YOU NEED, GAMES: MEN IDENTIFY WITH WOMEN LEADS. THEY LIKE THEM. THEY EMPATHISE WITH THEM. THEY ARE EMOTIONALLY AFFECTED BY THEM. THIS IS PROOF. PROOF. WRITE WOMEN IN. WRITE THEM IN. NO ONE IS AFRAID ANY MORE. MEN ARE COMING WITH US. THEY LOVE US TOO. THEY WANT US TO BE FREE. GAMES ARE WON. WRITE US IN. THE WAR IS OVER. BE AT PEACE.

Okay play my game now.

Play at Heartbreaking with Cara Ellison | Unwinnable.

5 Comments

  1. Alex J. Sandoval (@OMGLX) 05/03/2013 / 5:35 pm

    “THIS IS IT. THIS IS THE MOMENT YOU NEED, GAMES: MEN IDENTIFY WITH WOMEN LEADS. THEY LIKE THEM. THEY EMPATHISE WITH THEM. THEY ARE EMOTIONALLY AFFECTED BY THEM. THIS IS PROOF. PROOF. WRITE WOMEN IN. WRITE THEM IN. NO ONE IS AFRAID ANY MORE. MEN ARE COMING WITH US. THEY LOVE US TOO. THEY WANT US TO BE FREE. GAMES ARE WON. WRITE US IN. THE WAR IS OVER. BE AT PEACE.”

    <3 that.

    I just wanted to long form my thoughts here, being one of the many positive young make Twitter reactions.

    I finally jumped into Sacrilege, having played precious few other TWINE games, thinking it would be… I don't know, rather inconsequential. Occupy my time for a few minutes, like a game does.

    But rather, once I began to initiate said 'fuckplans' — the game kind of grasped me by the shoulders and made my pay attention. I realized… I'm ALL of these people.

    I don't know about others who've had Sacrilege resonate with them, but I've been the 'fuckmistress' who has indulged carnal pleasures with those I've harmed and those who've sought to harm me. I've been the guy shocked at baldfaced advances from the strong-willed, outspoken, aggressive woman I would complain didn't exist. I've been the provocateur of such advances. I've been the one wanting more. I've been the one putting my hand out and saying this close and no closer. I've been the friend trying to present a plea for logic (as many have.) I've been the 'No, it'd be weird' guy. I've been asshole playing with courtship outside my relationship boundaries. I've been the plaything for those doing the same.

    The coy, the brash, the cloying, the indifferent. All of these things, as I try to resolve my identity as a sexual creature, and a person overall.

    It's wild. Playing through the game and identifying with every character within it is CATHARTIC. Not that I've allowed myself to forget any such interaction, but running through the gamut of them all at once is kind of like stemming the painful growth of my brain as it expands to accommodate all the realities of the lives I've lead, like some sort of Butterfly Effect aftermath.

    And that's why the game is beautiful.

    I'm exceptionally fond of the secret book at the end, which I think is the greatest takeaway from the entire experience. I plan to play through again so I can take all of that wonderful, raw prose and keep a copy with me at all times.

    I think the message is that profound.

    Thanks for Sacrilege, Cara.

    (The various usages of YYY tunes and obviously 'Sacrilege' were like icing on the cake, too. <3)

    • Cara Ellison 05/03/2013 / 6:51 pm

      I’ve had replies that have hinted at what you have said before, Alex, but your particular articulation is in itself very eloquent and graceful. Thank you for letting me know your feelings on it. I’m so glad it meant something to you.

      <3

  2. Kimberley 06/27/2013 / 1:30 am

    I can’t really find words to describe how amazing and thought provoking this game is. Thank you for your words, the secret book helped me realize some things about myself, and I discovered I’m not quite as awful a person as I thought I was. I will definitely play again. <3

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