Dec 152015
 

Hurt Me Plenty is a pay-what-you-want videogame that simulates being a top in a BDSM encounter. It presents a 3D male (apparently only male) figure whom you beat with various implements, based on mouse movements. More importantly, you also have to negotiate with the character, and establish a safeword, and give aftercare. If you play too hard, don’t heed the bottom’s safeword, or otherwise breach his consent or give an unsatisfactory experiene, you will be locked out of the game for a certain amount of real-world time.

It’s not just a matter of “Your princess is in another castle.”

In the words of the creator, Robert Yang:

This a short game where you spank the heck out of a dude and learn about how BDSM communities attempt to formalize consent / caring. I was really interested in how we can make games about intimacy without a “kindness coins = sex cutscene” trope, and how we can use expressive gestures to roleplay / think about pain and intimacy. (For the record, I don’t think my game gets it right, and it has a lot of flaws… this stuff is hard to design!)

Yang includes some criticisms of how sex is handled in other videogames, such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age:

These kinds of representations are dangerous more for their structural properties: players understand these romances as puzzles to be solved where sex is the reward — and the idea that sex is a puzzle reward feeds directly into a pick-up artist (PUA) culture built on manipulation and perceived entitlement to bodies. This is essentially the “kindness coins” critique, that the logic of training players to expect sex, based on a series of so-called strategic actions, is super gross and perpetuates damaging ways of thinking about relationships.

[…]

If you mistreat this AI agent, it will render itself inoperable and refuse to play with you for a period of time, ranging from 2-20 days.

Yang has produced a number of other games that deal with sexual issues, such as making your own dick pics (whether you have one of your own or not), or Rinse and Repeat, which simulates a steamy shower encounter with a guy, but you have to play at the right time of day to get the right guy.

I think Yang is onto something, or at least has identified a fertile point for discussion. He describes his games as getting away from the idea of manipulating dolls into various configurations and more into the idea of a relationship with a real person. (Or, by his own admission, an attempt to do so.) His games have their own agendas, and push back if they “think” they’ve been mistreated.

  One Response to “Hurt Me Plenty, teaching BDSM and consent through videogames”

  1. […] like Robert Yang and his game Hurt Me Plenty (previously discussed), Merritt Kopas has done some interesting experimental video games involving kink, such as the […]

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