Brace yourself for a wild ride, folx. Today we’re visiting the Full Service Shop for some new parts, new ways to experience our sexuality, and some eye-opening encounters with medical professionals that want to make sure you walk out of the clinic with a smile on your face.
Easily the longest interview we’ve ever had on the Digital Diversity project today’s discussion gets deep into sexual dynamics, BDSM & a surprising amount of actual gamedev talk. So check in at reception, the doctors will be with you shortly…
Content warning: This interview contains discussion of explicitly sexual nature including BDSM, mind control, & body modification as well as some sexual imagery. If any of these things are hard limits for you we’d recommend skipping this episode.
Kaiju: On this episode of Digital Diversity we’re talking to the crew behind Full Service Shop, an adult visual novel that goes above and beyond in terms of consensual kinkiness & self exploration.
Welcome to the Digital Diversity Project Alexis, Cammie & Tsushi. Please tell us who you are, what you do, and what the heck Full Service Shop is all about.
Alexis: Hello! I’m Alexis Royce, I’m a freelance artist. I’ve been making comics for a while now, but I love Interactive Fiction, especially Visual Novels.
There’s a joke in the BDSM community about people never being able to find Tops or Dommes. So I like the idea of making games that can function as scenes for people. The last VN I made was a cathartic torture porn about resilience. I wanted to do another sort of cathartic erotic VN, with one-on-one interaction between the player and a single NPC, but with the NPC building you up instead of tearing you down. And I mean, the first thing that would come to anyone’s mind would be cyborg lesbians, right? So that’s our game: a sapphic visual novel taking place twenty minutes into the future. In the good timeline with free health care, and casual body positivity. Just something where a player can chill and have fun with a little smut.
I wanted to work on FSS with my friends, and was eager for the game to benefit from their differing perspectives on the setting and themes, so I asked Tsushi and Cammie if they were up for making this in a month for the NaNoRenO game jam.
Cammie: Hi there! I’m Cammie. I am a living receptacle of movie knowledge and I primarily draw breath out of a love for fiction.
I appreciate Alexis inviting Tsushi and I along for the ride on Full Service Shop. I have a fairly demanding day job which had once got in the way of one of imagiBROS earlier projects. For reasons I’m sure I don’t need to go into that no longer exists right now. Having FSS to work on while everything spiraled out of control was valuable for me at the time, turned out to be just the right medicine for the right moment.
Tsushi: Hi, I’m Tsushi. I’ve made sculptures and other bits of art out there online. I’ve done writing in the past, mostly working on projects with my wife Alexis. I would say she takes the main initiative on projects, and I tag along and help when I have something to contribute.
FSS was a project idea I liked, it let each of us write very separate ideas and being it together a bit. A nice short project, that let us explore a comfortable yet sexy atmosphere. I was hoping as I wrote my part to be a calm place for the reader to relax
Kaiju: You link into my first question most elegantly, Tsushi. You all contributed towards the characters and interactions of FSS, writing your own ideas to bring together what could have easily been several different tales into one deliciously hot experience of a game with seemingly endless replayability.
I’d love to know which parts of the game you each contributed to, specific elements or kinks your really wanted to include, and how the characters you created helped you talk about your own views and desires?
Alexis: We divided the game up pretty neatly into individual routes. I figured out a rough structure for writing a route. Player chooses technician, meets them in their room, has some time to get to know them in a precedingly less platonic way, installation occurs, the new equipment is tested out, aftercare occurs, protagonist departs. I wanted to be very hands-off and give the others a lot of creative freedom; I was scared of squashing their ideas. But I think I gave way too little guidance. Speaking openly about your kinks is tough, haha!
I wrote Exit and Channery’s routes; I’ve written stuff for both of them before, so they’re very dear to me. Both of them have very strong personalities, which is a big thing for me; I like characters who get a bit carried away with themselves. Though I hadn’t planned on including anything resembling pain in Exit’s route, that is a big kink of hers, and after some people really got to love her in Off the Cuff, I realized that some were expecting something intense from her. So I got a little creative with sensation play for her. I also knew that Exit would be mechanically focused; both in finding ways to restrain the protag, and because the protag’s body is itself a turn-on for her. Exit’s the creativity and fun of BDSM.
Channery was initially going to be a cold Domme sort, hacking the protag’s circuits from across the room, and never touching them. But when her lady love Kato joined the cast, I knew I had to go for soft yandere Channery. Both because I knew that Kato’s cold self-control would be a better fit for a cool appeal, and because Channery turns to mush when Kato’s around, anyway. And though it’s not mentioned directly in the text, Channery has BPD, like I do, and so finding safe ways to handle volatile emotions is always a natural throughline for her. I wanted her route to feel very wild and out of control, but, when you peek under the surface, everything’s been accounted for. Channery acts like she’s drugged the protag, and is going to permanently mess up their programming, but it’s all been discussed ahead of time, and the safeword physically prevents her from moving. Channery’s the playacting of BDSM, the pretend danger.
Oh, and really quick note, though I may have made assets for the UI, the game was coded in Ren’Py, so the MASSIVE bulk of the coding and UI was already done for us. We got to focus on just the fun stuff.
Cammie: Well Alexis is skipping a lot of the stuff she did there. She’s the head in pretty much all departments excluding the writing for Tsushi and I’s specific routes. All art was done by her, the lion’s share of the coding. She made the UI, the backgrounds, the sprites and the insert art.
I helped with some coding, but more just as a “this is giving me problems and I am busy with other bits, Cammie; can you fix it?” and I thrive in those conditions. I had done Flash coding prior to this game, had to learn Python fresh to get this one off the ground and that was fun. Even made a mini puzzle game on my own as a tech test to just see what I could do with Renpy.
For this game I wrote Maya Kato. As Alexis mentioned, she and Channery existed before this project and have a history together. It helped me craft a more interesting character in the way that I could suggest a version of their history to give a bit of depth to her, as well as some implications which can make a player fill in the blanks on the way she operates and her relationship with Channery and patients at the FSS.
Maya is a cold and controlling person, I played up those traits and added some of my own personal flavor of hypnosis and mind control to give the brainwashing route.
When Alexis gave me the explanation of the safeword function and the rule that “we can’t do anything to make the player feel they have made a wrong choice” I started to make a bunch of branching paths to ensure that Kato could be coercive but if the player didn’t consent then you don’t lose the entire scene.
I may have gone a bit overboard.
Also, because of my tests with the coding, I thought to add a couple “secret” endings.
This is really my first chance working on a project where I am open about my kinks and interests. Until very recently it’s just not been an open topic for me and being able to express myself through Maya was therapeutic. Being accepted by people I trusted and assured that putting myself out there would offer some form of acceptance from a wide audience?
I don’t know if I’d have done everything the same way if I had the choice to go again, but I wouldn’t trade the amount I gained from the experience.
Tsushi: I wrote the least of all of us. I did Robyn’s route which is pretty straightforward without a lot of deviation on endings and paths, since I’m still new to the coding and trying to style a branching narrative tree I got a bit overwhelmed, and ended up just having less.
I really like plants, so I tried to tie in a bit of my passion into Robyn, sorta going for a light solar punk that still tied in on the cyborg ideas. Her route isn’t very kinky, it’s more focused on writing someone who is a more tender and shy to fill a gap for the other characters having more forceful personalities.
I find shyness very cute, but I wanted to try to make a shy and sweet character that avoided focusing on virginity, since a lot of sweet and shy characters tend to be portrayed as “pure” because they’re too innocent for sex. I wanted to mirror the atmosphere that sex was comfortable and enjoyable, and that even a shy or insecure person is allowed to enjoy sex.
Kaiju: Talking to y’all it suddenly becomes so clear how FSS came out as such an interesting mix of energies and urges. You are all obviously very passionate about the things that make you who you are, and that is pretty evident in the characters you wrote.
Cammie handily brought up the next point I’ve been aching to discuss: consent & safety.
The Safeword function is something of true beauty in this game; being able to halt a particular scene, discuss it with your partner, then decide if you want to continue or not is of massive importance in the BDSM community, and one that is often either ignored or joked about, but y’all made it a key feature in the game which suddenly made FSS for me something truly special. In fact this particular style of implementation made be unique in the realms of visual novels.
When you were making Full Service Shop how important was it that you made something that was risk aware, consensual, and communicative? Did you find that difficult to implement and would you like to see more games having that sort of safety feature included, especially in adult games?
Alexis: Cute Demon Crashers was absolutely an inspiration for the Safeword button. It’s a fantastic game! I recall years ago noting that their “Stop” button was good for setting a certain kind of tone, but in practice, it limited gameplay, instead of opening up new mechanics. In safeword terms, it was a “Red” button, when what I wanted was a “Yellow.” A check-in button. After all, the player of any video game already has the ultimate safeword button: the X in the upper corner. You can always turn off a game that you don’t like.
It was impossible to replicate a real world “yellow” safeword, of course. The game is not a real person, it is not capable of reading the player’s emotional state, and six weeks is not enough time to even attempt to guess at all the facets of a scene a player could ask to edit. The coding on that button was pretty frustrating, I lost several days trying to hack Autosave and Quicksave, asking for help on the Lemmasoft forum, before realizing that I just plain needed to delegate it or lose a lot more drawing time. Cammie did a great job wrangling the return function on that, it was amazing. I really wish I’d had time to add more to the safeword button options for Exit and Channery; I had a whole scene planned for the player to get clever with it, freeze Channery up, and then domme her, but game jams have limited time for a reason.
There are a bunch of other safety tool models I thought about but decided not to use. I play a lot of tabletop games, and I’ve run games with the X Card, and got to play a game with lines and veils, and there’s been a lot of discussion in the TTRPG sphere lately over both of them, and how to encourage players to speak up about content that makes games worse for them. And IRL, if you’re going to engage in BDSM with a sub, you want to plan before you start, discuss with them the kinks, devices, concepts, etc, that will come into play.
But I preferred the gameplay loop of the technicians introducing kinks, which could be safeworded if the player didn’t like them, instead of asking before introducing them. IRL, you can make check-ins really sexy, but I find that choices in visual novels get the analytical portion of my brain working. You know, you stop, make a hurried little save so you can go back later, and then puzzle out the answer that will get you the flags and points you want. I wanted my routes to be something that could be played through very smoothly, something to give the players control, but to take the burden of choice off of them. When playtesting Maya’s route, I got a pretty mild ending the first time, because her constant check-ins made me feel like she was making me do a lot of the work. Cammie will be able to explain her route better, but what I understood from her was that all of Kato’s check-ins were a form of coercion, rather than actual player empowerment. So for people with that kink, those were fake questions, designed to get the protag to agree to her ideas. I think that’s a pretty cool way to subvert the literal choice mechanic of the dialogue options! Very sophisticated!
I’m not planning on including the safeword button in every sex game I make; it would be very out of place in something like Off the Cuff. I’m glad for the influx of games that depict the communication and setup aspects of BDSM. But I’m a GM and practice BDSM in my real life, already. Setting up campaigns and scenes is a lot of work. And the gratifying part of that work is actually communicating with real human players and partners. Currently, I’d rather play a game that contains things I can’t do in real life, or has shocking twists and turns.
There’s another tool I like: content warning documents. I admit that don’t ever read them when playing other games, because I like surprises, and seeing a list of warnings tends to either spoil the surprise or set unreasonable expectations in my mind. But I will keep writing them for people who want to go in prepared. If I want to write about edgeplay and things that we can’t safely replicate IRL, it only seems fair.
However, I have discussed with the others the idea of a BDSM game where a safeword mechanic is introduced on subsequent playthroughs, as something that changes the player’s understanding on the relationship between the characters. Video games are all about how the designers give the player the illusion of control. But the illusion of a lack of control is a shining feature of BDSM. The addition of a safeword button can destroy that illusion, which can be bad or good!
Cammie: So I already mentioned how I tried to ensure all of Kato’s options were baked in with consent. But a big part of what drives a lot of the “hot evil scientist taking away your thoughts” kink or “strong domme makes decisions for you” is the sensation of being trapped and literally having your agency removed.
The key is balancing a level of recreational coercion that is subjective and may not even be read by people who do not pick up on tropes prominent within the kink. During playtesting some friends noted that Kato is always asking your opinions while using language, setting and circumstance to lead your answer. Keeping you on the rails and under her control if that is something your player is interested in.
Then you have the safeword mechanic. I decided that besides negotiating consent, it made a fun gameplay tool in a game which had very little ability to interact with but also it allowed me to really think “why and when would the button be pressed.”
When an extra person joins the scene, did the player want a third party? Are they worried the third party is not a consenting member of the scene. I can address that with the safeword button.
I also got to keep it for things like when you’re alone in the room to see if Kato is watching you against your knowledge. When I could I wanted to reward curiosity with content.
I do regret not adding a Safeword Within A Safeword.
I didn’t know how much I could get away with that, but I had envisioned under the right flags having Kato overstep and keeping the safeword on screen (it normally vanishes while in a safeword sequence) so you can tell her “no, really. Stop!”
But I didn’t feel bold enough to play with the trust of the player like that.
In the end, playing safe and respectful when you’re working with a mechanic like this is better than trying to amp the gameplay element.
Tsushi: Personally I think the safe word button is something that works well with content themed in the way FSS is. I like it and it fit with the personality of the game. In an environment where the sex is meant to be consensual, and where the point of the game is to be fun and safe. Like a sexy spa.
I think a trigger warning page is a great thing to have available to anyone who wants it, I think anything with more mature themes, it’s helpful to have a place to check what you might be confronted with in the story.
But I would agree with Alexis, that not every game or tone would work with a safe word button. I think it’s a feature that would probably benefit plenty of game types but the great thing about games is you’re already starting with a lot of control over your experience, you can walk away pretty easily from a game that’s making your uncomfortable when you’re playing alone, you don’t have to worry about social awkwardness of asking to stop.
Kaiju: These are some great points, and make a lot of sense in the context of FSS that wouldn’t necessarily work in any other adult game. After a few play throughs I was admiring how each character weaved the safeword button and their own consent models into the interactions, but I hadn’t actually noticed how deep some of it all went, especially with Kato’s path. A big part of that may be that I went in with my own hopes and desires, and letting the doctors lead the player choices conditions you into wanting to follow paths of their choosing. I couldn’t think of a single time when I could say no to Maya, I’ve definitely got a type.
I may actually be blushing right now. Congratulations. Y’all got me blushing thinking about how well you’ve written these characters and how natural it all comes across in a kink dynamic.
To save me from embarrassing myself further let’s branch out and talk about other games that have made an impact on you. They don’t need to have been adult, but have you found there are games out there that have helped you explore your own desires or curiosities, or even just where you’ve been able to point them out and say “that game there, I can see who I am represented in it”?
Cammie: Oooo, well let’s get SWERY’s The Missing out there. I was closeted (though not well) at the time and I was blindsided by the game’s conclusion and I quite literally burst out in tears, gross sobbing openly. I felt seen and accepted in ways I wasn’t ready for at the time. Any game that starts with a “THIS GAME WAS MADE WITH THE BELIEF THAT NO ONE IS WRONG FOR BEING WHO THEY ARE” splash deserves love and attention.
Getting to play out a narrative like that was cathartic and in no small way painful. But it overwhelmed me with empathy and immersed me in the sensation of being seen. Seeing parts of my own turmoil play out. Dan “Foldablehuman” Olsen did a video this month about watching the movie Contagion over and over because getting to see a narrative conclusion to the insanity of the real world pandemic helped him cope. I feel that too. It made something as impossible feeling as coming out as a transwoman feel attainable just by allowing me to enter JJ’s headspace and feel her narrative journey.
That kind of acceptance and experience is worth more than words can sum up.
A bunch of other games have got me on an emotional level. But besides “Ending [E]”, The Missing is the only one to break me into a sobbing wreck.
I doubt FSS is able to give anyone that kind of catharsis, but I wanted to make sure not to trigger dysphoria in any of my scenes, though I would have loved to grant Gender Euphoria to those who got their parts replaced at the FSS if I could have.
Alexis: The Danganronpa series is fantastic; the way the themes of each game interact with the player have slapped me in the face on more than one occasion. The truth vs lies discussion in V3 knocked my socks off. Having a healthy barrier between what’s fictional and what’s real is important, but so is respecting fiction’s power to affect real life.
And for tabletop games, and one that especially requires careful GMing, I have to laud Bluebeard’s Bride. It’s a feminine horror game about exploring the grotesquely haunted house of the fairytale lord, as his new bride. I’ve run it several times, both for close friends at home, and for strangers at GenCon, and it’s a particularly beautiful and intimate gaming experience. There’s a “shiver from fear” mechanic which is marvelous for sadists like me; when a player actually blanches or shivers, the GM gets to ask them what they’re worried will happen…and then tell them why it’s worse than they expected. Hehehe. It’s exactly the tightrope of scaring and caring for my players that I adore.
And I can’t end without my favorite creator: I pretty much adore all of Swery65’s works. Every time I’m making anything, I ask myself if I’m being as earnestly true and to and unashamed of myself as he is. I’m still leagues behind him, but he’s an important role model. The relationship between York and Zach in Deadly Premonition made me feel seen in a great way, and The Missing is marvelous representation on several levels, but the final section especially made me break into some strong tears. That game understood the true power of gore in a perspective dear to me, one I’d never seen anyone else vocalize before. The idea of regeneration, of learning to accept pain but not let it overwhelm you; it was communicated so beautifully. He’s got two new games coming out this year, and the hope that that sentence fills me with is insurmountable.
Tsushi: For me I think I’ll mention Wandersong! Decidedly not kinky or sexy game. That was the first game with an NB protag that I really felt connected to, I loved the Bard, their approach to the world resonated with me a lot. Super sweet game, and hit really close to my heart, just for a lot of tiny reasons in their plot as well.
It has taken me time to get more comfortable with identifying as NB, but just seeing more folks out there, in life and in games, it’s nice and helps me feel more valid.
I also would cite Fallout New Vegas as one that was interesting in exploring my desires, not my sexual desires, but certainly was an interesting challenge to exploring what I thought was the right thing to do. Which was cool. I really wish there were more games with such robust roleplay, but of course there are always tabletop games or LARPs for that. Then the sky is the limit.
Alexis: Hehehe, Fallout New Vegas was my sexual desires. Drop me off in the Big MT, please and thank you.
Kaiju: Honestly, Cammie, getting to have a touchpad as one of the options for new down their parts was a kind of euphoria for me. I’d never even considered it but getting that option and having the chance to experiment with it in game suddenly gave me a euphoria I didn’t know I could have. So consider Grant Euphoria achievement unlocked.
Sounds like there’s been a lot of validating experiences out there for you folx, that’s wonderful to hear. I hope that Full Service Shop and other experiences y’all create can be that same thing for you.
Let’s move onto some more development questions. You all handled separate parts of game creation, but all had your hands inside the story (wink wink), did you come away from making FSS having learned new things about making visual novels? Any poignant wisdom gleaned from its creation or obstacles you had to overcome when working with something that looks to have been a pretty complicated build. And of course I have to know if there’s any particular part of the game that you feel very proud of making?
Cammie: Biggest obstacle for me was a symptom of my ambition. Every intimate scene required branch statements in the code for the different genitals and then needed constant checks for the optional additions.
Else and Else/If statements kept breaking but it just keeps going on with the script so I had to ensure every possible statement was referenced in code because it was easier than trusting else statements.
Also Kato’s glove was a nightmare to work with. I actually removed it from the script at one point but put it back in after the art asset was made.
I believe the final version of the game still references her wearing the glove in the intro sequence but the art doesn’t match.
I guess I also learned to trust myself a bit more too. I brought a lot of nervous energy into the project but now I’m really emboldened and confident.
If I got to do something like this again I’d probably go a little more unrestrained and go ham on the tropes I love.
Tsushi: I didn’t do a ton of coding, I worked with mostly simple things, and I had a lot of help from my wife.
But the good news is that Renpy is relatively easy to learn and use, it’s free, and has lots of options, Alexis even has one of her games playable in browser, which is really cool and makes things more accessible!
Even if it will take some time to learn, there’s a lot of resources out there to help with it. I think it’s great for newbies.
As for what I’m proud of, I’m just really glad I got my route finished. It was really challenging to work in the middle of the stress of the world changing so much and basically work being closed down etc haha.
Alexis: I’m very proud that we got the safeword button working; that’s the big technical bit we worked out. We’re all pretty low level with coding/scripting, so I’ll take that win where I can get it! I’d already made games that had pronoun choices and an extras menu, and Off The Cuff had some complex pathing to make for lots of replayability, so this felt like a small step forward. I like game jams for that; they help you learn to make goals you can accomplish, and not bite off more than you can chew. And this one had a two-week extension in the middle, which was just like, pure gravy.
One of the skills I wanted practice with was working with others. I don’t always collaborate well, because I’ll have either a clear image of what I want, or I’ll just want to support someone else’s idea. My poor wife has had to deal with more than a few frustrating projects where we couldn’t quite see eye to eye. I’m really grateful that they and Cammie worked with me, and this ended up being one of the lowest-stress projects I’ve ever worked on.
I’m happy with my routes, but as far as pride goes, I’m much more proud of Cammie and Tsushi’s accomplishments than my own. It’s scary, to put yourself out there! But both Cammie and Tsushi were in uncharted territory with this, but they found something that was theirs to write about, and determined what they were and were not comfortable sharing. But Cammie ended up writing a route about three times as long as what I’d initially asked for, with kinks and a new perspective on control! I love learning about new kinks. Sometimes it feels like you’ve seen everything under the sun, but new kinks are wonderful, they’re this marvelous peek into something pure about a person. And Tsushi made something so sweet with Robyn, it was kind of the opposite treat, to see this sensuality and heart that I already know so well and adore. The route may be short, but it’s soft and gentle without being weak.
I dunno, I make stuff all the time, I can’t not stop making stuff, I was doing two webcomics and convention work and other projects back while I was still working full time, I’m a fiction addict, so I couldn’t not make another game. But I made sure that they could quit at any time if they were uncomfortable, and not only did they positively tackle the project, we used this game as a chance to improve our group communication and understanding of each other, even if just a little bit.
I could never have made anything like this in a month, or even six weeks. They’re incredible.
Kaiju: Y’all are so gosh darned wholesome; I love it.
Are there plans for you to work together to make something else in the near future? Considering how well you collaborate I’m surprised you haven’t officially teamed up to make your own studio together to make more amazing games together. If not do you each have projects you’re moving onto next?
Tsushi: I’m sure we’ll work on something together in the future, we might just play a tabletop campaign in private, but that could always lead to another short game idea or new characters that might be in games Alexis makes, even if she works alone, we’ll usually be sharing ideas together.
I don’t really have plans for any online project right now, but I will be very focused on my garden this year and fixing up the yard. That’s my main summer project, getting a garden started. So if you’re interested in pictures of plants or gardens, you can follow me.
Alexis: Oh yeah, anything that I work on, Tsushi is essentially a collaborator. I don’t even feel comfortable sending commissions out without asking their opinion. And Cammie’s on par with Tsushi for media literacy, they’re both so unbelievably smart. Bouncing ideas off them is a privilege and a joy. We’ve all been playing tabletop games together for the past decade, so often it’s just fun to make stuff for each other, even if we don’t release it to the public.
In January, my cousin Megan Johnston and I finished our first webcomic, Evil Plan. It took thirteen years, but I’m glad we stuck with it. It was a fun way to learn how to draw! I’ve got a lot more time on my hands now that Evil Plan is done, so I’m looking forward to spending it on more small projects like Full Service Shop.
I’ve got a couple more visual novels I’d like to make. Something with lesbian pirates and a queer alchemist. And possibly a sequel to Off the Cuff sometime, with help from Cammie. Tsushi and I are planning on writing a couple LARPs this year; if all goes well we’d like to run one at GenCon next year. Tsushi’s great at LARPs, they interconnect everyone’s plotlines so well and give players plenty to do.
Currently, I’m working on another weekly webcomic called Sire. It’s about people who are descended from literary figures, and it’s kinda meta and trope-filled. I’m also prepping for a one-shot silly comic about some gay spies working in rival coffee shops. In the pentagon food court. It’s called Grounds for Termination.
Cammie: I’m still getting used to the idea of not working 45-50 hours a week. I adore being involved in imagiBROS projects. Tsushi and I made an agreement that next time we need sound effects we’ll get to have fun providing those for Alexis.
Bit for the moment working on tabletop stuff is enough. Helping Alexis create is the goal and knowing I can help in any way is exciting. Being able to bounce ideas off and give her characters a foil to torment or be haunted by is great.
Hopefully I can get some more writing done before my corporate overlords pull the leash.
Kaiju: Sounds like you’ve all got things to focus on for the time being, just remember if y’all make more games let me know. The project is always looking for more content to share 🙂
I’ve just noticed how long this interview is already, so lets roll out of this interview how we started, lewd on main.
FSS is one of the most positive, hot under the collar, romps through experimentation and desire. Something we don’t see enough of that doesn’t come with problematic or toxic strings attached. So for our final big question today I’d love to know if y’all have particular adult themes or kinks that you really want to see represented in media, especially games, in healthy ways that dig deeper into the whys and hows of what makes them hot?
Cammie: I really am grateful to be working in a time of digital distribution where individual artists can get their voice out. Video games have the curse of being both a young medium and of being too expensive to risk locking out sales by getting banned from stores, ala GTA and the hot coffee fiasco. Because of that sexual depictions in mainstream video games are trapped with slim representation, especially in the west and somehow I don’t think David Cage is the one who will break that barrier.
Personally I find sexuality to be most valuable in the emotional intimacy sense, especially in the tension and seductive pull of power dynamics. I’m lucky in that regard that my kink is the most easily translated to video games. Bioshock and SUPER HOT both have “the game’s objectives are literal commands that you, the player, must obey” as their core theme. The latter even packages it with a lot of kinky language. I don’t find either one especially horny on my end but I can see how someone could.
Who knows. Maybe one day there will be a GLaDOS like who bosses you around through the game which will really get kinksters going. That day I may end up typing “i am weak and gay, hhhhhhhh” as my review for the experience.
But if we’re talking about something which will actually have an open discussion about sexuality, which indulges and doesn’t recoil?
For that, Itch.io and the like are a godsend until I learn enough Japanese to see what VNs are popular out there.
Niche markets always arise to fill a demand and as long as there are passionate people who like sex and video games (some rank them as the highest of life’s pleasures) there will be content to share and praise.
Anything we can do as a community to better represent, educate and indulge in those wants and needs, the better. One of the earlier comments on FSS was “I learned something about myself” and that should be the goal of any project. Display your love earnestly enough that someone else falls in love too and has enough of an accurate idea to walk in ready to learn.
Tsushi: I would love to see sex explored in a more mature way in a lot of media, a lot of games that include sex are automatically limited in their ability to sell and where they can be sold, so it’s unsurprising that games with a larger scope or budget often don’t even bother to talk about sex beyond being a minor mechanic or include some fan service.
For me I honestly just want a lot more LGBTQ content. I want more variety in terms of sexual dynamics between characters. I would love to see more power exchanges between characters in games, build some sexy tension. Sexy villain and hero dynamics? I dunno, there’s a lot that’s not being tapped into in the medium.
There’s a ton of under-explored territory for people to make shorter games in free engines like this based on characters with fun sexy interactions, I hope people try lots of things, if you think of something you really want to see porn of, hell, just give it a go!
Alexis: I don’t know if it counts as a specific kink, but I’d like to see sex to build character and plot in more adept ways. It’s so common to see sex used as the end goal of a relationship. Or the presence or absence of any sex whatsoever used as a metric for how well or poorly a relationship is going. I want to see how creative a couple is, and how well they communicate, as depicted through planning for BDSM scenes (Stjepan Šejić’s Sunstone knocks this out of the park). Or I want to see how someone can take their partner’s seemingly unwholesome kinks, and make them work. BDSM is just so good for soothing those wants we’re told are wrong, and getting to the core of how we work. I know that this is a bit of a non-answer, but what I want most isn’t really representation for myself or my kinks. I want fiction that lets me understand other people better. So it’s hard to make a list, because my list is full of words I’ve never heard. I want the world to bring to me fetishes for wonderbread, or armpit fucking, or poetic mushroom erotica, whatever!
(Like, I don’t want them one-on-one in my DMs, haha, but I do want to taste the art crafted by people with novel tastes.)
But hey, be the change you want to see in the world, right? So what’s a weirdly specific kink I’d like to see dissected? Hmmm. Maybe living suits! Gotta love beings with weird anatomy. There’s a lot of variation possible. After the recent Venom movie, fanartists were out there doing God’s own work, and that’s just one specific type! Very cute and fun. Maybe it’s something about partnership and alien beings finding joy in the mundane? Hmm. Uh oh, can’t overthink this, or I’ll want to write it…
Kaiju: Y’all better make more games together, because there’s some damned good stuff in here I’d love to get my paws on down the track. These sorts of dynamics & interests & using the medium as an engine for positive exploration just makes me so grateful to be able to have you folx on to chat.
And with that I want to thank you so much Alexis, Cammie & Tsushi for joining me on the Digital Diversity project. This has been an incredible experience getting to talk to you all about Full Service Shop. I loved the visual novel, I think it’s honestly one of the best adult VNs out there and I want to see more that deal with sexuality, dynamics and communication at least as well.
So let’s finish on three flash questions:
1. You’ve entered the Full Service Shop for some new/updated equipment, do you pick the vulva & vagina, penis, or touch pad?
2. Where can folx find you and your work?
3. One piece of advice you’d give to someone exploring their sexuality
Cammie: 1. Touch pad for sure. I really enjoyed writing the LED functionality of it during my route and somewhere down the line I just thought “yeah, I kind of do like the idea of having genitals that can display ticker messages and turns a touch play version of Snake into functional foreplay” (also, I’d take a business card with me for when I want to try another option)
2: Best way to find me and the things I’m working on is via Twitter @camden_dawn
3: Find your people. Learn the difference between someone who treasures that special part of you and teases as a way of getting you to open up versus someone who ridicules you and makes you feel ashamed. In all things acceptance and understanding is the best way to make a person blossom. I think I’m a bolder person than I was 2 months ago through going through this process. I hate myself a little less. I’ve tried chopping this part of myself off more times than I can count, all it does is bring misery and self loathing. Self-loving is embracing the dumb weird shit and being open to other people’s dumb weird shit. Who knows. Maybe I’ll be the one commenting “I learned something about myself” next time I take a dip into some lewd fiction.
Tsushi: 1. The touchpad is admittedly pretty damn tempting! Or maybe something even more unique, I feel like most of the techs wouldn’t mind trying out something custom for me. I have ideas, Maybe a fully controllable limb with lots of sensation that could arrange in different ways as desired. I wish I had had more time to maybe add more options.
2. Lately the main place I post is on Twitter @chibisilverwing
3. My advice is to try to find a few people to talk to who you can trust to give you encouragement, support, and space to grow. There are kinky spaces out there for tons of different fetishes, and finding community can give you an outlet if you feel alone.
Alexis: 1 Hehehe, I’m going to invoke doctor-patient confidentiality on that question, I’m afraid.
2 The freelance life means that survival hinges upon posting my work anywhere and everywhere. There’s links to most of my social media on my website at alexisroyce.ink (and yes, “ink” as in what goes in pens or what octopuses shoot at you). But my super secret lewd twitter account is @withkink. It’s kind of new, but some extra art of these characters tends to pop up there from time to time.
And lastly, all my games go up on itch.io, so you can find and play all of them for free here. If you follow me there, you’ll be the first to know about new games!
3 I was someone who went to church three times a week growing up, and I chose a Christian college in an attempt to force myself to be straight. That level of self-hatred not only didn’t work, but was nearly lethal. My advice? Try to take time to understand yourself before you make a moral judgement about your sexuality. Your thoughts and desires come unbidden, so trying to snuff them out won’t actually “fix” you.
Whoever you’re into, whether you’re not interested in sex at all, or you want to explore tons of kinks with multiple people, you’ve got time to figure out what you want, and how to share it in a healthy way. Get out there and muck up your search history with some wild shit! I promise it won’t be half as weird as mine. ❤