At a time when things feel like they are trying to keep us all down it’s important to look up and see… a giantess looking down at us hungrily. Oh my…
Digital Diversity loves talking to the developers of adult/explicit games as they open our eyes to new experiences, new ways of thinking, and sometimes new desires we didn’t know we had. So that’s what we’re going to do now as we talk to the creator of She Hungered.
Content Warning: The following interview discusses explicitly adult material including macrophilia (sexual fantasies involving giant people) and vore (swallowing of humans)
Kaiju: On today’s larger than life episode of Digital Diversity I’m talking to Ana Valens, writer, game developer, and one of the few journalists covering sex positive content in media today. And we’ll be talking all about She Hungered; a kinetic novel of the hot & mythological kind.
Welcome again to Digital Diversity, Ana. The last time we spoke was June’s episode of the podcast and it’s great to have you back to talk about She Hungered.
Please tell us all about who you are, what you do, and why She Hungered has given us all such a taste for the larger things in life?
Ana: It’s great to be back!! As you mentioned, my name’s Ana, I’m a reporter with the Daily Dot specializing in online adult content (particularly queer adult content). I’m a sex worker, an adult content creator, and a trans girl. I use she/her pronouns!
Hahaha, I love that pun. She Hungered is the definition of a passion project. Now that my game Blood Pact has been out for a year, I wanted to release a similar, shorter Twine game that explored a different setting, theme, and set of kinks: particularly macrophilia and vore. I have a huge giantess kink (no pun intended) and it’s easily my favorite kink. So why not play around with it?
When I sat down to create She Hungered, I wanted to create a game that looked at the fetish specifically from a lesbian gaze. What’s it like for a lesbian to turn into a giantess? What’s it like to have a kink that’s hidden inside of you, and what happens when it comes out and gets a life of its own? She Hungered explores that, with plenty of cis/trans lesbian longing along the way. And, quite frankly, I’ve been honored (if not a little surprised) by its appeal with non-size kinksters, who have come up to me and said, “oh, I was never into this, but now I totally get it.” I think everyone can relate to that feeling of desire and power that comes with size play.
K: Since we’re gonna have a bit of fun today I would love to hear about why macrophilia & vore are so prominent on your menu (pun totally intended). What the heck is it about giant women & getting eaten whole that makes it so damn hot?
Where did looking up before being swallowed down start for you, and what about it makes it a dish that you wanted to share with the world?
Also, I seem to be unable to stop making big vore jokes. I blame you for this, haha.
A: Never apologize for that! hehehehe
Great question. Before I was even aware of what sex was, let alone what a “kink” or “fetish” was, I knew I was into gigantic beings and people. I gravitated toward games and TV series where characters became big.
For instance, when I was eight or nine, I remember seeing a dubbed episode of *Cardcaptor Sakura *as a kid where one of the characters becomes an enormous woman controllable with a diary or something. And I remember watching that scene and just thinking, “wow, this is so cool! and it makes me feel really good to watch, i want to keep watching.” I had other experiences too — playing the monster-themed fighting game War of the Monsters on PS2, playing a Reptar segment in the Rugrats PS1 video game, things like that — but it wasn’t until I was 11 and discovered giantess kink material online that I actually started to figure out I was experiencing something kinky. Then, by the time I was 13, I figured out I had a giantess kink and that it was a sexual experience. That’s when I learned about vore, which I quickly fell for and grew in love with, although I was also into vore before I was aware of the term for it… all of this is a very long way of saying “I was always into it, way before I had the words for it.”
Why am I into it? Even now, I’m still learning, still figuring it out. I think part of it may be innate and genetic. But there are specific themes and tropes that are reoccurring in giantess and giantess vore material that catch my eye. There’s the power dynamic, for one: a giant woman is innately powerful. She can do so much to those around her: she can pick up whoever she pleases, she can destroy buildings and cars with the flick of a wrist or the step of her foot, she can injure or kill people as she pleases, and yes, she can also consume them too. It’s an embodiment of the “D” in D/s. She is totally dominant through size alone, and her size is a manifestation of that power. In a lot of giantess kink material, size alone unlocks a giantess’ sadistic side.
Vore expands on this by exploring some of the most innate (and feral) desires people have. Humans survive through consumption. To live, we eat. Vore expands on this by turning other people into objects for the Dominant figure’s consumption. In giantess vore, the giantess consumes other humans and toys with them; she’s the predator to their prey, another feral dynamic I adore.
Vore can be humiliating for sure, but it’s also about having and fulfilling one’s animalistic desires by absorbing others and combining oneself with them. It’s an expansion on macrophilia’s themes of desire and dominance, which are already about animalistic control and power, but it takes it one step further by exploring how a giantess is so powerful, so awesome in her capabilities, that her (in giantess growth stories, specifically) former peers are now her meals for no other reason than because she deigns that so. That’s so hot to me. There are very few representations of power that are so obvious, so sexy.
And beyond that… big lady hot, big mouth sexy, full giantess tummy mesmorizing. Not much more to it 😉
As for sharing it with the outside world — I really wanted to create a story and game that would innately appeal to me first, then share it with the outside world and find people just like me who could relate. As it turns out, that pool ended up being much larger than I imagined.
K: Gosh, that was a mouthful and a half. It’s clear that you’re truly passionate about the subject, and that definitely comes out in your writing. Which I have to say is hot as heck fans self.
Before we move on I have to ask, in the giantess/vore world fantasy are you more often the giantess, or the snack?
A: Hehehe, why thank you!!
Usually the latter, actually! I love being the tiny person in these fantasies. That’s not always true, of course, and I’ve played around and roleplayed being the giantess before. There’s a lot of fun there in its own right for me. But more often than not I adore the idea of being smaller, and a giantess toying with me — whether safely, or, more often than not, to my imminent danger. Hehe
K: Being the smol one is definitely a fun experience, haha.
Both She Hungered and Blood Pact, your incredibly hot succubus fantasy, have been made with Twine, in fact I believe all of your games have, and they all fall under a kinetic structure (one that has very limited interactivity). What do you think the strengths are of Twine to help tell these stories & explore these fantasies? How do you think kinetic stories fit within the gaming community that is often riddled with complex mechanics & sometimes problematic methods of engaging players?
A: Interesting. I like working in Twine partly out of nostalgia. A lot of the most influential trans artists I knew when I was first coming out were Twine creators. A lot of them have since moved on from the medium, but I think Twine is an incredible format that soars thanks to its lo-fi structure. If you can figure out CSS, you can use Twine. That’s even easier with She Hungered‘s story format, Chapbook, which does a lot of the heavy-lifting so the player can specify a few formatting options and be on their way.
For me, kinetic stories start first out of convenience. I want to tell traditional, linear stories to make narrative scope manageable; branching narratives quickly become chaotic, in my experience, without a lot of meticulous organization. Most Gamers(tm) would thus declare She Hungered and Blood Pact aren’t really games, but I don’t think that’s true. She Hungered and Blood Pact are both multimedia experiences that require player interaction to continue, and they’re designed though narrative experiences that guide the player through a meticulously paced story. We prime the player to experience certain feelings or emotions. Blood Pact famously has this with one of its illustrated sex scenes that’s purposefully designed to shock the player slightly, albeit only slightly: when you go to the next “page,” you’re met with some very kinky, out-of-this-world penetrative sex.
Additionally, kinetic gameplay is very player-friendly, in that there’s only one thing they need to do: head forward or backwards. No need to worry about complex decision-making. The narrative is made up for you. You just get to decide if you want to keep reading.
K: It’s great to hear a well thought out argument against the “it’s not a game” discourse that has plagued the industry for decades. I’m 100% on your side in this case too, the moment the player is provided a choice to continue it becomes an interactive media.
I’d love to talk more about the nature of adult games, and their place in the wider industry, because it’s a topic that still doesn’t get enough attention. We talked a bit about this in the podcast, but sometimes it feels like I’m one of the few “media” people out there even talking about this stuff along with you.
Mostly I would love your opinion on why the hell games media refuses to cover games that have explicit sexual content, especially in a non shock/jokey manner. We’ve got this element of society that is hugely important to our emotional well-being, lets us explore who we are, and gives us pleasure, and yet it’s either taboo or a joke. Why do you think this is? I’m pretty sure you have opinions.
A: Do I ever. It’s really complicated. Especially with the pandemic going on.
K: You’d think with a pandemic going on this would be the time to talk about this stuff
A: This might come as a surprise for some of your fans and followers, but I haven’t been able to snag any press coverage on She Hungered up until this interview. It’s been very difficult. When the pandemic began, games media tightened its belt and shifted its focus. Outlets are mainly focused on AAA and AA games right now — the exception being anything that makes waves from the indie world, such as Hades. As much as the entire games industry has strong words about Ubisoft or CD Projekt Red, these companies’ games will always receive coverage because they are major players that bring a lot of clicks in Google search, via social traffic, and via organic conversations.
Meanwhile, advertisers — which remain the main income source for games websites — have a lot of de facto control over content created and produced. Advertisers have no say in the newsroom, but editors factor in advertisers’ and managers’ concerns when they assign stories. Adult stories tend to rub advertisers the wrong way, so these are generally deprioritized. Combine this with a pandemic that’s forced games media outlets to tighten focus on the AAA industry, and freelance games writers hurting for any opportunities at all, and it’s all a mess.
And all that aside, think of your average games journalists. While the demographic is increasingly shifting to include queer and trans folks, it’s still a very privileged field. There’s no interest in queer adult stories among cis and het writers. It’s a huge shame.
One quick add: Adult stories can be hit or miss via search traffic, which is another factor in the newsroom. There’s more to this, though, that I can’t really talk about since it involves my work with Dot. The TLDR is that a lot of mainstream games media publications lack the sensitivity nor courage to cover adult material, and they leave money on the table. Dot is different in this regard, although most gaming websites aren’t paying attention, to their detriment.
K: That explains a lot. With Digital Diversity being a purely crowdfunded platform I’m free to cover pretty much anything I want, which means if I want to talk about games that other sites won’t; like She Hungered, Full Service Shop, & Knife Sisters I’m sure as hell gonna do it. While it would be great to get support to make things more financially stable I’d rather keep doing what I’m doing.
I really love what you’re doing with the Dot. It’s how I learned about you & what you’re doing and I think the world is a better place with what you’ve brought into it. It’s been amazing to see at least one platform covering this sort of thing & tackling a problematic industry.
Okay, back to the hot stuff.
You’ve done demons. You’ve done giantesses. You’ve eaten your fill. What’s next on the Ana Valens bucket list to write about and explore?
A: Aww thank you!! Seriously, that means a lot.
I’m grateful you’re out here doing this work too. That’s how to change a culture and an industry: one step at a time.
Ahhh, goodness. I’m not quite sure! I’m working on Blood Pact Pt II right now, but I’m keeping the pace slow. I do have a few ideas in the works though. There’s one on lesbian mind control, another on a trans girl and her robo android with some robo guro fun. A third, that’s sort of been scrapped, involving a mech pilot on Mars and her crush who turns into a giantess. I might resurrect that one eventually. Either way, I really do wanna get Blood Pact‘s next part on the road: I think fans have waited long enough for a new installment, and I can’t wait to continue Alexa and Felanya’s story (along with a newcomer sure to delight)
K: I can’t wait to get my paws on Blood Pact part 2. The original is still one of my favourite pieces of erotic fiction and I want more. More I tell you!!
Are there any other adult specific games you’d recommend folx check out? We talked about A Harmless Bite on the podcast, but are there any titles you think folx should explore to see what gaming has done with sexual content in positive ways? They don’t all have to be about giant women or vore, haha.
A: Aww!! Gosh thank you!! That’s high praise :heart:
Oooh. Hmm. I’ve been shifting gears recently and aren’t quite up to speed with the latest adult game developments, but I remember covering this VR furry game a few weeks ago — Heat. It has very immersive and realistic animations for having virtual reality sex with two anthro creatuers, along with a variety of gameplay features, including tummy rubs and macro play!
The furry community doesn’t get a lot of love in the games world, which is a shame. They deserve more serious, dedicated coverage. I think a project like this could really revolutionize both VR porn, and what furry porn can portray.
K: You’re sadly right there. Which is kinda messed up because the furry community has proven time and again to be one of the most inclusive, best at sharing positive content, and kicking toxicity out of their communities out of any I’ve seen. Furry games are also hugely prevalent. There’s over 600 of them on Itch alone and a large number of those are by & for the queer community. Maybe Digital Diversity should reach out a paw to the furries for talk about their games.
On the topic of VR porn games, do you think that’s the direction that adult gaming is moving more towards? Or do you think there is still a big place for more traditionally styled explicit gaming in terms of design?
A: Yes! I find furries are more often than not excited just to talk about their hard work
Hmm. I think the field will diversify, but not necessarily go in just one direction or another. VR porn introduces a lot of new amazing opportunities for the field, but traditional adult games still offer plenty of novel ideas and experiences too. It’s sort of like how television introduced new ways of thinking about storytelling, but ultimately, people still need and enjoy books.
K: VR is also a huge barrier to entry for a lot of folx, both in terms of pricing & accessibility. So there’s always those factors in how things evolve.
Okay, well we’re approaching the end of our interview so I have to ask:
Who are your three favourite giantesses from fiction (or reality if you know any), and where would you take them on a date?
A: Ooooooh!!!! This one is fun. I’m going to say:
1) Giga Mermaid from Shantae
2) Karbo’s various monster girls (hard to choose just one!!)
3) Yuu Takeyama from MHA
Carmelita Fox from Sly Cooper also gets an honorable mention, hehe
The Giga Mermaid and I would definitely have an amazing beach date. Karbo’s monster girls? A forest adventure for sure (I’d probably not get out of that one alive though). If we go ahead and age Yuu up to her 20’s, probably a carefully orchestrated city date with some giantess stargazing afterward c:
Carmelita doesn’t get a date, since she’s a cop. ;P
K: Romance is a beautiful thing, especially when there’s so much of it, haha.
One last kinda serious question before we finish up. I’d love to know the biggest lesson you feel you’ve learned working with adult media. Both as a journalist and game developer. Is there something important you’ve had to teach yourself, or learned the hard way that you don’t think you could have learned doing anything else?
A: Exactly hehehehe
Creating art involves a lot of introspection. That’s doubly true with adult art. Be prepared to find things out about yourself that you didn’t expect, both good and uncomfortable. Good art unsettles both the creator and the consumer, and I think if you’re creating work that challenges you, you can’t go wrong.
K: Wise words indeed.
Thank you so much for joining me today to talk about She Hungered, Ana. I can’t believe I’m the first one to talk to you about it but I truly hope it gets the positive attention it deserves. And I for one can’t wait to get my teeth into your next game.
As always when we end these interviews is there anyone you’d like to make a shout-out too or further words of wisdom you’d like to share with us?
A: Aww, of course!! Grateful to get the chance.
Hmm hmm. Everyone should go totally check out Benjanun Sriduangkaew’s work. She never gets enough credit despite making amazing wlw SFF novels. Much of which full of very kinky, erotic sex scenes.
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