Day 132: HuniePop

HuniePop-6

This game was requested by a donator that wished to have their name withheld.

And now for something completely different.

It’s only fitting that a mere day after writing about my need for variety that I tackle a genre I can safely assume won’t be touched upon again for the rest of the year. That’s not to say I’m going to sit here and pretend that I’ve gone up to this point untainted by such software. Hell, I’m an adult male that grew up with internet access. An embarrassing number of my teenage years were spent trying to figure out a way to muffle the caustic tones of the dial up modem when I tried to sneak onto AOL in the dead of night, primarily using the information super highway to look at pictures of Jennifer Love Hewitt and learn about those… forbidden video games, the kind that you’d never see on the shelf in a Babbages, games like Fatal Relation and Immoral Study; simple visual novels with primitive DOS graphics but very very very inappropriate subject matter.

It all seems so tame now, of course, living in the age where I can access photos of any body part inserted into any another body part that I wish with an off-glance of the enter key. By that criteria, HuniePop is pretty innocuous, even when playing the uncensored version. I didn’t particularly care one way or another, mostly seeing the experience as an excuse to see how far the dating sim genre has evolved over the years. From what I can gather, HuniePop was designed for those wanting for more anime labia whilst simultaneously wishing the genre had less reading in it.

I always found that term to be a bit of a contradiction anyway – “dating sim”, as if the very delicate and unbelievably frustrating experience of interacting with other humans in a dating context was something that could ever be accurately simulated. In fairness, that’s never really been the goal, HuniePop continuing the tradition of you being a dishonest womanizer that’s really just looking to get into the pants of some rather dimwitted stereotypes. I suppose it’s true to life in that I only found one of them worthy of pursuing, the anti-social “gamer girl”, mostly because her complete disdain for everyone else seemed to match my own in the moment.

Unfortunately, after… ahem, “completing” her “plot thread”, the game simply expected me to move on to bed the next assemblage of big eyes and small thoughts that crossed my path, not really caring if I wanted to settle down with a favorite after playing the field. It’s after that moment of revelation that it becomes easy to understand why the girls are so shallow. Like the cast of a slasher film, they simply exist for the body count.

That’s not to say that I have a particular problem with any of this, nor would I look down on anyone that simply wants to play Candy Crush with boobs. Boob it up, I say. Have fun. I simply wonder what would result from someone approaching the genre with a bit more… nuance, having a goal outside of basic titillation or referential humor.

As I played HuniePop, I kept finding myself wanting for a bit more with each interaction beyond simply recognizing each girl’s obvious turn-ons, turn-offs, and what puzzle piece they liked me to match up. I wanted some… awareness from the world that I was just some skeezy Lothario willing to say anything to sleep with random people, or maybe some explanation for why so many attractive ladies in this universe are single. I wanted… substance.

I suppose I immediately welcome the knee-jerk response of “but it’s just porn” when I ask for things like that, as if adding something of intellectual value would somehow compromise the end goal of stimulating the player’s swimsuit area, or maybe prompt feelings that anything sexual is inherently unworthy of having considerate amounts of thought spent on it.

I dunno. Brains can be sexy too.

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