Interactive Erotic Fiction

 Is this really a thing?

After my last post talking about it, I started seeing the hits on that post go up, and I wondered, are people really looking for erotic text adventures? I didn't really think anyone played these that much these days to support a niche audience of fans and enthusiasts.

To be honest, I love the old-style text adventures. I loathe the ones that shaft you into an un-winnable state, or there is one true way through the thing where you are required to bang your head into multiple walls until you give up and start looking for walkthroughs online. I love the casual ones where you read, do things, and explore at your own pace. I like figuring things out, but not the crazy logic puzzle ones where you have to figure out dozens of verbs to do to dozens of nouns and combine things in a set order or you lose.

I have a particular taste for these where I have a player contract that says "do not screw me" before I go in, and "please do not make me jump through a thousand hoops of moon logic."

Otherwise, I like them.

I played one erotic text adventure once where the sex itself was a puzzle. You have to F-F-F-whisper to her-F-F-touch her face-F-F-F-say yes-F-and do all sorts of specific actions interspersed with the F-ing and have the male hero pull out and escape out the window for the best ending. And my eyes glazed over as I read the walkthrough and felt that would be a lot of work and a terrible thing to pull on a player. If I F twice here and not three times I guess I lose? What a terrible thing to do!

Please do not make the sex scenes puzzles! that is not sexy nor fun to me! They are fun moments you discover and unlock, and not something where you have to search the passenger deck of the Titanic for a wind-up vibrator and a pair of fishnet stockings to get the best ending. Add in there about fifty steps to distract the occupants of the cabins on various side-quests to get those items without being discovered and all of a sudden I am feeling this is a lot of work for something that is supposed to be pleasurable.

But in a perverse way I can see why text game creators find that sort of thing pleasurable in a perverse sort of way. Without requiring thinking and player investment, where is the challenge? What is the point for reading something naughty, and just pressing "next" to get through it?

There is a balance I feel here in the types of games I like. Keep the sexy parts as rewards, but require light puzzle elements and exploration to figure things out and give the player a sense of earning their treat. Add some secrets in the experience that reward finding that vibrator and figuring out who would like that during play time, unlocking a special scene if you put the work in.

But otherwise, do not block those who get frustrated easy. Let them have some fun moments too, and encourage them with hints if they need them.

Honestly, I still like these experiences. I like reading, and I like the interactivity. I am more a fan of the type-in the words style of IF that Inform 7 and TADS 3 creates than the hyperlink style of games that Twine 2 creates. I like the sense of discovery, rewarding those who pay attention, and being able to manipulate the environment more than a system that provides a passage and a couple options on where to go next. There is a special sense of discovery I get thrilled by when I type something in, and it works!

Still, I wonder if there is much interest in interactive erotic fiction outside of the search engines that randomly send traffic my way. If there is, I shall create some and release to the world. If not, this shall stay a hobby of mine that I play around with by myself.