Above: Genital Jousting screenshot courtesy of Free Lives/Devolver Digital.
Kiss and Tell is Waypoint's column, written by Kate Gray, examining the depiction of love and romance, sex and intimacy in video games, across its many and varied forms.
The game development industry is obsessed with boobs. They come in all sizes, though most of them are comically large and weirdly ovoid. They jiggle like jelly, they wobble like cheesecake, and they bounce like toddlers on a rigid diet of Skittles and Red Bull. They're usually everything but realistic, but in-game boobs are like a separate thing to real-life boobs: people love them despite their anatomical inaccuracies.
But where are all the dicks? People love to make the argument, every time I write something complaining about boobs, that I'd probably just love it if everyone had their wangs out, wouldn't I? Yeah, we bet you'd like that, you double-standard-having sexist.
Actually, yeah, I am up for that. Nudity in games should be cool, like it is in mainland Europe (heads up: if you go to a beach over there, eeeeveryone's gonna be naked). It's not so much that I have a problem with boobs in games; it's more that there's generally only two types of them in games. There are stiff, unmoving boobs, and there are boobs that yearn to want to escape their fleshy confines forever.
So, yes. More dicks. Dicks in every shape, size, color and girth. Dicks with bends in them. Dicks with huge veins. You know how diversity is normalized by saturation? The same applies to genitals, my friends. I'm not talking full penetration of games—I don't really fancy having todgers all up in Tetris—but more people making games with male nudity will hopefully make it more culturally acceptable.
We should be able to joke about genitalia. Sometimes teabagging your own face is a good antidote to everything else in the world.
A few games have been dabbling in dicks, and I'm going to be talking specifically about Rust, Conan Exiles and Genital Jousting—three games renowned for their nobs.
Rust was a controversial one—though they all are, to some extent, because perhaps the world isn't ready for dongs—because it assigned every player a different-sized pecker based on their Steam ID. It was a masterstroke, but one that the players didn't quite appreciate, despite it being pretty similar to, you know, real life. Penis-havers in their hundreds thronged to forums, attempting to mask their real-life penile disappointment by yelling about their virtual-life penile disappointment (we can only assume). But who cares if your polygonal pork sword won't impress the ladies? You're in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, son. Concentrate on surviving.
Conan Exiles, on the other hand, has some of the most impressive meatsticks for some time, and not only because you can edit their length. (Happy now, Rust players?) The wang physics, and the ways you can exploit them for humor, are a thing of beauty. There has been a swathe of incredible beef-gifs since Conan Exiles was released, celebrating the weird, creepy, and floppy. There's an exceptionally good one where the player teabags their own face. (Very NSFW gif, here.)
We should be able to joke about genitalia. We should sometimes take it seriously, too, and sometimes it's neither the time nor the place for full-frontal flesh flutes, but also sometimes teabagging your own face is a good antidote to everything else in the world. It's good to laugh.
Laughter is the name of the game in Genital Jousting. (Not literally. The name of the game is Genital Jousting.) You and up to seven friends can play competitively or co-operatively to penetrate each other's "wiggly anuses", which are situated between the balls. Sure, it's not the most anatomically correct game, but the important thing is that you are a brightly colored, flaccid little peen, wobbling around and having a great time sticking yourself in things. Genital Jousting isn't afraid to explore the hilarity of wangs: the weird physics, the grotesqueness, the way they wobble around like fat jelly worms, the noises they make when they penetrate things (which is, apparently, a slightly unnerving "squelch").
It's also… kinda… cute, in a sweet, colorful, non-threatening way This is a deliberate decision on the part of the developers Free Lives, as is the way you join the game by "consenting" to what's about to happen. Penetration isn't something games explore all that often, but it can easily become sinister; by softening the edges and ensuring that everyone is a willing participant, it becomes something fun and not something deeply unpleasant.
But all these examples have one thing in common: they're funny. Search for Conan Exiles on Twitter and you'll be bombarded with gifs of helicopter nobs; play Genital Jousting with friends and see how many times you and your friends can yell "PUT YOUR DICK INSIDE OF MY BUTT" and other variants of the same sentiment in one night.
Wangs in real life are often a symbol of power and dominance, so when they're depicted as comical little wiggle-boys, it takes away their authority.
It's really important that dicks can be silly, cute, and fun in games, because it challenges the atmosphere of toxic masculinity that pervades the industry and the community. Wangs in real life are so often a symbol of power and dominance, so when they're depicted as these comical little wiggle-boys, it takes away some of their authority.
Of course, because the game development community is overwhelmingly male, we're likely to only get this dick-centric approach to genitalia, and it'll probably take a while to get the same sort of approach to vaginas—but maybe that's for the best. There's a lot of political, cultural and social meaning behind the vagina.
I don't think gender equality can be achieved by having everyone naked all the time always, because the world isn't that easy and problems can't always be solved by taking all your clothes off. But as the video game industry becomes engorged, swollen, tumescent with penises, I can only assume that more interesting and varied stories can be told. The work of Robert Yang is a fantastic place to start. We shouldn't be afraid to push boundaries, because the radicals—the extremes at the fringes of society—are what will continue to drive us forward, and to normalize weirder stuff, allowing us to explore new horizons. To put it more simply: dicks will change the world.