Recently, Roguelike Radio episode 57 was brought to my attention. It dealt with, among other things, the annual Roguelike of the Year 2012 poll. There was some discussion in relevant places on the Internet about whether or not to include erotic roguelikes in the list. I’ve been there myself to see a very telling thing, echoed in the podcast. Listening to it reminded me of all that, and inspired me to write this and get it off my chest, long after the poll closed.
Most of the people arguing against inclusion don’t know what they’re arguing against. They outright admit that they never played Noxico and argue against it with arguments based entirely on their own views. From what I gather, they take the combat angle of roguelikes and assume that any sex in the game must be done in a similar manner, sliding right down into outright rape.
Here’s a hint, guys. It’s called an erotic roguelike. Rape is not the least bit erotic, and it’s by far not the only kind of sex available in the game (Noxico, that is) to begin with. Consentual sex is not only a possibility, it’s the preferred kind. I did not implement towns before dungeons just to have the player character rape everyone in town! In fact, unless certain actions are taken, it’s impossible to rape villagers, or even attack them. The rape that is in the game goes both ways: just as the player character can rape a hostile NPC brought down on their knees, so they can rape the player character, and unless said PC is highly depraved, their rape scene is not nice.
The implication here is, ofcourse, that the PC is depraved in the first place because the player made depraved choices. And when I see a forum post or podcast turn “roguelike with sex scenes” into “rape simulator”, that only suggests to me that the ones arguing like that are the depraved ones.
I started programming Noxico because I wanted a challenge. I wanted to keep myself occupied, and to try and shake the roguelike development scene up a bit. Given at least one other erotic roguelike in development as I write, and all the Jack Thompson-esque kneejerking nonsense that inspired all the above, I’d say that worked. I am very much sexually frustrated, and I produce the things I do to vent this frustration, hence the idea to make Noxico an erotic game on the outset. I like ponies, and found Anquestria (mentioned on the very same podcast) sorely lacking (so did the podcast speakers) so I put ponies in Noxico. (And yes, they do have “various sexual implements”, Mr Grey) I like to reach a broad audience, so I allow many things in the game that I personally wouldn’t consider, such as homosexuality, and made it so that if you wanted, you could not only mod in all sorts of new stuff, you could mod out all the sexual bits.
My main gripe with the whole inclusion issue is this: I don’t care if I win or not. I don’t expect to win. But to simply disqualify my game just because you’re feeling prudish simply won’t do. Noxico and Seduction Quest (the second-known eroRL, by Codex) are roguelikes, and they deserve to be on that list.
In the end, Noxico was on the list, and for that Mr Doull has my thanks. Not surprisingly, it lost. Surprisingly, I was not the only one voting for it.