Written by Kate Gray for Waypoint. Originally published December 2nd, 2016.
“Video games are notoriously terrible at sex. Depictions are usually either awkward polygonal dry humping, or titillating glimpses of physics-defying melons. There’s rarely any subtlety to it, and though we’ve seen games from the likes of BioWare, Christine Love and Anna Anthropy take a good crack at all the stuff that happens around the no-pants dance, there’s still a severe lack of games that treat sex as something more than just a cutscene or mini-game, and even fewer that spend time investigating the consequences of the act itself.
Enter Frankfurt-based solo dev Lucy Blundell‘s One Night Stand, just recently added to Steam—a game in which you never actually have sex, but the strong implication is that you just did. You wake up, naked, in a stranger’s bed. You look around: there’s an empty condom wrapper, your clothes, your phone (which nearly dead) and various detritus from your mystery hookup’s life.
What follows is a series of awkward interactions, mostly from the bed, where you try to piece together the hours you can’t remember. The stranger’s name turns out to be Robin; you got together last night; and you bailed on a friend in the process. Snippets and shards of memories come together to form a fractured whole, but the feeling of uneasiness never quite goes away. It’s a short game, but one with several different endings, depending on how you handle yourself.
But here’s what One Night Stand, Blundell’s first game under her Kinmoku handle, does differently from other games featuring either adults-only playtime or multiple-choice pathways (or both): it neither treats sex with absolute reverence, nor does it treat it like something you have to sneak a peek at under the covers because it’s so filthy. In One Night Stand, it’s just a thing that happens, and neither party seems horrified by that—although Robin does admit that this isn’t the sort of thing she normally does.”