Today, I am playing Big Bang Empire. It’s a sort-of tycoon game on Nutaku, where you design a porn star and send them off into the world to make it big. You’d think it would be a lot sexier than it actually ends up.
NSFW Warning: This post contains NSFW cartoon imagery!
Most tycoon games, I will admit, are not great insights into the industry they are attempting to portray: Game Dev Tycoon, for example, made me think that the easiest way to profit was to endlessly churn out sequels and fire anyone who was tired or sad, replacing them with new, younger employees. Wait, did I say that wasn’t a realistic portrayal?
Big Bang Empire is not about the porn industry as a whole, nor is it particularly critical of it. That’s fine, we’re here to get boners, not brainers. My porn star is a leggy pink-haired woman who owns not one shred of clothing. Her profile picture is her own front bum.—She is named PeenGobbler, because I’m not super au fait with porn star names, but I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to imply some sort of nominative determinism, as if their parents saw their darling two-minute-old child and said “oh yeah, that one’s going into the sex industry, good thing our last name is Cocksmith.”—
There is just so much going on in this game that it’s hard to keep track. I thought porn was simple: turn up to some AirBnB that you’ve booked for the day and filled with studio lights and cameras, take your clothes off, get pegged by two women in a pantomime donkey suit, roll credits. But according to Big Bang Empire, there’s so much more to it than that.
First, you don’t put any clothes on at all, which I guess is a time-saving technique that only the pros know about. Second, you have to make sure you have decent stats, because you can’t do a good sex scene without high Dex. Third, you have to fight fellow porn stars. Just punch them right in their handsome faces. How else are you going to rise to the top of the industry?
It turned out that the clotheslessness was actually an incentive of sorts, because the only way clothes can be attained is with money, which you can get through a series of timed quests. These quests require you to do things like blowing up 100 balloons, or participating in an “erotic chorus line.” Each quest nets you money, experience, something called “Liquid Developer” and, usually, some extra item that can be used to fulfil yet another quest for someone called Wendy.
Once you give Wendy whatever she’s asking for—towels, pubic hair combs, a job that doesn’t require wearing butt floss instead of underwear—she’ll reward you with a saucy photo of herself. You can even specify what particular areas of sauce you’re most into (options include things like “Big Boobs,” “Sperm,” and “Nude,” like a 12-year-old googling for porn) and the algorithms will find you something to tickle your fancy.
You may have noticed that I have not once mentioned the actual porn. That’s because the porn bit comes at Level 8, by which time you’ve been doing a lot of un-erotic things, like sorting your porn collection alphabetically for money, or trying to bribe Wendy into giving you a glimpse of her flaps. But for you, dear readers, I grinded my way up to Level 8—somewhat literally—so that I could give you a view from inside.
Once the porn scene is chosen, three tasks appear. One is a task requiring me to get a checkup at the doctors. One is a skill task, in which I have to cover up my fellow pornstar’s rhinoplasty scar. And one is a fighting task, which just means I have to punch a peeping tom until they leave. Wait, where’s the porn? Where’s the sex? Where’s the hammy dialogue about pipes and pizzas?
Like many Nutaku games, and many pay-to-play games, Big Bang Empire has a billion things going on. Somehow, none of them are sexy. I am playing a sex game set in the porn industry on a website built around anime tits, and it’s about as hot as a trip to the dentist.
Oh, sure, there are tits. Tits galore, in fact. There are tits on the border of the screen. Tits on the pornstars’ profile pictures. Tits on my character that I can see any time I like. Even the tutorial lady is basically just tits with spectacles. But you can’t just smother things in tits and call it sexy. Where is the art? Where is the storycraft? Text-filled missions, menus, timers, and an overload of UI do not a satisfying sex game make. If it did, we’d all be creaming our pants to Monster Hunter.