Kotaku had an interview with Robert Yang, creator of a number of games that have a very…different surface level aspect to them than most.
Yang's games explore themes of gay sex, consequences therein and at a deeper level the treatment of the gay community. Through a number of games that on service level seem nothing more than odd, titillating eccentricities, there is arguably a deeper aspect to these games, the message that Yang hopes to bring out.
As he says in the interview, "I'm trying to talk to gay people about gay stuff," with his games like Stick Shift, wherein the player must masturbate a horny car using the gear stick, the aim being to bring the car to climax, 48% of the time you'll be pulled over by the police, which is a comment on the statistic that 48% of LGBT violence survivors who deal with misconduct from the police.
His latest game, Radiator 3, includes VR support too, and can be found on Steam Greenlight. This of course adds a whole new level of intimacy to the proceedings. Yang apparently hopes this will 'push people to challenge their assumptions about sex, kink, and their own bodies'.
Of course, when the majority of people know his games from the likes of straight YouTube gamers who dismiss his games as simply 'messed up' or vomit inducing, it is plain to see that many perhaps will not get passed the simple fact that his games involve stimulating a vehicle, or soaping up men in a shower.
"It's hard to feel successful when many of these (straight) YouTubers seem to flatten any understanding of my work, and profit from the ad views. I try not to think about it and instead derive some sort of intrinsic value from making games that hopefully isn't tied to internet numbers."
Though it is worth mentioning that Yang does not feel he is making his games for a non-queer audience to claim empathy with queer communities.
"I am against the promise of any claim to a 'VR empathy machine', and I am against it forever. How do you know this is actually empathy you're feeling? Do you really need to wear a VR headset in order to empathize with someone? Can't you just fucking listen to them and believe them? You need to be entertained as well? Are you sure this isn't about you?"
Instead, it would seem Yang hopes to make games so 'obscenely gay' as to stop homophobes playing them altogether.
"It'd be beautiful if I managed to convince them that VR was for gay people, and so these gross people stay away from VR entirely,"
"In the end, tech is going to fuck up every culture it touches. But for a little while right now, VR is a weird barely-coherent thing that no one can monetize efficiently, and so they're funding some interesting art."
Could it work? Could Yang effectively combat homophobia and achieve such a Pyrrhic victory over homophobes with more excessively and obscenely gay content? Who knows. But certainly for those looking for titillating games with hidden layers, or who just like scrubbing down men in the showers, Yang continues to make games for you.