💌 Best adult games of 2020, six-hour-long dating sim reviews, and more in Mr. Hands' Naughty List #11
There certainly was a lot going on this week, most of it extremely bad and disruptive. I can only speak for myself, but I had a hard time staying on track to compile this newsletter. I hope you were safe and still able to find some enjoyment from games, be they erotic or otherwise.
I write this newsletter every week in the hopes that it may inform and/or entertain you about the goings-on of the adult game development community. If you like what I’m doing, why not consider subscribing?
And there is in fact a lot of news to go through this week, so let’s get into it!
LewdPixels picks their best of 2020
The adult gaming publication has taken a good hard look at the output of the community over the past year and has crowned winners in the following categories: Best Developer, Best Original Art, Best NPC, Best Writing, and last but not least, Game of the Year.
Congratulations to all the winners! I hope it brings you a lot of additional coverage for your games. 🤗
Sadly, I was unable to snag any rewards myself, which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I didn't release any games in 2020. But there's always 2021! 😉
Action Button has put up an absolutely amazing six hours long review of Tokimeki Memorial, a dating sim from 1995 that has never been translated from Japanese. I'm happy to report that I watched the whole thing, even if it did take me the entire week.
The author makes a compelling case for it being a ground-breaking game, arguably as important to the pantheon of great game design as Doom, Quake, and Ultima. And it's a game about dating cute anime girls in high school! 💖
The author goes into the history of the game, how it ended up getting made, and what its creators worked on afterward. He also does two full playthroughs of the entire game, both of which are hugely compelling.
I know the runtime might scare you off, but please do give it a try. If you're even mildly interested in the history of dating sims or if you can just appreciate good game design, I guarantee this video will have burrowed its talons in you within the first twenty minutes. The author recommends treating it like a mini-series, with a break after every hour.
Are you ready to fall in love with a waifu from a bygone era?
How to market game good
I saw this excellent question on my feed and I felt compelled to give a proper answer.
Steam now is a very different beast than it was even a few years ago. Although I have worked on games that launched on Steam in the past, I don't think that experience really prepares me for what it means to launch a game in 2021. Just look at the number of games launched on Steam over the years:
It's pretty tough to stand out in a crowd like that! 😱
Luckily, there are lots of resources now to overcome this hurdle. I think a good place to start is How To Market a Game. Chris Zukowski runs a really good newsletter about how to market your game on Steam and other platforms. He also writes really compelling threads like this one:
Another good resource is the GameDiscoverCo newsletter, which is focused on discoverability on Steam in particular.
Something to think about is launching your game during periods of time that are traditionally considered bad for sales:
Fewer games being released means a higher algorithmic preference for your title. It's a tough market out there, so you should take every unfair advantage you can get! 💪
P.S. You should absolutely check out Indoor Minotaur's game Daughter of Essence, which is a sprawling erotic RPG with quality gameplay and even better writing!
Writing Wrap-Up 📖
WinterWolves Games has put up a sobering end-of-year review on their blog. They feel they may be chewing off a bit more than they can chew in 2021, but are confident they can release a number of smaller games. And they leave us with an inspiring message:
In the end, since it’s a business, it’s the market who decides. So if you like yaoi/yuri/otome whatever, remember to support devs who do those genres, that’s the best way to encourage them to make more
Over on Complex Relations, the author is branching out a bit beyond just talking about what makes good writing in visual novels:
Choices, even minor ones, can help the player feel invested by getting them to feel like a part of the narrative, and exploration can make a game feel like a richer experience. But both these elements, if mishandled, can lead to results which are… kind of stupid.
The Steel Hearts development blog has a Combat Report on eccentricity and artistry from its writer, specifically about one of its characters:
A young woman (and a young man, too) rushing headlong into love is a recipe for a bad time. And besides–what if something gets in the way? Or rather, someone? The sort of someone who would send a girl to a military school instead of an art school, despite her wishes? The sort of someone who says he knows what’s best–and can, perhaps, back that up?
The wildly successful adult game Wild Life has posted a Game and Lore Overview, which explains how its world works and what its story mode will look like:
Over a thousand years ago a colonist ship crashed onto the surface [of Planet Kerpal] and the passengers found themselves stranded on this wild alien planet deep in the Outer Rim. With no other possibilities they harnessed the last remaining energy from the rescue ship cells and sent out an SOS signal… but no one was around to recieve it.
Twitter had a field day with "Bean Dad" this week, a man who posted an ill-advised screed about teaching his nine-year-old daughter how to use a can opener on a can of beans. And I will freely admit that it was fun. We could finally all come together again to hate on this bizarre and objectively bad thing! But Ryan Broderick points out on his newsletter Garbage Day that it's all much worse, actually:
I believe that Twitter is a dying website and that it has entered a period of deep insularity and cultural decline and is now virtually intelligible to outsiders. [...] [I]n my opinion, Bean Dad is very simple. It means one thing — your website is poorly run. That’s it.
Ren'Py released version 7.4 of their popular visual novel framework, introducing a new renderer and support for Live2D
SISEA, the bill that threatened the livelihoods of sex workers online, was defeated in Congress, but only because of some procedural nonsense
NicheGamer wrote a summary about the situation of adult games on Steam in Germany
Please take some time to fill out this Dating Sim Satisfaction Assessment if you want to help gather data on what turns people on and off from them!
Patricia Hernandez upped an older article of hers about the messy woman in Fire Emblem: Three Houses, which I think is still a lovely read
Siluman explains why their Monster Girl game is called Cosplay Party
Cheeky chuckle 🤭
Artist spotlight 💡
Thanks for reading this far!
If you want to help me compile the newsletter, feel free to poke me on Twitter.
Until next time!