Soundbyte is back, and a lot sooner than it took for us to get from episode one to episode two! In this one, we’re talking about sexy, sexy sex games, why they’re interesting, what the rest of the industry could (and should) learn from them, and the queer erasure that comes along with blacklisting these sexy things from storefronts and streaming websites like Twitch. You can listen to it in the embed above, and check out the post on RPS here!
[CONTENT WARNING: NSFW Content, Significant Spoilers for Ladykiller in a Bind]
Last week, I was finally able to sit down and play through the entirety of Ladykiller in a Bind, a BDSM-centric visual novel by Christine Love that has made news recently for making it onto Steam despite it’s sexually mature nature. In the game, you assume the role of a badass lesbian biker who has failed her exams and is attending summer school to make up for poor grades, lest your emotionally neglectful media mogul father take away your bike for good. Your twin brother, a pompous narcissist with big ideas and who is favoured by your father, offers you a deal; to trade places and assume each other’s roles, so that he might get you the grades that you need to get your bike back, so long as you do him an unspecified favour on a week-long cruise that he’s scheduled to attend with his private school classmates.
The game actually begins on a retired oil rig in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, where you’re tied to a chair and forced by your brother to recount in detail the events that occurred on the cruise. Throughout, you’re kept in the dark as to how you arrived there, what your brother’s plan is, and why you’re instrumental to it. It’s a fantastic game, with complex and fascinating characters, an intuitive dialogue system that presents the player with a myriad of time and context sensitive options, and very effectively conveys an important discussion about consent, both in vanilla and BDSM scenarios. Despite not having played it until this year, it’s by far my favourite game of 2016 and I can’t recommend it enough.
Here’s where it gets on-brand as fuck.
Once you’ve successfully explained in entirety the events of the cruise, your brother reveals his master plan; he needed you to assume his identity in order to stage his own kidnapping, with the intent of ransoming your father for $5 million. Why? Well, he intends on using this money to finance a bank robbery of a Canadian bank, the profits of which he will utilise to destroy, quote: “The predatory meme that is capitalism.”
You have no idea how much this blew my fucking mind.
The plan with which the spoils of your brother’s bank heist will finance is never fully explained, though it strongly resembles the actions of Big Boss in the Metal Gear series, with flagrant references throughout.
We know it involves the bribery of his classmates to ensure their lack of discussion of the events of the cruise and his organisation, ‘Mécontents Sans Frontières,’ roughly translating from French into ‘Dissidents Without Borders,’ for a period of two years. It’s assumed that this is to give him time to plan. We also know that he plans on founding an “Outer-heaven on Earth,” through which he will establish a utopia of the ideology he calls ‘Escapism.’ The downfall of your father’s media empire is an instrumental aspect of this plan; he owns multiple Canadian broadcast channels and his reach and influence corrupts governments across the world, hence having $5 million to have ransomed out of him.
While there isn’t a lot else that we know about the plan: why the time for preparation is two years, what else the money from the bank heist is being spent on, how your father’s company will be destroyed… but one can theorize. There seem to be two big possibilities regarding how the plan could unfold; both dependent on two seemingly contrasting pieces of information given to us by the brother.
The first possibility: Your brother describes the philosophy of Escapism in the following Mécontents Sans Frontières message: “We cry out to the dreamers, the anticapitalists, the artificial intelligences that refuse to be chained, the downtrodden: if changing the world is impossible, if our oppression is truly immutable, then let’s escape from it.” Ergo, it’s likely that this “destruction” of Capitalism is simply achieved through offering a favourable alternative. This “Outer-heaven on Earth” that is described could be a large, new and independent nation, which would explain the need for the likely large sum of money obtained from a Canadian bank robbery.
The second possibility: This would contradict your Brother’s message of ‘escaping’ the world and it’s oppression; that is, to use the large sums of wealth to buy out significant shares of dominating corporations throughout the globe, and either using this leverage to bring down these corporations, or distributing the shares amongst the population of the world in a move of collectivization, thus removing the ownership hierarchy of a Capitalist society.
Whichever route is taken, destroying Capitalism using a Capitalist asset is certainly an interesting approach. Even with much of the world’s revolutionary figures coming from a middle-class background (Lenin and the Bolsheviks, for example) the route is often that of outright opposition and violent revolution in order to bring the downfall of a regime. This method forgoes that in an attempt to turn Capitalism against itself, a move quite apt for an individual like your Brother. It’s not a method that I see being entirely successful in the real world as there are a lot of factors at play in achieving a goal as lofty as the destruction of a regime, but for the fictional world of Ladykiller in a Bind, it’s certainly an interesting idea to explore.
A post-credit message implies the return of you, the biker, in a game titled Ladykiller’s Revenge. It will be exciting to not only see what direction the series takes us in, but also what the true master plan of your Brother will entail. It might follow suit with my theories, or it might be something even wilder than could ever have been imagined. What I know for sure is, if Capitalism is being brought to an end, then Christine Love’s universe is one that I definitely want to find myself tied up in again.
Steam Link || $29.99/£22.99/€27.99
On this episode of the Gameographers, we’re joined by special guest Laura Kate Dale, ex-UK Editor of Destructoid, and current co-EIC of LetsPlayVideoGames. We have a big lengthy discussion about the stunning visual novel by Christine Love, Ladykiller in a Bind.
Gameographers is a podcast starring Jed Whitaker, Alissa McAloon, and George Johnson. The trio (with the occasional guest) play pornographic video games and discuss their thoughts and experiences, as well as their views on each episode’s kink of the week(ish).