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Story in AIF
There can hardly be a form of writing that is more known for its brilliant plots than AIF. By which I mean of course, that far and wide people comment that AIF doesn’t tend to have plots, it’s just a case of “show cock to [about to be willing woman]” and away you go. Well that’s somewhat true for many games, but let’s get into the domain of theory here and I’ll put forward a few of my thoughts on AIF storytelling.
Does AIF really need a story?
Well, no. Some sort of set up for the sexual shenanigans is all that is really necessary for a good AIF game. Many people cite Moist as their all-time favourite AIF game, and though it has a story, it’s really a pretty ridiculous one that simply pokes fun at itself and kind of gives the impression of, “who cares about the story, you’re here for the sex!”
And that’s more or less correct in most cases, of course. A sex romp is a perfectly justifiable form for an AIF game to take and may be fundamentally what most of the audience is actually looking for. However you may actually want a story in AIF, as it can make the sex more gratifying and potentially give you another reason to play the game. It is generally more entertaining to enjoy a sex scene with a character that you have fallen for than one you have, as a player, just met.
Character driven stories
Erotica has to be, by its nature, reasonably character based. Of course all good writing should have strong characters, but most writers of erotica will instinctively focus on character because that is what’s most interesting in sex. In this case the best thing to do is make the events of the story reflect and draw out the characters.
Ratio of sex to story
Deciding how much sex should be in a game in relation to how long it is can be a point of concern for anyone planning to make a plot-driven AIF game. If the plot hints and teases at sex then the delaying of sexual encounters can be quite effective. Take, for example, the way the more linear hentai games such as Three Sisters Story and Runaway City are structured. There is quite a bit of build-up between the sex scenes, but it is hard for the player not to be thinking about sex for most of the game. Sex can be a ‘page-turner’ to encourage the player to ‘read on’.
However, if there is not enough sex and if the reward does not satisfy after the build-up then the player can end up feeling disappointed and frustrated. Basically the more plot you have in relation to sex, the better and more hard-working your sex scenes have to be. It might also be a good idea to make a little bit of sex available early to ease tension.
Integrating sex into the plot
In a good plot driven game, it is sometimes commented that the game should stand up without the sex. The sex, it is said, should be something of a bonus to what is already a good game. I feel this is somewhat incorrect. To me, probably the main purpose of an AIF game is the sex, and if it is treated as something of a throw-aside from the story then it will probably wind up being less successful.
Ideally I feel that the story should integrate the sex as an essential and important part of the plot. Consider a movie (not a porno just a normal movie, preferably a good one like say… oh, I can’t think of an appropriate example… Gattaca! If you’ve seen it, of course) in which two characters have sex. Now there is no actual sex scene in Gattaca but two characters do have sex. This is not included as some sort of a throw-aside just to titillate the viewers and keep their attentions long enough to finish the movie, it is instead a natural flow through of the character relationships. In a more linear plot it is obvious that everything really should serve the purpose of the narrative, and that is also true of AIF.
In a simplistic way this can mean that a plot should have ways in which sex is natural and necessary for the plot development. I’ll try to illustrate the difference between integrating sex and not integrating it with an example.
Say for instance that a tough police detective is assigned a new female partner. They have to crack a drug ring that turns out to be run by corrupt police, including their own captain.
One way of developing this could have the detective picking up a series of clues that lead him and his partner along a trail through the seediest parts of town. While they are there, the detective discovers his partner has a fetish for S&M, so he purchases some toys, they go back to her apartment and have sex, then get back on the case.
Another way of looking at it could be that the detective doesn’t like the idea of a female partner too much. They don’t get along, but there is a distinct attraction between them, and after they are thrust into the heat of a gun fight together and they find themselves fighting for each other’s lives, they finally yield to their chemistry and have sex. This leads them to develop trust in each other, which proves essential when they realise the police force is overrun by corrupt cops and outside of each other they simply don’t know who to trust.
Now the second example seems a lot more interesting to me, even if you managed to develop a much more sophisticated investigation in the first one. The second example is more character driven and the sex makes sense. It also has continued importance in the way the characters relate, whereas the sex in the first example sounds kind of boring and doesn’t seem like it would even be brought up again later in the game.
So what am I saying, exactly? Basically, if you want to put a strong plot and sex into the same game, you would be best off if the sex was important to the plot. This doesn’t necessarily mean having your main character a person who just has to have sex all the time, it just means that sex should impact on the plot, and it should arise from circumstances that come naturally from the plot.
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