Porn gets a bad rap.
It’s weird for a term we wield so freely. We talk about pornography, the porn industry, we use ‘pornographic’ as an adjective for something fundamentally unsettling, and there’s the way we use porn as a term for all-purpose ‘kind of disgusting’ term, like a positively pornographic sum of money.
I’ve used that phrasing, I know I have.
Porn also gets appended to describe things like photography of nice landscapes or photos of good food or bubble wrap, and as I discussed in my examination of Tickled last year, there’s also a bunch of stuff that we file as definitely not porn that absolutely is porn (for the right people) and that complicated relationship creates a space where all those systems for controlling pornography can be leveraged against people who didn’t expect it.
Infamously, we don’t even have a description of porn, really. You know, ‘I don’t know what it is but I know it when I see it.’ I’ve even referred to stuff this month – The Knight Before Christmas – as ‘comfort pornography.’
Personally, when I talk about pornography what I mean is media that seeks to maximise an indulgent element of the media experience, and is willing to sacrifice all other elements to do so. And Cute Demon Crashers is a porn game.
I’ve seen some people avoid calling the game a porn game? The idea being that it’s a ‘sex game’ or it’s ‘not porn,’ which seems to me to be conceding something it shouldn’t. After all it’s possible to be smart porn, it’s possible to be consent porn, it’s possible to be pornography that is funny and engaging.
What is it?
Well, I’ve spoken about this game on a podcast before, but to give you the long and short, this game starts out with you, the main character, masturbating, when left alone in your home by your parents and sibling. Suddenly, a set of four demons – incubuses and succubi – turn up, summoned by your thirst, and… that’s… it. They hang around for a few days, you get to have some conversations with them, then when they’re about ready to go, you can spend some time having sex with one of them.
The reason I’d say this game is porn is because the game is built to make sure every single thing in this game is about building to and enabling the sex or lack thereof in the end of it. Pornography being about that indulgence, about making that experience feel as good as it can doesn’t mean porn must feature nothing sex all the time. After all, in BDSM pornography there’s a lot of time when nobody is doing anything you’d consider ‘sex’ and tickling porn frequently features absolutely no sex at all.
In Cute Demon Crashers, the ‘porn’ of the narrative is the time spent hanging around with these demons to make a non-commital stop-any-time, aromantic sexual fling entirely and enthusiastically enjoyable and acceptable with lots of choices and recognition of why they’re there, even if they’re not necessarily going to be hanging around for a while. It’s really interesting because everything about the narrative and worldbuilding is as thing as porn usually is, it’s just really well delivered so it doesn’t look like it.
There is one obligatory thing to mention here, where in the story there’s a point where characters play games. I’m not going to harp on this idea – but the game the play, the way they play it, and the way they explain the rules, is used to explain the characters.
You can get Cute Demon Crashers on itch.io, for free, and there’s a lot of possible endings and reasons to justify replaying it, if that’s what you like. The characters are nice, the smut is pleasant, and the whole experience is about as frictionless as The Knight Before Christmas, but in this case, all these characters are actually really likable and the things they do are engaging.
This game is really great, and it’ll take you maybe twenty minutes to run through the whole thing.