Some mascots just sit around looking pretty, this one will home school you in a way that will have you coming back for more!
Have you ever wondered how stressful it must be to work as a mascot? Dengekiko has to contend with the insanity that is Neptune and her quirky goddess friends. Regional mascots in Japan, such as the freakishly hyperactive (and unofficial) Funassyi and the hard working (official) Gunma-chan, have to fight it out Battle Royal style every year until a single victor is crowned as best mascot. Dee Dee the cute, sexy mascot for my friends over at Digitally Downloaded has it a little easier. She’s got a tutoring gig, and for one stimulating night, I was her student.
I’d never watched Eyes Wide Shut before. Until now, it didn’t appeal to me. For that matter I can’t recall watching Fatal Attraction or Basic Instinct. If I did, I don’t remember anything from them. Okay, so I know *that* leg-crossing scene. But, I’d wager that most people my age do; even if they too don’t have memories of watching the film it was in. Wild Things and its string of progressively worse sequels are about the only films in the erotic thriller genre that I do remember watching. As such, I settle into My Time With Dee Dee Volume 1 being somewhat out of the loop in regards to the erotic thriller genre being explored by this visual novel styled presentation.
I honestly didn’t know what to expect. The disclaimer at the beginning warns that the content may not be to everyone’s tastes; but that’s true of even the tamest of material these days. I swear there are people on this planet whose only enjoyment is derived from claiming to be offended by everything. What I didn’t expect, was putting my play session on hold to watch Eyes Wide Shut part way through. Doing so provided more of an insight into the intended experience, and allowed me to appreciate it more.
Events in Volume 1 start out normally enough; you’re a guy in high school who gets partnered to work on a presentation with Dee Dee, a sexually desirable girl – a common trope for the visual novel genre in itself. It’s quickly made apparent that you are rather horny for Dee Dee. And she soon establishes her role as the femme fatale. This is a girl who is both comfortable with her body and not ashamed to show it.
Refreshingly, sex doesn’t embarrass Dee Dee. A fact she uses to good advantage to ensure the male protagonist is firmly under her control. Or at least, that’s how he sees it. Dee Dee keeps this poor horny boy under her spell with sexually charged teasing that causes the awkwardness that only an inexperienced teenaged boy – hot for sex and not getting any – can feel. Better yet, the yearning of this boy is put to some very good use.
Where the story goes somewhat depends on your choices. This work, unlike the films it explores is not kinetic in nature. That is, instead of following a linear path, there are some choices to be made along the way. Being an examination of the erotic thriller, these choices naturally include venturing into sexually explicit territory.
Although there is no visually graphic depictions of sex, there are allusions, descriptions, and a bit of nudity too. All of which are powerful in their own right. There are a couple of points in the story that caused me to question reality itself. Matt Sainsbury’s writing blurs the lines between the real and the imaginary all too well.
Basic Instinct became (in)famous for its sexually charged leg-crossing scene. My Time with Dee Dee Volume 1 responds to this with an encounter in an elevator that turns the excitement up to eleven. It’s a notable scene that shows how sexual content can be included in a story, not just to titillate, but to drive the plot forward and explore facets of the character that otherwise could not be shared with the reader. This is definitely a case where omitting sexual content would significantly lessen the impact on the overall narrative.
There’s another interesting point about this encounter too; being presented as a rape fantasy instigated not by the player’s male character, but by Dee Dee. Female rape fantasies have been the subject of several studies. Many have found that such fantasies are very common among both men and women. Reportedly, the most common conclusion is that, for women, this was a way to eliminate feelings of guilt – allowing women to convince themselves that they are not responsible for their sexual desires or behaviour.
However, other studies proposed that women fantasizing about rape are more likely to not feel guilt over their sexual desires. The study ‘Force in Women’s Sexual Fantasies’ (1998, Strasberg & Lockerd) posits that such fantasies are relatively open and unrestricted expressions of female sexuality. It is this latter finding that I feel fits Dee Dee. She strikes me as the one usually in control. The rape fantasy lets her relinquish this under her own terms.
Control is undeniably a facet of sex; where one partner dominates while the other submits. Such submission is an act of trust between consenting partners. It could also be a manifestation of the desire to be your partner’s sexual object. That is, the objectification that so many object to, is ultimately exactly what many of us seek. Sex is a topic that more English language games should explore, but as I’ve previously noted, western games are very bad at handling sex as a mature subject.
Matt Sainsbury is a vocal proponent for games being art. Based on years of playing, I believe there is a long way for the industry to go before mainstream (particularly western) games manage to fit this description. Both erotic Japanese visual novels and erotic thriller films, such as those introduced in My Time With Dee Dee Volume 1 would serve as good starting points for any development team seriously wanting to create a mainstream title that could be truly considered an example of both art and entertainment geared to a mature audience.
There’s a surprising amount of content in Volume 1 which I would love to dive deeper into, but to do so would require spoiling the majority of the short experience. Suffice to say, this is a great title that not only entertains, but also teaches in an enjoyable manner. Better yet, it also succeeds in being inspirational and thought provoking – two characteristics that make a story, be it novel, film, or game, all the more worthwhile. I’m very much looking forward to later volumes not just for the topics they will cover, but to spend more time with Dee Dee too!
Screenshots were taken by the author.
Matt Sainsbury, friend and editor-in-chief, was kind enough to provide a copy of My Time With Dee Dee Volume 1 for the purpose of this piece. For more information, be sure to check out Digitally Downloaded and the itch.io page.