We Dare: possibly the most ill-advised game ever – Console news

It has sparked controversy but the reality is it’s a terribly boring, mostly broken mini-game collection

It almost made sense. After Heavy Rain was a hit last year, and its quick-time event sex scene wasn’t a humiliation for everyone involved, there was a feeling that games could do adult content now. Maybe that was what inspired Ubisoft to get behind (fnarr) “adult-oriented party game” We Dare – one of the shonkiest, most ill-advised products to be offered to gamers … well, ever.

For most of us, it started with the trailer, which appeared on YouTube on 24 February. (The original link is now marked as private.) Four blandly pretty 20-something models – two men, two women – cavort awkwardly to a clunking sex-funk soundtrack. In just over a minute, every joke you’ve ever heard about motion controllers looking like sex toys was realised, as the cast pulled their most strained smiles to convey the enjoyment they experienced as they took part in We Dare’s cartoon swingers’ game. The girls mashed their faces against either side of a dangling controller, almost as if – ooh! – they might accidentally kiss. A boy spanked a girl in order to propel a cherub flying on screen. Then another girl stepped in. It was horrifyingly awkward and deeply unsexy.

Not unsexy enough to avoid the inevitable act two, of course, in which outraged moral guardians demanded to know why a spanking game was being marketed to children. The Mail even found a red-faced father to say, “This sort of computer game will only serve to fuel sexual tensions and, in a worse-case scenario, sexual touching or assault.” Normally, Gamesblog would be dead against the moral guardians, but in this case they sort of had a point.

Not about We Dare fuelling sexual tensions, of course. I’ve played the game, and I’ve had saucier romps in Green Hill Zone. It’s a terribly boring, mostly broken mini-game collection, squeezed into a leopard-print thong and told to look sexy. By the time you’ve been through the tedious menus (you can’t search for individual games, but have to navigate through mysterious categories such as “Adventurous”) and tolerated the drab bits of smut-related trivia (did you know the first bra was made of hankies and ribbon? Phwoar!), you’ll be seriously looking into celibacy. The bobble-headed cartoon characters who guide you through the awkward gyrations of miming dancing or stripping might as well have your mum’s face on them, for all the encouragement to eroticism they are.

But the marketing was clearly disastrous. Because We Dare’s content is as tame as a neutered puppy, it received child-friendly ratings – PEGI 12 in Europe, and PG in Australia. Which left it in a thoroughly non-erotic bind. People looking for console-based sexytimes (even people who like disgracefully feeble mini-games) aren’t likely to be impressed with a 12 rating, while publishers (even publishers of disgracefully feeble mini-games) would probably rather not be seen to push erotica onto the kid market.

Within weeks, the game’s release was cancelled in the UK (it was never intended for release in the US, according to Ubisoft). After all, this was shortly after Fox News had accused Bulletstorm of inciting rape with sexually suggestive kill names – it’s no surprise if a publisher would rather not be the next target for outrage. Does that and the fiasco of We Dare mean that games should keep their hands clean of the sex stuff from now on? No – and with Rockstar’s grown-up crime drama L.A. Noire and Mass Effect 3 on their way, there’s no likelihood of games putting on a promise ring anytime soon. But hopefully it’ll be a long, long time before anyone tries to foist another tarted up box of Just Dance knock-offs and weak Buzz!-alike quizzes on to easily aroused console owners.


Sex in games

Puzzle games

Sarah Ditum

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