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Luxuria Superbia: Making Love to my iPad.
Bar Harbor
alexx_kay
Tale of Tales is a tiny Belgian game company that I've been following with interest for some years (since falling in love with The Path). I don't think everything they do is successful, but they are out there pushing boundaries that no one else is.

Their latest game, Luxuria Superbia, is out now, and is fucking brilliant. Or perhaps I should say "love-making-ly brilliant". While it's got a floral/garden metaphor on its surface, you don't have to penetrate very far before you realize that this is an extended metaphor for sex. And a really well-made one.

Each 'flower', starts off blank, but when you touch it, color appears. Most games try to please the player; in this one, you try to please the game. You might call it a rhythm game, but it's nothing like the exacting precision required by most games with that label. Instead, it's about flow, and feedback, learning what kind of strokes will evoke the best results in the varied flowers. Just as with human partners, there are many similarities, but also subtle and important differences in response. You can use multiple fingers to deploy colors more quickly, but if you overdo it, you might 'finish' too quickly, leaving the flower unsatisfied. Conversely, chasing high scores feels so much more meaningful, when the game breathily* informs you "This is the best it's ever been!" [*OK, it's just text, not speech, so technically not "breathy". But the text fades in and out in a sensually suggestive manner.]

As someone who is fascinated by both games and sex, I've seen many attempts to blend the two in various ways. This is perhaps the most successful. It actually feels like I've been making love to my iPad. Which sounds creepy when I say it, but actually felt really joyful to do.

Here's a couple of good articles about the game:
http://www.theguardian.com/technology/gamesblog/2013/nov/06/luxuria-superbia-the-game-you-please
http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/gaming/2013/11/luxuria_superbia_new_game_lets_you_get_close_to_your_ipad.html

Really, though, no amount of writing (or video) can tell you what it feels like to play this game, as it is such a tactile, feedback-based experience.

It was just released a few days ago, and is still having a launch sale, so you can get it cheap. It's available for many platforms, but you really need to play this on a device with a touchscreen; a mouse just isn't the same. If you care about Games As Art, or you enjoy sex, this is a Must Buy. Absolute Highest Recommendation.
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Well, now I'm a little bummed that the next time I'll see you I'll have the kids in tow.

The actual *content* of the game is entirely G-rated. It's just got powerfully recognizable metaphors. Kids would probably think it was pretty/silly.

jareeta has already bought it. That took about two minutes, FYI.

This sounds as if it could make an intriguing cognitive science experiment; I wonder how it affects physical responses such as heart rate, if it has a relaxing or exciting affect, and how it would light up on a FMRI. Basically, could it have beneficial physical and mental affects?

Someone get this girl a research grant!

It's on lots of different platforms. I strongly *recommend* playing it on a touch-input device, but I gather it *can* be played with a mouse or a console controller, if that's what you have.

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