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Backlog Reflections | The Art of After Dark

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When we started the After Dark portion of our blog, we really only had one goal – to find well crafted adult games. That didn’t just mean finding games that had really good sex scenes, but finding those games where the developers, artists, and writers have put the effort in to create something that could truly stand on its own merits, while also featuring adult content. Something that for a long time, didn’t seem to be a focus for those who were creating them, and which unfortunately gave this sub-genre of gaming a bad rap. 

That said, in recent years it seems that focus has shifted and we were excited to see what was out there. Publishers like CriticalBliss and TinyHat Studios have dedicated themselves to promoting the development of adult games with a gameplay first mentality, and strive to elevate the NSFW genre to new standards of quality. So we’ve commited ourselves to exploring these new developments, and tried to refine our approach to covering them. You know, in a way that didn’t feel like you were falling down a raunchy, ad riddled, rabbit hole typically found only within the dark corners of the internet.

So, you may ask, regardless of this bigger focus on quality, why cover something like an adult game? Well, it comes down to the idea of there being a stigma around the whole concept of a game designed with sex in mind. Even today there’s still an air of taboo surrounding it, or even a sense of guilt for liking it. To us however, especially as a married couple, that’s what intrigued us the most. There’s something about playing an adult game that feels like you’re being a bit extra naughty, which in turn motivates you to play more and see what other tantalizing bits this game has to offer. It intrigued us to say the least, and we were eager to see how each developer approached this unique quality in the games they created.

On top of that, what we really wanted was to try and dispel the perceived notion of it being wrong. That, if you’re comfortable with the subject matter, to which there are varying degrees of explicitness, that it’s perfectly okay to enjoy some lewd gaming time whether alone or with someone else. And if you’re willing to explore beyond what you’re typically comfortable with, you may surprise yourself. That’s why, going in, our motto for all of our After Dark content was, and always will be – we judge the games, not the people playing them.

Nonetheless, the unique qualities of adult games still present some equally unique problems while trying to cover them. For one, no matter how we approach these games, the taboo still exists and unfortunately a lot of NSFW creators fall into the porn trap. Using off-color, degrading, and sometimes explicit language to advertise their games that more often than not turns away prospective players, and does nothing but diminish the work they’ve done. Even if the game underneath could be a gem.

That’s why tone, in all of our coverage, is so important to us. We wanted to write in such a way that eases the tension if you’re slightly uncomfortable, but cautiously curious. We wanted to avoid explicit language, and instead use innuendos or silly remarks to keep the mood light and fun, as it should be when indulging our naughty sides. We also wanted to cover these games, like all others, as if they didn’t have the included adult content. Give them a fair shake and judge them by their quality and not the subject matter, since after all, all the lewd content in the world can’t make a broken game fun! Then when that’s out of the way, we’ll dive a little deeper into what you may find if you were to play the game and how it relates to the gameplay, because we know that not all games will cater to all tastes, and it’s always good to know if a game goes beyond what you’re comfortable with.

To help mitigate any anxiety while exploring the lewd games we’ve covered, we really wanted to give our readers as much choice as we could, as well as some fair warning, by informing them of the potential content they’ll find if they keep reading or decide to give the game a try for themselves. To do that we came up with the concept of our After Dark Gauges. An at-a-glance infographic attached to all of our After Dark coverage that states the level and type of adult content you’ll find within the game. The gauges are then accompanied by a short rundown of exactly how explicit it gets. So, if the game gets a bit kinky, we’ll let you know, and you can decide if you want to continue on! We also created the After Dark Gauges Primer Page to explain exactly what the gauges mean, and what each rating entails.

Now, it probably goes without saying, but playing these games means we’ll be running into a lot of nudity, sex, and all of the accoutrement that goes along with it. And, in order to properly represent the game we played, we need to include some of the scenes that show it. However, we wanted to stay away from outright putting it all over our website. We don’t want to get anyone fired for pulling up our blog after all! So we opted to censor these screenshots with some conveniently placed star stickers in our signature hot pink and purple colors. However, we still wanted to give our readers the choice to see the goods if they wanted to, so we implemented a fancy feature that’ll let you click any of the censored pictures in our After Dark articles, and reveal what’s underneath. Unfortunately, it’s only available if you read what we wrote on our website, but it’s a great way to bring traffic to the blog if that’s what you’re looking for, right?!

Covering adult games is both a fun and challenging endeavor for our blog. There’s a lot of potential out there in the NSFW gaming world, and we’ve been having a blast showcasing truly well crafted games that have been given the blind eye, just because they may feature a few boobs, butts, and pen… well you get it. We know that what we’re doing probably won’t make a dent in the stigma surrounding these games, but we do hope that if you do decide to join us on this adventure, that you enjoy yourself as much as we do.

Also, if you like the idea of exploring the NSFW gaming world, you can find all of our coverage on our After Dark Page!