One player is human; the other alien. A new card game simulates an intimate encounter between the two in the style of Japanese tentacle porn, in order to subvert the unsavory, rape-centered aspects of the genre.


 


 

The rest of the story:

When designers of a new card game called Tentacle Bento sought funding for their project on Kickstarter in 2012, they encountered more than a little backlash. In the game, which draws on tropes from Japanese tentacle porn, players are aliens attempting to capture buxom young college girls – the implication is they’ll be used for sex.

These themes did not sit well with game designer Naomi Clark, herself a Japanese American, who began thinking about a new card game that would also be about aliens and humans having sex, but in consensual and mutually satisfying ways. Thus, Consentacle was born.

Originally designed for an art exhibition, it was so popular that fans want to be able to play it in their homes. Now Clark is tweaking the game, adding new cards and rules, with an eye to making her own Kickstarter and selling the game to fans.


 

Transcript:

Naomi: So first thing that we do, um, is actually invite the other player to play, because we want to make sure this is a consensual encounter, so Lauren, would you like to play Consentacle with me?
Lauren: I would love to play Consentacle with you.
Naomi: That’s great! Okay…
Namoi (VO): The genre of tentacle porn or tentacle rape anime started to come to the United States when I was in college. I noticed over the next ten years basically that it became more and more of a joke about Japanese culture, like, that was the sort of most disgusting import from Japan. And as a Japanese American that all sort of like really made me cringe.
Naomi: Hmm. So then we get ready to play a card.
Lauren: Okay.
Naomi: And we both play a card and we reveal them simultaneously. Ready? Go.
Lauren: Yes… Noooo!
Naomi: No, that’s a bad combo!
Lauren: Fuck, fuck, no no!
Naomi: It’s alright because…
Lauren: I messed up.
Naomi: No, it’s totally fine.
Lauren: It’s ‘cause you played, you had the tongue card, so I thought I should play a kiss.
Naomi: Right, but if we both play a kiss then it’s not so good.
Lauren: Alright, sorry about that.
Naomi: No, you don’t have to apologize,
Lauren: Yes I do.
Naomi: Did you take an extra one?
Lauren: Yes.
Naomi: Great. Now we each draw a card.

Naomi (VO): But it also sort of made me wish like, this whole idea of sexual encounters with weird alien bodies has so much potential to it, especially for, yeah for talking about different kinds of sex, different kinds of bodies, and um, relationships.

Naomi: Ready? Okay go. Yeah, okay!
Lauren: Alright!
Naomi: That was alright. So, I kissed again, I figured you probably weren’t going to play another kiss, I just happened to have two. I’ll move three in there.
Catherine: So explain why that was a-okay.
Naomi: okay so, kiss is one of the cards that if we both play at the same time, like happened last turn, it’s a little bit weaker.
Lauren: If you both kiss at the same time, it’s a bad kiss and it turns into fumble mouths, you’re both like trying to eat each other’s face.
Naomi: That’s the idea at least. Whereas touch, is good to do at the same time, but I didn’t have a touch card…

Voice: Consentacle!
Naomi: Yeah, wanna play?

Naomi (VO): There was a game called Tentacle Bento, that got, uh, was being promoted on Kickstarter, which, also is a card game about tentacle aliens having sex with humans, but in that case all of the players play tentacle aliens and are trying to, you know, capture, and take by surprise these girls. It really evoked a lot of the more unsavory, nonconsensual aspects of this kind of genre. Really that just got me thinking, isn’t there a better way to do this? That’s what really started me making Consentacle.

Naomi: You proved yourself a giving partner even at the expense of your own satisfaction. And that’s the end of the game.
Naomi: I just can’t decide how raunchy it is, the thing you’re thinking of. … Not raunchy, okay.
Lauren: What?!
Naomi: Okay wait, okay, I’m doing this one.
Lauren: Okay.
Naomi: You ready?
Lauren: Yes. … YES! YES!
Naomi: We somehow did that.

Contact catherine.roberts@journalism.cuny.edu for more info.

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