Breasts are generally seen as a source of sexual stimuli for many straight men. Boob Jam, however, is an upcoming game jam that seeks to explore mammaries in all their non-sexual contexts.
The upcoming game jam stemmed from a tweet by journalist Jenn Frank, who half-joking proposed that someone should make a game about the non-sexual issues that come with having, well, boobs.
"What if you had to watch a sexy video game character also buy bras, cry softly when she can't find one that fits, and go in for mammograms?" Frank suggested.
People quickly started riffing off Frank's notion and suggested their own breast-related ideas for games. From the description on the Boob Jam website: "What if a video game promoted breast health, narrated the terror of illness, or described the process of developing breasts, especially from a transwoman's perspective? What if a game simply described bra-shopping? (It's tough! It's expensive!)"
"What would happen if we collectively took a 'boob' out of the normative, mainstream view - which is to say, as a sexual object for straight cisgender men - and instead described our own relationships, sometimes sexual and often not, with our own racks? And as a game, could that be fun to play?" Frank pondered.
She explained that women's - and sometime's men's - bosoms mean different things to different people, yet the video game industry only tends to look at them under the same sexualised lens.
"Boobs aren't necessarily playthings for other people," Frank said. "They're just something we have. We live with 'jiggle physics' every day. Sometimes boobs get in the way. Sometimes we have to cut them off. Sometimes it makes walking up the street a chore... Some of us wish we had boobs; some of us curse the day they arrived. Boobs are actually... kinda complicated."
It's an intriguing notion, especially in an industry that's embarrassingly coy about sex. Chances are most games in the titular jam will be a lark, but who knows? Maybe some boobless fellow will have a Dustin Hoffman-style epiphany about what a hassle they can be.
Boob Jam runs from now until the end of September 2013.