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Retro: The Good Old Naughty Days

Putting the seedy into CD-Rom.

Dark blue icons of video game controllers on a light blue background
Image credit: Eurogamer

Throughout modern history a dedicated band of men have held a candle, or indeed anything cylindrical, for ladies who don't wear clothes. Or were dressed like a sexy cowgirl or something. I can only assume that it's a common complaint among young gentlemen even today, otherwise all the pretty Babestation ladies talking on phones would be displaying clear signs of mental illness.

Looking to capitalise on this societal obsession, for several decades game developers have been working tirelessly to perfect the art of interactive titillation. Inevitably, however, nearly all of these game developers seem to have been socially awkward talent voids. For years the sexiest thing most of them could come up with involved either strip poker or a version of Tetris with a poorly lit jpeg of a boob-lady as background, alongside the rudest falling blocks that could possibly be imagined.

Me? I'm a prude. If I were to meet a metaphorical pretty lady wearing nothing but her birthday suit I'd proffer a copy of the Guardian and ask her to cover up – the Berliner-sized main section for the top, and the G2 supplement for down below. Morbid interest however, AND NOTHING ELSE, has led me to a lifetime fascination with the new dawn of erotic gaming that began in the 1990s. I'm talking about FMV sex games: creations that are as sexy as placing a dead fish in your mouth and slowly pulling it in and out so the scales get stuck between your teeth.

With the added storage space provided by CD-Rom it must have seemed logical to fill games with flabby nineties bottoms and worrying boob-jobs, and the shallow end of the games industry certainly didn't disappoint. My personal journey with curly-haired ladies (who presumably didn't maintain their acting career much beyond wearing sexy pants in front of a ponytailed development team) began within the pages of PC Zone. As a young testosterone-tinged teen, you see, my mind was blown by an advert for a game called Space Sirens. A game in space with nudie women? Stop the world, where did I have to sign? It then became a personal quest to track it down – a mission that would one day end, years later, with a drunken student purchase on eBay.

Jo Guest: as nineties as Global Hypercolor t-shirts.

Space Sirens wasn't, amazingly enough, very good. The game I had actually got a hold of was actually its sequel, Space Sirens 2: Megababes from Ajia, and it proved to be one of a litter of contemporary CD-Rom creations that honestly believed that merging a 3D artist's spaceship portfolio and QuickTime FMVs of space ladies taking their tops off was vaguely sexy. The 'game' here was to raise both your OrgasMeter and that of your chosen Ajian babe by prodding her unmentionable-bits in loving ways, but presumably the only real challenge was doing so one-handed.

You see, not everything was quite that blatant in the world of abysmal nineties FMV. During the entire run-time of Star Trek: Borg the entity known as Q never once approached the camera and asked you to stroke a nipple.

Voyeur and Voyeur II, for example, even had half-decent 'Rear Window' narrative approaches as you flicked between cameras and window views to follow the US soap opera plot and/or waited an interminable amount of time before someone showed off their bra or climbed out of a hot tub.