BoobJam Developers Make Indie Video Games About Breasts
"What if you had to watch a sexy videogame character also buy bras, cry softly when she can't find one that fits, and go in for mammograms?" tweeted video game journalist Jenn Frank in July.
Video games are notorious for featuring characters with improbable breasts, and in most cases, those breasts — in all their considerable girth — are there to look sexy. But there's more to breasts than just looking good. Frank's funny, sarcastic and thought-provoking tweet inspired a number of indie-game developers to pose themselves a design challenge: Can you make a game about breasts that goes beyond the sexy heroine cliché?
The entrants ranged from adventure games to visual novels to a few really out-there pieces that are probably best described as "digital art."
All of these games were made with free and easy-to-use game-design tools, such as Unity and Ren'Py. Aside from putting a twist on the mammary status quo, these games also show how easy it is to make and share small, highly personal games.
"Cold Wave: An Autoboobgraphy with Lasers"
In this game (developed in the Unity game engine), players take the role of a woman who must navigate through a crowded street. Oh, and occasionally, lasers shoot out of her breasts. While you play "Cold Wave," a narrator recounts stories from her childhood and teenage years about her developing breasts, and how they changed the way others perceived her and how she perceived herself.
"Grand Titons" (download) is a two-dimensional platformer in which players must escape from a prison deep within a mountain. The escape is also a metaphor for the transsexual experience, as the playable character's body (and breasts) change as the game progresses. It was created in the free GameMaker: Studio game design program and can be downloaded from the BoobJam website.
By far the subtlest of the BoobJam games — though not too subtle — "Jiggle Physics" (link) consists of a pixelly bowl full of Jell-O. Players can click and drag the Jell-O to make it jiggle. Meanwhile, a jumble of letters on the screen's background spell out messages such as, "They belong to no one else" and "You're allowed to like them."
"The Milk of Human Kindness"
Technically more of a visual novel than a game, "The Milk of Human Kindness" (download) tells the story of Brooke and Cecilia, a married couple dealing with the ups and downs of breastfeeding. It was made using Ren'Py, a free program for creating visual novels.
"The Kingdom of Sh*tland"
Few things are as unsexy as relieving one's bowels. In "The Kingdom of Sh*tland," a riff on the iconic character Princess Peach from the "Mario" video games by Nintendo, players feed a naked blond princess and then use the force of her bowel movements to power her jumps.
"A Tale of Breasts and Pain"
In just a few lines of text, the short but beautiful text-based game "A Tale of Breasts and Pain" (link) captures the experience of a person whose mother has breast cancer. Do you press her to confide in you, or do you let her go? And how will you answer the question asked by your best friend?
More of a visual installation than a game, "Gaze" is little more than a pair of disembodied, pixelly breasts. The game's description dares you to engage in a "staring contest" with the breasts, though, of course, there's no way to win that game other than closing the browser.
"Those Darn Nipples!"
This browser-based game made with Flash is a riff on the old party game "Pin the Tail on the Donkey." The outlines of breasts in all different shapes and sizes appear one pair at a time, and as two circles representing nipples cross the screen, players must move them to the anatomically correct location on the breasts. "Those Darn Nipples!" is not as easy as it sounds!
More of a questionnaire than a game, "My Hobby" tests players' knowledge of bra sizes. All the questions seem like things a daily bra wearer should know, but once you get down to it, these questions are surprisingly difficult. Who knew that a bra's band, and not its cups or shoulder straps, provide the most support?
The text-based adventure "Fittest" (link), created with the free Twine game engine, tells the story of Helga, the fearsome warrior faced with the odious task of purchasing a new breastplate. It turns out that finding an affordable and comfortable breastplate is far more difficult than slaying foes, and even that is harder than usual when your current breastplate doesn’t fit correctly.
"Rate My Boob"
The most blatantly tongue-in-cheek of the BoobJam entrants, "Rate My Boob" (download) is a blank canvas that invites players to draw a breast and then click the Rate My Boob button. No matter what you draw, the game will return with a score of "looks good to me!" This game is more supportive than even the best bra.
In this game (download), players take control of a pair of breasts and must dodge endlessly falling spikes. A transgender woman, indie-game developer Anna Anthropy created this game to illustrate the pain that accompanied her estrogen treatments during her transition phase.
"The Curse: A Freeform Game About BRCA"
There's a downloadable component to this game, but "The Curse" (download) is meant to be played live-action with a game master who guides up to four players though a story about a family with the BRCA mutation, which produces hereditary breast-ovarian cancer syndrome, and how that knowledge shapes their decisions.
"Alice & Joe"
Alice wants to have breasts. Joe wants to be rid of them. This weird device might help make that happen for them. "Alice & Joe" (link) is a text-based game that puts players in the role of either character and explores issues of body image and transgender/transsexual experiences.
"Return to Eden"
Made with the Unity game engine, "Return to Eden" (link) is a visually striking browser-based game that requires players to switch between a male and female form in order to gather apples and achieve objectives.
"Sleeping with Boobs"
"It's not as easy as it sounds! "Sleeping with Boobs" is an interactive fiction piece that takes place over the course of a night, in which the player takes the role of a person with large and/or sensitive breasts who is trying to find a comfortable way to sleep.
With just three options — "lay down on your back," "curl up on your side" or "faceplant the pillow," players will toss and turn as they try to find a way to sleep comfortably with boobs.