In a typical scene from the Super Seducer game, the player, presumably a heterosexual man who sails in search of sex, finds two women sitting on a blue velvet sofa, reaching for a glass of wine. Your goal is to find the best way to infiltrate your conversation. If you try to leave them alone to enjoy the night, the game punishes you until you successfully infringe your bubble. When one of the women, a blonde with perfectly curly hair and a sapphire dress, informs her that she has a boyfriend, she is not discouraged. You can not, since the whole objective of the game is to seduce all the women you know, regardless of their comfort level. You press forward.
You are given several different options on how to proceed, but the "right" one, according to Super Seducer, is to ask the woman if she is going to marry her boyfriend, and later if she would care if she found out that we talked to you once you selected her This option, the game shows a video of a bearded man sitting on a bed with two women dressed in light clothes who rest without words next to him. This is the creator of Super Seducer, Richard La Ruina, and he tells you that you have chosen wisely.
"This works psychologically because you're taking away his independence," he says, smiling. "You're saying," Well, would you let me talk to you? Are you authorized to do that? "" Naturally, she continues, she'll want to insist on this and claim that she can do what she likes. In essence, he is advising you to make a woman feel in control, while manipulating her to give you exactly what you want.
Since Super Seducer was announced for Steam and PlayStation 4 last September, it has been described as "the most sordid game in the world," with criticism suggesting that it normalizes stalker behavior and "teaches men to be disgusting." (He has also been under fire after his legal team issued a DMCA removal request to a YouTuber that made negative comments about the game). However, in an interview with The Verge, La Ruina makes an assertion as opportunistic and manipulative as the Super Seducer himself: that his game can offer men valuable knowledge on how to approach women "in a more respectful and playful way," particularly root of the #MeToo movement.
"I did it with the intention of helping men who are generally shy, introverted and scared to approach women," says La Ruina. But he also takes a defensive tactic when talking about the movement, worrying that men "are even more scared in the current climate because they just do not know what they should do, because everything seems to be wrong." With this, La Ruina is taking advantage of a sympathetic contingent that has become more vocal in recent months, which leaves aside the "witch hunts" and fears what they see as the new rules of sex and dating. Unfortunately, Super Seducer is not a useful tool to teach men how to treat women. It is simply another forceful promoter of the stereotypes of collecting artists who say that women are predictable objects that can be manipulated mechanically, and the only point of interaction with them is immediate sexual gratification.
The Ruin is taking advantage of a sympathetic contingent that has become more vocal
La Ruina, who founded a company called PUA Training that promises to help men "become a pick-up artist and pick up girls," insists categorically that he is not a pick-up artist, but rather a dating coach. "In 2018, it's not good to be a pick-up artist," he says. "Luckily I'm not one." I'm 37 years old and I'm married. "He acts not only as the Super Seducer's guru adviser, but also as the star of his live-action" educational "stages: he is the avatar of the player, the common man who has just met a good lady
The game offers a variety of scenarios for players to explore, from picking up a woman in a club (and more inappropriately, the office) to interrupting, always interrupting, an unknown woman in a cafeteria who tries to read a book. When I ask La Ruina if he thinks that Super Seductor gamifies women, he replies that it is not "dirty" for a man to learn to be more adept at seducing women, a definition that combines seduction with psychological coercion, in place of explicit consent. Anyone who does not agree, he adds, probably will not like the game. This is true
"I do not think there's anything wrong with a boy learning to seduce a woman from the point of being a stranger to having a relationship," says La Ruina. He notes that "friend to girlfriend [scenario] is called friend to girlfriend, not friend to sex", despite the fact that the objective of the scenario literally appears as "sex".
As expected, the way the chapter unfolds feels much more insidious than the description of The Ruin. He is very focused on the tedious myth of the "zone of friends", since the player tries to push a lifelong friend who is already in a relationship to a sexual encounter. One of the ways to achieve that, according to Super Seducer, is to openly objectify other women in front of their friend, hoping to inspire jealousy. The character of The Ruin looks with lust at a woman off the screen at one point, telling her friend about how beautiful the stranger's breasts are, and how he can not help but think of "sliding inside".
Later in the chapter, after her friend broke up with her boyfriend, she comes to his apartment. "I thought I was the right person to be my husband," she says. "Mm, not now, right?" Answers La Ruina, before opening a bottle of "good" wine for $ 12 and making a move with it. In a short time, he took a condom out of his shoe (…) and had successful sex with his emotionally vulnerable friend.
When asked why a man looking for a connection would want to go in search of a prophylactic, La Ruina says it's just a joke, and that some people take aspects of the game too seriously. "The idea was that you should have condoms in your house and not break the tension by saying, 'Well, I'm going to the store,'" he says. "It was more like, having one on hand, we just used the shoe / sock because it was silly and funny."
This is a common refrain for La Ruina: that Super Seducer is an important educational tool for men when that framing is convenient, and "just joke" when their coercive advice and harmful stereotypes are solicited. "I think it's more towards the end of the scale in dating counseling, which means useful psychological advice," he says, referring to the 2005 romantic comedy starring Will Smith. The game is for young and single men who "want my dating advice, but also the men who can buy it because it seems fun".
There is no option of simply leaving a woman alone
The truly humorous parts of the game are very few and far between, if you blink, you might miss them. More often, these "fun" moments are best described as options where La Ruina brazenly harasses their possible dates. Should he talk about his work and how bored do he find it, show passion for his work, or say he is an "ass model" and then try to grab a woman's butt? Should I ask her how bad is her relationship with her boyfriend, or offer sex twice a week and say "a girl can never have too many cocks"? When you see two women you would like to talk to, do you drop a joke while you're inside or crawl behind them like a fairy tale elf about to snatch a child?
Super Seducer offers these extravagant options as clearly wrong options to entertain players, assuming, of course, that you find the harassment entertaining. The game is so ill-conceived and executed, however, that even the "right" movements often end up feeling as uncomfortable and painful as the obvious false steps. Ruin is not an actor, and most of the scenes, whether they end up getting you a number successfully, or seeing a furious woman running while La Ruina screams, "I'm not trying to fuck you in the ass or anything! Just a little kiss! "- they are full of dialogues so thick and dull, makes Fifty Shades of Gray look like the Shakespeare of rom-coms.
La Ruina rejects the idea that the game promotes manipulation and states that these "wrong" options point to the kind of tactics men should avoid: never lashing out at women, touching them inappropriately or making sexual suggestions too explicit. But throughout the 10 episodes of seduction scenes of Super Seducer, none includes the option of leaving a woman alone. In the rare case that you have to move away from a conversation, it is considered a failure, a remarkably poor message to send men who are learning how to interact romantically with women. If there is a lesson that men should pay more attention to-after #MeToo, but really at any time-it is knowing when to go back and leave women alone.
"We started the game before the #MeToo material, so obviously it was created in a different light than the light it has today," says La Ruina. "In hindsight, I probably would have done it in another way and, for example, I had a coach sitting with me and we're criticizing, definitely, there would have been some things that we did differently." He says he hopes people can appreciate the "strong" characters of Super Seducer and that it's "an easy angle to take, saying that the game is sexist or anything else." the game does, in fact, make the criticism very easy.
Attractive women are treated not only as conceptual rewards for Super Seducer players, but as visuals. If you make a particularly bad choice, there are no women present when the game is reduced to La Ruina for advice. If you make an acceptable choice, boring and half-dressed lingerie models will appear in the background. If you make the best choice, your success means putting them in underwear. When I ask La Ruina why the game uses these women as literal accessories, he says the gamer audience is used to sexy women being thrown into their faces in games like Grand Theft Auto or God of War, often without context.
"It really was not something we sat down and thought about for hours." It was like, well, we have to differentiate the bad, medium and good answers. And why do not we reward the boys with some sweet eyes? "It says." Obviously, that quick decision has not been as good in general in general. I recognize it now. I see what we would have done differently. But at that moment, it seemed completely fine, because you see all these games that have free sexual elements that really have nothing to do with the plot or anything. "
These decisions, which La Ruina admits were taken without thinking about how they treat women and encourage men to treat them, come to the heart of Super Seducer's problems. The generalized objectification of women in video games does not make it more appropriate; In any case, it is the opposite. And just because bullying has become a more visible problem does not mean it was not important before, and it certainly does not mean it was not happening. Even in the video game community, there have been vocal critics such as Feminist Frequency speaking out against the representation of women in games for years.
Yes, flirting is a little uncomfortable by nature, and giving men better tools to know how to get out or talk to women is a noble goal. But the conversations that we need to have now more about sex and dating are the ones that Super Seducer specifically ignores: those that refer to the dynamics of power, the complexities of non-verbal consent and the ease with which flirting slips into manipulation. There is a lesson about everything that men who seek women need to learn, and that is knowing when to go to hell. As a game that claims to have some respect for women's desires, Super Seducer fails at the most basic level by refusing to allow its players to back off when women resist or recoil, and promising that any woman can be yours if you can only discover what to say, or how to say it.
Surely there will be some men who will take the game's lessons seriously and learn to imitate their toxic behaviors and attitudes, while others will take advantage of the plausible denial offered by The Ruin, the same kind of excuse that has always been offered in response to sexual harassment. If you take it too seriously and consider it demeaning to women, can not you see that everything is fun?