A revamped version of provocative indie game Cobra Club, described by its designer as a title about "body image, privacy and dick pics," is now available as a free download on Windows PC, Mac and Linux. Although creator Robert Yang is hosting Cobra Club HD on his personal itch.io page, which usually offers "pay as you want pricing," he won't allow customers to pay anything for the game whatsoever.
That's because, as he outlined in a talk at Game Developers Conference 2016, common payment processing sites like PayPal ban sellers from distributing "certain sexually oriented materials or services." Video games typically fall under PayPal's offensive materials, discouraging Yang from using the service — or any payment service at all — to sell his sex-oriented projects.
Yang's works, like Cobra Club — and especially its updated high-definition version — openly embrace discussions of sexuality. The biggest changes added to the re-release include new genitals to snap photos of, a pubic hair slider and "strap-on support." There are also photo filters to choose from, to decorate your male avatar's self portrait.
Seemingly just a short, simple photo studio game, Cobra Club is described as having a deeper focus on how society responds to the production and transmission of dick pics.
"If selfies argue that all faces are worthy of memory," Yang writes on the game's download page, "dick pics show how all cocks are worthy of consideration." The game also addresses what it's like to have private material stolen from you; players' personal, in-game snapshots are sent to a separate, public Tumblr site.
Both Cobra Club and Rinse and Repeat, a fall release about a man getting intimate with other men in a public shower, are both banned from Twitch. The designer similarly spoke out against the streaming platform's code of conduct in September, following the latter game's addition to the blacklist.
"Dick pics show how all cocks are worthy of consideration"
He called out Twitch again during his GDC 2016 talk, saying, "If I were cynical, I would say that Twitch allows plenty of sex and nudity in games with big publishers, but isn't nearly as 'understanding' with small indie games."
The HD re-release of Cobra Club, first launched a year back in May 2015, stands as a reminder of Yang's staunch view of how the gaming industry at large receives sex games. It's also one of his first major releases since that GDC lecture, which generated discussion from attendees and beyond.
"Everyone loves to play games!" he said at GDC. "Some of these games are about sex!
"Don't ban games just because they are about sex. Society will not collapse. Chill out. Get over it."
A full transcript of the lecture is available on Yang's blog, going in-depth on how he feels the industry at large shies away from the portrayal of sex in games.