Friday, January 1, 2010

Oddities: InterSEXion

Happy New Year!  I don't have any New Year's Day-themed games to talk about, so I'm going to talk about partying in a more general sense.

WARNING:  This post contains potentially salacious accounts of human behavior.  Be prepared for shock and/or disappointment!

In the 1970's, there was a trend towards "adult" party games of the non-electronic variety, generally involving a gameboard, "suggestion" cards, and copious amounts of alcohol.  Games like Sip'n'Strip were designed to encourage middle-class suburbanites to shed their inhibitions, their clothing, and much of their dignity for the sake of being perceived as hip and with-it by their equally nervous and closeted neighbors.

I don't know how often these games were actually played, as opposed to being purchased and mentioned once or twice in hopes that the rest of the party would respond with unbridled enthusiasm, instead of embarrassed looks and hasty departures.  But the computer game industry made a few attempts to adapt the genre to new technology.

One such game was InterSEXion, which shamelessly rips off Monopoly, sending player tokens around the board to buy property, pay rent (or "work it off" in this case), and engage in various intimate encounters when landing on the same square.  The version I sort-of-played for this post was a preliminary version circulated on dial-up BBS systems for beta testing in 1987, prior to a planned retail version; I don't know whether that packaged release ever came out.

This is, literally, a really old f#*@ing game:

The game is rendered in DOS-era text mode -- the Greek male and female symbols are available as tokens, from the IBM PC's extended ASCII character set, but most of the other token options are cryptic at best.  The game keeps track of each player's gender, and in a very forward-looking design decision, allows players to indicate their sexual orientations and preferences.  The game also allows players to set the rating level, keeping the suggested activities within everyone's comfort zone.

The design fails in some key areas, however.  There's not a good balance between income and expenditure, and automatic chance-card transactions can push the player's balance into negative numbers, causing the game to drag to a halt as everyone gets stuck in the game's equivalent of Jail, "Menopause," hoping to earn money for the game's unnamed equivalent of bail, a medical improbability as far as I am aware.

One of the more printable early suggestions is:

Have your partner massage your left foot for a minute.

Here's one that's slightly racier:

The game does give players the chance to "chicken out" of unwanted interactions, but players have to earn those chances to defer.  That is, if they are playing with evil sex monsters from outer space.  Normal human beings are more willing to let others avoid truly uncomfortable situations.  And so the game continues:

The biggest problem is that the game's author seems to see sexual activity in two phases with a major gap between them.  The game starts with relatively innocent foreplay, consisting of plenty of foot massages, kisses and back rubs, and then cuts straight to the naked stuff, most of which is X-rated.  It was apparently too complicated to keep track of everyone's clothing state, so while there are some clothing-related events, the game eventually just directs everyone to get undressed.

I imagine most people stop playing at this point, or shortly thereafter, either because it's time to put the silly game away and get down to business, or because the game starts being a little disturbing.  In my test run, this next suggestion came up rather too quickly for anyone's comfort level:

So, uh, how about some cake and ice cream?


  1. I played this game a LOT. Trying to find it again for download.

  2. Same here. My girlfriend and I played this often and had fun with it since it got us into things we normally didn't do. Would love to get a working copy of it.

    1. It's floating around the Internet if you look for it, and I was able to run it in a standard command prompt under Windows XP. If it won't run in present-day environments, DOSBox ought to provide a useable way to get it running.

    2. You can Google on "intersexion game" & it will take you to the download,

      I found it at this URL: