“how do you Do It?”
Even the title of Nina Freeman, Emmett Butler, Decky Coss, and Joni Kittaka’s Global Game Jam project seems to reflect on the difficult relationship between American culture and sex. For a lot of people even referring to sex AS sex is seen as taboo and embarrassing, and so sex becomes “It”, so common as to singularly embody a pronoun in the right context.
Living in such a puritan society, we’re taught that sex is something dirty that you don’t talk about in normal conversation. It’s a natural, pervasive aspect of our lives, existing everywhere in media, and advertisements, and the pornography which takes up the entire other half of the internet not filled with cats, but nevertheless we’re taught to pretend it doesn’t exist.
It’s a society that shames women for being sexually active, and men compete for the number of people they’ve slept with. Sex is simultaneously considered evil and as a sort of prize to be sought after, creating an environment of unhealthy relationships and abuse if you should stray from the clear sexual path society has planned for you. And yet still, you don’t talk about “It”.
how do you Do It? is as pure a representation of our collective attitude toward sex as I’ve ever seen. It embodies our early innocence and curiosity toward intimacy, and also the anxiety associated with exploring it before even knowing exactly what sex is. Shoving two dolls together attempting to recreate the act of sex without being caught by a mother who had just stepped out, I found myself reliving the sort of terrified curiosity of being a child wondering what the “It” everyone seems to be talking and refusing to talk about is. I became jumpy and nervous about how I’d explain this should someone walk in on me playing it, even as I recognized how silly that was given the content of the game.
how do you Do It? is so completely innocent and “clean”, yet it managed to pull out the feelings of embarrassment and impurity that had been ingrained in me throughout my entire childhood, and even now can’t seem to entirely shake. It’s a simple game, maybe not even a very good one (though as polished as you would expect something built in three days), yet its existence is important.
In a medium that almost always shies away from sex or uses it for solely exploitative titillation, a game that actually has something to say about sex and how we view it deserves at least the minute of your time this takes to complete. You might even learn something.