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The Time I Was a Social Outcast

Ed Smith | 15 Jan 2013 14:00
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I've never been good with women. Just ask any of the poor, female sods that I used to go to school discos with and they'll tell you the same. I can't flirt, I can't dance; when it comes to kissing, I tend to smack my mouth and slurp like I'm trying to somehow extract protein from my host's saliva. I've gotten by over the years thanks to chat-up lines I've nicked from films and by cultivating a loveable, grouchy persona. But on an objective scale of things that are sexy, I still rate somewhere between used bandages and knives.

Seduce Me felt like it was a chance to prove something. An "erotic strategy game," it sees you play as a hunky guy who's trying to bone various women while staying at a luxurious Mediterranean villa. Using sparse dialogue choices and a few simple card games, you, as bell-ends would put it, select a target, approach and open, then demonstrate value. The better at card and computer games you are, the more likely you are to get your leg over; the exact same experience I'd gained trying to avoid women in the real world was about to pay back in sexy, sexy dividends. After hearing it got kicked off Steam Greenlight for having too many boobs, I couldn't wait to play Seduce Me. This was going to be everything a single, bored, masturbatist could ever dream of, right? Wrong.

See, despite all the women in Seduce Me being different (there's a submissive girly one who likes getting spanked, a tipsy, older one who wants a toy boy) they all had one thing in common: None of them wanted to bang me. And I don't mean in a polite "you're cute but not my type kind of way." I mean in a "nobody likes you, you need to leave" way. Seriously. After fumbling card game after card game, I was actually been asked to leave the villa. It was only my pathetic, sulky begging during the Confrontation sequences that meant I wasn't been escorted off the island and tossed in jail with the other sex pests. In a world populated exclusively by desperately horny actual nymphomaniacs, who have been specifically programmed to want to screw me, I still couldn't get anyone to screw me.

And it was honestly very upsetting. All joking and levity aside, Seduce Me is a game that moved me almost to tears, because my total inability to flirt with the in-game women, and their resulting coldness and indifference, felt painfully close to my real life. These days, I'm in a long-term relationship and everything is cool. But at university it was a nightmare, and Seduce Me dragged that all back up again.

Take the card games. They seem simple enough. If you're making "Small Talk" with a lady, it's merely a case of matching whatever card she plays with a corresponding one of your own. If she uses the card with a bottle of wine on it, for example, you play your card with a bottle of wine on it and the "conversation" about food and drink ostensibly continues. The next level up is to have an "Intimate Chat" with somebody, where you have to create ascending runs of cards or matching sets to score conversation points. Again, it's hardly neuroscience.
Even "Flirting," which is meant to be the most difficult of Seduce Me's card games, is still basic enough, and just adds another stipulation that you let your "opponent" score some runs and sets, too, so as not to completely dominate the conversation. It's an intuitive, logical system that ought to be playable for anyone who owned a deck of cards when they were a kid. But for me, it was indecipherable and frustrating, and far too reminiscent of my real experiences with women.

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