An immutable law of nature: Most gay erotica is alarmingly unsexy.
Perhaps the vast majority of erotica is just too poorly written to elicit anything but a chuckle. As a reader, you’re jerked out of the material at every mention of a “man-scabbard” or “throbbing flesh-sheath.” (Why deal with that when you can just watch adult clips all day?)
An anomaly in every way, the online game Coming Out On Top achieves the impossible: It gives gay erotica a good name.
Sharp, well-written, and peppered with witty Joss Whedon-like dialogue, the game features characters that are well-rounded and believably goofy — and that somehow winds up making their sex scenes that much more, erm, engrossing once they finally materialize.
Cue the sex sandwich with two horny firefighters as the luncheon meat.
The game is basically a “Choose Your Own Adventure”-type novel in video game form. You assume the role of a handsome college senior (who looks a bit like Colton Haynes) as he tries negotiating the complicated process of coming out — which he does, admirably, by having as much gay sex as possible.
Can you successfully seduce your handsome, ostensibly straight roommate and best friend? If you play your cards right, the answer is yes.
Although the game has been out since 2012, it continues to be updated with a range of hot, hilarious dates that you can find on a virtual social app that apes Grindr.
Can you bed the closeted pop star? The beefy construction worker who came out later in life? The bullying, oddly attractive police officer who’s trying to entrap you?
The answer, again, is yes — but choose wisely.
We caught up with Obscura, the preferred pseudonym of the game’s author and illustrator, and asked her how the project came to be, what led her to drawing a bunch of handsome gay men having hot sex, and what developments we can expect from the game in the future.
What made you decide to create Coming Out on Top?
Five years ago, when there were far fewer indie games around, I found myself searching for a dating sim, but was unable to find the one I wanted. Surely, somebody had made a fun little dating sim where you could date lots of hot guys and have all sorts of crazy adventures, right?
Well, not exactly. I checked out a few Japanese visual novels. At the time, the few that had been translated were pretty dark. The others were point-and-click pornographic games. They all looked interesting and cool, but I specifically wanted something lighthearted, with lots of zany humor and engaging dialogue.
I had especially enjoyed the dialogue in Dragon Age: Origins, which had been released around that time, but I was bummed because I couldn’t romance the main male love interest with my male character. My character needed Alistair, and couldn’t have him!
Around that time, I’d been studying screenwriting. I also had several years of drawing under my belt, and had made a few of these little text-based adventure games when I was younger. It occurred to me I could put my medley of skills and proclivities to some use.
The idea of a game where you played a guy coming out to his college roommates seemed like a great starting point for a dating sim. I hashed together a demo—a romance where you went after your hot professor. It was very bare bones, very short, and extremely PG-13.
It became immediately apparent that I wasn’t the only one looking for something like this. Lots of people started writing to me saying they’d been wanting a gay dating sim for a really long time, along with suggestions on how to improve and expand it.
One of the more popular suggestions was to make it a raunchy, racy adult game, which I thought would be fun.
I worked on my drawing skills to improve the character sprites and hired an amazing artist named Doubleleaf to do the full-scene illustrations. I wound up doing a Kickstarter a few months later to help complete the rest of the game. It seems like a completely bizarre sequence of events in retrospect, but it felt like things worked out perfectly in the end.
What challenges did you face conceiving and selling the game?
The biggest challenge by far was finishing the leviathan that was the game itself. Not only were there 5 main love interests, but I promised a ton of Kickstarter content for every new chunk of funding it received.
By the time the Kickstarter ended, I would need to add a full-fledged bonus route with 10 additional, unique dates on top of that, the scenarios suggested by my Kickstarter backers. So the game ballooned to 16 scenarios, 18 dudes total, all with different endings and a ton of choices. The add-ons wound-up nearly doubling the size of the script!
So finishing everything was a bit of a marathon. I partnered up with an awesome writer for the extra content, but getting everything exactly right was still a huge undertaking. Today, the final script is over 180,000 words, roughly two or three novels’ worth, and it’s largely written with a very condensed, almost sitcom-like pacing. It was a huge challenge writing something of that length, yet keeping the story as fast-faced and snappy as possible.
Another challenge, of course, was all the raunchy sex in the game, making it a smidge more difficult to work with payment processors and vendors. Even though the cocks were just drawings of cocks, it took awhile to find an amenable seller. This year, I’m hoping to get a censored version of the game on Steam. It’s regrettable that adult content is still struggling for public and corporate acceptance, in spite of how popular porn is.
Any more exclusive dates or follow-up projects?
I’d love to make some more content with the existing characters. There’s no end to the scenarios and fetishes people want to see… I might do a sequel at some point, or maybe use something like Patreon to provide one-off dates and new characters each month.
As for new projects, I have both a sci-fi and a fantasy-themed game I want to pursue! But before I tackle those, I need to recharge my writing batteries.
I may just doodle for a couple of other projects in the meantime while I let the ideas percolate in my head.
As a woman, what made you gravitate towards gay male sex scenes rather than other pairings?
To give you a little background, originally COOT wasn’t even going to be a sex game. The original 2 hour long prototype (that JUST had the story with the professor) only featured some kissing and that was seriously as far as it went!
It wasn’t until it started gaining traction that I got those requests for sex scenes. I took a poll and about 96% or so of the 300 respondents at the time wanted a hardcore adult game. So I was happy to oblige. It seemed like a fun challenge. The awesome contributors who were part of Kickstarter forum also gave me a ton of feedback and advice.
I also devoured a lot of erotica for the next 2 years — not only gay but whatever I thought was hot – -to figure out how I’d like to write the sexy parts.
Later on, I hired a writer (he goes by Iggy) to help me with the bonus dates. So the sex scenes were a combo of his writing and mine. (Iggy also wrote Amos’s route as well as Brad’s topping scene.)
And now, it’s time for you to download the (censored) demo of Coming Out On Top and see how it grabs you.
Do you know of other erotic games along these lines that you’d like to tip us off to — strictly in the name of research?
Sound off in the comments below.