The hardest part of making a visual novel porn game is the scope, as far as I’m concerned. You have a great story in your head; you think people would like to fap to it, but you forget to think about the art, music, voice actors, and the like, and your game ends up looking like a game-jam demo, instead of a finished product. This is why some developers adjust their scope and plan out their games in advance. They make sure not to reach for the stars if they know that’s out of the question. To make sure their game is actually something they can finish without losing their minds, they’ll tell you upfront what not to expect. Text-based games tell you not to expect graphics, simulators are honest about not having a story.
Well, today I’m covering a game that manages to strike a ridiculous balance between the many parts of its design, while being loaded with amazing fapworthy content. Plus, this game’s gotten a ridiculous amount of praise from both porn reviewers and the mainstream and for very good reason. Let’s dig in.
An 8-Bit Lens
The first thing you’ll notice about Hardcoded is that it’s entirely 8-bit in style. It’s not an actual 8-bit game, mind you. I’m pretty sure it’s just another RenPy driven visual novel. But, the game’s assets really are properly retro, throughout, and I think this was the first great decision they made. Everything after this point was just icing on the cake.
The style is genius, because like I mentioned before, it’s fucking impossible to cram quality into a visual novel across the board. You either focus on the titties, or you spend some time on the backdrops. And with a ton of backers waiting on the next release, all the time, you’re under constant pressure to rush things. Well, when you swap over to 8-bit graphics, you suddenly have a lot more time to spend on things that are very much not the art, like say, the story that sells the game.
Yes, you do have to actually be a talented artist in order to pull this off. 8-Bit graphics aren’t a catch-all solution for people who can’t draw. But, they do allow people who can draw to draw a bit faster and worry a bit less about the details in the backdrops. This is usually where a high definition visual novel will start to show some cracks in the walls and ceilings, both literally and figuratively.
The Right Amount of Story
I hate it when visual novels drone on and on with exposition, like I downloaded them to read or book or some shit. I mean sure, you can take me on a sexy journey, but get there in 10 lines or less, please. Otherwise, you’re just torturing me. If I wanted to read a book, I’d go to the library and check out the Kamasutra.
Well, Hardcoded has the right amount of writing, in my book, no pun intended. There’s a ton of story, and it’s constantly flowing, but it’s served up to you bit by bit through conversations. You also don’t read any descriptions as far as I can tell. It’s all just proper dialogue, and it’s very interesting. These are the kind of conversations that real people have in real life, plus a bit of fantasy here and there. This works wonders for your immersion. I mean, you start off the game meeting one character, who naturally introduces you to two other, and the game spirals outward from there. It’s the same way we make friends in real life. Now, whether we end up fucking our new friends or not, that’s a different story all-together.
A Super-Fun Sci-Fi Romp
This game takes place in the future. That much should be obvious at first glance. You play as an artificial lifeform who also happens to be female, or at least I think so. I might be that you’re just female-identifying, I’m not sure. Speaking of gender identification, this game casts a really wide net with the inclusivity, specifically of trans women and gay women. There are several such characters throughout the story, and they’re written in a very believable way. I’ve been with a few trans girls in my life, and I have to tell you, beyond the extra bit of meat, they were equally as annoying as other women are when they talk about their feelings.
The story flows very slowly, but it’s extremely interesting, because one single interaction only takes a few clicks. As I said, there are no long monologues, just short interactions between people who casually know each other. That means you get a lot of short scenes rather than a few long ones that drone on about some bullshit you don’t care about.
Much to Say About Trans
This game’s story revolves more or less entirely around the implications of being a male to female transgender person. There’s also the added bonus of you playing as an escaped android, which further adds that existential and political implication. The air is very thick, to say the least. You’re bombarded with concerns from a world that doesn’t seem to approve of your existence very much.
But, in the midst of it all, you find friends, most it not all of whom are women. You also don’t fail to sleep with all of them, systematically, as is porn game tradition. But it’s not just a smut game in which you fuck your way through a procession of bitches. It’s more like a survival game, except your life isn’t in danger because people like to combat each other in the streets. Your life is in danger because your entire existence is being nullified by a society that doesn’t give a shit about your feelings.
That’s sort of how the whole story ties into the trans themes, and there’s a lot of opportunity for those story parts to sort of leak out onto your screen. There are trans characters that you can romance, but within that small community of like-minded and respectful individuals, all women are given the same respect. I’m not big on politics, but I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: I respect all women equally as well. Whether she has a dick or not is something we don’t have to pay much attention to. The backside’s the best part of the woman anyways.
I’ve read a few reviews about this game long before I played it, from non-porn related sources, mind you. It kept getting referenced as an amazing game for trans people to realize that they are trans people. It also got a lot of props for being very unbiased about trans people and just sort of trying to show what they’re like behind closed doors – the big reveal being that they’re exactly the same as everyone else. But, how the game slowly and gently unfolds all of this action is very respectable and commendable.
I mean, I went into the game hoping to jack off to some chicks that my character might end up boning. And I did jack off, a lot, even to the hot neighbor chick with the 6 incher. – No regrets. But, I learned a lot along the way. Plus, I don’t normally connect to characters in porn games unless they’re really memorable, and every single one of the main characters here felt like a real person with real feelings. Some of them felt more real than the average person I interact with in real life on a daily basis.
I can’t really give you a firsthand account on how accurate this game is when it comes to the portrayal of trans people’s lives. All I know is that other, better-versed reviewers have commented very positively on that. Me? I’m the smut king. I’m here to say that the smut in this game is super-hot. Yes, they could always add more of it to the game, but as it currently stands, this game is worth everyone’s time.
The story is so ridiculously fun and well written, with enough intrigue and mystery to make you feel super rewarded when you get to the good stuff. I estimate that you can keep coming back to this game for quick faps over and over again for days, before you feel like you’ve tapped it dry. I warmly recommend that you try this game and not just because I love everything 8-Bit. Even in its current early stage of development, the damn thing looks polished as all hell, so give it a whirl.