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About the Story
A short game exploring women's role in causing or preventing sexual harassment.
A Day In The Life With Female Experience Simulator
I woke up this morning to find this message from Chris: ďColin, I found your next sim.Ē Thatís fair. Iím the sim guy now. I write about sims for you to enjoy. Sims for the sim god. But when I clicked the link, I paused. Pink background. Twine. The title: Female Experience Simulator. ďOh,Ē I replied.
I suppose I would self-identify as a feminist. I mean, I get angry when bad things happen to women because of their gender, and Iím ferociously in favor of equality. But I worry about confronting it in writing, because inevitably, I am going to piss someone off, and that person will want to destroy me. I know itís very cowardly, so I decided to, well, man up would be the worst choice of words, but you know what I mean. So to whomever I piss off, be nice, please.
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Exploring Immersion in Other Ways Beside Escapism
Video games have a really awesome potential that I think is still rather untapped. This is the power to immerse people and most of the time, we spend that time immersing ourselves into power fantasies where we can solve every puzzle, defeat every enemy, and outsmart every opponent. Video games are really good at making us feel better about ourselves because sometimes life throws into situations where the game designer gave us no solutions. Video games are great at letting us escape unwinnable situations.
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Number of Reviews: 2
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A quick CYOA in which - in game parlance - you die and must restart after every second move because whatever you decide to wear and wherever you choose to go (two choices) you are sexually harassed by a man or men.
The mixture of cuteness and smartarsery in the writing, in combination with the girly pink colour scheme, is broadly funny. This tone extends into the dialogue and content of the harassments. That they are so frequent and display such a variety of dialogue and invention that they acquire an overkill quality in this context which is inevitably funny and exasperating, and makes them palatable in spite of their volume. And the game is in tune with player exasperation. It starts to offer an 'I give up' option at about the right time.
The punchline when you do so is: 'BLAM! Welcome to life as a woman.'
(OK, I admit I added the 'BLAM!')
So this very small game is well structured for its idea. This leaves us with the idea and the question of who it's for. I'm already aware of the specific point that a woman might be sexually harassed whether she is wearing a low cut item or a tracksuit, and this is the game's main point. So telegraphing that at length and then saying 'BLAM!' was not revelatory for me personally, but that doesn't mean it might not be revelatory for someone else. The practicality of the point makes it a good one for people who might not have thought about such things much, or at all.
Based on what's (figuratively) written on the box, a woman need not play Female Experience Simulator. After all, she doesn't need to simulate the experience of being a woman; she's experiencing it. Nevertheless, were she to play it, my punt on what her experience might be like - informed by my experience of playing Female Experience Simulator - is that the game would be likely to hit the recognition spot with a leavening of humour, but obviously without any revelations.
If the game actually advocated hopelessness or hopeless behaviour (eg 'You MUST run home to cry whenever you are sexually harrassed!') I would have flushed it down the toilet to join other self-deludedly defeatist crap like the works of Samuel Beckett. However I think it's obvious that this game is not making a point beyond: A woman can experience sexual harrassment in spite of how she dresses or presents herself. Which is important if not known. A man may learn this by playing. A woman already knows it. The game manages to do this with some humour, and it's pretty light, so it's a stretch to read much further into it.
This review is already in severe danger of brandishing more content than the game itself, so it's time to stop.
I understand what this game is trying to get across, and I genuinely sympathize with anyone who is exploited or harassed.
My only wish is that the game went another step and offered some actual sensible advice on how to maturely deal with sexual harassment instead of automatically assuming that the only option someone has is to retreat to their home and despair in solitude. Perhaps it's a limitation of Twine which can only offer the reader options that the author includes.
(Spoiler - click to show)Your Workplace
At the office one of your male co-workers keeps finding excuses to come over and stand near your desk. You realise it's because he's trying to see down your top.
You get out of your chair. Your annoying co-worker Dexter is here.
"Good Afternoon, Dexter," you say, now at conversational height with him, breaking his direct view down your cleavage.
"Oh, hi," he replies, looking around at the attention this is attracting from the other cubicles. "No need to stand up on my account."
>ASK DEXTER ABOUT WHAT HE WANTS
"Did you need something? I noticed you hovering, and I'm certain you're not just standing over my desk to ogle me, because that would be quite embarrassing for the both of us."
Dexter glances around, tugging at his collar. "Oh, no," he says. "I was going to ask about the TPS report..."
>TELL DEXTER ABOUT GROIN PUNCHING
"Oh, good," you reply. "You might want to be careful sneaking up on me like that, though. Last guy who startled me got socked right in the goodies. Didn't mean to. Pure reflex, on accident. Can't control it..." you say, flailing your arms out in several jerky random directions.
"Oh right." he says, stepping back. "Hey, do you want to get coffee over lunch?"
"No, I have lunch all planned out. But thanks for the offer!"
>GIVE TPS REPORTS TO DEXTER
(first taking some TPS reports)
You hand a half-inch thick stack of TPS reports to Dexter. "Let me know if you need any more."
Dexter goes west.
It's busy in the coffee shop today. While you're standing at the counter a man tries to squeeze past behind you. He puts his hands on either side of your waist and brushes the full length of his body up against you.
You release the hold on your latte, and the pasteboard cup explodes on the floor, splashing still-pretty-hot liquid on the creep's shiny shoes and the hem of his trousers.
"Whoopsie," you say cheerfully. "Oh, sorry about that, you startled me! Might want to be careful rubbing your junk on against a stranger while she's holding hot liquids!"
"It was an accident," he says, staring at his shoes. "You ruined my Italian-"
>TELL HIM ABOUT COFFEE
"And you wasted a four-dollar cup of coffee! I think we'll call it even."
"Can I have another one please?" You turn back to the guy, handing him a stack of napkins. "Good thing this one didn't go higher, they do serve their coffee hot!"