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by Damon L. Wakes (as "Hubert Janus") profile


(based on 17 ratings)
4 reviews

About the Story

It's exactly what it sounds like.

Content warning: flashing images, crude humour, testicular trauma, Hitler

Game Details


45th Place - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)


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Number of Reviews: 4
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Most Helpful Member Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful:
by Mike Russo (Los Angeles)
Related reviews: IF Comp 2023

(This is a lightly-edited version of a review I posted to the IntFiction forums during 2023's IFComp).

There are some stories that, when you encounter them, worm their way into your brain and take up permanent occupancy. Borges’ “Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote” is on that list for me; the piece concerns an eccentric Frenchman who so fashions his life so that he can write, from scratch and without reference to the original, simply from his own mind and direct experiences, a brand-new version of Don Quixote that is exactly the same, textually speaking, as what Cervantes wrote. But even though every character precisely matches, the story’s narrator tells us that the two books are not the same: there are some passages where Menard writes so movingly, and with such fiery, personal inspiration that the corresponding bits of Cervantes pale in comparison.

We have something slightly different here: instead of two identical works with the same title but different authors, DICK MCBUTTS GETS KICKED IN THE NUTS has one title and one author but two entirely separate texts. I was spoiled on this feature by some of the forum discussion surrounding what’s clearly an entry that wants to be noticed, learning that there’s a random die roll at the beginning that determines which of the two versions a given player will get. I also knew going in that one is linear, full of typos and egregiously offensive, while the other has some actual gameplay and is legit funny.

On the one hand, this is clearly just a play for the Golden Banana of Discord. On the other, that’s a good meta joke, and the combination of title, authorial pseudonym (my money was that this was Graham Nelson’s triumphant return to IF; it was only slightly disappointing to learn it was actually the very funny Damon L. Wakes), and blurb was sufficiently funny that I decided I’d play along: I resolved to take whichever version the RNG offered up, and not game things to replay the other one, in order to obtain the intended experience.

Reader, you probably know me well enough by now to know that I was secretly hoping to be stuck with the terrible one, and my hopes were not disappointed. The five-minute vignette I played was entirely linear, moving sentence-by-sentence through a zero-context extravaganza of genital trauma and bodily excreta with cameos by Adolf Hitler (as promised), various 80s movie villains, and a troupe of cancan dancers. There’s only one dramatic element – it’s the one in the title – that plays out in a variety of scenarios, the content set off by a nauseously-oscillating green-and-pink background, rakishly-angled text, and typos that couldn’t be more aggressively awful if they tried.

But there’s the rub, of course they tried; the whole thing is entirely calculated to be bad, rather than naively bad. And I found that knowledge colored my entire experience, and meant that I actually kind of enjoyed something that’s objectively terrible. We’re back in Borges territory here, but legitimately so: like, when I read that Darth Vader shrunk himself down into two mini clones, and one of them kicked DICK MCBUTTS’ right ballsack and the other kicked his right ballsack, I didn’t roll my eyes at the slapdash mistake, but chortled at the skillful trolling. Similarly, the rising-and-falling action – no, not of the kicking, but of the game’s pacing, which hits several fake-out climaxes in its short running time – seemed balletic to me, cruelly playing on the naďve player’s hope that this thing is finally ending. There’ve been troll games in the Comp before, so it’s really not hard to imagine the Cervantes DICK MCBUTTS, which would make me angry about how it wasted my time and how cavalierly it deployed Hitler for cheap laughs; but this is the Menard DICK MCBUTTS, and it is sublime.

I’m still rating it a 1, of course. Anything more would be disrespectful to Mr. Janus.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
by Kastel
Related reviews: ifcomp2023

DICK MCBUTTS GETS KICKED IN THE NUTS is about a guy named Dick McButts who gets kicked in the nuts. That's the entire story in a nutshell. However, questions remain: How did Dick McButts get kicked in the nuts? Who did this? Where? Why?

These pertinent questions deserve to be answered by the most curious players of interactive fiction. While I recognize that people may feel uncomfortable about this game, this is actually a witty work that plays with the expectations and mediums of interactive fiction. It rewards curiosity and good faith with tons and tons of silly humor. In fact, it's most interesting when we realize it's having a deep conversation with us about how it's using the craft of interactive fiction to achieve its one goal.

But it sure doesn't mind giving players a bad first impression. Unlucky players with less patience may stumble upon a colorful bonanza riddled with typos and punctuation. They will be forced to read the epic highs and lows of the nut-kicking saga between Dick McButts, Adolf Hitler, and, of course, Darth Vader. Their session ends all of a sudden, with a red hyperlink that goes to nowhere.

If those players keep at it, or -- as in my case -- get lucky the first time, they'll get a more normal-looking page. If we pop up the Twine editor and look up the game's code, we can marvel at the Freudian symbiology and also uncover a script that can randomly put any player into two different game states: the aforementioned battle royale with Darth Vader and the calmer and more fleshed out DICK MCBUTTS GETS KICKED IN THE NUTS scenario.

The Dick McButts in the latter scenario is calmer and more intelligent. Unfortunately, he's also aware of the game's title and hates it. He wants to avoid this terrible fate. There are many scenes where the player must choose between two ridiculous options: one option is the correct one and the other choice results with Dick McButts getting kicked in the nuts. McButts may lament all he wants, but he'll soon be chased by cyborgs with impressive hydraulic legs ready to deliver the final blow. At one point, (Spoiler - click to show)a time-traveling Hitler materializes into existence and McButts simply has to deal with it. And somehow, the absurdity keeps on escalating from there: (Spoiler - click to show)Chapter 2 begins, Fanny McTits doesn't want her nips to be flipped, and the ending defies explanations. This whole scenario is a cinematic romp full of crude humor -- and I loved it!

But I understand why people might be put off by this game: it's just a one-note joke, nothing more and nothing less. The game is so proud of this that it refuses to consider alternative ideas. That approach will ruffle many people's feathers and it's almost certain it'll win the Golden Banana of Discord.

At the same time, I also find its commitment to this one single joke inspiring and ballsy. This title was a creative shitpost with a surprising amount of depth thrown at an unsuspecting public. Everyone may choose to laugh at it or with it. Those who laugh with it will find deep within the game a genuine appreciation for what makes interactive fiction fun and engaging: the choices, the little snippets of text revealed, the comedic timing... all in service of a nutty joke. The real comedy comes not from the copious amounts of immature humor; it comes from the fact that someone has dedicated their passion to the craft of interactive fiction to make a bombastic work about jokes about genitalia. The fact the author is willing to hide that makes the work even funnier to me.

DICK MCBUTTS GETS KICKED IN THE NUTS is delightfully juvenile because it encourages curiosity into its one-note joke. I am left with questions like "Why?" and "How?" because it's so strange and weird. It leaves an impact on me, not so different from getting kicked in the nuts. But instead of cowering in pain, I am crying with laughter at how much effort the author had to put into this game. I won't be able to get up for a while and that's okay.

Sometimes, you gotta let the pain do its thing. It's part of the joke.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful:
It’s longer than it seems… ;), November 22, 2023
by manonamora
Related reviews: ifcomp

DICK MCBUTTS GETS KICKED IN THE NUTS is what you could consider a joke entry. It is a nonsensical and completely unserious game, where the point is to make you chuckle, one way or another. The game is not just dipped but fully immersed in absurdism… if you got the correct start when opening the game. I reached multiple Dead Ends, and one True Ending out of Three.

I was pretty lucky, getting the good path from the moment I clicked Play, avoiding the flashing image and on-purpose terrible spelling*. I got to enjoy the adventure of Dick, our protagonist, trying his darn best to protect his family jewels from getting the kick. If this sounds juvenile, it is on purpose. The game is meant to be a joke through out (if that was not yet obvious from the title and the author’s name), and can be enjoyed by playing along with the joke (making the situations even more absurd than they are), or making fun of the game for how stupid the sequence of events is going (how unlucky Dick is to have to choose to flee towards two different shoe factories…).
*Whether the author did it on purpose or not, just for having that path, it will be a Banana of Discord contender for sure.

While it is very humorous, it is also a very specific kind of humour, which will not be of everyone’s taste. It is a one-type-of-joke kind of game, which can become tiring pretty quickly, if you are not in the right mindset. It’s crude, it’s rude, it’s balls-y*.
*yes, not very smart

Though, the author should be commended for how long they managed to keep that joke going, never once faltering, always doubling down. It is pretty impressive how creative the game stays even with just one scenario, and the sheer amount of branching available in the game (every passage or two, you have a choice). It is a commitment to the bit I’ve only really seen with major shitposting and memes*. Just for that, kuddos Hubert!

This was a riot of a game!

Last note, importing the game on Twine give the dumbest but most topical overview of the passage placements. Extra points for effort.

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