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Citizen Makane

by Perry Simm (as "The Reverend") profile

Sexual comedy
2023

(based on 8 ratings)
5 reviews

About the Story

In the beginning, you thought it was a simple nightmare. But then it just didn't stop.

You're trapped in a text-adventure game called "The Incredible Erotic Adventures of Stiffy Makane". Maybe this is your purgatory. Maybe you deserve this.

Official Playlist: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/7tbJ0Tm3tjIHlmNbKPtojU

Content warning: Sexually explicit language


Game Details


Awards

15th Place - 29th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition (2023)

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Number of Reviews: 5
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Most Helpful Member Reviews


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
I just got why "The Undiscovered Country" is a punny title, December 26, 2023
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).

You canít drop your dick on the first turn 0/10.

(Later).

I played for five more minutes and turns out you can drop your dick, so okay, weíll do a real review.

Despite having never previously played a Stiffy Makane game other than the short, semi-high-brow Nemesis Macana, I still knew enough to make that joke because somehow, Stiffy has become a part of IFís communal lore. From humble beginnings in a poorly-made late 90ís work of AIF, he was thrust to stardom via interactive MST3K mockery, much of which from my understanding centered on the fact that Stiffyís stiffy was implemented as an ordinary inventory item. Thence his career got odd as different authors took the helm, running from sci-fi parody to filthy-minded philosophical rumination, with a few meta meditations on choice-based mechanics and the uglier side of player empowerment along the way (hopefully this potted summary is more or less correct; checking out the Stiffy oeuvre is on my list, but as I said I havenít really gotten around to it).

Stiffy has a history, in other words, and for a maybe-new author (one never knows with pseudonyms) to make a Stiffy game out of the gate strikes me as audacious Ė almost as audacious as naming it after Citizen Kane, for all that that is a simply irresistible pun. And in fact this is an ambitious game. After a brief introduction in which you have a nightmare of being stuck in an eternally-resetting loop of the original Stiffy game, you wake up and learn the premise: youíve just been defrosted from cryogenic suspension into a future where men are extinct (we lost a literalized battle of the sexes) and a new generation of hopefully enlightened scientists are hoping to study you, learn more about heterosexuality, and find out whether peaceful coexistence as a once-again gender-integrated society might be possible. That means youíll need to wander around having a lot of random sex, which is accomplished through a deckbuilding minigame, all while solving the problems of the good citizens of Urville, from improving production in the local milk farm to teaching a college course on sexuality to helping the priestess recover a stolen relic.

This is of course only a slightly-better worked out version of guess-you-need-to-schtup-everybody AIF worldbuilding (ďwhat if Y: The Last Man, but with a lot more boobs?Ē), with RPG-light gameplay to match. But the degree of care thatís been taken in implementing the game is impressively far from the notorious shoddiness of the first Stiffy. The minigame hits a just-right level of complexity, being relatively straightforward to understand but taking a few tries to get the nuances, while also striking a good balance between grind and progression. Thereís a time-of-day system that gives the city an air of vibrancy without imposing too many annoying delays on the player. And the overall polish is very solid, with lots of synonyms, implemented scenery, and small little Easter eggs, like this one from the time-looping opening:

ďHello, Stiffy. Iíve been expecting you.Ē

She is naked.

You can imagine where it goes from here.

> imagine

The thing is, you donít have to. Youíve been through this a million times.

The writing is also well judged; this is AIF, yes, but in normal gameplay itís content to stay in gentle nudge-nudge wink-wink territory. Itís puerile, but I laughed when I visited Fountain Square and saw a note in the location description about the titular fountain, and laughed again upon examining it:

ďTitularĒ is right. The centerpiece of the fountain is a statue of a beautiful naked nymph, water spurting from at least every orifice.

The first part is obvious, sure, but that ďat leastĒ is a good gag.

In the sex scenes the game does get quite explicit, but the randomly-generated text here is far more calculated to raise a laugh than the libido:

"As you slide your hammering hampton in and out of Aubrey with a smooth, steady rhythm, the sound of your loving echoes through the air like a whole volume of books being slammed shut in sequence."

"You burst like a violently vomiting giraffe. The two of you get dressed again."

"The feeling of your protruding pencil stuck deep in her gutted hedgehog is a sensation you wonít forget soon."

(The gameís ABOUT text mentions that ChatGPT was used in some portions of the writing, and I canít help but wonder if some of these deranged combinations are the fruit of an LLM not knowing how inserting tab A into slot B actually works).

And beyond the tamer-than-it-looks writing, Citizen Makane is actually kind ofÖ wholesome? All the other characters are quite earnest (and generally down to get down with Stiffy Ė thereís no iffy consent stuff here, thankfully), and youíre written as a laid-back, polite sort of horn-dog. All the gameís quests involve being helpful, and while the recovering-stolen-property one does foil the plans of the thief, she doesnít wind up holding a grudge and everybodyís cool with everybody else by the end. The best ending even winds up arguing that non-stop sex only gets one so far, and itís nice to just cuddle or see a movie sometimes too to build a strong relationship. Truly, this is the Stiffy Makane game you can take home to meet your mom.

Qua game, the only other thing Iíd note about Citizen Makane is the caveat that the sex minigame does have one obviously-best strategy thatís a little too easy to hit upon and implement, and makes things fell quite mechanical by the end-point: all you need to do is find one rare dominant card and one rare submissive card (cards represent sex acts, and in an effort to keep you from just spamming the same one over and over again, you get a penalty for playing two of the same type in a row), upgrade them each, and then alternate them over and over until you win. Sure, the increasingly-mechanical nature of nonstop coitus is part of the gameís theme, but I think that could have been accomplished narratively while making the gameplay a little more engaging (for example by dealing out a subset of your equipped cards each round rather than having all of them always available).

Those themes are worth digging into, though. Sure, this is a silly sex comedy, but at this point the Stiffy Makane brand, oddly, is at least as much about making philosophical or sociological statements as it is about parodying AIF, so I think itís worth taking at least a little seriously. Weíre not meant to think too hard about the war that killed all the men, which is fair enough, but Citizen Makane does seem to want us to think about the all-female society it depicts. In many ways itís a utopia Ė while one character does indicate that Urvilleís self-presentation as a post-scarcity, egalitarian, and peaceful society is slightly untrue, the worst we see is that money does still exist in other parts of the world, and some people seem to think that having slightly kinkier sex than others is somehow subversive.

There is one element of the society that is problematized, though. Midway through a history lecture you can wander into and listen to, you get this bit of background:

ďOver time, the new all-female society developed a myriad of alternative forms of intimacy. Emotional connections, intellectual stimulation, and artistic collaboration became increasingly significant aspects of womenís relationships with one another. This expansion of intimacy beyond the purely physical realm contributed to significant decline in female sexual activity over time.Ē

Yes, part of the reason they thawed you out is because Urville, without men, has reached a crisis point of too much cuddling and not enough boning.

Again, this is a standard heal-the-world-through-the-power-of-dick AIF trope, but the game really does dwell on this aspect of the world more than it needs to in order to establish that yeah, random people will want to screw you. And itís of a piece with a decidedly reticent treatment of people with non-heterosexual orientations; lesbianism is only indirectly acknowledged in the various lectures and documents you find (and when it is, as in this excerpt, itís implicitly positioned as lacking as compared to straight relationships), and while there are a couple of sapphic orgies you come across (er, not literally, thankfully), thereís only a single, very missable line towards the end to indicate that two characters are in a relationship with each other. For all intents and purposes, it feels like the only real sexuality is straight sexuality, so youíre the only game in town (thereís also no indication that there are any people not on the gender binary, which seems decidedly odd given the setup).

This is an oversight, but I think itís intentional; to the extent the game has something to say, itís saying it about male sexuality. The name of the holographic AI who piggybacks on your brain to vicariously experience sex (ÖI donít think Iíve mentioned her yet, thereís a lot going on in this game) is called Shamhat, for example, which is the name of the temple prostitute who civilizes the wild man Enkidu through lovemaking in the Epic of Gilgamesh. Shamhat is also a critical part of that climactic scene where Stiffy renounces impersonal fucking in favor of engaging with the humanity of oneís sexual partners. And throughout the game, the playerís interactions with the townís inhabitants do help bring out restraint in Stiffy; he learns to act professionally even when there are opportunities to push things in a sexy direction in the classes he teaches, for example, and thereís a semen-milking minigame thatís all about teetering at the edge of orgasm without losing control. Without spoiling things too much, the gameís ending also circles back to the beginning, and finishes with an explicit renunciation of the logic of early AIF. To the extent thereís a message, itís that sex is an important and positive part of many relationships, but itís just one part of fostering a human connection with oneís partner.

Thatís a nice lesson that hardly anyone could object to (if they do Ė run) but at the same time, it sure doesnít seem like the artistically-collaborating cuddle-happy lesbians of Urville need to learn it; this is all about Stiffy within the fiction, and out-of-game it sure feels directed at a presumably-male player audience. And I dunno, in space-year 2023, where there continue to be lots of issues around sex and intimacy in heterosexual relationships, but where thereís hopefully pretty broad understanding that similar issues arise in other kinds of relationships too Ė and, not to be a bummer, where setting up straight relationships as the norm can marginalize people with other orientations and gender identities Ė that approach does strike me as a little parochial. Iíll repeat, this is an ambitious, well-designed and implemented game thatís about as heartwarming as an AIF parody can get, but I canít help but wish it pushed the envelope a little further and thought through what, if anything, Stiffy Makane has to say to people who arenít straight men (I mean, his dick comes off! Someoneís gotta be able to do something with that!)

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful:
IFComp 2023: Citizen Makane, October 7, 2023
by Kastel
Related reviews: ifcomp2023

Citizen Makane may be the best (Spoiler - click to show)deckbuilding adventure game based on The Incredible Erotic Adventures of Stiffy Makane.

After an eerily familiar dream, you have awakened (Spoiler - click to show)to a world where the male sex has been wiped out. Students, milkwomen, passersby -- they're all eager to find out how stiff Stiffy Makane really is. (Spoiler - click to show)Even scientists are interested in your sexual prowess because it may provide insights into human evolution.

Just one small problem: (Spoiler - click to show)you haven't worked your genitalia in at least 267 years.

To get you back up to speed, the game gives you some simple adventure game objectives. You help (and bang) people: a librarian (Spoiler - click to show)wants to expand her collection of taboo books; a priestess (Spoiler - click to show)believes the chalice has been stolen by a beloved philanthropist; and the milkwomen (Spoiler - click to show)want to extract your male milk and sell it on the market. These tasks may or may not be available depending on the day, but there are no deadlines in the game.

However, some missions are gated based on your (Spoiler - click to show)sexual stamina level. (Spoiler - click to show)If you try something intense from the start, you'll only make a mess and embarrass yourself. You gotta start slow: (Spoiler - click to show)wait for a woman to look at you as you travel between town, engage in a conversation, and bring out your (Spoiler - click to show)deckbuilder. Much like real sex, the game involves collecting and using cards that are scattered around town and hidden in quests. You can wield three cards at a time during an encounter; each card can be submissive or dominant and there are ratings that indicate the amount of pleasure you versus what your partner get. (Spoiler - click to show)The goal is to simultaneous orgasm (and maybe a little more!), but the beginning is an exercise on humility -- you may have to ejaculate before your partner even feels anything. As long as you don't make a mess of yourself, you'll earn EXP. The more skilled you are at pleasuring each other, the more EXP -- just like how I remember my RPGs.

The entire game had me laughing and enthralled from start to finish. I really enjoyed the witty writing: it never gets old because it keeps juggling different kinds of sex jokes and the comedic timing is varied enough. The prose is also clean and the plot always moves forward, especially if you know how to optimize the sex gains. Honestly, I can't get enough of the raunchy and amusing writing.

But by the end of the game, I became somehow emotionally invested in this strange setting and (Spoiler - click to show)the relationship between the two main characters. For a game that revels in bawdiness, I didn't expect such tender and emotional writing. In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense: (Spoiler - click to show)this game has foreshadowed that it'll be tackling uncomfortable misogyny present in the original Stiffy Makane and other adult games. No matter how many consenting women there are in this game, we cannot undo Makane's shooting of Pamela. Not only do we see it in the introduction, but in certain sexual encounters, our player character tries to go on a date with one of his liaisons, only to be rebuffed because she's only interested in his technology. He can only relate with a partner through sex and that's why he's so lonely. And the final action the player might be the best answer to his unquenchable longing because it respects him and the history of the Stiffy Makane games. Perhaps, the ribaldry makes the few nice scenes even sweeter. It adds emotional weight to the overall message about sex and turns the game into a fascinating character study of one of the best characters interactive fiction has to offer.

Citizen Makane is an incredible game that lives up to its name. I had so much fun that I wished the game was longer and more substantial, but I knew that brevity and polish made for the best stuff. Orson Welles would have been so honored to have such a wonderful game named after his mediocre movie.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:
Citizen Makane review, February 2, 2024
by EJ

When you think about it, text adventure games are a triumph of phallogocentrism (as originally defined by Jacques Derrida and expanded on by feminist theorists such as Helene Cixous and Luce Irigaray). The world of the parser leaves no room for indeterminacy, for ambiguity, for self-contradictory ideas. What matters is concrete objects, represented by words, able to be manipulated in predictable ways and be used in puzzles with a single solution that can be reached (ideally) through logical reasoning. As this worldview is associated with a Western, patriarchal system of values that tends to set up hierarchical oppositions that define men by what they have and women by what they lack, games like the original Stiffy Makaneówhich is quite literally phallocentricócan be argued to be the ultimate expression of this tendency, having the player engage in this system with the explicit goal of the subjugation of women. Meanwhile, Citizen Makane demonstrates its commitment to complicating the phallogocentric worldview in its first scene, which requires (and it is key that this is required, not simply allowed) the player character to unequip his penis in order to proceed...

Okay, okay, thatís enough. Citizen Makane is a porn parody deck-building game, and although it has moments of sincerity and some actual commentary to make about masculinity, most of the game is very, very silly.

It is the story of a man who wakes up after centuries of cryosleep to find himself in a world where men have otherwise died out. He has been revived as an experiment in reintroducing men to society, and is also playing host to an AI, Shamhat, whom he is tasked with providing with training data by having sex with as many women as possible.

The sex is represented by a very simple deck-building card game; once youíve figured out the basics of how it works, it becomes rote, with little variation between encounters. The acts you perform are described with semi-randomized ridiculous similes clearly parodying bad erotica, which keeps things entertaining for a while, but the fun of that wears thin eventually too. This is unfortunate, as the player does have to grind (no pun intended) to advance the plot. But then, maybe the tedium is intentional; as the game goes on, the PC himself obviously begins to tire of the whole thing and long for some real connection.

This is one of a number of ways that Citizen Makane sets up gender-essentialist and heterosexist elements for the purpose of knocking them down. The player must afford the game a certain amount of goodwill for this to work, as much of the knocking-down comes fairly late in a long (by IFComp standards) game, butóall semi-joking attempts at feminist litcrit asideóthe opening sequence did serve its purpose of giving me some confidence that these elements werenít being replicated uncritically.

There is, however, one area in which the game doesnít try to question the assumptions that undergird the genre that itís parodying, which is the treatment of sex and gender as strict binaries. Granted, Iím not sure quite what I would have liked to see the game do here, given the ďall men have died outĒ premise; itís inherently difficult to handle the idea of sex and gender as spectra in that context. I donít think any recent take on the premise has handled this in a way that I was entirely satisfied with, or that didnít cause a certain amount of controversy; even the best-regarded example that Iím aware of, Gretchen Felker-Martinís Manhunt, came in for a decent amount of criticism within the trans community (of which the author is also a part). So I canít entirely fault Citizen Makane for simply avoiding the issue, but I was still a bit uncomfortable with the lack of acknowledgement that trans, nonbinary, and intersex people exist. Though I did appreciate that the game made a point of showing that some of the women still prefer relationships with each other, even with a man available.

Ultimately, despite these flaws, I did find Citizen Makane a largely effective deconstruction of the toxic machismo of the genre that Stiffy Makane, in its particularly egregious awfulness, has become emblematic of. The opening and ending scenes are particularly strong, and there are plenty of humorous moments to be found along the way. But Iím always a bit on the fence about whether intentionally boring the player is worth it, and while I recognize its thematic import here, it still made the long middle section of the game a bit of a slog.

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Polls

The following polls include votes for Citizen Makane:

Outstanding RPG of 2023 by MathBrush
This poll is part of the 2023 IFDB Awards. The rules for the competition can be found here, and a list of all categories can be found here. This award is for the best RPG of 2023. Voting is open to all IFDB members. Suggested games...

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