Singles: Flirt Up Your Life!
I can't get them to fuck. As phone calls to commissioning editors go, it's an unconventional opening gambit, albeit one of the more original excuses for missing a deadline. But with my copy very nearly due, it's the best I can offer. Mr Holden is on the receiving end of my concerns, and they' are Enrique and Paris, residents of a rooftop apartment in a European city in a computer game called Singles. If you haven't been following its progress, Singles can loosely be described as a relationship 'em up, with the vague aim being to achieve a happy ending for your couple, naturally preceded by some horizontal shenanigans.
It had all started so well. Within minutes Paris was butt-naked, thus answering the question that had been on our minds ever since we first encountered the game. The question in question: will there be muff? Absolutely. We're talking tits, arse, fanny, the lot. And for the ladies, an array of unfettered cocks swinging around the monitor with gay abandon. What could possibly go wrong? Lose the clothes, point them in the general direction of each other and watch them go at it like knives.
Alas, it seems that there is more to relationships than naked grappling (not on my watch), and relationships is what Singles is all about - although the subtitle Flirt Up Your Life hints at what it's really about. They might as well have called it Singles: Have Penetrative Sexual Intercourse.
Billed as The Sims with shagging, the inspiration is clear. Inspiration doesn't do it justice though, as Singles is inspired by The Sims in the same way that a fake Rolex is inspired by a Rolex. Although here, the second hand would probably be in the shape of an engorged penis. It's a shameless rip-off, and as such involves the tedious routine of decking out your apartment with potted plants and irksomely rotating items of furniture. Like the sims in The Sims, singles in Singles have to eat, piss and shit (praise be for punctuation) - the similarity is uncanny. Fortunately, you can set the Al to take care of basic bodily functions, thus avoiding the embarrassing mishaps that allegedly made The Sims so hilarious.
Call Of Nature
However, more sinister workings are afoot here, as due to some bizarre censorship situation, the characters in Singles can't drop their kecks to have a dump. No, instead they simply sit on the throne fully clothed and presumably fill their pants. No fun for anyone (as I recently found out), and even more unlikely in a game that punishes them for not washing their hands. Yet more absurd is the fact that should one of the characters be naked when nature calls, they can simply drop the kids off at the pool in the traditional fashion. We don't understand, and have simply put this down to the game's German origins, the 18-rating presumably covering graphic nudity but not toilet functions apparently...
Bog-trotting aside, in order to get your singles to copulate, you're going to have to play it by the book, progressing from bland chit-chat to mild flirtation to naked animal rutting. Or as the game would have it, friendship, romance and sensuality, ratings that must all be maxed out before there's any hint of action.
Throw in the fact that your singles also have to hold down jobs, eat, sleep and wash, and it's a painstaking business - the equivalent of getting a pair of Chinese pandas to mate. The seduction process often seems to be happening in real time, proving a laborious affair that will try the resolve of all but the most sex-crazed gamer. It's more a test of patience than an in-depth exercise in social engineering.
Down n' Dirty
It's not even as if mucky games are anything new, and recent years have seen such tat as Lula: The Sexy Empire and Erotica Island. Even back in the day we had the likes of Sam Fox Strip Poker on the Spectrum.
The big difference then was that erotic material was at a premium: you'd either find a stash of Razzles in a lay-by, send your bum-fluffed mate to the video shop for Electric Blue 17, or wait for a rare ITV screening of The Bitch, the film that sent a generation of teenage boys to school the next day with tennis elbow. Given such sparse fare and crazed hormones, dragging yourself around the room to a pixellated picture of a page three stunna was a viable option.
These days of course, everyone with an Internet connection has access to more pornography than is physically possible to watch (believe me, I've tried). As such, paying 20 quid in the hope of seeing a pair of cartoon characters getting it on is in the realms of folly, particularly as it's preceded by countless hours of grinding tedium. When the sex finally comes, it's watchable enough, albeit with the crucial areas predictably obscured under the covers. That said, get the cheat mode on and it's hot lesbian action all the way - always a beautiful thing.
Download Singles: Flirt Up Your Life!
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP