Here's another Overlooked AIF article, so you don't have to wait any longer to find out what to play! This time I've included four because one of them is... well, you'll see. Let's get on with the show!
HORSE by A. Ninny
No, this game doesn't involve an actual horse. It's about the game HORSE in which you have to land five basketball shots before the other player does. A. Ninny presents a game here that is superficially quite simple, but which works really well and is fun to play. While the actual game of HORSE is technically the impressive part, the sex is also worth your time, as the goal girl (I am struggling to come up with the right term for the object of your affections in an AIF game) is a sexy, sporty woman that made for a good sex scene. HORSE was a mini-comp entry in 2007 that placed 3rd. It was a very competitive year as Goblinboy's The Second Guest was the winner and Burnout's great A Goblin's Life came a strong second, but nonetheless it feels like HORSE got the short end of the stick. The game deservedly won a "best sex scene" Erin Award, so it's maybe not appropriate to list it in my Overlooked AIF column, but on the other hand A. Ninny never quite got the recognition he deserved so I don't feel it's inappropriate to feature him here. If you play none of the others in this article at least play HORSE.
Rogue Redux by Choices
A brief follow-on to Rogue Cop, this game didn't get as much notice because it's a lot less ambitious. It's only really one sex scene, and I believe it may have been released as a tech demo of some kind. Anyway, while it's premise expects some knowledge of the previous game, I really don't think it makes much difference - basically the setup is that there's a very religious, self-righteous, judgmental woman with a hot body and a streak of hypocritical, wanton sexuality, and you're in a position to take advantage. I could have just recommended Rogue Cop, but that's kind of an AIF classic that should be pretty broadly known about, and if it isn't then it deserves to be discussed in a different sort of article (maybe a series on the highlights of AIF).
Train by Sly Old Dog
ATTENTION: I am very conflicted about including this one. It's a very buggy game and contains n/c themes, and I don't know if I
can recommend something from out of the darker corners of the back
catalogue. The game does leave an impression, however, and maybe it'll at least provoke some discussion...
In this game the player is a passenger on a train who decides to grope another passenger. Sly Old Dog was controversial for releasing a lot of games which were not just untested but largely incomplete. This was during a time when there was a lot of pressure to improve the quality of AIF and purge it of the often embarrassingly poor output that was common. If Sly Old Dog was only known for Train, however, then he might be better remembered, as the game experiments with some random branching elements (what the girl chooses to do in response to the player's groping). Before you play it make sure you're okay with the concept and with the fact that it's poorly technically implemented. Don't blame me if you don't like it, though feel free to critique the game in the comments below. Oh, and play it in ADRIFT 4, as the ADRIFT 5 runner makes it unplayable outright.
Sexual Awakening by Tanner V. Chorus
As a bit of an apology for the above game, here's a bonus. This 2008 mini-comp entry is a rare case of satirical AIF. Basically this game is structured as a mockery of the works of Vachon, a prolific but much criticised AIF author from some years ago, who favored taboo themes but had very poor technical and game design implementation. He also clearly didn't have English as a first language.
Weirdly, this wasn't even the only game with this satirical idea in the 2008 mini-comp! There was also a game called Lusty Lovers by Negative Slippy Slide that is on basically the same theme. If you're wondering whether there was any community discussion that might have prompted two authors to have the same idea at the same time, I can't say I was aware of anything. They just seemed to come out of the blue. I listed Sexual Awakening because I personally felt it carried the point across a bit better, but honestly you could give them both a go as they're both in the zip file. In both games the author doesn't actually state outright that the game is a satirical AIF community in-joke, so you the player have to work it out for yourself. It was subtle enough that I'm not actually sure everyone got the joke. If you're (relatively) new to the community you may not be aware of Vachon, who was being directly parodied in Sexual Awakening, but you might get some laughs anyway if you've ever played a bad AIF game.
So what do you think of these games? Did you enjoy them? Is it pure sacrilege to list Train alongside HORSE? Or was I right to point it out? Would HORSE have been better off released as an independent game? What was up with the satirical theme of the 2008 mini-comp? And what other games do you think I should feature in the future?