Robert Yang, academic, scholar, and creator of gay sex-themed video games like Succulent, Hurt Me Plenty, and Stick Shift, has released his latest homoerotic offering, Rinse & Repeat.
Yang’s most recent affair is about showering with the developer’s recurring aviator shade-wearing gay sex icon. Or, more accurately, it’s about washing him.
In his notes about Rinse & Repeat, Yang explained that it’s sort of a spiritual sequel to Hurt Me Plenty, his game about spanking in a consensual S&M relationship. This time out, you’re in the submissive role, however, as you’re the one bathing the dude.
You’re also in a submissive role with the game itself, as you can only wash said dude at different times based on a weekly schedule posted on the bulletin board in the background. This is tied to the real world day and time, though everyone who plays will be given their own randomised schedule (with funny names like Tactical Zumba or Blood Pilates, riffing on what Yang calls the “mindless gunmetal masculinisation of fitness”).
“Some no doubt bristle at the triumph of waiting mechanics in games, and would refuse to classify it as a mechanic since it is essentially non-interactivity that exists as interactivity. But I’d argue that waiting is the quintessential easy-to-pick-up hard-to-master kind of skill that is massively accessible to most of society,” Yang wrote in a blog post explaining his intentions behind Rinse & Repeat. “Waiting is an act of submission, but that’s not really a bad thing. Delayed gratification is an integral part of pacing that can enrich an experience; you can’t feel a drop without a build-up.”
Yang noted that this is as true of sex as it is in gaming. “Some people wait to have any sex until they are married, some wait to have sex depending on their menstrual cycle; some are tired, some don’t feel like it, and some just plain don’t want to,” the developer explained. “Basically, sex often takes place at specific times, places, and moods.”
In this way, it sounds a lot like video games. You need to be in the mood to play them, but they’re always there for you when you want them. But due to Rinse & Repeat’s harsh schedule, it’s the other way around where the game is the one “in the mood” and whether you go the distance with it depends on how willing you are to submit to its demands.
Rinse & Repeat is also a commentary on locker rooms in general. Yang explained that for gay men, public showers are often seen as dangerous. “You could be discovered or outed or beaten for ‘looking at someone the wrong way’ even if you were just minding your own business — and there’s nowhere to hide, not even in your own clothes,” he explained. “So as a porn genre, it is basically a fantasy about everyday consent and safety. Not just the consent to have weird exciting uncomfortable sex on a tile floor, but also the consent to be able to shower and use public facilities While Being Gay. What if we actually did what homophobes are so irrationally afraid of us doing?”
The rest of Yang’s post is all rather spoilery about the ending of the game, so I’ll leave that for you to read at your discretion, but suffice to say this will be the developer’s last game with the Man in Shades.
Yang argued that his stereotypical character design was intentional to “foreground the weirdness of a muscley white man as a gay cultural ideal, but I also understand that this will only seem intentional if I also practice the alternative, which is to try to depict a diversity of bodies.” So expect more of that in whatever weird concoction Yang stirs up next.
You can name your price for Rinse & Repeat on PC, Mac and Linux at itch.io.