TGS 2007: Florian Previews Duel Love… But Is It Gay Enough For A Yaoi Toy Boy?

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As all of you know, I’m a huge fan of homoeroticism in gaming. No, really. I’m so supportive of gay gaming that I actually make a point of pronouncing “video games” as “video gaymes.” Also, much like Nick Chester, I am gay myself, and as further evidence will even allude cryptically to my Tokyo clubbing adventures in Homoshinjuku the other night with several PROMINENT and SHOCKING gaming luminaries who MAY or MAY NOT be Tommy Tallerico and Adam Sessler, neither of whom are the heterosexual date rapists they might so eerily resemble, but both of whom still should be avoided in empty men’s rooms.

Now, it’s common knowledge that Eliza’s my beard, so when Eliza and I first heard Flynn De Marco of Gay Gamer rave about Duel Love while fanning himself with a lotus-shaped Dragon Quest fan, we both knew we had to play it.

But whose hands-on impression would be more useful to you, our Deetoid droogies? Is it the opinion of Eliza — a morbidly obese straight woman who stains everything and likes to hang out with a constabulary of gay men as a laughable excuse for her feculent, cheese-scented virginity? The answer, of course, is no, but she just wouldn’t shut up about it, so we decided to both do one.

Eliza played Duel Love first and I guess her preview is forthcoming: she’s really burning Niero on this whole TGS deal we set up, so who knows. Here’s mine.

When Eliza was done playing, the first thing I noticed was that the cheery Namco-Bandai booth babe who had, at first, assisted Eliza with her decryption of Duel Love‘s control scheme had gone missing. A quick examination of Eliza’s rolls of stinking stomach flab (which I searched with the aid of a dab of olfactory mortician’s nostrum I carry around with me for just such occasions) soon gave us the answer. Gingerly pressing on both sides of Eliza’s belly, the booth babe squirted out of her navel, covered in a chunky and translucent jelly. But booth babes are well used to such horrible adventures and without a blink she gestured submissively for me to step up to play Duel Love.

“Hello, Joe!” she said, “Play?”

“Right!” I replied. “First thing’s first! Hold this, will you?”

I handed her my bag, which she accepted with a smile. Then I unzipped my pants, took my bag back, and handed her my penis to find the scented lubricant that Sony’s PlayStation 3 team had given me earlier that day as swag.*

“You’re filming all this, right, Eliza?” I asked. As a gaming journalist, I know that it is important to have exclusive preview footage.

“Roger, roger!” she confirmed.

Satisfied, I took my penis back from the Namco Bandai booth babe, swung my press bag around to my back and immediately began to jab it against the touch screen’s “Start” button.

The Namco Bandai booth babe, who — come to think of it — actually had a bit of a horrified expression on her face, began to use both hands to pet a giant, invisible bunny rabbit in front of her, the universal physical gesture for “Be more gentle!”

But I’m a top. The only thing I treat gently is a prolapsed o-ring. How would I possibly be able to report on the gay experience of playing Duel Love if I didn’t treat my virtual boyfriends with exactly the same penile savagery as I treat my real-life boyfriends? No, in the name of journalist integrity, I practically jammed my fleshy stylus through that screen.

The very first thing the Duel Love demo invites you to do is take your pick between two bright-haired, androgynous, sylph-shaped twink boys. In other words, it’s a surprisingly accurate simulacrum of the men’s restroom at The George. I nodded: the game designers had obviously done their research. I picked the red-headed boy.

Immediately, the twink came on screen. Or, rather, he appeared on screen: I don’t want to give the impression that the first thing this Duel Love presents you with is the gay gamer equivalent of the final boss fight. My beautiful twink boy was naked except for a terry-cloth towel wrapped around his waist. Mmmm-mmmmmm, I thought to myself. Nice. This is like the men’s restroom of the George. I stroked my stylus appreciatively across the screen.

But, wouldn’t you know it? They always want to talk first: instead of bending over, my twink just started chattering on in Japanese.

I don’t really have any idea what he said, but between his rapid ‘come hither’ looks and sulky frowns, I get the jist. It was the typical needy bullshit. Note to Namco Bandai: I appreciate the attempt at realism, but I ultimately expect games to be less tedious than my actual life, which is full of this homoerotic “feelings” crap. The virtual little boy toy you’ve given me? He can cram that ten minute, Phoenix Wright style dialogue where my dick don’t shine. I don’t need it. Just let me at that chocolate starfish. When I play a game about the metropolitan gay scene, I want it to be exactly like the fantasy gay scene that Fox News is always warning me about: a sadomasochistic den of transient, promiscuous, demeaning and entirely emotionless anal fisting.

I rolled my eyes and looked at the booth babe impatiently, “Is this guy ever going to shut up?” I asked.

“Ummmm…” she said, cutely, while screwing up her eyes and scouring her brain for the last scraps of her high school English. “Boy very sad because he so wet.”

“Well, Jesus, so am I. I’m practically dripping here! If he’d just shut up, we could get to this thing.”

She nodded, understanding. “Boy want you tower him off.”

“Later, my darling,” I replied with a wink. “I always mop up afterwards. But first thing’s first…”

Finally (hello?!?!), the twink shut up. At this point, the “game” of Duel Love started and I finally understood what the Namco Bandai booth babe had been trying to explain to me: my job was to wipe beads of sweat off of him.

And this is when I lost my boner, and therefore my stylus. Because there were three things wrong with this scenario.

The first is that my twink, when naked and stretched across the two screens of the Nintendo DS Lite, looked like a bisected Sorn from C.S. Lewis’ Perelandreia novels.

The second? My twink appeared less to be sweating than to have thousands and thousands of botfly larvae wiggling under his skin.

And finally? Believe it or not, the average gay male isn’t any more into sweat than the average straight male is into pushing his nose into his girlfriend’s armpit and inhaling deeply.

In other words, for the first level of Duel Love, Namco Bandai had decided to ask me to use my penis to crush flesh-eating maggots under the dermis of a stenching, deformed hermaphrodite with a colostomy bag. And while this scenario would be perfectly appropriate for, say, a level taking place in Irreversible’s Club Rectum, it is not an identifiable adventure for most people, and certainly going to be a hard sell on a console best known for games like Nintendogs and Animal Crossing.

Look, here’s the gay perspective: I appreciate the fact that Namco Bandai are trying to bring the heady delights of homosexual bathroom sex to a larger audience. And I even see where they are coming from with all the talking: many of my friends love their talkative boyfriends by dint of always having a reason to cram something into their mouth in exasperation. But the execution needs work.

Destructoid’s final score, in the universally accepted rating system of gay gamers around the world? Five Nick Chesters: as gay as it gets, but boy does it suck.


Florian Eckhardt wants Adam Sessler to call him. He’s the co-editor of Ectoplasmosis, a fringe art and culture blog. He knows the middle name of his co-editor Eliza Gauger, but has been sworn to secrecy. He hates Nick Chester. He wonders why Hudson didn’t invite him to a Japanese spa to be rubbed down with milk and honey.


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