I seem to be picking up material from an ever-decreasing number topics these days. This time, a BDSM MMORPG, and it's link to a shadowy figure from my past.
The game offers fare such as battling monsters, questing and other fantasies familiar to players of games like EverQuest and Ultima Online. But Sociolotron differs by providing a way to indulge in sexual taboos like rape and bondage with consequences like sexually transmitted diseases and even pregnancy. And it is quite explicit in informing would-be players about what they may experience in-world.This article contains a little more information:
In the realm of mature play, Sociolotron doesn't merely push the envelope: It crumples it into a little ball and shoots it into space.What particularly caught my eye was the name of the game's developer, Patric Lagny. Could it be the same Patric Lagny with whom I worked at Blue Byte in the mid-nineties? The guy who played the emperor in the full-motion video sequences in Battle Isle 3 (hence my earlier reference to a "shadowy figure")? It was just conceivable enough to warrant some research.
In this online role-playing game sex isn't just an option, it's an inescapable fact. Have too much sex and maybe catch a disease - or at least become a less moral person. Don't have enough and lose out when you die - lacking heirs to whom you can pass on your wealth and possessions. Characters in the game deal with pregnancy, disease, gangs, crime and drugs in a very graphic manner.
"My original intention was to make a simulation of life in a way that fits most peoples' fantasies," said Patric Lagny, 43, the developer of the online game.
"I found out over time that many people fantasize about being a prostitute, being a big-shot mafia boss, playing BDSM games. So my intention was to give them a playground to live out these fantasies without danger. However: If you can live out these or any other fantasies without any danger, things become boring very quickly."
When the world first opened, players immersed themselves in a hedonistic world of sex and crime, but soon became either disgusted or dissatisfied. So Lagny created rules, guards, a justice system, made it possible for players to kill each other permanently and added some other real-world worries to keep things interesting.
Lagny sees his game, which has about 2,000 subscribers, as just that - a game.
The Sociolotron website is registered to a Patric Lagny in California. The last time I'd met Patric, he was still living in the Ruhrgebiet in Germany. His home page however, quickly told me that his age is around 43, his email address is the same as the one from the website registration, and that he moved to LA in 2001. Also, he is currently
[...] involved in the development of a Massive Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game with some special and totally new community features.Wow.
I'm sure some people will get worked up about the subject matter, but I possess the famed Dutch permissiveness which makes me not care. However, I applaud every effort that is made to stretch the boundaries of the medium.
So. I write about sex and violence. Then I write about running into an old co-worker from Blue Byte. Then about an old friend from Holland who made a sex-based chess game. And now I found out an old co-worker from Blue Byte has made an MMORPG about sex and violence. What will happen next? Maybe I don't want to know.
Links: Ren Reynolds has commented on Sociolotron as well as another online sex game, set in Amsterdam's Red Lights District, on Terra Nova.