The best sex games that aren't garbage

When I was a kid my neighbour had Sex Games on his Commodore 64, by which I mean a game that was literally called Sex Games. Published by Landisoft in 1985, it was all about waggling a joystick back and forth while two bright pink cartoon people went at it like joyless jackhammers. It wasn't a great introduction to the idea that sex was a worthwhile subject for videogames. 

We've come a long way since then—quiet, you—but there are still plenty of games about sex that are just as bad in their way. The ones that aren't deserve to be celebrated. Sex can be playful and funny and exciting and those are all things videogames are also good at being. Especially these videogames.

(These are all "sex games" rather than "games that happen to have sex in them", if that distinction makes sense. The Witcher 3 is an RPG dozens of hours long that has some sex scenes in it, but it's not a sex game if you catch my drift.)

Coming Out on Top 

Coming Out on Top takes subplots the gay sidekick gets in a sitcom, then expands them into their own A-plots. That guy at the bar last night seemed so nice, then you go to college the next morning and your new lecturer is that same guy: DRAMATIC MUSICAL STING. It's full of twists but it's very wholesome. There's no problem that can't be solved by three roommates talking about it while throwing around one-liners. 

I went on a date with a pop star who wanted to stay incognito because his fans didn't know he was gay, so we went to a country & western bar then did karaoke. It was one of the most romantic things I've seen in any dating sim, and then afterwards we went back to his hotel room and it got very explicit.

I called Coming Out on Top "wholesome" but it does feature actual raunch, which will be pixelated if you play the censored version from Steam. It also gets dark and weird sometimes. I don't want to spoil it for you, but the stuff with the goldfish really goes some places.

If you like this you might also like: Tusks, a dating sim about gay orcs. If you played Shadow of Mordor and wanted to get even closer to the hunky green dudes, well, here's your chance.

Hardcoded

It's a cyberpunk dystopia and you're a semi-organic robot on the run. You fall in with a friendly group who are investigating a mystery that might be the fault of an evil corporation's experiments, because this is cyberpunk after all. Where does the sex come in? Well, that mystery being investigated is that everyone in the city has become inexplicably horny.

Each day you choose whether to pursue the main plot or one of your new friends, several of whom are romanceable. (The rest are being added in patches thanks to Patreon backers, who get the latest build.) You can also just wander around the city, busting up surveillance droids for valuable scrap, talking to people, and, yeah, having quite a lot of sex.

Hardcoded is well-written, and it has a great pixel-art adventure game look. I'd recommend it even if it wasn't about sexbots who've just had their boobs upgraded and would like a chance to test them out.

If you like this you might also like: Mutiny!!, which is about being captain of a ship crewed by monster girls who probably think 'the chain of command' is a sex toy. 

Radiator 2

A collection of Robert Yang's minigames, Radiator 2 includes Stick Shift (about a dude driving a car he's way into), Succulent (about a dude eating a corndog he's way into), and Hurt Me Plenty (about spanking). While the third one straight-up simulates a sexual act, the first two are extended, unsubtle double entendres and both are hilarious. They're interactive music videos in which your mouse-waggling builds the visuals towards an over-the-top crescendo. Yang's games delight in taking 3D characters who look like they belong in a shooter (his early work includes Half-Life 2 mods), then stretching and exaggerating them for effect. They're like sexed-up versions of an0nymoose's Source Filmmaker videos.

There's a bonus in Radiator 2, an extra game you unlock by clicking the condom on the menu screen. It gives you a sniper rifle that shoots prophylactics and sets you up across the street from a building full of men who need protection. A bizarre parody of modern military shooters follows.

Sex can be funny, and Radiator 2 understands that like few other games do. 

If you like this you might also like: The Tearoom, another of Yang's games, this time set in a truckstop bathroom in the 1960s. The aim is to pick up dudes and get them off without being busted by the police. To keep things PG all the dicks are replaced by the one thing you can put in any game without criticism—guns. 

Ladykiller in a Bind 

There's a complex plot involving a disguise and a popularity competition worth five million dollars, but what Ladykiller in a Bind is about is being stuck on a cruise for a week with a ship full of horny young people. Horny, kinky young people. 

While you can spend the days pursuing votes in the popularity competition while dodging suspicion to maintain your disguise, you'll also be pursuing sex. No matter what happens during each day, when the sun goes down you choose one of two characters to share a room with, one dominant and the other submissive. Ladykiller in a Bind is an introduction to BDSM, and a great one. Like, if you thought "subspace" was just where Optimus Prime keeps his trailer you're gonna learn some stuff.

While a lot of sexy visual novels cast their protagonists as arrogant jerks or desperate losers, Ladykiller in a Bind makes you a suave lesbian womanizer who is confident and cool. Even if inhabiting that character isn't your fantasy, it's a fun space to explore and one no other game does.

If you like this you might also like: One Night Stand, another visual novel that shares Ladykiller's interest in negotiating what comes after sex. It's the morning after and you're working through the awkwardness of what happens between you and the woman you've woken up beside, walking an interpersonal minefield while hungover and basically at your worst.

NSFWare

The WarioWare games are grab bags of Nintendo "microgames" a few seconds long. You're thrown into them at random, frantically trying to figure out the controls so you can land a hang-glider or saw through a tree or shave a moustache. It's like being trapped in a frantic Japanese game show. NSFWare is that, with fucking.

Each microgame is a pixel art trace of a scene from porn, and you have seconds to figure out how to mash the arrow keys to, for instance, jerk off two guys evenly or spank someone in a pillory. The brightly colored pixel sex is absurd, the hectic microgames are unfair, and the combination makes for a perfect spectator sport. It's Sex Games on the Commodore 64 only fun, and it lets you do what Nintendon't.

If you like this you might also like: Genital Jousting, another party game about giggling at sexytimes. In Genital Jousting each player controls a detachable penis that inexplicably has its own butthole, scoring points by penetrating other players. It also comes with a singleplayer story mode that has to be seen to be believed. 

You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter

Your parents are out, and the dial-up internet is waiting for you. A screechy modem is the gateway between you, AOL, and all the slow-loading bitmaps of naked people you could want. You Must Be 18 or Older to Enter recreates what it was like to be young in the 1990s when the internet was new, confusing, and kind of frightening, and casts you as a kid for whom sex is also new, confusing, and kind of frightening. 

The porn is impressionistic ASCII art, the kind of porn I imagine characters looking at on those retro computers in Fallout. You explore increasingly debased categories while under time pressure because every noise you hear could be your parents in the driveway. It's a singular recreation of a moment in time, one that's not so far away and yet fascinatingly distant with its domains like fourecks.com and quaint virus unblocker pop-ups.

If you like this you might also like: how do you Do It? takes the same concept—a kid learning about sex while the parents are out—but is about playing with dolls, mashing together Barbie and Ken to figure out how the bits line up.

Trials in Tainted Space

Trials in Tainted Space (a name surely chosen for its abbreviation) gives you a spaceship and worlds to explore, but before it does that it puts you through a rigorous character creation process that includes detailing your genitalia in some very specific ways. No matter what you choose, you end up playing the version of Captain Kirk who exists more in memes than actual Star Trek—the one who spends all his time banging green alien girls.

It's a text-heavy game, with small character illustrations in the corner of the screen. (In a nice touch you can choose from several different artist's interpretations for many characters.) There's combat, and grid maps of planetary locations to explore, and a storyline about racing a rival heir, but mostly there's a lot of sex with a variety of weird aliens. Like, really weird. Everything is somebody's fetish and there's stuff in Trials in Tainted Space will make you say, "Wow, somebody out there wants to fuck that?" The answer is always, "Yes, somebody out there wants to fuck that."

If you like this you might also like: Corruption of Champions and its sequel, which are the same thing but in a fantasy setting. The Dragon Age to its Mass Effect. 

Triad

After the threesome an awkward conversation happens. How do three people share a bed when they're just trying to get to sleep? Triad is a puzzle game about arranging people with different sleeping habits on a single mattress, making sure the one who likes to roll around won't slip right onto the floor and nobody's face is next to the one who snores. 

Then, once you've arranged everybody to your liking, you press the button to send them all to sleep and chaos breaks out. This person flips over with their feet on that person's head, the other ends up on the floor no matter how much room you gave them, and finally the cat jumps on someone to make the disorder complete.

If you like this you might also like: Sextris, which is like Tetris only instead of falling blocks there are naked people whose bits need to be lined up so they can hump away. 

Saya no Uta 

Saya no Uta is the one game on this list that would be better if it wasn't a sex game. It's a horror-themed visual novel about a man whose traumatic head injury leaves him seeing the world as a grotesque, organic hellscape and everyone in it as tumorous monsters. Everyone except for Saya, who appears to be a pretty young girl. Spoiler: she is not.

It's Lovecraftian horror done right, with a main character who becomes the villain in a game of Call of Cthulhu by its end. It's gripping, well-paced, and deeply messed up, but because it was developed by Nitroplus, who are infamous for this, Saya no Uta has a bunch of out-of-place hentai scenes inserted into it. It's a sex game, but it would be much easier to recommend if it wasn't.

If you like this you might also like: Doki Doki Literature Club! which doesn't have any sex in it, thought it does use the cliches of the dating sim—and then subverts them to tell an impactful horror story.