One Thousand Cuts

Jeez, what a week.
I spent all of Monday getting tax stuff done. About 90% of my taxes are finished except for figuring in a handful more deductions. I wanted to have it all out of the way so I could focus the rest of the week on gamedev, but no luck. I am sufficiently frustrated that my goal is now to find an accountant so I don’t have to deal with this shitshow next year. On top of that, what should have been a half-hour-long appointment yesterday somehow ballooned to five hours.  On top of that, I’m having trouble sleeping again, this time due to the fact that allergies + CPAP means that I frequently wake up gasping and choking on the very air that is being forced into my body to help me. But hey, I try to keep perspective on allergy season- at least the sun is shining and the weather is getting better.
None of this, by the way, is disastrous. A couple days’ delay when I was already pleased with progress and/or ahead of the game is far from terrible. It’s just another thing.
Anyway, the other thing that has happened this week is that I received yet another long, ranty email about how I’m a cancer in the body of the human race for daring to make wank material of something not approved by the Social Sensitivity Control Board (We put the cult in culture!). I haven’t received any of these emails for awhile, so in a way it was kind of a relief- I’m still relevant enough for anonymous harassment! Yay!
If I can rant a little here, it bothers me when people react this way to Harem Collector. I personally don’t feel that authorial intent is very important, but I feel that if you play Harem Collector and come to the conclusion that it’s sexist and promotes violence and hate against women, I don’t think you’ve played it enough or really paid much attention to what’s going on in the game. Or, potentially, that I’m terrible at communicating my ideas, but whether or not that’s true is outside my ability to evaluate.
One comment that still sticks in my craw is one from some blog I read last year where one individual said that Harem Collector was more sexist than Overwhored. Now, I love Overwhored and Cypress is my bro, and I’m not saying that OW is a bad game, or even that OW is a good game is spite of this, but I cannot fathom how you could play both games and come to the conclusion that HC is more sexist than a game literally about removing agency from a whole pile of female characters.
I’m not going to claim that Harem Collector treats it’s female characters perfectly- it is porn, after all, and if you think there’s such a thing as pornography that doesn’t objectify something then you’re an idiot- or that it secretly has some deeper, hidden meaning that makes it a grand work of art. But I have put something there to be interpreted if you’re of that mindset, and it really hurts to be dismissed as sexist when I feel I’ve hard to be fair to the female character in HC despite the non-consent content.
Sorry for ranting. I’m sure precisely zero of the people who read this blog are the kind of people my ire is directed, so this is only worthwhile in that it allows me to vent my frustrations. But if you’d like to share what Harem Collector means to you, I’d be interested in hearing it- please share in the comments or on the forum thread as you see fit.

26 Replies to “One Thousand Cuts”

  1. I feel you’re pain man. It’s hard when people act like internet word filters and look at the superficial stuff instead of the context. You have a guy who enslaves women (And men sometimes!), so clearly the entire world is in support of the misogynistic world view.

    For one of the reason I love Harem Collect is not just because the Hero is actually classically evil, but the world treats him as Classically evil in a system with a weak government. The very first girl you enslave doesn’t get excuses made, doesn’t try and say ‘well, it’s really a good thing’, no, she says it’s a fucking horrible thing to do to another person for pleasure and power.

    Many of the early quests remind you, again and again, the Hero doesn’t give a shit, and doesn’t try and pretend its for their own good or a greater cause. He just wants some hot slaves.

    And the world responds to that. They see a power hungry killing machine and try and get him pointed at enemies by hook or by crook. The actual hero’s tried to storm his castle and free his women, and got wrecked. The corrupt government doesn’t give a shit and ends up allowing him to be horrible as long as he is a net gain to their own goals. Girls who may hate him willingly go to him because he provides stability and safety from a world that often is chaotic and deadly.

    HC does feed into a lot of dark desires like murder-simulators (Not FPS, I mean Yandere chan or Hitman) or whatnot, but it doesn’t pretend this is the ideal state of affairs for anyone but the hero. And that sort of reality in the game makes it easier to get into, a world where actions have consequences and things don’t just randomly happen ‘because magic’ or ‘because I said so.’ except for the small scale.

  2. The game you’ve made is fun. It’s an interesting, “what-if” scenario.
    Your jokes are well done – I have enjoyed how you play to, and play against, the tropes of the genre. What’s more, my wife finds the game interesting – she’s more a visual noveler than I am and doesn’t play the game, but she reads over my shoulder and she enjoys it.

    I remember how you compared this to an origin tale for a villain. It’s awesome.

    Feel no shame – stories like this are fun to thought experiment about.

    This game is like that marvel comic where doctor doom coopted the purple man’s abilities. Sure it start sout fun and everything.
    But the [s]hero[/s] protagonist you have written comes to feel responsible for the lives he’s brought into his own.
    It’s really cool how the mixing of his goals, and the women he coopts, has ameliorated and changed how he acts.

    Feel no shame man, cause I – and several of my coworkers who can’t bring themselves to publicly support you – don’t.

    1. Thanks man, that means a lot. Glad to see that the Hero’s character arc isn’t lost on some people. And I’ve always taken the large number of female fans of HC as a feather in my cap, so it’s always nice to hear of another.

      1. The reason why idiots think HC is more sexist, is because they see the MC in HC and see that he is a white male, with some dudebro traits, and is more …real than the overmind, so they go into sjw frenzy.

  3.’s a game full of slaves (both male and female) but it’s not a horrible stereotype of chains and whips
    2. the protagonist is a real jackass(why burn farm that can bring money) but he takes a good care of his slaves(their needs\their opinions\their deepest worries(all to satisfy his lust …. but a good deed must be rewarded 😀 ))
    3.the game has a moral code to everything from slavery to children in bedroom or racial diffrences ……..and up to the morality of war

    it’s a good and balanced game where controversial things are not defined by only one point of view

    (i suck at writting )

  4. My god, that’s so stupid, people waste their times talking shit about you because you make a porn game? That’s kinda sad, but look at the bright side, if they have time to do shit like this then you definitaly have a better life than they do. I’m a writter of another eroge so I think I understand how you must be feeling, there are rape scenes and you kinda force them to work for you, but every last one of them end up liking the protagonist in a way or another, and not all of them were forced, I don’t know if I would laugh or get really fucking mad if I was in your situation, but get mad wouldn’t solve anything (probably would make things even worst), so just ignore them, they’ll just stop if they see that it’s just a waste of time, or give them a polite answer of what your game is actually about (the most polite possible for a porn game)… or do what I would do, just sent them a threat saying that if they don’t stop you’ll make another slave based on their mother, that could work too… I’m brazilian, that’s what any HUE HUE BR BR would do in this situation

    1. I don’t generally reply directly to such comments. I certainly don’t threaten people. It just seems counterproductive to sink down to their level. Anyway, if you’re making an eroge feel free to hit the BKG forums and make a thread to advertise and discuss your game!

      1. I was joking, I don’t really expect you to send them a threat of making a slave based on their mother… it doesn’t matter how funny that would be, but face those things as a joke, you should take the most stupid thing they have sent you and put as a reandom comment of a NPC or even create some secondary book serie inside the game just based on these hatemails you receive, I think it would be funny to see the reaction of the hero after reading those things and even funnier if they send more mails complaining about this, and if this is really bothering you then just tell them the obvious: if you don’t like it, don’t play it, it’s simple, you won’t stop the development of the game just because they asked you (and you have a huge fanbase asking you to do exactly the opposite). And if they don’t like your game then they are playing it wrong, Harem Collector is definitely one of the best eroge I’ve ever played, obviously the main focus on the game is the porn, but this game is so good that it still fun to play even without the porn scenes, the jokes are funny, the characters are very well made, the story is really good and the quests are awesome, it’s not just a really good porn game, it’s a really good RPG game.
        And I’m not exactly the developer of the game, I’m one of the writers, the game I’m working on is called Urban x Life, but I can ask to the developer to put the game on the BKG forum.

  5. HC is sexism? Maybe those said that didn’t read warning/notice/announcement at the very start of the game, and they seem to not have very good knowledge about porn material either.

    Harem Collector is very fun, enjoyable and it still good even without the sex scene. That, is what make this game set apart from other Rpg maker h-games.

    Do you still want to play Lilitales if there’s no sex scene? Nope.
    Do you still want to play Claire’s Quest without sex scene? Haha, no.

    Let’s be real here. I came to HC for porn, but instead I stay because of the story and awesome dev like you.

    Ps. [This is not commercial] I don’t know if you already know about this or not. But there is a site with a bunches of rpg maker h-game, including HC and OW. I though you amy want to check it out, here:

    1. I think I will check that out because I have never even heard of those games you just mentioned.

      The thing that gets me is that a lot of the people who send hatemail completely skip the fact that the progenitors of modern non-con fiction were the authors of bodice-ripping harlequin novels, which were definitely not originally intended for men.

      1. Well, not so many people know about rpg maker h-game. It wouldn’t be very surprise though.

        As for the hatemail, all I can say is hater gonna hate. No matter what you do there will always be some dude find a way to insult, and you know what? That type of dude is everywhere.

  6. You should copy past a collage of your (least)favorite troll mail into a blog post so we can all have a laugh 🙂

    I tend to find hate mail really funny sometimes.

    1. I would except they usually go into the trash bin. I do, however, approve all non-spam blog comments regardless of how critical they are, so you might find some good stuff in the archives.

  7. Keep strong man, those SJW has problematic issue with everyone keep strong and know that most of the gamer love indie developer like you who always bring the innovative (read: porn) to us <3

    1. That reminds me of a t-shirt I love but don’t have the courage to wear out in public. It says; “If you can’t make me think, laugh, or cum; Fuck Off!” Honestly, if a person can’t make me do ANY of those things; what good do they provide for my life?

  8. Like Chaon, I also came for the porn and have stuck around for the story. I’ve considered the character of the Hero a lot. Chaotic Neutral fits him very well. Does what he wants, when he wants. But at the same time we see him taking other people’s opinions and feelings into account when he make a decisions. The collars may have mind-control power, but most of his harem accept it willingly. We’re only given the option of forcing the collar twice, and we’re made very aware of what will happen if we do. And we’re penalized if we do. We lose out on character development and perks. The Hero is a jerk but he isn’t a monster.

    There are only 3 unavoidable rapes in the game. Larelle as punishment for her zombie assault, Therese as punishment for her part in the assault on his manor (IMO mostly because she was the leader of the assault), and Gargan after who knows how many years of antagonism that finally exploded at the end of that particular quest. Of those three, Gargan is the only one who, by the medieval standards the game has, did not deserve what he got.

    Actually thinking about it, they have gender equality in their kingdom, as well as acceptance of sexual preference. The Pink Banana is a prime example. A gay bar in a populated neighborhood that is full of children and adults, and nobody bats an eye (except the Hero, and that only a little). Many if not most shopkeepers and owners are women, and the Queen herself holds majority control of the kingdom, if mostly behind the throne.

    I agree with the need to show female owners with male slaves, because currently (as far as I remember) we’ve only seen two overt slaveowners, those being the Hero and the guy who owned Doll.

    Anyway, keep doing what you do. Thanks for an epic game

  9. You can’t open a new perspective in a closed mind.

    I once worked with a girl who thought that any one who owned any form of porn should go to jail as a sex offender. I later learned that she’d been the victim of sexual abuse by an uncle for 4 years. Her view on porn was not going to change because that was part of how she dealt with what she experienced and to shake that up stirred up some very scary things in her. Lashing out “at” porn was a way to direct her anger towards something outside of her.

    Anyway, the point of that was to illustrate how some criticisms are really more a reflection of what is inside the criticizer rather than the subject of criticism. If that’s the case, there’s nothing you can do for it and it’s not personal in any way.

  10. Hey Nomoshing, I can imagine that you would have trouble to think up 151 stories to get girls with, so why not make some of the “achievement”-based? For example:
    Maybe add a girl as a reward from helping a certain number of people (those daily dungeons in the right wing of your mansion)?
    Also, maybe a girl who sells herself to you when you have either invested in a certain number of buildings or if you have a certain amount of money?
    Or a girl that joins you when you become very powerful (a certain level)?
    Maybe a girl that sees how good you take care of your harem (a total RP of X, for example) and decides to give herself to you?
    If you want more ideas, then you can always ask me at my e-mail adress (at least, I suppose you can see the adress I fill in below this post).
    Lastly, very well made game. I, as a game designer myself, have found that it is reeeeeeeaaaaaaaally tough to think of a good story and execute it the way I want to, so kudos to you for that!

  11. One of the best things about this game is how lenient it is with regards to the heroines. One can build relationships with the girls but never lose them.

    The MC can tie a girl up and have his way with her one moment and then follow up with extreme vanilla headpatting with no hard feelings.

    Too many games have it where even the vaguest hint at maledom means that you are on the puppy kicking Hitler side of the karma meter. Like the original Harem where in order to put handcuffs on the healer girl for sexy secret agent times, it means that MC treats her like a frothing psychopath from then on.

    In short, I like how playful Harem Collector is. There is a healthy mix of strong adventuresses who knew the risks, professional slavegirls like Meline and the regional house maids, and unfortunate victims like Alina and Penelope who somehow take some happiness in spite of everything. The MC frequently gets his comeuppance for being a douchebag but the game never spits on him for daring to perv out in a hentai game.

  12. I wouldn’t say that the game is much more sexist than any other of similar type but I have suspiction why someone may think so (even though I’d like to underline that it won’t make their opinion valid).

    One of my personal dislikes as well, actually, is the main character. Players, especially those who won’t play thorough the whole game can very easily label main character as a certain stereotype. He’s, frankly, a pretentious brat. I dislike him myself and have hard time treating him as my alter-ego in the game’s world, easily one of the biggest flaws I have with a game in general (but I realize that being able to really customize the character, his attitude and lines of dialogue would be probably too ambitious). However, I recognize the fact that even if he gives this impression, lots of other expectations regarding his stereotype – including many of the negative ones – are not valid. But till someone learns that, I am not surprised the game and expressed themes in it look for to them worse than they really are.

    That beside, no matter how valid accusations against the game would be, we also have to underline and remember importance of a certain thing most of the people willing to go on holy crusades and other rants forget: differentiation between reality and fiction.

    I have my own fantasies and kinks, including some an average person would find on the weird side – and can enjoy them in a game because they have no real moral consequences. However, in majority of cases I don’t like or enjoy them IRL (yes, despite being given once or twice an opportunity to indulge them and avoid any potential unpleasant fallout) because unlike in the game, they actually affect negatively a living, sentient individual.

    Too often, though, people assume that should someone like a certain erotic thing in a work of fiction, only law, prospect of punishment and public opinion prevent them from pursuing the same IRL. Which I am willing to claim may be often bullshit (it certainly is in many cases when I talked with people about such things, but I cannot speak for everyone).

    In other words, don’t let such people get to you. Sure, there has to be some balance in everything and intentionally stirring up crap or glorifying certain controversial tendencies as the objectively only true and best attitudes in life may be going too far – but I don’t think your game really goes out of its way to do so.

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