A playtest of Naomi Clark's forthcoming tentacle-sex card game Consentacle reveals a game that's as much about strategy as sex, where trust and consent are the keys to victory.
Clark, who is half Japanese, says she created the game in part as a way of confronting her Japanese heritage and her uncomfortable relationship with hentai.
"It's easier and safer to negotiate sexual practices (whether represented in cards or with your actual body) if you talk, obviously—but when we play games, we are often looking for more danger, surprise, and challenge. Which is great! We can explore stuff in the safety of games that I wouldn't recommend doing during actual sex, obviously! The silent games had a variety of communication styles — most people were "communicating" (so to speak) just by looking each other in the eye, but there were several games where people were touching each other, or making dirty or suggestive gestures, etc. That's all mentioned in the rules. It's pretty much up to players to negotiate how to play."
So why use a tentacle rape motif for a game that's about consensual, mutual pleasure? Clark says that she's got a few, complicated reasons. "The first one goes back to high school, when my sister and I first discovered hentai tentacle-rape porn at the video store where she worked, much to our horror," she starts. "We were like "oh, great... I hope there aren't more movies like this"—but there were, and it quickly become a trope or even a stereotype about Japanese pop culture. We're both half-Japanese, and I lost track of the number of times people mentioned hentai to me by the late 90s and early 2000s..."
... "So there was an impetus for me to reclaim tentacles for the good, loving tentacle monsters out there. To my surprise, after I named the game and started Googling it I found that the term 'consentacles' was already being used as slang term with a similar meaning, by artists and fans that are drawn to tentacles but very much didn't like the rape connotations — there's a lot of cutesy, cartoony stuff out there involving tentacled beasties and aliens already."
Tentacle Alien Sex Card Game Isn't As Perverted as You'd Think [Evan Narcisse/Kotaku]