Genital Jousting is published by Devolver Digital and developed by Free Lives. A game featuring funny physics-driven slapstick humor and genuinely fun mini-games, it started out as a game jam concept that grew from early-access to a full release this past week. Whether the developer originally intended on a fully developed campaign for this game can’t be determined, but I can say without a doubt that it provides depth and meaning to a stellar indie title about brightly colored phallic specimens.
Before the full release, the meat of this game came from its robust mini-game selection and online multiplayer. A particular favorite of mine was the Hungry Hungry Hippo game-type, where your goal was to suck down as many pieces of food through your adorably rendered anus as possible. The somewhat awkward controls lend themselves to these online free-for-all tournaments and create so many memorable yet disgusting moments. Once, I had an opponent locked in an anal death grip that prevented him from stopping my shot on his open goal, and it made me stop to consider how many other minigames I could win by trapping the enemy in my nethers. Aside from some debilitating lag every few games, it is extremely fun.
I enjoyed the multiplayer aspect, but for me the campaign provided the most satisfying experience. You awake as John, a mostly stable penis. He has a house, a job, and no love life. Key to this story is that John believes that in order for him to be 100% fulfilled, he has to be loved. A high school reunion is the deadline by which he has to find a mate. While not a long campaign, it manages to make it’s point rather beautifully. Through flashbacks, we know something terrible happened to John, and the surreal almost threatening way that each flashback/dream ends makes the player curious as to what could have befallen this poor penis. John tries everything he can to solve his perceived problem, buying too much, traveling the world, and even lowering his standards and using WIENER (Genital Jousting’s Tinder). It’s 90 minutes long, so enough to consume in a single sitting, but meaty enough that it doesn’t feel like an hour and a half of cheap penis jokes. I’d honestly recommend this game to friends based on the message alone.
I won’t spoil the ending. But to think that a game about silly floppy cocks has a positive, well thought out message amuses me. Normalizing genitalia and making them funny at the same time is a feat in and of itself, but to also include a campaign that delivers an impactful message is a masterstroke. John learns that his own idea of what love is has been built by a toxic environment, and that nothing he does to feed it will help him be loved. So instead, he embraces the platonic relationship he neglected constantly (this included a game mechanic that genuinely tickled me, but no spoilers). Then he realizes that by letting himself support the toxicity of his environment and engaging in the tired cliche of “cool guy” moves, he was only hurting himself and the people in his life. He follows that by asking an important person from his past to forgive him for the mistakes he’s made that hurt them in the first place. Suddenly, the whole story snaps together for the player. The flashbacks and the haunting feelings that followed were attributed to the “no one will ever love you” idiom that he focuses on in the beginning, but by the end of the game the player interprets that pressure as guilt over John being a mostly toxic asshole to the people he tried to “love”. It’s interesting how much a game about big purple dicks can teach you about what toxic way of life does to a person and their friends.
All in all, I was touched emotionally by a game about a world built by dicks. And one dick in particular goes on a journey that starts in a normalized warped mindset, but ends up in a mature, emotionally available one by rejecting the typical male clichés. It helps immensely that the soundtrack, graphics, and physics all lend themselves to this lackadaisical story but never detract from the message.
Sometimes you’re an asshole, sometimes you’re a dick. Sometimes you’re both and you’ve got to learn how to be better.
Note: This article contains affiliate links to one of our partners, Humble Bundle. This link is provided purely for information & advertising purposes and had zero effect on our decision to promote this game.