Andrew in Steamland:
Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme
(or: Andrew Goes on Suicide Watch)
Let’s talk about Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme.
…No, no it isn’t what it sounds like. It’s worse! It’s bad enough that the person who gave it to me felt the need to apologize by also giving me two of the games on my Steam wishlist. If you read no further in this article, then the salient point you should take away from it is that Gender Bender DNA Triple Sausage Supreme is so bad, I was preemptively given not one, but two consolation prizes just for adding it to my library. That was the first indication that I was in for an uncomfortable experience. The second was the character select screen, which lists all the fetishes in that particular character’s route. Third was the art; I don’t care how many favorable comments it received on Deviantart, this is kind of severely inadequate. This thing has a $25 price tag – or, in Steam terms, 100 copies of Bad Rats – and this is what you get for it:
But before I really jump into this, I want to share a story from my college days. The story of one enterprising student who broke into the cafeteria after hours. It was part of the student center, which remained open later than the cafeteria; to prevent students from accessing the dining area, employees would roll out a large grate over the entrance and lock it in place when they left. One night, someone unlocked or bypassed this partition and swooced right in. Given absolute free range of the place, they violated one of the cardinal rules of nature: don’t shit where you eat. For many college pranksters, dropping a log in the cafeteria would in and of itself be rewarding enough, even if it only got cleaned up by a horribly underpaid janitor first thing in the morning, before anyone could see their work. But this was no ordinary shitter. This was someone with panache. So when the employees set everything up the following morning, initially nobody noticed anything wrong. It was only when the students filed in to get breakfast that some unfortunate soul discovered a secret surprise in one of the waffle irons. Whether driven by a long-held dream or abruptly seized by a fickle muse, our hero had seen fit to craft a shit waffle and leave it to accumulate stank overnight. And that’s why I never used the school’s waffle irons.
The purpose of this story is to illustrate, by means of comparison, the two types of games people like to send me. In the first category are games like Air Control, The Hat Man: Shadow Ward, Bad Rats, etc. There are games that are entertaining because they’re bad. They aren’t fun in the conventional sense, but there’s some redeeming factor, be it bizarre glitches or endearingly flawed AI or rat mujahideen. Playing them is like opening a waffle iron and getting more than you bargained for: as unpleasant as it is, it’s still funny, at least in retrospect. And then there’s the kind of game that’s more akin to finding that pile of shit on the floor instead. It isn’t surprising, it isn’t clever, it’s just a chore to deal with. There’s no creativity, no style. You know, like Fez. Or, as it turns out, Gender Bender DNA Twister MLG Pro Baja Blast Game of the Year Edition.
What’s the game actually about, though? Suppose the title weren’t a big enough tipoff that this is a genderswap fetish story. Let’s say a prospective reader goes into it completely unaware. I’m sorry, but it updated just now. While I was writing this paragraph, they added a new character. There are already seven or eight routes and they’re adding even more. I can’t do it. Screw it, I’m shelving this article until I absolutely run out of ideas. I’m not even editing this part out when or if I do pick this up again.
It is now more than half a year later. I’m not sufficiently prepared, but Cody will be very disappointed in me if I go another month without turning in my homework. So here I go. Luckily for me, there are two new routes that comprise the “exciting finale.” Let’s jump into the first part and see what this is all about. Unlike the other routes, this one doesn’t list the fetishes it caters to, so I’m not sure what to expect. Will there be furries? Slime girls? Involuntary, irreversible transformations that the victim is told to just get over? Well, OK, that last one is a given. Beyond that, I don’t know what to anticipate here.
I’m introduced to the route’s protagonist, Adam, an unpaid intern at a meteorological station in Queensland. As far as I know, this is the first time the setting is brought up beyond most of the characters being in college. Since the developer is based out of Canada, I can only assume that this is a smokescreen, or maybe an attempt at vengeance for a soccer match gone wrong. Either way, I’m amused that this is possibly the first visual novel set in Australia. How’s that for representation? Anyway, Adam notices a massive storm front, which his boss doesn’t believe until he takes him outside and points out that “clouds shouldn’t be green.” He gets a sample, which he shoves in a lava lamp and hooks up to a coffee maker.
Because the machine is an ancient piece of shit, the gas leaks and – shocking only those who somehow installed and played the game to this point without seeing the title – transforms Adam and his boss into women. “I always wondered what it was like to be a girl…” Adam says as Steam notifies me that I have a new item in my inventory. I’ve been given two more games over the last day. At this point I am concerned but numb. Instead of checking to see what I got, I advance the dialog and notice that the limited number of character portraits make it look like the two are repeatedly fist-pumping at their transformation. Realizing that an entire city is about to get Misfiled, they get to work finding a way to neutralize the storm.
In the course of searching for a solution, Adam is abducted by the betentacled protagonist of one of the other routes, who now has a base on the seafloor like a Bond villain. I’m sorry if I’m misrepresenting this by making it sound interesting – it really isn’t. “Holy crap! There’s fish everywhere!” Adam observes, ignoring the chimeric hell-beast right in front of him. He also chooses Ava as his new name, because that’s the foremost concern here. He/she then has sex with a demon. I’m not joking or embellishing, Ava straight up fucks a demon. To top it off, this is probably a really shitty and gross attempt at a reference to the popular Webcomic, “Ava’s Demon”. I’m sure the author of that comic is just thrilled. Maybe it’s all explained in one of the ten routes I skipped, I don’t know. I never will. It’s hard to be sure about anything at this point.
I return after a lengthy break, my determination shaken but not yet exhausted. Ava sets out to acquire cloud-seeding equipment to stop the “boobpocalyptic storm.” On her way she tells a professor to fuck off, storms out of the lecture hall, then immediately finds him in another building and asks for his help. Taking another look at the text (I was skimming a lot by this point) I notice that these are actually two separate characters who share the same art. They’re identical octuplets, he explains. I see what you’re up to, Gender Bender. I’m not laughing, but I get it. Now please end so I can uninstall you forever.
Having accomplished nothing but wasting everyone’s time, Ava postulates that the storm is no ordinary storm, but a superstorm that will feed off its own energy keep going forever. Because of global warming. Having overturned the laws of thermodynamics, she focuses on the more important task of using a transformation gun to turn men into women so she can test a reverse-transformation serum that she could have just used on herself. She and… this thing on the right…
…immediately fuck it up by shooting a woman, who grows a shark tail. They then talk about how much better it is being involuntarily transformed – a process that the game’s specifically pointed out is incredibly painful – into a furry with no sure way of going back. But it’s OK, because people inevitably learn to like their new lives better anyway. Because it isn’t enough to create a world where your fetish is accepted, or even where it’s everywhere: it has to also be inescapable, and absolutely everyone has to be into it. If they disagree, that’s simply because they don’t know what’s good for them, so feel free to juice them up with random mutagenic compounds and see what comes out. Naturally, Ava concludes that it would be wrong to stop the storm and everyone will be happier if it goes unchecked. This epiphany doesn’t stop her from helping steal equipment to make a serum, though, in a long sequence that really only catches my interest when the characters mention a thermite powered engine. Now, thermite’s powerful stuff, but it isn’t very useful as a fuel source because of its tendency to melt through metal; that’s why the military uses it in demolition charges. I know it’s a minor complaint, especially set against everything else in the game, but by this point I’m so numb to the awful art and dumb fetish stuff that I’ll take what I can get.
I’ll take this moment to say one complimentary thing about Gender Bender My Little Sister Can’t be This Extreme: I was able to sell its Steam cards for around a dollar each, which was enough to recoup the cost of a couple games during the Christmas sale. God bless people with more money than sense. Sadly, that’s all I can say for it. Anyway, Ava helps get a plane in the air to disperse the serum. It was all a ruse, though, as she secretly sabotaged the equipment so that when the storm hits, everybody is transformed into gender-swapped animal people. This is how the world ends – not with a bang, but a barrage of puke-colored fetish juice:
Prick your finger, it is done
The moon has now eclipsed the sun
The angel has spread its wings
The time has come for gender bending