Submit to Mighty Jill Off

Mighty Jill Off Bootlicking

I’ve been meaning to write some more game-related posts, especially in the wake of the very fun presentation that Roy and I gave at WAM! 2008. For now, however, I just have a review of Mighty Jill Off, a free downloadable PC game that I recommend you all check out. It’s bound to be one of the more notable offbeat, indie, retro, lesbian-BDSM-themed jumping games of the year. OK, so it’s probably also the only game that fits those criteria. Ever.

Let’s get the preliminaries out of the way: this is not a porn-tastic game replete with breast physics and girl-on-girl action to appeal to adolescent gamer dudes. If anything it’s closer to the opposite, and the theme actually makes a disturbing amount of sense. (And not only because the creator seems to be kind of into BDSM and fetish stuff herself.)

It’s long been noted by game scholars and humorists alike that there’s a masochistic quality inherent in many games. Hemmed in by the demands of an almost arbitary system of constraints and rules, you willingly submit to the system in search of an elusive and transitory experience of “fun,” to the extent where you let most of your thought processes be taken over.

Mighty Jill Off Screenshot

Mighty Jill Off is one of a long lineage of games that foregrounds this aspect of gaming and turns it into the central experience; the game’s creator, Auntie Pixelante (aka Anna Anthropy or dessgeega) has actually blogged about another recent branch of that family tree, masocore games. There’s a reason these games have retro graphics reminiscent of 80s arcade and Nintendo games. (Yes, that’s a screenshot of a brand new game right there.) Back in the old days, we had to walk uphill both ways to school in the snow, and video games were much harder–personally, I always died and lost my quarter within seconds, because despite being a game designer, I have very poor twitch skills.

Masocore games deliberately turn away from the trend of recent years to make games more forgiving and hand-holding, and instead give you the experience of being squashed by impossibly deadly apples, over and over. And over. And then one more time, because you screwed up just a tiny bit. It’s as if a movement was started by the evil twin of Shigeru Miyamoto, who stayed true to the punishing timing of Donkey Kong instead of taking the broader, well-lit road of Super Mario Brothers. (Eventually Miyamoto’s games, which also include the Legend of Zelda series and Nintendogs, became known precisely for how gentle and soothing their challenge is–an experience that Will Wright once described as like being in an armchair that’s so perfectly, ergnomically designed that you can’t get up.)

Does dying over and over in increasingly random and inescapable ways sound fun to you? No? What do you mean, no!? You should try it… you might be surprised! The frustration, as any good domme knows, is a crucial part of the experience, and the surprises that emerge from the system you’re trapped in are like cherries on top.

Mighty Jill Off Title Screen

Auntie Pixelante, who also puts out a thoroughly indie gaming magazine, also ups the ante by parlaying the masochism into a cute and kinky storyline. Jill, our ragtag heroine (probably no relation to our Jill but certainly a relation to Jack) is clad in the requisite arbitary superhero costume (or is it latex?) and is kicked out of her Queen’s throne room all the way to the bottom of her tower. The entire game, which can be played in under a half-hour, consists of jumping back up to the top by pressing the Z button repeatedly. The only problem, really, is that there are a lot of deadly things you can jump into, which of course all kill you immediately. Pixelante’s level design has a fugue-like ornateness that forces you to master more and more aerial maneuvers that magically emerge from increasingly complex and precise presses of just three keys: Z to jump, left, and right.

Even if you don’t regularly play games, you’ll be able to learn the controls of Mighty Jill Off in seconds. And I’ve already warned you that being frustrated is the whole point, so have at it! Just keep in mind… do you really expect a REWARD at the end of a story like this? Well, maybe you’ll get one. Maybe. If you’re good.

(Addendum: Ironically, when I first posted this I actually neglected to include a link to the game. But come on, you probably could have found it somehow. It wouldn’t have been THAT difficult, it’s not like I was intending to punish you, dear readers. At least not consciously…)

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17 Responses to Submit to Mighty Jill Off

  1. adolescent gamer says:

    Captain, I am detecting large amounts of Win in this sector. — Spock

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  3. Kirsten says:

    Damn you. I have an exam in a week. I do not need evil procrastination things.

  4. XtinaS says:

    You’re trying to kill us all, aren’t you?

  5. Holly says:

    Of course not! If you were all dead, who would we have left to punish with — I mean, to play our games?

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  7. XtinaS says:

    15:5?  Seems there’s a code blip about zero-fills.

    In other news, aaaaaaaaaaaaaa!  That was a good game.  I think I managed to swear four or five times, which is good in my book.

  8. XtinaS says:

    “My time was ’15:5′?”, rather.  Cusséd sleeplessnessitude.

  9. violet says:

    I see that part of the masochistic allure is that you must be running Windows in some capacity to even play.

    Clever, clever.

  10. XtinaS says:

    violet, and others sans Windows:

    Go ye forth and check out DOSBox.  (I assume, I know, that MJO runs in DOS proper; haven’t checked.)

    In fact, that’s a fab link for those with Windows, as well – oftentimes DOSBox has things (drivers? stuff?) for running older games that the newer versions of Windows don’t.


  11. Holly says:

    Yep, unfortunately the best free tools for making indie games are for Windows at the moment, and the games they make run on Windows. This game was made with Game Maker which is top-notch for anyone who’s not a pro coder. In other words, it opens the doors for a lot more people to be creative… but only on Windows. (There’s a Mac program with a similar name, but it’s far more limited and can only do classic text-adventure style games.)

    However, there are several projects in development right now which hope to bring this kind of thing to the Web, which will be awesome.

  12. StarStorm says:

    Interesting game, really, but it gets a bit repetitive.

    And by “repetitive” I mean “JESUS CHRIST STOP WITH THE GODDAMN SWITCHBACKS”. I fully realize that it’s the only way to make some of the traps work, but come on. I mean, it’s frustration through tedium. It’s almost sadis- heeeey…

    Anyways, time: 21:25.

  13. Pingback: When the Queen says "jump," Jill says "how high?" | MetaFilter

  14. Cr says:

    Holly: Been a while since I been to the Yoyo Games site but I recall them saying they’re developing a Mac version of Game Maker and possibly for other platforms in the future. Whether it’ll be easy enough for one version of GM to create an executable of a game for another (for example the PC GM to make a version of the game to run on a Mac) I’m not yet sure about.

  15. Patrick says:

    I think you’ll find this review has a similar perspective:

  16. daphny says:

    my ma’am makes awesome videogames, doesn’t she

  17. Jonathan says:

    Cr, it looks like the game code itself is interpreted, and the runtime just wraps the game in the same fashion as an InstallShield-type installer (well, that’s how I’d do it, and that’s how Garry Kitchen’s GameMaker from back in the day did it).

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