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Please be best friends.
Michelle Obama sure knows how to set a party off right.
On Friday night the former FLOTUS attended a Washington, D.C. stop on Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic World Tour to give us all hardcore FOMO and some new Instagram pictures to obsess over.
The funky 53-year-old posed with Mars backstage to show off her brand new tour merch — a personalized pinstripe jersey. Can you name a more iconic duo?
Bruno — who clearly knew he was in the presence of greatness — captioned his Instagram, “Mrs. Obama came to the concert and blessed us with her presence,” later sharing another photograph of Obama posing with him and his squad of “hooligans.”
Though it’s unclear if Michelle Obama flew solo to the concert (no Sasha, Malia, or Barack in sight), as we saw from Bruno’s performance at the White House’s 2015 Independence Day concert, she’s a huge fan of the singer.
After enjoying his performance on-stage the former FLOTUS rushed over to give him a big hug and kiss in front of the crowd.
We are here for this friendship. Please carry on.
You are home. Alone.
Your fingers rest on the keyboard. Paralyzed. The clock ticks, counting down your minutes. They are limited. Do you dare?
I mean, how could you not?
You Must be 18 or Older to Enter is a text-based horror game about discovering porn for the first time as a kid in the ’90s. Actually, let’s rephrase: You Must be 18 or Older to Enter is an anxiety simulator capturing the universal experience of watching childhood die in the electric glow of your computer screen.
But there’s much more to this interactive fiction than just recreating the moment you realized the world was a frightening, exhilarating place you will never understand.
Clicking around a ’90s dial up screen, you make choices about what websites you visit and which categories of porn you want to explore in this seemingly endless and confused mass of tits, ass, peen, loud moaning, and some other body parts you can’t totally identify.
Throughout the experience, you’re bombarded with jolting interruptions — like the sound of a creaking door, or onslaughts of loud pop-ups. But the major source of tension comes from the game constantly prompting you about whether you want to press your luck and keep diving deeper into this porn hole — praying no one comes home to catch you — or quit while you’re ahead.
“At every step, the player has the freedom to back out and be done,” said James and Joe Cox, the brothers and indie duo that make up the Seemingly Pointless development team. “It’s like a self-set game of chicken driven by curiosity. The question is: how much time do you have?”
That question remains palpable throughout, the sound of the clock counting each second only adding to the pressure.
The confused, indistinct tangle of limb also captures another key aspect of the experience. Because, at its core, “You Must be 18 or Older to Enter isn’t really a porn game. It lives in a grey area. If a prepubescent kid stumbles across an adult site, they aren’t really there for pleasure; more likely they want something to brag about at school or want to sate their curiosity.”
The choice to go with ASCII-collage graphics felt appropriate to this tone, the two said, allowing players to embody this more muddled experience of pornographic imagery.
Because, “much like Ben-Day dots of newspaper image prints, when you get too close to the image, all you will see are dots.” But, the further away you get, the clearer it becomes. “This forces the player into the role of a kid: you know what you’re looking at is scandalous, but you can’t quite make out the actions. Is that an arm or a leg? Are there two people or just one?”
“It’s like a self-set game of chicken driven by curiosity.”
The art direction also contributes to the game’s major source of tension.
TheBen-Day dots style feeds in wonderfully into this tension, since people watching from a distance (like, say, parents or coworkers who happen to be walking by), “will be able to see the picture much more clearly. They’ll know what you’re looking at, even if you don’t.”
The Cox brothers like to call You Must be 18 or Older to Enter a “tangible horror game” because of the added meta layer of being a game about the terror of getting caught that’s also simultaneously embarrassing to get caught playing.
“Within the game, you’re a youngster trying to catch a glimpse of this adult realm. And in real life… would your friends really believe you if you tell them the moaning was just from a game?”
Hm. No, I don’t think my friends would believe me if I tried that one.
Yet, ironically, despite the shame, You Must be 18 or Older to Enter captures a moment that everyone can relate to. “Turns out this curiosity is an unspoken rite of passage,” the brothers said. “Interestingly, we’ve talked to people who’ve had similar coming-of-age experiences but with magazines. Even as technology advances, it seems the anxiety and dread of being caught remained the same, just the mode that changed.”
More than anything, the two developers “hope that You Must be 18 or Older to Enter helps normalize talking about self-exploration.” Because the choices you make in the game, whether about which fetish you want to explore or if you want to chicken out, teach you something about yourself and your relationship to shame. And, on a larger scale, about society’s strange double standard when it comes to sex.
As a horror game that’s only about vague sexual shapes — rather than the usual monsters, guns, blood, guts, and violence — You Must be 18 or Older to Enter somehow experienced much more pushback than its more violent counterparts.
When showing the game at festivals, they realized that it was always put behind a mature content barrier. Meanwhile, games with unbelievably graphic deaths got off scott-free.
It made them wonder. “Why is talking about personal desires more taboo than discussing guns?”
You can play You Must be 18 or Older to Enter right now for free on itch.io, or the more recently released Steam version. Be sure to check out Seemingly Pointless’ website to stay up to date on the game, since the Cox brothers hinted at a larger-scale spiritual successor down the road.