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For those of you who don’t already know, Huniecam Studio is an indie clicker game recently released this April 6 developed by the same people who gave you Huniepop back in January of 2015, which in turn was released thanks to a Kickstarter project. Huniepop is a puzzle game much like the Candy Crush saga while Huniecam Studio is more of a clicker game where you take control of several women in a cam studio to manage their careers.
While I was pretty excited during the months leading up to the release with the whole premise being about managing the optimization of cam girls’ careers, I ended up excruciatingly disappointed within the first hour of gameplay. Not only was the gameplay just another run of the mill management clicker game, much like the ones abundant on Facebook and the early years of Newgrounds, but the premise and the way the theme was handled took a dark turn. Before I get into that let me preface this by stating that I’m not one of those people who shouts misogyny the moment sex and women are intertwined into something, nor am I someone who believes that we can’t make jokes or satire about stereotypes or possibly sensitive subject matter. The way the game handles it’s view on cam modeling is nothing but aggressive negative stereotypes and it’s abundant in both the gameplay mechanics and the tone. From giving the girls drugs to forcing them to escort and contracting STDs, all the way to the backstories of the girls. In a world currently abundant in confusion with how sex workers are viewed, especially now with the camming industry, the perception of those who are not familiar with it may be further skewed to produce more misinformed views within our society.
The tone of the game heavily implies that only women who have made extremely poor choices in life end up being cam models and the viewers who spend their time and money on models can only be “disgusting” and desperate people, as shown by the cam girls referring to their fans as “disgusting”. The reality of the situation, at least from my personal anecdotal experience, is that most of us view our fans as no different than normal healthy people in society. Some we even legitimately view as close acquaintances and friends. There are definitely creepers out there but this is the internet and it’s not exclusive to camming. People have different fetishes, some more hardcore than others, some “weirder” than others, and in a place with the potential to be anonymous, people are going to act out on their inner desires especially if they’re spending money on it.
The game takes the theme a step further with abusive narratives within the gameplay itself, such as giving the girl a “piggy bank” to improve her saving habits and demand only half of payment. There’s also giving steroids to the cam models to “negate the effects of STDs for 2 days”.
Is the game an accurate representation of the industry? Absolutely not. Is it trying to be? No idea. Is it fun and clever satire? Maybe. But in a world currently convoluted with misinformation, immature insecurities and narrow-minded views (and not just concerning sex working either), along with no other game about cam models out there, it surely doesn’t help push us in the right direction.
With that said, I’m personally not offended by the game but I do think we should have other games out there that represent the industry for the way it really is. Some of the people you meet in this community, both cam girls and viewers alike, are some of the coolest out there. Camming reminds me of the diverse melting pot that is New York City. You’ll find people of all walks of life, skin color, cultures, religion, profession and sexual orientation in a single train ride from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The best part? You’ll find the fewest, if any at all, judgmental stares than in any other city in the world. New York City is viewed negatively by many other places for the much of the same reason camming is: Open-mindedness and open acceptance of others’ differences. It’s the same way I feel about the camming community and it’s because of this that I consider the industry a small step in the right direction towards a more progressive and liberated world.