I found Negotiation through Forest Ambassador, an amazing resource designed to introduce non-gamers to video games. The tumblr is run by Merritt Kopas, and if you don’t follow Merritt on Twitter already or follow the Forest Ambassador Tumblr you really should get on that.
Since the ending to this game is incredibly important to discussion of the game, it is necessary to take a few moments to actually play the game. It has discussions of kink, piercing, BDSM, and bondage so if any of those are non-starters for you, then you should probably avoid playing the game. However, if you’re interested you can start playing at the sexartpolitics on philomela.
I’ve played a couple of great games about kink lately, but Negotiation certainly stands out. For starters, the game is about as basic a Twine as you can get — the standard black background with white text, the Sugarcane sidebar there for the entirety of play. But what it misses in gimmicks and tricks, it makes up for with a interesting premise and a tease of an ending.
Much like The Conversation I Can’t Have, Negotiation is a conversation about kink. However, Conversation comes from a lack of understanding and seeks to educate the audience about the state of mind of a participant in play. Negotiation approaches the subject from a different angle entirely — focusing instead on nature of desire and the negotiations that go on between partners before play even begins. The writer doesn’t necessarily expect the reader to be familiar with the terms of the community, but they are helpful when approaching words like “sharps,” and concepts like full body binding. In a sense, it can be eye-opening.
The ending is the most distinctive aspect of Negotiation. Merritt Kopas sums it up well by saying, “I just think the idea of making a game about kink play or sex that ends before the scene itself starts is totally perfect.” There is a teasing element to the whole situation, to be sure. but it also fits the mood of the rest of the work — honest and incredibly human. Negotiation is flirtatious, but it doesn’t feel like a porn plot, it feels like a conversation between two consenting adults. It’s a healthy, kinky relationship.