Doja's pinup banner for the sex game House Party

Doja Cat Will Be Joining the Cast of ‘House Party’–Yes, THAT ‘House Party’

"Bitch, I'm an NPC."

Back in high school, an old friend introduced me to the let’s-play channel Game Grumps, which is basically a comedy channel where two bros shoot the shit and play video games of varying quality. I used to love it, but fell off the bandwagon once I got a bit older, although I’d still check in from time to time for nostalgia’s sake.

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One of those times I checked in, I noticed that they were gaining a lot of traction for their let’s play of a game called House Party. Which I quickly discovered was a sex game.

A literal sex game. An RPG where your quests will lead you to nookie, with such advanced mechanics as: press X to whip dick out, press Y to doggy, press A to cum (after your orgasm meter fills up, of course), and so on. I wish there was a more tactful way of putting it but them’s the breaks.

Update 9/19: After having an engaging conversation with Eek! Games’ CEO, Bobby Ricci, I’ve come to understand that the dominant surrounding this game stems from its portrayal from streamers who sensationalized its sexual content before it was truly “ready” for streaming. Although I do still maintain some preliminary hesitations regarding the nature of such a game, I appreciated Ricci’s insight as to why the game is the way it is and how it has changed subsequently.

In House Party, gamers play as the high school friend of a guy named Derek who’s throwing the weirdest party of all time, with a handful of randos just sort of milling around, getting drunk and trying to find things to do. The developers describe it as being an homage to comedy movies of the ’90s, which had no shortage of sex comedies, from American Pie to Can’t Hardly Wait to Clerks. Trying to hook up in-game is certainly comedic at best, and to the game’s credit, just being a creep and saying things like, “Nice rack!,” will get you nowhere. It tries hard to be self-aware, but ultimately you can only be so self-aware in a game where you score by doing ridiculous tasks–some of which have, in the past, involved blackmail and subterfuge, which were rightfully removed from the game.

In general, I’m all for video games being more sex-positive, but this game has always been such a weird thing to me. The sex scenes are so bizarrely porny, yet they’re laced with irony and random little asides from the girls while you’re doing it. And then as soon as you’re done, their models quickly change from nude, to clothed, then t-posed, then standing. And it’s like nothing even happened. After that, you just have a free pass to Bone Town whenever you want. The Quickdraw Feminist within me wants to immediately call this game sexist, chauvinistic, and deplorable. But honestly, compared to some of the other disgusting shit out there, House Party feels less like a “must sex femoids” experience, and more like a parody of the whole shebang of being a sloppy young adult.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a gross parody for sure, and my initial reactions to it didn’t come from nowhere. But it’s a parody that I have a hard time taking seriously enough to knock, since everything about it feels like the work of someone who is either deliberately making a parody, or truly has never been to a party to try and get laid (in the same way Life is Strange tries so hard to be Indie/Alt, it almost feels naïve).

But y’all aren’t here to debate the ethics of this game, you’re here for the headline, right? Yeah. I’m not fucking with you. Miss Doja Moooo Cat will be coming to House Party on September 30th of this year.

So this isn’t the first time a celebrity has joined the cast of House Party. The Grumps themselves are characters in it (although as far as I’m aware, you can’t have sex with them, which was probably a smart move on their part), and a content creator called Lety is also featured (she makes her own porn, so she did consent to having sex scenes). But compared to them, Doja isn’t just a celebrity: she’s a cultural monolith.

Love her or hate her, it can’t be denied that Doja Cat has left her mark on modern pop culture with lasting power, and no matter what controversy is thrown her way, she still continues to put out some absolute bangers, year after year. So, bearing this in mind, how in the goddamn did this collaboration even come to be????

We know that Doja herself is a proud geek and loves video games, anime, and so on. Her first viral hit was a meme song. I have no doubt that she’s doing this collab for the love of it, because House Party is still a pretty niche thing even in the gaming community. But I’m simply stunned that she was able to get away with this, knowing the chokehold major music labels have on their clients. Like who reached out to who? Did Eek! Games go out on a whim and email her themselves? Did Doja rebel against the industry (as she rightfully should) and contact them herself? Did the label, of all things, conspire to make this happen?

I’m tempted to say that this was 100% a Doja Decision, because she’s been feeling major career burnout this year and it shows. The industry is notoriously damaging and exhausting, and Doja has already proven herself to be somewhat of a sensitive person who has a hard time existing in the spotlight. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just human–hell, I have to remind myself to breathe every time I get an annoying comment, which isn’t even that often. I can’t imagine living under the sort of pressure she lives under.

The rest of her tweets from the past few months are like this, more or less. I’m not Twitter savvy so I can’t tell whether they’re in earnest or not, but I dunno man, the frustration seems pretty real to me. My guess is, deciding to be a part of House Party was a decision made on her part to feel more connected to the things she likes–creating new things, and engaging with video games–during a time in her life where she isn’t really sure about what she’s doing. And before any of you start to type something about “oh boo hoo sucks to be rich, young, and beautiful,” I’m gonna remind you that she’s only 26, and if any of you have any twentysomethings in your life, you should know that NONE of us know what we’re doing. It’s a scary feeling, and it’s probably only amplified by having so many eyes (many of which are unfeeling and greedy) on you at all times.

At least in House Party, Doja controls how she’s represented and what people can do with her (which may or may not be sexual in nature, they’re being very coy about it all). I can definitely see the logic in feeling empowered in making this sort of call.

Of course, I could be drastically missing the mark here, but it’s not really my place to say either way. I just wanted to write about this because, as a longtime fan of both Doja Cat, music in general, and video games (for better or for worse), I found this intersection to be so random and out there. While a part of me loves it, another part of me can’t help but question why it happened at all.

Because it’s not like this is another Madden, featuring Captain Real-Life Football McSklorbo (see Dad, I know sports!). This is a niche sex game that now has access to one of the most high-profile celebrities of our time. God dammit, I may just cave and give it a try, because I’m that curious now. At the very least, you can finally play as a woman now, so it won’t feel as gross, and all purchases of her DLC will go to charity.

(Featured Image: Eek! Games)

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Madeline Carpou
Madeline (she/her) is a staff writer with a focus on AANHPI and mixed-race representation. She enjoys covering a wide variety of topics, but her primary beats are music and gaming. Her journey into digital media began in college, primarily regarding audio: in 2018, she started producing her own music, which helped her secure a radio show and co-produce a local history podcast through 2019 and 2020. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz summa cum laude, her focus shifted to digital writing, where she's happy to say her History degree has certainly come in handy! When she's not working, she enjoys taking long walks, playing the guitar, and writing her own little stories (which may or may not ever see the light of day).