When it first launched on Early Access in late 2016, the game Genital Jousting became a viral sensation. After all, when a game is about slapstick humor involving penises, you can be sure every Tom, Dick and Harry on Twitch and YouTube will want to make a video about it. Even my wife and I made the rash decision to buy this game, because let’s face it, penises are funny.
Evan Greenwood, creative director at developer Free Lives told PC Gamer: “A lot of the sales did come in Early Access. A lot of that was during things like the Christmas sale which Steam included us in and things like that. I think there might have been a Valentine's bump."
Free Lives is the same studio behind the run and gun action hit Broforce. After they wrapped up work on that game, they reached out to Valve to make sure their penis game would be accepted on a platform that frequently gets cold feet about sexually-themed content. Although Valve gave the thumbs up, Free Lives remained wary of any last minute back pedaling.
Greenwood recalled that Steam did not actively promote the game, understandably due to its adult nature. "They were waiting for some sort of backlash, they weren't sure what would happen.” And then the backlash didn’t happen and Genital Jousting turned out to be a better game than expected with good reviews. “People were happy, they weren't up in arms saying, 'This is a pile of garbage'.”
As the months flew by in Early Access leading up to the final launch, Free Lives worked on something special: a full single-player story mode that takes its silly mechanics and uses them to tell a story about manhood in a modern age. I’ve played it and it’s gripping, weird as hell and hilarious, kind of like Thomas Was Alone, but you’re a penis not a square.
Unfortunately, the story mode didn’t translate into a second wave of virality, much to the disappointment of Free Lives. It’s one of the wonderful little seen aspects of the game that deserves talking about, in my opinion. Robert Fraser, programmer at Free Lives, said they thought it would be as big as the first time anyone saw anything about Genital Jousting.
And although the new add-on did not massively increase their already healthy sales figures, Greenwood says they’re really proud of it and the strong, positive response. Since YouTube and Twitch have tightened restrictions on sexual content, Genital Jousting has become less visible. To date, the game has sold 354,139 copies. That’s a lot of penises.