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Video games you should never play around your partner

The couple that games together, stays together. That's what relationship counselors and other experts say, at least. Whether you're using your shared love of gaming to break the ice on a first date, meeting up online to make weathering a long-term relationship easier, transforming an innocent video game into something a little more risque, or simply cuddling on the couch with your controllers in-hand, playing games together can be a great way for you and your beau to bond.

Not these games, though. You'll want to play these games while you're alone, preferably with the blinds drawn and the doors locked. They might be fun, but many of them send the wrong message: a few concerns that you're better off not discussing, or a hint at preferences that might be hard to explain. A couple are just, well, gross, so make sure that your partner doesn't catch you with these titles. Otherwise, as far as your relationship is concerned, it's Game Over.

Catherine asks the questions you don't want to answer

Catherine begins with your character, Vincent, waking up from a booze-addled haze next to a buxom blonde named Catherine. The problem? That's not Vincent's girlfriend. Still, ol' Vinny can't seem to help himself, and before long the one-night stand turns into an ongoing fling. By day, you'll need to help Vincent hide his affair. By night, you must guide Vincent as he tries to escape monsters that include a demonic bride, a giant baby, and a sentient butt.

It's all fantastically weird and disturbing, and chances are that your partner won't be thrilled that you're playing a game that teaches you how to cheat. You're not Vincent, however. His foibles aren't yours, and given the chance, you should be able to explain yourself just fine.

But that's not all that Catherine has up its sleeve. In addition to the game's bizarre take on infidelity, the game also asks you probing personal questions about your views on dating, sex, and long-term commitment. Those answers are all yours. Unless you want your partner to know how you feel on some pretty dicey issues — whether you'd blame yourself or your partner if you have an affair, that kind of thing — keep them out of the room while you're playing. Those kinds of things are best left for a private discussion — or, in some cases, kept private. Your partner doesn't need to know everything, after all.

Like that a remaster with a whole new character and plotline, Catherine: Full Body, will haunt the PlayStation 4 on Sep. 3, 2019. Or that you're thinking of checking it out.

Fable 2 makes you choose between love and money

Fable 2 might be the most adultery-friendly game in existence. As you travel the world of Albion, you're welcome to seduce any men and women that you come across by showering your paramour with gifts, spamming their favorite emotes, and taking them on dates to their favorite locations. It doesn't matter if you're already in a relationship. It doesn't even matter if you're married. There's no limit to how many spouses you can stash away in Albion's cities and villages.

Unless you're in an open relationship, you probably don't want your significant other to see you engaging in serial philandering, but that's not what makes Fable II a romance-killer. It's the end of the game that's poses the biggest problem. During Fable II's climax, the villain whacks your husbands, wives, your kids, and your dog. At that point, you have to make a choice: you can bring them all back, you can bring back everyone the big bad killed except for your family, or you can cash out for a giant pile of gold.

Make that decision alone. The last thing you want your partner to know is how easily you'd sell 'em out, 'cause let's be honest: there are other ways to get your dog back and that's too much money to pass up.

Don't let Animal Crossing make real work a chore

If you've ever shared an apartment with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you know that splitting household duties is crucial — and you better make sure that you hold up your end of the bargain. Have you taken out the garbage yet? What about cleaning the dishes, or folding that giant basket of laundry? Did you remember to pick up those groceries, water the plants, or walk the dog?

If you answered "no" to any of those questions, definitely make sure to keep your daily Animal Crossing habit a secret. It's one thing to play video games instead of working. It's another entirely to spend your time doing pretend chores when there are real ones to do. Yes, pulling digital weeds, tending to your virtual garden, and running errands for Animal Crossing's adorably doofy cast is oddly calming, but not everybody gets it. We realize that a couple of days living in filth is a small price to pay for a snazzy shamrock blazer or a cake shaped like a teapot. Your SO, on the other hand, probably won't be so understanding.

Unless your partner is built like a tank, tread away from Panzermadels

Everyone has a type. Maybe you like tall, skinny boys. Maybe you prefer curvy redheads. Maybe beards or glasses drive you wild, or maybe — just maybe — your heart melts for the combination of caterpillar tracks and armor plates.

If that last description sets your heart all aflutter, then Panzermadels is for you. Like in other dating simulators, in Panzermadels casts you as a high school student looking for love. Unlike other dating simulators, in Panzermadels, all of your potential mates are tanks. Oh, they look like regular high school girls, but each student is the personification of a different tank used in World War II. The M4 Sherman, for example, is an-all American tomboy who "would rather be outside on the firing line listening to classic rock" than sitting in class. The German Panzer IV is "is your average teenage tank" who "likes sweets, pop music, and Anschlussing Eastern European nations." We'll stop there, before you get too hot and bothered.

Playing a dating simulator in front of your partner is always a risky proposition, but Panzermadels is more dangerous than most: no matter how your beloved dresses or how hard they work out, they're never going to be a tank. It's just not going to happen. Don't give them body image and self-esteem issues, and keep your love affair with military hardware to yourself.

There's nothing super about Super Seducer

Let's get this out of the way upfront: Super Seducer is not a good game. Produced and starring Richard La Ruina, a self-proclaimed pick-up artist that even Piers Morgan finds repulsive (and if anyone knows repulsive, it's Piers), Super Seducer: How to Talk to Girls uses live-action video to teach users how to score with attractive women.

That's the idea, anyway. The poor people who've played Super Seducer call it "farcical and disastrous" and "The Room levels of bad." Almost all the situations Super Seducer confront you with are simple multiple choice questions, and not difficult ones — if you don't know that groping a stranger is a bad thing, you need more than help than a mediocre game provides. Much of La Ruina's advice — like planting yourself in front of a woman on the street so that she can't escape, or disparaging your target's boyfriend — ranges from creepy to borderline abusive.

Okay, but say you really need some help with your game. Say you're willing to overlook the way that the pick-up artist scene trades on emotional manipulation, sexual harassment, and dehumanization. If you're already in a committed relationship, why are you playing this? At best, your girlfriend is going to think you're a creep. At worst, she's going to think you're planning on sleeping around — and, honestly, if you're willing to subject yourself to Super Seducer while you've already got a great girl, we can't think of any other reasonable explanation.

Prospective parents beware Who's Your Daddy?

American women are having fewer babies than they used to, but for many couples, settling down and bringing a kid or two into the world is still a big part of the long-term plan. Maybe you and your partner are one of them. If so, don't let your significant other catch you playing Who's Your Daddy?, which is explicitly designed to make you look like the worst parent imaginable.

Who's Your Daddy? is a two-player game in which one person plays the titular daddy, while the other controls his newborn spawn. If you're the dad, your goal is to keep your baby safe. If you're the baby, your job is to make that as hard as possible: Climb into a lit oven. Swallow batteries. Stick a fork in the electrical outlet. Do whatever you can to end your short life as quickly as possible or you're going to lose.

Who's Your Daddy? is all in good, if dark, fun, but don't expect your partner to see it that way. Depending on when he or she walks into the room, your main squeeze is either going to see you feeding bleach to a virtual infant, or failing to stop a virtual infant from eating bleach. Neither is a great look, and they'll make any reasonable human being reconsider whether or not you're really the right person to raise a child with.

You're playing Evony Online? My lord!

If you've only seen the advertisements, Evony can be hard to figure out. Instead of explaining Evony's medieval fantasy setting or its city building-based gameplay, ads for the game had a very different focus — by which we mean boobs. Lots and lots of boobs.

Yeah, Evony is that game. The one that seemed like it was pretty much everywhere a couple of years ago, with ads starring women decked out in low-cut Renaissance faire garb (which is at least a little bit on brand), stock photos of porn stars, and, ultimately, just straight-up pictures of breasts in lacy lingerie. You've seen the ads. Your partner has, too. They've got absolutely nothing to do with Evony itself, but like they say, sex sells. Two years after launch, Evony's racy ad campaign resulted in over 27 million sign-ups. Sleazy or not, that's a big success.

Of course, as Kotaku notes, Evony doesn't have any sexy women in the game itself — in fact, there aren't really any women in Evony at all. You might be able to get away with enjoying Evony in front of your partner just fine, as long as he or she doesn't ask what the game is called. Once you answer and they realize that you're talking about the boob game? Yeah, you're sunk.

Everybody loves a Dream Daddy

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator has a dad for everyone. There's Joseph, the "cool youth minister dad" who's great at baking, but doesn't much care for crocks, and who may or may not lead a cult. There's Brian, who's all set to dazzle you with his manly paunch, bristling beard, and award-winning garden. Robert is bad news in all the best ways. Matt is the hipster hunk of your dreams. Craig is a gym rat with twin daughters, while Hugo Vega knows just how to stimulate your … mind.

Dream Daddy is funny, but it's not a joke, and that's key. Sure, minigames like the RPG-style battle that you win by bragging about your daughter do a pretty good job lampooning both dating simulators and the whole daddy meme, but the Dream Daddy cast is deeper than it looks. They're not just stereotypes. They're fully fleshed-out characters with their own wants, needs, and flaws, and no matter what your sexual orientation is, you'll probably fall for at least one them.

Most likely, your partner will too. You don't want that to happen. The Dream Daddies are more attractive, smarter, sweeter, and just plain better than you are. If your significant other decides to go all-in with a video game character (hey, it happens), that'll leave you painfully alone. No daddy is worth that. Not even these ones.

If you play Lick, expect a good tongue-thrashing

So, you want to get better at pleasing your partner. That's great! Sexual generosity is crucial for keeping that spark alive, especially in long-term relationships, and science has proved that oral sex has a number of health benefits for both partners, too. It's a win-win.

If you need to bone up on how to go down, there are a number of apps and games out there that can help you refine your techniques, too. One of them is Lick This, a web-based app that "trains your tongue" and makes you a better lover. Here's how it works: first, wrap your phone in plastic wrap. Next, fire up your mobile device's web browser and navigate to lickthisapp.com. Start up the game, and then flick a light switch on and off, turn a crank, or keep a beach ball in the air by flicking your tongue.

That's why Lick This is a game best played away from your partner's prying eyes. Even if your intentions are good, if you're caught making out with your cellphone, you're going to find yourself single very, very quickly. And then what was the point of all that practice?

Conception II: just don't do it

Despite appearances, there's nothing scandalous about Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars. You're not sleeping with those high school girls you're dating. You're "classmating" with them. You're not swapping fluids or DNA with each other, either. No, you simply exchange magical "ether" by holding hands. Oh, and you're definitely not enlisting your offspring, known as Star Children, into your army and sending them into battle while you explore — oh, wait, never mind. That part is 100% true.

In short, Conception II is like a greatest hits list of everything you don't want your partner to see. A dating simulator starring cute (and mostly underage) anime girls? Yup. Embarrassing psuedo-sex scenes? It's got that too. Bad parenting? Oh, you bet. Obvious sexual innuendo and more than a little fanservice? Take a guess. Besides all that, Conception II practically requires you to sleep — sorry, "classmate" — around if you want to win. The whole thing has more red flags than a communist parade.

Don't get us wrong: Conception II is fun, especially if you like series like Persona and Etrian's Odyssey. If you're in a relationship, however, do not let your date see you play this game. It's phenomenally weird, and will lead to all sorts of questions — and, chances are, your partner will not like the answers.

Cancel your Cobra Club membership, or else

The internet has given us all kinds of great things. Random pictures of men's private parts are not one of them. For some reason, dudes love to take quick pictures of their junk and send them to women they meet online. According to surveys, four of every ten women between 18 and 36 years old have received an unsolicited "d**k pic" from a stranger online. At its worst, that's sexual harassment. At its best, it's still really, really gross.

That's where Cobra Club by Robert Yang comes in. Yang made a name for himself with games like Stick Shift and Spank Me Plenty that are both games and homoerotic art pieces. Cobra Club might be his finest work. In the game, you're given a cellphone camera, a bathroom mirror, and a fully-functional set of male hardware, and left to your own devices. A slider lets you decide how aroused you are. Your mother knocks on the bathroom door every now and then to ask what you're doing. Cobra Club even uploads some of players' snaps to Twitter, in case you want to see what your fellow snake charmers are up to.

Yang describes Cobra Club as an effort to "take back" these kinds of photos by celebrating wangs of all shapes and sizes, giving everyone the ability to take lewd pictures, regardless of their real-life biology. Most importantly, it aims to re-introduce consent into the equation. Given the game's rather sordid surface, however, we'd recommend avoiding this one around your partner. Cobra Club is definitely easy to misinterpret. It's not worth the risk.

Abdicate your Crusader Kings II throne

Unlike other medieval strategy games, Crusader Kings II isn't about conquering the world or winning a war. It's about securing your family dynasty by any means necessary. That means producing an heir who will keep your legacy going. Accordingly, you'll choose future spouses by the stats and abilities that they can pass on, and not pesky little things like "personality" or "love."

That kind of behavior should be a red flag for any real-life partner who happens to be watching, but it gets worse. The rest of your family isn't immune to this kind of power play. Pawning off your kids on discontent underlings or hooking them up with foreign leaders is a great way to expand and consolidate your power. Oh, and is your husband or wife not getting the job done? Have them assassinated, and then get yourself a new one.

It's all very Game of Thrones (yeah, you can even do, well, that), and it all adds up to one big "nope" for anyone who's hoping to start a healthy, happy family. If you have plans to settle down, don't show your SO your true colors by showing them Crusader Kings. If they've got any sense, they'll run screaming.

For better or worse (probably worse), Brothers Conflict: Passion Pink keeps it all in the family

At first glance, Brothers Conflict looks like a typical Japanese dating simulator. You've got a bevy of hot boys who all love you, and you have to choose which one will eventually win your heart. Will it be the successful doctor? What about the handsome lawyer? Maybe you've got eyes for the mysterious and stylish hairdresser, or the shy high school basketball star, or the bemused cross-dressing writer.

So far, it's all pretty standard. Brothers Conflict has 12 different hunks that you can date spread across its two installments, Passion Pink and Brilliant Blue, but it also has one big twist: all of the boys are brothers. Specifically, your brothers. Brothers Conflict begins when Ema Hinata's father remarries, suddenly gifting her with 13 step-brothers, almost all of whom have got the hots for her. They're not blood relatives, but still, Brothers Conflict is a game about dating your siblings. Ick.

BroCon is actually a franchise in Japan. It started as a series of novels and spawned both a comedic manga and an anime series, which you can catch on Hulu. Still, while overly-intimate family relations might be a surprisingly popular trend on porn sites, they remain taboo in mainstream culture. We wouldn't be surprised if your partner finds Brothers Conflict's inter-family romance a turn-off. No kink-shaming intended, but if you're going to play BroCon in front of others, stop for a good hard think first. Is this a line that you really want to cross?

Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 is more than just good, clean fun

It's hard to say what makes Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 so unsavory. Its full-frontal male nudity means that it's technically not safe for work, but Shower With Your Dad's graphics are one step above what you'd find on the Atari 2600. It's not going to scandalize anyone over the age of six and under, say, 95. The arcade-inspired gameplay is legitimately fun, too. A bunch of kids are lounging in a public shower with their fathers, and you've got to match the right tyke to the right dad to score points. It's pretty harmless.

And yet, more than almost any game, Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015 makes parenting feel, well, kind of weird. Maybe it's the setup, which involves abandoning — or worse, losing — your kid in a room full of wet, naked strangers. Maybe it's the stress that comes with frantically trying to match the right child with the right dude, or maybe it's the cringy shame that you feel when you guide a boy to the wrong father.

No matter what the cause, a few minutes of watching Shower With Your Dad Simulator is enough to turn anyone off of having kids — even if they already do. Keep your partner far, far away.

Relinquish the Crown

Modern dating apps owe a lot to video games. Tinder co-founder Sean Rad admitted as much when he told Time Magazine that he "always saw Tinder, the interface, as a game." Rad elaborated that "what you're doing, the motion, the reaction" is fun, even if you're not looking for a relationship (or a hook-up). Early Tinder profiles were inspired by playing cards, and Tinder-like interfaces have gone on to be used in critically-acclaimed titles like the strategy game Reigns.

From there, it's a pretty natural leap to making an actual dating game. That's exactly what Tinder's parent company, Match Group, did when they produced Crown. Crown offers users 16 potential suitors a day and turns matchmaking into a competition. When you play, you'll give one person in your pool a crown and send the others packing. Eventually, you'll work through your matches tournament style until you reach the Final Four, who you can message. If your profile does well in other people's tourneys, you can contact those people, too.

Hopefully, we don't need to explain the implications of playing Crown while you're in a relationship. Unless you have explicit consent from your partner to survey the field, you shouldn't play it behind their back, and you absolutely shouldn't play it in front of them. For goodness' sake, people. Show some respect.

Put Boong-Ga Boong-Ga in the rear-view mirror

There are many games out there about spanking. There are fewer that are marketed as family-friendly, and that are designed to be played in a public place. And, as far as we know, there's only one that has a fully three-dimensional jeans-clad butt peripheral attached to it, along with a plastic hand that you're supposed to use to poke that plastic posterior right between the cheeks.

That game is Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, and if you want to play it, you'll need to travel to Japan. There, the game makes a little more sense. Boong-Ga Boong-Ga is digital recreation of a childhood prank in which little kids shove finger-guns up people's rears while shouting "Kancho!" It's still an odd product, however. When you fire up Boong-Ga Boong-Ga, you choose to torment one of eight digital victims, who make faces while you play. None of them seem to particularly enjoy the experience.

So, why would your partner mind? Well, if indulging in a little synthetic butt-poking for fun doesn't weird them out, Boong-Ga Boong-Ga's character roster probably will. While Boong-Ga Boong-Ga's con man and child molestor (yes, really) probably deserve to be smacked on the caboose, it's harder to make that argument for the ex-girlfriend, the ex-boyfriend, and the mother-in-law. Choosing one of those sends a weird message, and it's probably better if you avoid tormenting those characters when your SO is in view — or, y'know, at all.

Get caught playing this? Take Shelter.

In Shelter, you have one goal: you've got a litter of kids under your charge, and it's up to you to make sure that they reach adulthood. Easy, right?

If you've spent any time around children, you know that it's not, especially when everything in the wilderness is doing its best to kill you and your offspring. Hunger is your biggest foe — you need to gather or kill anything that your kids eat — but you'll also have to fend off birds of prey, survive deadly obstacles like river crossings and wildfires, and find, well, shelter to shield your family from the elements. Oh, also, you're all badgers, but as Eurogamer observes, that's not really important.

Shelter (as well as its sequel, Shelter 2) is all about raising kids — and watching them die. It's heartbreaking (especially the lynx-focused Shelter 2, which ups the trauma by making you name your cubs first), and also makes a terrible argument for your parenting skills. Maybe kids aren't in your future, but if they are, don't let your partner catch you failing at this one. It's sure to give them second thoughts.

Emily is Away, and you should be, too

As an interactive fiction story structured like a series of conversations on AOL Instant Messenger (RIP), Emily is Away Too has a distinctly retro vibe. If you only catch a quick glimpse of the game, it also looks remarkably like just you're flirting with teenage hotties online. Sure, you might know that Evelyn and Emily, the two high school girls you'll befriend (and more) in Emily is Away Too are really just collections of ones and zeroes, but the game's interface is so convincing that it's easy to imagine passersby getting the wrong idea.

It'll get even worse if your SO likes to snoop. Emily is Away Too starts as a nostalgia-tinged romance, but the game graudally makes it very, very hard to be a good person. At one point, you'll have to abandon at least one of the girls in the middle of a crisis. Those lighthearted conversations about music and movies end up being more than larks, and if you're not very careful — and entirely honest — the girls will call you out on your bullpucky.

That's better than the first game, which makes players complicit in an implied sexual assault, but most Emily is Away Too playthroughs still end with you being a grade-A jerk. Cheating and an ice-cold heart? Not a good look. Not a good look at all.

Mario Party is one unwelcome surprise

Mario sure hates relationships. He ruined Bowser and Peach's wedding. He finally let couples platform together in New Super Mario Bros. Wii but didn't make the actual levels any bigger, leading to one of the most chaotic experiences in modern gaming — one that's sure to push your bond with your loved one to its limits. We don't have any concrete evidence, but we'd be shocked if at least one relationship wasn't ruined by a round of Mario Kart and a few well-timed blue shells.

If you really want to make your partner mad, however, invite them to join a game of Mario Party. Any of 'em will do. The Mario Party franchise presents itself like a fun, minigame-driven board game that rewards you for quick thinking and snappy reaction times. Don't be fooled. Between the dice rolls, the unexpected star giveaways, and the occasionally unbalanced mini-games, Mario Party thrives on randomness. Add in the ability to steal other players' hard-earned stars, which totally screws them over, and you've got a top-tier blow-out fight just waiting to be discovered.

In other words, if you and your partner are going to throw a Mario Party on the reg, make sure to invest in a comfortable couch. Chances are, one of you is going to be sleeping there very, very often.

How Do You Do It will not teach you how to do it

Sex can be fun, but it's also weird, messy, and confusing, and it's okay if you don't know what you're doing in bed. At some point, everyone has to figure it out for themselves. That being said, despite the title, Nina Freeman's How Do You Do It is not a great way to learn — unless you want to end up even more baffled than you started, that is.

Not that education is the point. How Do You Do It is a hilarious and thoughtful piece of satire that pokes fun at just how mysterious sex can be to kids, especially girls, and how cultural attitudes towards physical intimacy stifle sexual education. It begins when an adolescent girl watches the sex scene in Titanic, after which she picks up floppy Barbie and Ken dolls. That's when you take control, mashing the toys together in an attempt to figure out how intercourse works. How Do You Do It ends when your mother arrives home and scolds you, and then the game tells you that "you might have done sex" a certain number of times. It explains nothing.

It's all pretty clever. On the other hand, jamming gonad-free playthings together doesn't exactly ooze sex appeal. If you're still in the seduction phase of your relationship, play this one in private.

Fibbage XL reveals what lies beneath

Relationships are built on trust, and it's hard to trust someone who you know is a good liar. On the other hand, Fibbage XL is all about lying. If you're not good at it, you're going to lose. It's that simple.

If Fibbage XL seems familiar, then you've probably played games like Dictionary or Balderdash or seen the game show Wordplay before. It's essentially the same idea. When a round of Fibbage starts, each player is offered a distinct piece of trivia with a key word or phrase missing. Using their mobile phones, players fill in the blank with the most convincing substitution they can think of. Then, the game presents both the real answer and the made-up one to other players, who must guess which one is correct. If they get it right, they get a point. If they don't, the person who came up with the false definition scores.

It's a lot of fun, especially in large and rowdy groups, and if you're not very good at it, you'll be fine. If you are, however, be careful. Communication is hard enough without your partner questioning the truth behind everything you say, and one or two solid rounds of Fibbage will have them doing just that.

Cesarean Birth Surgery: nope nope nope nope nope nope nope

It's a tale as old as time. Boy meets girl. Boy and girl fall in love. Boy and girl mess around, girl gets pregnant, and then boy performs invasive surgery — but, y'know, the fun kind — on her to get the baby out.

In the real world, cesarean sections are a common medical procedure. They've saved many lives, but they're not exactly a good time. In the video game world, they are. As it turns out, there's an entire genre of mobile games out there — many of which look like they're targeted at children — that let you use your phone's touch screen to perform C-sections on pregnant women. While some of these games are relatively harmless, like the one that extracts a baby via a magic wand, others are much more realistic. Some are just graphic enough that they're downright unsettling.

And it gets weirder. Oh boy, does it get weirder. Have you ever dreamed of cutting open a hybrid dog-human and removing her cartoon puppy offspring? You can. What about performing a C-section on Elsa from Frozen? Sure. Go for it. Look, there are plenty of fun games about performing surgery out there — Surgeon Simulator, Trauma Center, and Two-Point Hospital all fit the bill — but if your idea of a good time is cutting open pregnant women, maybe keep it to yourself. That's not sexy. It is terrifying.