Drunken Robot Pornography: what, where and why

By Brenna Hillier
25 February 2014 14:32 GMT

Drunken Robot Pornography is a first-person bullet hell jetpack arena shooter; think Gradius meets Tribes and you’re halfway there, but you’ve left out the music, the 12 robot exotic dancers, and the adventures to be had as a club owner on the trail of sentient mechanical barkeeper.


Drunken Robot Pornography: recipe and drinking game

Play along at home* by enjoying a swallow of this refreshing cocktail every time this interview causes your adjustment disorder to flare up:

The Drunken Robot:
● 1.5 oz light rum
● 1 oz simple syrup
● 0.75 oz limoncello
● 1/2 thai chili (muddled)
● Shake with ice and strain into a dry-ice-cooled cocktail glass.

The Drunken Robot Pornography:
● Substitute light rum with mezcal and limoncello with fresh lime juice.

*Don’t actually do this.

Drunken Robot Pornography has a funny name, and that’s not terribly surprising. It hails from Massachusetts indie Dejobaan Games, which you may remember from such titles as AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity (first-person base-jumping sim, now with Oculus Rift support), The Wonderful End of the World (Katamari-esque) and the upcoming rhythm action 1… 2… 3… KICK IT! (Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby). Those brackets aren’t for explanatory purposes, by the way.

I’m starting to think Dejobaan comes up with names then scurries around to find pitches to fit them, especially given Drunken Robot Pornography’s, uh, unusual genre.

“With AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! — A Reckless Disregard for Gravity and Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby, we realized that we (as game developers) can just have fun with all parts of game development,” studio lead Ichiro Lambe told us.

“Break the Steam interface with a 25-letter title? Sure. Include a guided meditation in with our BASE jumping game? Sure. Why not? Life’s short.”

That said, the game does have deeper roots than throwing a bunch of words in a hat and hoping for the best.

“Drunken Robot Pornography’s closest ancestor is our 2004 Inago Rage, a jetpack FPS that did not include giant robots. It derived its inspiration from Smash TV, Quake III Arena, and the original Tribes,” he explained.

Dejobaan came up with three different ideas based on Inago Rage. Galaxy Rage was a prototype about exploring procedurally-generated worlds in search of the origins of humanity. Last Man on Mars was a top-down twin-stick shooter. And then there was Giant Robot Pornography, which inspired the team to announce the game as an April Fool’s joke.

Watch on YouTube

Sam plays Drunken Robot Pornography. He’s a bit baffled.

But the title struck chords, and so Dejobaan prototyped it. Somewhere along the way, it must have accidentally set the “bullet” value to approximately a gazillionm resulting in a chaotic, beautiful and challenging genre mish-mash.

“A lot of discoveries are made when you accidentally leave uranium and photographic plates together in a desk drawer. We just kept upping firing frequencies until it looked like bullet hell done in 3D,” Lambe said.

Bullet hell in 3D is an unprecedented concept, as far as I’m aware, which meant Dejobaan had to make the rules up as it went. Sam had a go at Drunken Robot Pornography recently, and reacted with both confusion and interest. From his experience, it looks like the developer have found a pretty tight difficulty balance.

Lambe said Dejobaan’s process is iterative, and begins with building something the team enjoy playing. Dejobaan will then “foist it on an unsuspecting crowd” like university students, convention attendees or YouTubers.

Usually, the studio finds it has “tuned it too difficult or awkward for everyone (except for that one batcrap crazy masochist fan)”, so dials it down and starts the process again.

What is this game about?

“We tell the game’s backstory through its title,” Lambe said.

● Drunken: You’re Reuben Matsumoto, and you used to own a bar.
● Robot: One day, you gave your robot bartender, Tim, sentience. He went nuts, stole your other 12 bots, and burned down your bar.
● Pornography: He’s raised an army to attack Boston — 20,000 drones, 40 Titans, and his lieutenants, the 12 Drunken Robot Centerfolds.

Who are these people?
It’s hard to imagine a team of designers sitting around thinking about first-person bullet hell – or a story about rampaging robot bartenders – in anything other than fantasy terms. But then, Dejobaan isn’t a conventional developer – its staff fluctuates based on project.

“We like to form these indie dream teams around each title, some members of which are from other studios. For instance, our latest title, Monster Loves You! was a brief collaboration with Radial Games’ Andy Moore,” Lambe said.

“Our upcoming experimental art game, Elegy for a Dead World (where you visit planets based on the works of British Romantic poets Keats, Shelley, and Byron) is done in conjunction with Popcannibal. Popcannibal lead, Ziba Scott, and I designed Elegy with paper and colored markers in the kitchen of the Indie Game Collective, because that’s how we’d always imagined game development to be done.

“We’re working with about 12 people across multiple projects, only half of whom are strictly Dejobaan.”

Lambe himself has a list of game credits stretching back to 1988, and co-founded Worlds Apart Productions, which later became Sony Online Entertainment Denver, before breaking away to start Dejobaan in 1999. His history predisposes him towards telling the kinds of story only possible in a game like Drunken Robot Pornography.

“I cut my eye teeth working on commercial MUDs, back in the ’90s. All text. All storytelling. Inago Rage had a quaint storyline told in comic form, so narrative was natural for DRP,” he said.

The sound of Drunken Robot Pornography
One very common reaction to Drunken Robot Pornography – after “what am I looking at” and “can I make a giant dick in the robot editor?” – is that the sound is terrific. Lambe said Dejobaan likes to use a mix of royalty-free music and its own compositions. “The latter lets me pretend I’m a rock star or a singer or a musician or a composer,” he added. “I did up the DRP theme some years ago, because I wanted to see how many robot references I could stuff into one song.”

Drunken Robot Pornography theme song

They started working in the factories of George Devol
Quietly stamping out fridges and the Japanese car
Over the decades, designs evolved
To sweeping your floor in a circular avatar

In addition to the various genres of music that make up the soundtrack, at leats one of the 12 Centrefolds will sing a song penned by Dejobaan’s tech lead Elliot Borenstein and narrative genie Dan Brainerd.

“I’m beginning to realize that indie game development means that you can do whatever the heck you want,” Lambe mused.

“Nobody’s going to fire me for writing music. It’s liberating. Fellow indie Fire Hose Games, also here in Boston, has Formal Fridays, where I’m taken to understand that people wear suits to work. Down with business casual! UP WITH SILK VESTS. Madness.”

The Robots
Players will face an astonishing number of robot enemies over the course of the game’s narrative, although none are as fearsome as the 12 centrefolds (whose names and descriptions you can read at the bottom of the page).

Dejobaan didn’t stop there, though; it’s included a full robot (and arena) editor, and thrown in full Steam Workshop support. Combined with Dejobaan’s own daily challenges, Drunken Robot Pornography promises to deliver ongoing content for as long as the community remains interested.

Ongoing content, and millions of penises – although none of them will appear on the exotic dancers created by Dejobaan.

“Druken Robot Pornography’s the cleanest game on the Internet, so no robot penises. Except for the ones the players create in Steam Workshop,” Lambe said.

“I guess I felt like we’d arrived when we got our first user-generated robo-penis. But yeesh.”

    The Centrefolds
  • Mr. January, your exotic dancer and bar masseur, Sensual Joe Kinematics
  • Mr. February, your exotic dancer and restroom thespian, Exoticus Maximus
  • Miss March, your exotic dancer and stand-up comic, Zanzizzee Bee
  • Miss April, your exotic dancer and burlesque performer, Kitty Osculateur
  • Mr. May, your exotic dancer and lounge singer, Jonathan Livingston Elliot
  • Ms. June, your exotic dancer and handheld inventory control scanner, Splendira Ladyscan
  • Miss July, your exotic dancer and maintenance bot, Lucrezia Cyborgia
  • Mr. August, your exotic dancer and bar pickpocket, Felonious Junk
  • Mr. September, your exotic dancer and exotic dancer, Bangalore Wednesday
  • Ms. October, your exotic dancer and waitron-tron, Bonbon Slinkytron
  • Mr. November, your exotic dancer and short order cook, Yum Squidee Rumsfeld
  • Mr. December, your exotic dancer and dairy consultant, Moobidiah Jones

Drunken Robot Pornography is a PC exclusive available on Steam for $15. It’s 20% off during its launch window.

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

VG247 logo

Buy our t-shirts, yeah

They're far more stylish than your average video game website tat.

VG247 merch