If you have Twitter, Facebook, access to Google, ears or eyes, you have heard about GameCrush. GameCrush is an adult website which went live in 2010. They identify themselves as “… a fun and inviting way to meet and play other gamers.” Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to talk to some GameCrush PlayDates as well as one of the founders and the community manager. So, leave your judgement at the door, come on in and let’s take an unbiased look at GameCrush, their services, and what the media has said about them! Please be advised, the following article has MATURE CONTENT!
First of all, if you live under a rock, let me introduce you to GameCrush and explain how the service works. GameCrush is an 18+ adult social networking site that allows male and female gamers to play games with other gamers (of either the same or different gender). You can do so one of two ways. Either you can take advantage of the Crush-O-Matic, which pairs you up with a gamer to play one of thirteen casual games with for free, or you can be picky, fork over some credits and choose who to play against in a private game either online or on a chosen console game.
Credits are the currency of GameCrush. At the time of this article, you have five purchase options, and each game sessions is 36 credits per minute. To help you calculate what you’re paying per minute, here’s a simple little list:
- OPTION 1: 360 credits for $6; 36cr/min = $6/10 minutes. That’s 60 cents per minute of gameplay.
- OPTION 2: 612 credits for $10; 36cr/min = $10/17 minutes. That’s 58.8 cents per minute of gameplay.
- OPTION 3: 1560 credits for $25; 36cr/min = $25 for 43.3 minutes. That’s 57.7 cents per minute.
- OPTION 4: 3180 for $50; 36cr/min = $50 for 88.3 minutes. That’s 56.6 cents per minute of gameplay.
- OPTION 5: 6600 credits for $100; 36cr/min = $100 for 183.3 minutes. That’s 54.5 cents per minute of gameplay.
GameCrush refers to their paid gamers as PlayDates. The PlayDates (and players, alike) must be over the age of 18. Contrary to popular belief, the PlayDates are not required to be over the age of majority due to nudity, sexual references or anything of that nature. In fact, according to co-founder, Eric Strasser, the PlayDates must be over the age of 18 as they are required to file appropriate tax documentation in their home country as well as enter in a legally binding contractual agreement. In most countries, including Canada and the United States, entering into a contract with a minor voids said contract.
On GameCrush, there are four “zones” to choose from: The Arcade, The Academy, The Arena and The Edge. Each has a different environment to experience:
One of the biggest criticisms GameCrush and its PlayDates has faced is labelling by social networks and media with the claim that the PlayDates perform on-camera sexual acts, or wear barely-there clothing while on webcam with Players. It should be noted, in the first section of the Terms of Serviceagreement on GameCrush, it is clearly stated “GAMECRUSH IS NOT [A] “PORN” SITE AND EXPLICIT DESCRIPTIONS OR DISPLAYS OF SEXUAL CONTENT IS NOT ALLOWED!” In fact, one of the most important factors GameCrush’s community manager, Lily, wanted to get across was that the “GameCrush experience is not a dating site nor is it a porn site.”
Question is, how many PlayDates and Players actually follow the Terms of Service agreement they consented to prior to joining GameCrush? I had the opportunity to speak to three PlayDates from GameCrush: KesselRun, Cyanide Sweetness and PennyandPaper, and no two answers were the same!
While all three girls firmly stated they, themselves, have never disobeyed the Terms of Service, not all could agree with what they feel is acceptable! All three girls were asked the same question: “Have you ever, or do you know of other members who have performed sexual acts (including masturbation, cybersex and verbal role playing) while on webcam with a player?”KesselRun maintained she has never disobeyed the ToS, but “verbal role playing – that’s a shade of gray.” Then, went on to ask “is it okay to be a space marine, but bad to be a sexy space marine?”
PennyandPaper, on the other hand, explained the Terms of Service a little more. She confirmed that when the website was still in beta, nudity and sexual acts were not prohibited. Later, upon launching the public site, the founders and administrators listened to advice from the community in creating the Terms of Service and that “the ToS reflect the rules that the community desired.” Now, she says she does not know of any PlayDates who go “beyond a strict ‘beach skin’ rule.” Although not an official rule, the ‘beach skin rule’ simply “refers to the skin you would show at the beach or public swimming area.”
Cyanide Sweetness probably had the most shocking answer, however. At first, when answering the same question, she stated “part of the edge is being a little bit more risqué, a bit of dirty talk isn’t against [the] ToS.” She then went on to say there is a “fine line as to what is considered cyber sex and what isn’t.” When asked to explain her answer regarding cybersex, Cyanide Sweetness stated, “Telling a guy or girl what you would like to do to them is honestly not cybersex in my opinion” and went on to state that if she wants “to tell a guy that [she] wants to sex him up and down and sideways,” that is not ‘cybersex’, in her opinion. She finalised her answer with this statement: “GameCrush does not want to censor our interactions any more than keeping the visual porn acts off the site.”
Cybersex and disobedience of the Terms of Service aside, these girls are some pretty damn educated girls!
KesselRun graduated from high school with honors then went on to study Illustration and Design in College with two years of study in Developmental Psychology behind her. She is currently a freelance illustrator.
PennyandPaper graduated in 6 semesters from Duke University in 2008, with majors in Visual Art and Art History. Currently a full-time student, she is all but one semester from obtaining an MBA from the University of Houston while maintaining a job as a full-time web designer. All by the age of 23.
Meanwhile, CyanideSweetness is a 24 year old student currently enrolled in school on her way to a Bachelor’s!
So, with social backlash and constant verbal assaults in the media, why do these girls maintain their status as a PlayDate? Well, part of the attraction, according to KesselRun, is the opportunity to get paid while playing video games. The best part of GameCrush? Well, KesselRun says there are lots - “having a good time and getting paid for it, the new friends, the competition, the community is also a huge factor, too.” PennyandPaper even claimed being a PlayDate has boosted her confidence, stating she used to be “very shy and introverted, but now [she] could have illuminating conversations with anyone!” All three girls do agree that the community and friendships they have created are one of the largest attractions for them.
Sexual content aside, one of the most talked about factors of GameCrush, and the dislike for the website expressed in the media, has been GameCrush’s representation of gamers and the gaming industry. On this issue, again, all three girls had conflicting thoughts. While KesselRun was proud to call herself a member of the gaming industry, CyanideSweetness, on the other hand, seemed very adamant that she was not, clarifying she “consider[s] [herself] to be part of the gaming community.” Although PennyandPaper feels as though ”joining GameCrush does not negate, nor does it build, one’s gamer identity,” she does consider herself a gamer, and a good representation of the gaming industry, stating “I am not trying to represent anything but me, but living the gamer lifestyle, actively surrounding myself with other gamers, and being an overall good person should be a positive representation.”
Although three different girls, with very different thoughts, they are all rather similar. They play video games, knit, sing, paint, love animals, play sports, create music and jewellery and travel. Regardless of their hobbies, their interpretation of the Terms of Service agreement, or even their occupation and age, all can agree on one thing – nobody should be passing judgement on them without knowing the facts, talking to some of the members or checking it out for yourself!
I am not here to form an opinion for you, share my opinion or even defend GameCrush. The principle here is simple and cliche: don’t judge a book by its cover. In a world where gamers must defend their social status regularly, it does not seem logical to segregate one area of the gaming community just because we do not understand it.
So, I beg you, instead of judging these dedicated gamers, why don’t you visit their Facebook page, say hi on Twitter, or heck, even visit their website or their Forums! Once you’ve had a chance to look around, please, come back, leave a comment and let me know your take on GameCrush!
DISCLAIMER: None of the opinions expressed in this article are that of MaroonersRock.com or its staff. Any inquiries or concerns may be directed to Sammi@MaroonersRock.com.