Queer Video Game ‘Ruck Me’ Uses Sex Doll to Tackle Homophobia in Football

Robert Yang’s title humorously touches on a serious subject.

What happens when you combine an Xbox controller, an inflatable sex doll, and a video game with a unique approach to Australian football?

The answer was revealed at the recent Bar SK event of Artworld Videogames in Melbourne. “Ruck Me” is the brainchild of Robert Yang, a professor of video game studies at New York University who both develops and critics games.

This particular title by Yang humorously mocks the very serious issue of homophobia in Aussie Rules Football (AFL).

Games with humor—and queerness

“My games are concerned with playfulness, bodies and masculinity, so obviously sports culture is bursting with so much material for me,” Yang said in a CNET article.

Yang had previously created queer games such as Rinse and Repeat, that was all about scrubbing clean gay men, and The Tearoom, which aimed to reproduce the pleasures as well as the terrors of looking for same-sex pleasure in public bathrooms.

He also created the spanking game Hurt Me Plenty [NSFW], which was featured in our Top Gay Sex Games for PC and Mac article as well as The Most Realistic Sex Games You Can Play.

Subverting homophobia

Yang was inspired to create Ruck Me due to the paradoxical actions he often saw during Aussie Rules Football matches: clear homoerotic behavior and imagery frequently combined with overt homophobia from players and fans.

With Ruck Me, Yang sought to make a game that took the first and tried to use it to push through and beyond the second.

As Yang puts it, “The AFL uniforms are so small, tight, and revealing, it makes me blush. It’s almost like the sport was custom designed for gay men.”

Sex doll plus Xbox controller plus video game

While it was only available to play for a week in Bar SK, a hangout for video game developers in Australia, Ruck Me was very popular.

The game itself is operated by players interacting with an inflatable male sex doll, dressed appropriately in the colors of a legendary AFL team, that has an Xbox controller affixed to it with duct tape.

Through teamwork, groups of players are encouraged to lift the doll up toward the pub’s ceiling, aiming at a trigger Yang has placed there. If successful, the game registers it as a goal.

In the real sport after such the ball is returned to the middle of the field where a member of each team, called “ruck” men, leap up to get it back into play—which is where the name of Yang’s game originates.

A layer of context to its intention

Louis Roots, the owner of Bar SK, said, “The doll is a very simple way to add a physical component to the game, to make it more suitable for display in an accessible way. The sex doll is a way to set up expectations about the game and also add a layer of context to its intention.”

But that’s not all Yang’s game has to offer. Periodically, Ruck Me will interrupt the action to flash scenes of man on a massage table—doubling down on his connecting queer eroticism with the sport.

AFL making strides

To its credit, the AFL has been making strides in addressing homophobia among its players and fans. The league recently released a statement saying it “does not tolerate vilification in any form and is committed to ensuring safe, welcoming and inclusive environments for all people involved in Australian Football.”

Video games driving social change

Whether or not Yang’s humorously erotic game will change any viewpoints about homophobia in sports, and not just the AFL, is uncertain.

But that it was even created, let alone played and enjoyed by a great number of people for the one week it was available, proves itself to be a step in the right direction. When addressing the toxicity of homophobia in sports or anywhere, that is always a good thing.

Image sources: Michael Spencer, Robert Yang