Cock Hero Is Guitar Hero for Wanking

A NSFW intro to gamefied porn.

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Feb 24 2015, 7:25pm

[Source: PornHub screengrab]

There is a Guitar Hero for porn, and I just spent a very tense afternoon defiling my eyeballs with it. Cock Hero is a porn game that uses music and on-screen visual cues to tell the viewer at what rhythm to masturbate, with which hand, when to take breaks, and when to finish. I say "very tense" because both my girlfriend and I work from home, and every time she looked over, I had to explain that the wet butt on my screen bouncing up and down to the beat of a Moldovan hit single called "Chica Bomb" was not merely porn, but something I was viewing for research.

I'll call it a game, but it's hard to define; Cock Hero is really a confluence of several types of niche media. Game developer Damion Schubert, whose analysis of Cock Hero's semi-interactive design—he calls it "the gamification of porn"—led me down this X-rated rabbit hole in the first place, sees it as an extension of Jerk Off Instruction (JOI) porn. This, of course is a porn in which the star gives the viewer explicit directions on how to masturbate.

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A touch of DDR to this Cock Hero UI Image: PornHub.

The latest and greatest Cock Hero videos regularly get upwards of a million views on PornHub, making them some of the most popular on the site. They have instructions too, with a variety of on-screen symbols, which, as in Guitar Hero, are matched to a musical beat.

However, after spending some time on the apparent birthplace of Cock Hero, Milovana.com, which is "a free online community, dedicated to the safe, sane and consensual exploration of sexual technique and technology in fun and interactive ways," I think it's more an extension of the Porn Music Video (PMV) discipline and Milovana's own interactive "webteases."

PMVs, which you can find on porn streaming websites like PornHub, take small clips from a large number of other porn videos and edit them to the tune of one or more songs, usually around a theme, like the work of one pornstar, or a particular fetish (consider the "cumpoliation" sub-genre, for example).

Like most games, Cock Hero poses a challenge: whether or not you can make it to the end of the video, some of which are well over an hour long—and only then finish.

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Amazingly, some Cock Hero videos are framed with an epic story. Source: PornHub.

This endurance was a defining characteristic from the very beginning. An amatuer Cock Hero historian on Milovana, alchemi183, asserts that the first ever Cock Hero video was made in February 2009, by another Milovana member, lalaland.

This first video is no longer available from the file hosting website where it was posted. The second, "Cock Hero Challenge - Match 2," which was posted only a week after the first, is still online, and comes with a readme.txt that explains the rules.

"Thank you for trying out the first of hopefully many video teases by lalaland," the creator explains. "Every time you have to stop during a match because you edge out or lose the music beat, you earn +1 Experience. If you cum, however, you go back to Zero Experience. As you gain Experience, you receive perks (special powers) you may use during a match. Keep track of your Experience Level and it's [sic] perks! It will be useful later on!"

This mostly works with an honor system, but I've also seen videos in which a Cock Hero players record themselves playing and add that footage the video via picture-in-picture.

Cock Hero, then, is also riffing on Milovana's "webteases." Sometimes, webteases are just a series of slides containing poronographic images and text that tell the reader what to do. Sometimes they're gamified and/or presented as short erotica, with players competing for points and/or proper completion. Formally, they're not all that different than games made with Twine, a text-based game-making tool.

Other times, webteases bleed into real life, with players having to post pictures of themselves completing specific challenges, like posting a picture of underwear they saw at the store, and then a picture of themselves wearing the same underwear.

lalaland retired after those first two videos (or at least retired that username), but other users within and outside Milovana have ran with the form ever since. For three years, alchemi183 has maintained a record of new Cock Hero creations, which experiment with different rules, interfaces, and includes at least a few examples that veer from the genre's strictly hetero origins.

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A slide from a Cock Hero creation tutorial. Source: Milovana.

Another Milovana member, vindicare, created a handy tutorial on how to make Cock Hero videos. It includes a lot of technical and creative advice, as well as a note about intellectual property, essentially telling creators to use promotional clips at their own risk, and free music from Creative Commons. In 2012 another user also created SxBeat, software that easily adds a "beat meter" to videos, but the site is now defunct.

This last point seems key to the whole Cock Hero scene, if I may label it as such. There have been rumblings lately about a traditional rhythm game resurgence in the form of another Rock Band, but those games have waned dramatically in popularity in recent years, their plastic musical instruments clogging up shelves at the Goodwill.

Cock Hero, meanwhile, is alive and well. Milovana's forum is over 40,000 members strong, alchemi183 lists almost 200 creations, and the most recent Cock Hero was shared on PornHub just last week. Subject matter explains a lot of it (clearly we have a more persistant appetite for porn than pretending to play Freebird), but so does users' ability to create more videos. The number of views prove that there's demand, and all things considered, the Milovana community seems as civil and supportive as advertised, with online discussions that are easily less hostile than any number of forums where people argue about video games.

And if you're inclined to play Cock Hero, you won't need any of the fancy gear we've seen in other future sexy attempts to combine porn, new technologies, and gaming. A simple Google search will lead you to PornHub or another streaming competitor, and you already have all the equipment you need to play.