Genital Jousting: The completely Safe for Work review

Credit: Free Lives
Credit: Free Lives /

Genital Jousting sparks an important conversation, but we recognize it’s tough for some folks to have in an article full of cartoon genital images.

Developer: Free Lives
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platform: PC
Release Date: January 18, 2018

Here at App Trigger, we aren’t personally shy about conversations surrounding genitalia. But we recognize that as part of a larger network with certain qualifications on content, we probably shouldn’t publish something full of images of cartoon penises. But we also recognize that some people might be interested in learning what that Genital Jousting thing they keep seeing discussed on Twitter behind their set content blockers is. I also personally feel that as much as we see female anatomy in games, film, television, and other entertainment discussed, that maybe it’s a good thing someone stopped and talked about male anatomy for a bit, too.

For those who want to read a fairly tame, yet accurate description of Genital Jousting and our feelings about it, we present the following completely safe for work review. In it, we include no inappropriate images, and although we use accurate terminology such as “penis” and “anus,” we will avoid slang that could be considered inappropriate.

genital jousting
This is the only safe for work screenshot I was able to take in the entire game. It’s the first thing you see when you start it up. Credit: Free Lives /

From Genital Jousting’s menu onward, you will be absolutely inundated with peens of all shapes, sizes, colors, and degrees of rigidity. Every single character in this game, human or NPC, consists of a singular shaft attached to a pair of testicles with an anus opening at the back. By consenting to play at the start and again online (a consent you can also withdraw at any time), human players are capable of penetrating one another from behind for either gameplay progression, or just for fun. You can’t penetrate NPCs–they can’t consent, after all.

You’ll encounter said NPCs via a single player story mode that tells the story of a middle-aged penis named John. With a high school reunion coming up, John finds himself dissatisfied with his life and makes a series of bad decisions with the idea of impressing his former bullies when the big day comes. The tale is short, and that’s probably a good thing. Jokes about shafts, stiffness, and penetration can only last so long. Most of the humor here lies in the perkily documentary-style narration and the absurd physics of everything. It was hard to stop myself from, as John, just crashing into every single object in every room just to see how it would react.

genital jousting
Original screenshot credit: Free Lives. Description of screenshot credit: Rebekah Valentine /

It’s a shame that Genital Jousting is getting the shaft by content blocks on Twitch and elsewhere

But mixed in with the goofy gameplay antics of male genitalia flopping about into set pieces, setting off fire extinguishers, and sucking everything from fruit to sex toys up John’s rear is a strangely heartfelt story about the dangers of toxic masculinity, the importance of consent, and the meaning behind societal gender roles. I won’t pretend Genital Jousting says anything we shouldn’t already know, nor can I (a cis woman) give helpful commentary as to whether they got things “right” or not. But it’s clear that Free Lives didn’t make this just to say, “har har har we made a penis game.” The juxtaposition of a muscled penis greedily chugging beers into its anus one moment and struggling to corral an angry swan the next certainly invites the player to step back momentarily and consider what’s funny, and why.

In fact, the mix of riotous laughter with furrowed brow makes up the majority of Genital Jousting’s appeal. As Free Lives puts it in a well-thought-out explanation that is definitely NOT safe for work, “we’re making Genital Jousting because we want to, and because we think it should exist.” In a medium full of sexualized women and, on occasion, their sexual organs, a penis game of any kind is hard to come by. The very fact of Genital Jousting’s existence makes it a novelty worth sparking a conversation about. It certainly did for me one night when, on the way through Steam to Jackbox, my company asked me about the penis game and eagerly watched me play for over an hour.

genital jousting
Original screenshot credit: Free Lives. Description of screenshot credit: Rebekah Valentine /

They didn’t want to play that night, but they were missing out on half the game, and the half perhaps with a longer reach. Genital Jousting offers both online and offline multiplayer for up to eight peens to party whether on the couch, sharing controllers, or with total strangers online. It’s a shame that Genital Jousting is getting the shaft by content blocks on Twitch and elsewhere, as it seems to have hurt the online vitality of the game. Two weeks after launch, I’m only able to find a handful of lobbies, and making my own enticed no one quickly.

But if you can get the requisite players together (2-3 minimum, depending on the game), Genital Jousting’s multiplayer is the best part of the game. Traditional Mode especially works as a delightfully inappropriate kind of WarioWare in which you play a series of games in short bursts and try to score as quickly as possible. As a penis in the color and outfit of your choice, you’ll find yourself herding wiener dogs, trying to fit rings around your shaft, slapping beach balls around, avoiding medical syringes, rocketing to space, and more. The person with the most points “wins” the set of games (a relatively meaningless distinction, which is fine) and points are earned to unlock more games and more outfits for your member.

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Genital Jousting is fun for a time–good for some laughs, good for a silly time with friends, and good for a long, hard think about how we represent masculinity and male genitalia. Its deserted online play and short story aren’t markers of something with long-lasting appeal. But for a while, a bunch of people on the Internet joked, laughed, and then spoke seriously about penises in video games. And that alone is a meaty accomplishment.

7. <em>Genital Jousting’s</em> chief accomplishment is sparking conversation. It sparks happily juvenile jokes, raucous laughter over the game’s absurd physics, and a more serious examination of what masculinity means. Whichever conversation you’re having, if you’re fine playing a game full of penises, you’re probably part of an audience that will enjoy <em>Genital Jousting</em> for as long as you can find people to play it with.. Free Lives. . Genital Jousting

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