The last Expo in Boston was the first time we saw pornography seriously hit CD-ROM, with BodyCello displaying the first QuickTime adult movies. I wasn't surprised to see that, but this year a startling number of vendors hawked X-rated wares. I didn't see the CD-ROM of Macworld Booth Bimbos, but I'm sure, now that I've mentioned it, it will appear at the next show. You know, grainy QuickTime movies of naked men and women getting it on with SCSI devices while wrapping each other in DAT tape taken from the latest backup set in the heat of passion. Heady stuff.
I counted at least four, and maybe five vendors selling adult CD-ROMs. Most included pictures or QuickTime movies, although one had gone so far as to build a game into the CD-ROM so you had to win to see skin. The game? Nothing too challenging - scissors, paper, rock against a random computer picker. Reactor advertised Virtual Valerie II, though I didn't see a demo so it might not be shipping. Based on the handout, Valerie and her environs have been rendered in 3-D this time, but game play remains similar.
I commented on the increase to a man working at one of these booths, and he said that they market what sells, and sex sells. I guess he's right, although I wonder why people put up with low-resolution photos and terrible QuickTime movies (using a slower machine with less RAM to watch these movies results in lousy performance, in all senses of the word) when they can visit a video store and choose from lots of titles or buy a Playboy with high-quality, full-color photos and those gripping interviews that everyone pretends to read instead of ogling the models. Then again, as Gerard van der Leun said in the premiere issue of Wired magazine, "Sex is a virus that infects new technology first." That explains the initial popularity of VCRs, and it looks as though a number of vendors believe the same thing will happen with CD-ROM drives. In the same "This is a Naked Lady" article, Gerard also said, "Sex, as we know, is a heat-seeking missile that forever seeks out the newest medium for its transmission." Seems apt.
Of course, if I truly objected I would not provide all the phone numbers. But then again, if I were offended by this stuff, I wouldn't have written this article. I think the movement is interesting, though I would far rather play The Journeyman Project on CD-ROM once Apple ships the AppleCD 300; although the latest rumors we've heard on that front say not to hold your breath, as you will turn blue and die well before the external CD-ROM drives appear at your dealer. It seems that Apple doesn't have enough of them, and those that it does have go into the IIvx and Performa 600.
BodyCello -- 800/922-3556 -- 619/536-2397 (fax)
Bonobo Productions -- 310/452-5613
Laser Concepts -- 800/882-6959 -- 818/884-9437
818/884-6959 (fax) -- LASERCPTS@aol.com
Pixis -- 800/697-4947 -- 714/753-9709 -- 714/753-9255 (fax)
Reactor -- 312/573-0800