Published on June 10th, 2016 | by admin
Andrea Hasselager Interview (La Petite Mort)
Impulse Gamer recently caught up with one of the co-creators of La Petite Mort, Andrea Hasselager to discuss the inspirations behind their game, the challenges and its development… not to mention the controversy that shakes the very foundations of what is acceptable in society.
Tell what inspired you to create La Petite Mort?
Initially, we have had a focus on expanding games as an artistic medium in general. We feel like erotic games, and games about love and sex is a very unexplored area. We have been exploring the fringes of games within the Copenhagen Game Collective as members, and lately in our own company the Lovable Hat Cult.
Furthermore we are behind the Lyst Summit, which is a yearly summit about romance, love and sex in games.
Can you explain the gameplay behind La Petite Mort?
At one point we learned about Cellular Automata (an AI algorithm known for Conway’s Game of Life) where each cell has an intelligence and knows about the neighbouring cells. We thought about what would happen if they responded to touch and energy was flowing around in a more real-time fashion, and suddenly a game about sensuous touch was born. However, the game was shelved for a long time, and only after working with four great audio designers was it taken up again – because we found out the missing link was dynamic music.
What tips can you give users playing the game?
Go slow and experiment! There are more experiences to be had, than you might think.
What research did you use to create the game?
Of course personal research of being intimate with partners was an influence. But we also asked ourselves the question, why is it often harder for women to orgasm than men?
We then preceded to film real women, pixelated the images and implemented them in the game, so each level does represent a real women. To steer away from all vaginas being “standardized” and looking the same in a media context, we wanted to film different kind of vulvas. Two were friends, and two women from a conference (Arse Elektronika). We recorded them in two modes as required by the game. 1 standard loop (slight movement) and 1 ouch mode, where the vulva moves back as if it was touched unpleasantly. The women at the conference were part of our “performance” where they could have their vulvas “immortalized” in our game. We recorded them on location (in a safe and cozy space), added them to the game, and they could then come and “play with themselves” at the conference.
How did you come up with the ‘various’ orgasms in the game?
As anyone knows that has had an orgasm, they can be quite different, really depending on your mood, partner and state of your body. As La Petite Mort is a music game, we went along with the music theme and called the orgasms (or experiences) different classical musical terms, according to how you made the vulva come.
Currently there are ‘six’ experiences in the game, will there be more?
Yes! We are thinking about it. After watching rounds of play testing, we are thinking of experiences to add. Players do things you don’t expect :)
The game is sensual without it being overtly explicit, how did you achieve this balance?
That was main focus all the time. We wanted to focus on the other senses, than the visual one. Moving the fingers, listening…
First and foremost it was about giving a sensuous and erotic experience to the player (and as we all know eroticism happens as much in the mind as anywhere else). The experience itself should be pleasurable, and that is why the music became so important. The topic of communication between partners was also a main theme. There is purposefully no guide on how to play and no tutorial. The only way forward is to listen to the evolving music and to touch accordingly. Don’t go too fast, and don’t go too slow, move your finger sensually and perhaps teasingly.
Can you explain the pixelated graphics behind the game?
As described earlier Cellular Automata (an AI algorithm) was a big inspiration, that worked well with each pixel being a cell. Also it gave a hint of what was behind the pixels, but we’ve also had testers play through the entire game without realizing what they were touching.
With so many violent games on Apple’s App Store, where you a little disappointed that this game was banned with its latest update?
Of course! And also upset.
It is sad to us that when a company is trying to focus on something that the mainstream is still hesitant to touch; female pleasure for women’s own sake, then it is getting banned.
Apple is very strict about their non-pornography terms. Even art games that do not contain any explicit content are still being banned from the App Store. This game focuses on a very human and positive feeling, but somehow we have formed our society so that this is seen as objectionable, while a “cutesy” game about bombing Palestinians can exist on the App Store and not be seen as “objectionable” and Kamasutra apps are somehow also okay.
The literal meaning for La Petite Mort means ‘The Little Death’ … how does this poetic French saying come into the picture?
We thought that it was a beautiful way to describe an orgasm, somehow also linked to melancholy, like you had this mounting experience that ended in pleasure, but now it is also over and gone forever. It can feel a little like a loss.
Want to know more? Check out The Lovable Hat Cult at
La Petite Mort is available on the Google Playstore at