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The game piecing together your awkward one night stand

Lost underwear, forgotten names and teeth-shatteringly painful small talk with another naked person

One night stands inhabit a galaxy-wide spectrum, from the quiet awkwardness of trying to pull your knickers out from underneath a sleeping body to the zealous wracking of a hungover brain trying to recall the name of the person you’re big-spooning. They can extend into one-night-full-day experiences, or you might find yourself tripping home in last night’s dress and size-ten Reeboks at sunrise. 

Lucy Blundell is the creator of One Night Stand, an interactive video game exploring the highs and lows of these brief romantic encounters. “I came up with the idea for One Night Stand when I saw a really hungover guy while riding the tram,” says Blundell. “He looked like he had been out all night and I began to wonder what he’d gotten up to. I kind of felt sorry for him, but also amused. I figured there were a lot of possibilities and drama involved, which could make for an interesting story, and as I needed an idea fast, I went with it.”

The game begins the morning after – your character has no idea how they got there, and there’s an unknown woman in the bed too. From there, you get a series of choices, and there are 12 unique outcomes playing out from the decisions you make in a play-through.

Blundell describes it as pretty true to life, and when things start to go to shit when you act like a dick or pry too much, you lose control. “Many players tend to try and win the woman over, but if you directly ask her and come across pushy, she rejects you,” she explains. “I think a lot of the scenarios feel quite true to life… The woman is tense, embarrassed and, really, just wants you to leave so she can forget about the whole thing. This makes some of the ‘unhappier’ endings, where she has angry outbursts and kicks you out, feel believable.”

One Night Stand is in a minority faction of gaming that explores sex and brief encounters in a slice-of-life fashion. Things aren’t read too heavily into, there’s no sense of shame (unless, again, you act like a dick) and the main goal is establishing a connection, rather than gory details. “I also think the woman feels genuine and believable, something you don’t often see, and the players feel more connected to her because of it,” observes Blundell. 

Developing the first version of the game in the space of three weeks, Blundell used rotoscoped animations, drawn over live footage. She used herself as the woman, to make the 2D animations more lifelike, and for her, to improve the “intimate connection”. Button-pushing moments (you’re asked whether you want to rifle through her wallet) are melded with glimpses of the intimate and funny, panicked introspective monologues when you’re nudged for the name you can’t quite recall.

“She, too, has moments where she attempts to crack jokes,” says Blundell. “I imagine she’d be pretty funny, once you get to know her.”

Check out One Night Stand here and more of Lucy Blundell's work here