REPLY TO ALL: Privates

REPLY TO ALL is here! We hope to give you interesting viewpoints on different topics in the gaming industry. Each week a talking point is picked and then discussed in emails written back and forth between a few of the Cursed. This week’s topic is the newly announced game Privates.

I’m not sure I want to know what or where this is.


A game created by Zombie Cow Studios was recently announced called Privates. When I hear of a game called Privates I think it might be a first person shooter based on a group of rookie army recruits who band together to get through some sort of warzone or something. The sequel would be called Sergeants and so on. But a dual joystick shooter about condom-hatted marines diving into butts and vaginas to kill monsters would never have crossed my mind. I want to go back in time and see what my 16 year old self would say about such a game. I’d probably be giggling at the premise and wondering if the monsters were accurate representations of what actually went on inside of the holiest of holies. I wonder if this game will eventually be used as some sort of teaching tool in an abstinence program for kids. I know that if I was a young male playing this game, I’m not quite sure I’d want to put my Private into a cave full of monsters. I also wonder who this game is for. It seems to me that it is banking on the stereotypical virgin gamer that will do anything for a glimpse at a vagina, even if it means sending soldiers down there to defeat the ‘vile red falcon’ (clearly it will share the same end boss as the first Contra. Think about it.)


Funny thing is, when I was first linked to this article the title didn’t mention anything out of the ordinary, just a game called Privates. Screenshots looked normal at the first glance, but I did notice that the developer’s name was awesome – Zombie Cow Studios. After some quick research, I see they have made a couple different critically acclaimed indie games, Ben There, Dan That and Time Gentlemen, Please! and seem to be an up-and-coming developer. Then, the vagina article titles started rolling in. My first reaction? Disappointment that this developer may get their big break purely out of shock value. Just seems like a cheap trick, but without playing their other titles, maybe this is their schtick. Strong shock value and crude humor supported by stellar gameplay and stylized graphics.

Only a face off with a mech and gun wielding dinosaurs could have these two yell “Time Gentlemen, Please!”


I’ve never heard of Zombie Cow Studios or played any of their games. I’ve also not read anything on Privates. That being said, from a completely outside perspective this game just sounds ridiculously idiotic. Maybe I’m just getting old, but really? Condom hatted marines diving into butts and vaginas? Is Zombie Cow comprised of a group of 13 year olds?… or a group of mid to late 30 year old, 13-year olds-at-heart? What is it? I hope Cole is right that this could be used as some sort of sex ed tool, but I’m sure that’s not the case. I think I need to go try out their other so called critically acclaimed titles before passing final pre-judgment, but golly gee wittikers….


I keep thinking that the worst possible thing to happen for this game is that it is awful. No way do you go out of your way to make a game this ridiculous and it not be playable. Also, if it’s really coming to XBLA and being promoted right now, they have to have the support of someone putting some money on this. I’d hope the industry has advanced to the point where companies aren’t banking on shock as the only selling point.

What’s grosser than gross? THIS!

After all, RapeLay did get banned in the end.


What I find hard to believe is that Microsoft would be willing to put this out on XBLA because of the nature of the content. Why announce it ahead of time if you haven’t made those agreements? Do studios announce games ahead of locking in what platforms they will be on in order to gauge an interest in the game and try to find an audience to prove to the publisher that the game will sell? I don’t know how that works but I can’t believe that Microsoft would approve of this game. The backlash from parenting groups would force them to take some sort of action.


That’s what makes me think there has to be something more to this game. It doesn’t get through Microsoft quality control to be promoted like this if it’s a P.O.S. and a controversy. Reminds me of when Manhunt came out and was pretty controversial, but it was a quality game with some an interesting take on stealth gameplay (for the first half at least).

The Director is watching!

Then, Manhunt 2 comes out and gets the dreaded AO rating which gets it banned in most stores, and the news attacks it. Months later it finally comes out edited with an M rating, and turns out the game isn’t even good. The bannings got it more attention than it’s gameplay deserved. So Privates is either under the radar for now, or it’s something someone important actually believes in.


See, the difference between me and you guys is that before reading a single word of that article, just seeing that the game was called Privates, the first thought that came to mind was “it must involve naughty bits somehow.” I’m not sure exactly what that says about me. Well… yes I am. But I digress. I have to say, I’m right there with you guys. It seems gimmicky. It’s like in comedy, the potty joke is always going to get a laugh but it’s the easy laugh and doesn’t really require any skill or intelligence. It just sounds like a cheap way to generate buzz. But I also think that you guys are right, there has to be something else to this.

I’m not sure what’s happening here. Ben? Dan? Anyone?

The fact that it’s being funded by Channel 4 and distributed for free on PC makes me think they are indeed taking some sort of educational slant with it. But then again, if that’s true, I don’t know that the best education is portraying the uh… setting of this game as a germ and infection ridden wasteland that must be fended off. It’s going to be interesting to see what the actual intent of this game is.

In other news, though I’ve never heard of Zombie Cow, I am now going to have to make a friend named Dan and play Ben There, Dan That immediately.

Wrap Up

We are all a little mystified by the choice Zombie Cow has made. However, there is not enough information out there to discern what the actual context of this game is going to be. Is it educational or pure entertainment? Who is the audience? Is Microsoft actually going to allow this to show up on XBLA? We are all just going to have to wait and see.


Giant Bomb (Images)
Zombie Cow Studios

2 Comments REPLY TO ALL: Privates

  1. Drakkmire

    I played through Ben There, Dan That and its actually a lot of fun. Its a very sarcastic point and click adventure style game that is definitely more entertainment than educational. The developers did a really nice job putting a LOT of witty humor in for the characters to say when you click and interact with various things.

  2. JDevL

    I just want to like Zombie Cow, glad to hear the rumors about the quality of their other games are true. I have hopes that Privates isn’t a one trick infected pony.

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