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animator james harvey blogs about the design of jill off.

PART 1      

      PART 2


"The mechanics of Jill Off are simple and limited (the game uses only three keys), and there is only one kind of enemy, and no moving or otherwise mischievous platforms. But dessgeega arranges and rearranges the spare elements of her game in every possible combination, delivering a new challenge to the player as soon as he's mastered the previous one. It is one of the least repetitive games I've ever played....Jill Off is one of the very, very few games I can think of that features human sexuality conspicuously, without making either a juvenile joke of it, or worse yet, a STATEMENT. There is literal bootlicking in Jill Off, but it will make you smile rather than roll your eyes."
      -- Eegra

"...Anna Anthropy spends a great deal of time knee-deep in theory, but unlike most theorists who are content to offer commentary from the peanut gallery, Anna gets her hands dirty from time to time to practice what she preaches. In Mighty Jill Off, the result is a textbook example in good level design...the game's deceptively simple mechanics are delivered in a natural progression of bite-sized chunks; first you learn the basics in a safe environment, and then you learn the tricky bits in a safe environment, and then you are presented with the basics plus danger, and then the tricky bits plus danger."

      -- Play This Thing

"There are many things to like about Mighty Jill Off. There's the fact that the "princess" (in this updated to "queen") is no passive victim but instead a demanding domme who insists upon our protagonist's dangerous journey to the hights of the tower in which she keeps herself (she is not "kept") in order to prove her worthiness. Again, this explodes the themes underlying certain classic games at the same time as it playfully messes with and reinvents them. Another is that this is a game that has an entirely female cast, and for me, what that does is illuminate just how many games there are that feature the exact opposite."

      -- As, If and When

"The games industry has a long history of flirting with sexual imagery, but lets face it - much of what passes for adult content gets little further than behind the bike sheds teenage sniggering....Mighty Jill Off is an entirely different matter. Overtly dealing with BDSM themes, it keeps its tongue in firmly planted in its cheek (and at the boot) and manages to create an adult themed game with humour that dares to step outside of the comfy confines the game industry has built for itself. It also helps that it’s a rather good game too... And who’d have thought you could have sexualised the Bomb Jack formula?"

      -- We Make the Cops Look Dumb

"Indie games are the rage this year, especially after the Independent Games Festival a few weeks ago, and while this game wasn’t one of them, it still shows the kind of thing that can come out of the indie games movement....This game is a good example of mixing sexuality with game design. The sexuality here merely provides the motive for climing the tower: Jill wants to please her Queen, so she climbs the tower for which she is rewarded, somewhat by her Queen. Sexuality isn’t directly part of the gameplay — this isn’t a poke-the-doll kind of game."

      -- Cult of the Turtle

"...An adorable little game from dessgeega which answers the question of 'why do the protagonists of 8-bit video games seem so eager to go through a relentless barrage of bodily and mental harm' with a head-smackingly obvious answer: 'because they're masochists, duh!'...There's a really wonderful focus of design evident throughout - the screen scrolls up the whole time, there's only one type of enemy, and two kinds of blocks: those that are dangerous and those that aren't. Dessgeega explores this limited design space thoroughly, however, and takes care not to overstay her welcome."

      -- Special Round

"Mighty Jill Off seems very disability-friendly. Jill can run (using the right and left arrow keys), but the controls, premise and visual layout are all deceptively simple....All the tower’s rooms are made of stone floors, pillars and one-color backgrounds. There are no swarms of same-sized enemies that some gamers with visual impairments will need to rush to make sense of. There are no significant auditory cues. The dungeon has checkpoints, and Jill has an infinite supply of lives. The only competition is yourself–how fast can I clear the tower? Can I shave a few seconds off my time now?"

      -- Sweet Perdition

"There's a real trend in indie gaming towards the 'impossible platformer,' but Jill differs from its contemporaries in a very important way: it doesn't surprise you with invisible obstacles or unfairly change the rules mid-play like a lot of similiar games. It's just an honestly difficult game, and that's what makes it fun."

      -- ByteJacker

"It’s bound to be one of the more notable offbeat, indie, retro, lesbian-BDSM-themed jumping games of the year. OK, so it’s probably also the only game that fits those criteria. Ever....It’s long been noted by game scholars and humorists alike that there’s a masochistic quality inherent in many games. Hemmed in by the demands of an almost arbitary system of constraints and rules, you willingly submit to the system in search of an elusive and transitory experience of 'fun,' to the extent where you let most of your thought processes be taken over."

      -- Feministe

"It’s not a game which is about games as pain in a simple dumb sense. There’s been dozens of 'impossible' highly punishing games - they’re not very interesting. Hell, there’s many commercial games which are far more punishing than what Mighty Jill Off asks you to overcome - but the point isn’t about just that 'games players are masochists'. It’s that 'games designers are sadists', in the sense of a Master/Slave relationship. In that, it’s a question of trying to punish your slave in a way which makes it a relationship. True sadism would just involve offing the little shit. The point is to make them suffer in a way which they can endure and - by tickling those desires - enjoy."

      -- Rock, Paper Shotgun

"I have been playing video games for a long, long time. Doing so was probably my earliest form of masochism; I'd get frustrated, throw the game or controller across the room, scream, cry, whine, complain, and always come back for more."

      -- Jesse, bottom

"Possibly the best love story since Yorda and Ico."

      -- The Infinite Ammo

"Disney’s 'The Story of O', with like, singing birds and shit."

      -- Laurenn McCubbin

"Don't play if your mom is watching."

      -- Bryan Lee O'Malley

game developer magazine's august 2008 issue calls mighty jill off one of the "top ten freeware indie downloads" of 2008 (so far) and bytejacker chooses jill off as "free indie of the week" for the week of october 23. we make the cops look dumb includes jill in a list of "5 indie games that the mainstream couldn't make." jill is an honorable mention in gamasutra's best indie games of 2008 and was voted seventh best indie game of 2008 by the viewers of bytejacker.