Product: The Kaori Cel Experiment
Publisher: The Horny Elk
Compatibility: BBC/Electron
Reviewed by: Dave E
Originally published in EUG #68
Kaori Falls Victim To The Clowns In THE's THE KAORI CEL EXPERIMENT

The Horny Elk History

I remember well where I was when I first saw The Horny Elk's first demo (Rape Of The Alectro Module). It was in the days when I physically put EUG together from submissions, and long before utilities such as PPM2BBC (or its successor Image2BBC) were available to convert screens to the Electron. It was mid-2000, when a curious-looking package arrived from Sweden (Where else?) with a 3.5" disc inside labelled 'For Review, Adults Only'. On banging it into the disc drive, the THE logo appeared, shortly followed by a Japanese opening screen showing the best graphics I'd ever seen. And then the slideshow started... and I knew the innocent little Electron would never be the same again.

No Competition

Whilst the 8 bit computers never had graphics capabilities which allowed digitised photos to be displayed in anything near the resolution PCs offer us today, many of the other machines had had their fair supply of 'adult' demos. The Spectrum, Amstrad and C64 all had coders who had managed somehow to create 'erotic' freehand screens [Most of the demos were, all told, fairly rubbish - Ed]. But on the BBC and Elk, there wasn't just a dearth of games for adults, there were none. As part of its infamous Sicksoft Collection, MRM had, at the beginning of 1984, released a Space Invaders clone called Sex Invaders. Adhering to the classic formula, the game put you in control of a giant phallus attempting to shoot down spreadeagled ladies. A bit of a laugh, you'd think? But noooooo... the backlash in the tabloid press was instantaneous. The BBC series were meant to be the computers of education and a few 8x8 characters defined to look like rude shapes was enough to hold the nationals' front pages - the "filth" being pedalled by MRM was headline news! This succession of events was enough to scare home coders away from the BBC series. (Incidentally, Sex Invaders is now available for download over in the BBC PD library. Guage whether this was an over-reaction or not!)

There was one game right at the very end of the Electron's shelf-life, Strip Poker 2 Plus by Anco, which dared to give us a bit of titilation: it was savaged by the reviewers at the time for both the quality of the digitised images, and the fact that it didn't play a decent hand. Not being a good poker player myself, I can forgive it the latter. Nevertheless, the fact it didn't even have an age restriction on purchase was probably a good indication of what you were likely to 'see' for your £9.95.

Ban These Sick Cartoons!

I also remember well when anime took off in the West. The reaction of the mainstream press was identical. "Ban These Sick Cartoons" screamed headlines, doing more for sales then any advertising by the video companies themselves ever could. I was delivering newspapers as a 16 year old when I read one affronted reporter decrying, "They include depictions of drug use, sex, rape, swearing and masturbation. One of them, Akira, is even being shown on BBC 2 this weekend".

However, before I start waxing lyrical on the ridiculousness of what seems to constitute 'news' in Britain (Don't many films feature drug use, sex, rape, swearing and masturbation, for example? And isn't Akira widely acknowledged to be a masterpiece of modern animation?), let me return to The Horny Elk's first demo, Rotam. Blowing Sex Invaders and Strip Poker 2 Plus right out of the water, it featured images from an anime film called Urotsukidoji III. The film is available to rent in the U.K., but the scenes the images had been copied from had been banned outright in Europe, and depicted the gang rape of a girl named Alectro.

Graphic!

Time, PC creation tools like Image2bbc, and the internet have spoiled us all regarding hi-resolution, full-screen Mode 1 images on the BBC series by now. But on Rotam's release in 2000, there were barely any slideshows for it to sit alongside, not to mention of course that, at the time, the place we all know and love as Acorn Electron World had not yet come into existence. I did announce Rotam's arrival (in possibly an overenthusiastic fashion) through the pages of EUG, and immediately got into hot water with the subscribers of the time. When Acorn Electron World was born sometime later, I also initially put up uncensored screen grabs of Rotam and the subsequent demos by THE, but after a number of complaints, I took them down again, although the disc images and censored illustrations of the demos do remain.

So make no mistake, THE produce sexually explicit demos combining anime characters - naturally easier to digitise and dither down to the Electron's small palette of colours - and the very high quality of their output just makes them easier to criticise. By their second demo, Ayana The Yellow Star, EUG's coverage had turned decidely lukewarm and by their third demo, Aias (Ariel Is A Slut), only passing reference was even being made. This was something of a shame, as THE remained one of the only PD groups still programming for the BBC/Electron, but were denied the coverage through review which others were receiving.

The Monty Hall Problem

With this review, however, all that changes. Because their latest demo, The Kaori Cel Experiment, takes a step back from the 'no holds barred' approach of the previous three, and replaces scrolly messsages filled with expletives with a mathematical problem. Of course, this being THE, this mathematical problem is just an excuse to show you Kaori being stripped naked. Unlike with previous demos however, it only has a 15+ rating. Not that we would recommend putting it on when granny's in the room, mind you!

The demo explains its premise well, in that it is based on what is known as The Monty Hall Problem. A quick google search on this reveals that the problem split the mathematical world several years ago, as it pits instincts against mathematical logic. In the demo, it runs like this:

A small panel at the base of the screen shows three cards (all tastefully embossed with THE's logo, which is a nice touch). They are face down, and the aim is to correctly guess which card is Kaori. A guess is made, at random by the computer. One of the other cards (i.e. not showing Kaori) is then revealed to you. The question is then posed "From the two face-down cards that remain, do you want to change to the other card or stick with your original choice?"

Whilst your instinct is that it does not make any difference because you have a 50:50 chance of being right, the experiment proves to you the exact opposite. Namely, that you should always change your original decision. In doing so, the computer runs the experiment once (Run 01), changing the card at each revelation, and then again sticking with its original choice at each revelation (Run 02). Run 01 results in Kaori almost always being found; on Run 02 the odds of finding her are drastically reduced hence it frequently grinds to a halt.

Screen Real Estate

The bulk of the screen is taken up with a large graphical depiction of Kaori being restrained, having her t-shirt torn off and being punched in the face. Each time Kaori is 'found', the animation advances. Each time Kaori is not found, the animation jumps back one cel. The effect is that cels are repeated out of logical order, almost as if you are rocking and rolling on the pause control on your DVD. However, once the end cel is reached, a report is given of how long each run took.

Having run the demo several times now, I have never seen Run 02 (sticking with the original card) complete successfully, which is the whole point of the experiment. The run can be aborted with ESCAPE. Several times I have had a Run 01 of around 60, a Run 02 of over 6,000 with it still being stuck on Cel 00. Personally, I find it intriguing to be pretending to learn about mathematics and probability at the same time you are watching an erotic animation.

Award For Best Graphics Ever

What can I say about the graphics in this demo? They are simply mesmerising, beyond anything I ever thought possible on the BBC/Electron. You practically have a whole full-screen animation running on the fly - and the closing message reveals a plethora of modern tools that have been used to create it - BBC Explorer, BeebEm, ElectrEm, Image2BBC, Irfanview and Microsoft Paint to name but a few. There is some sound too, which is slightly irritating as it cannot be turned off (and only consists of blips and buzzes). Unlike with THE's previous demos, there are no clever scrolls. However, the experiment runs at a very fast speed, with lots of screen blanking and I suspect any scroll would have been too distracting.

THE's reputation aside, The Kaori Cel Experiment really is one of the best graphics demos available on the BBC/Electron that I have ever seen. It may not be able to beat Rotam for shock value, but it more than makes up for this by actually running (fast) in Mode 2. It runs in 16 colours, even utilising the flashing ones, and with each cel painted in such a way that you actually forget the memory limitations of the machine!

Despite the customisable features of the previous three demos, which this one sadly does not include, I feel sure that The Kaori Cel Experiment is certain to make more of an impact that either Ayana or Aias. And you'll learn something as well... Download it!