rubra.jpg Stephen Totilo's latest story for managed to chat with the female Sonic Team designers behind Sega's Rub Rabbits! (aka Where Do Babies Come From?) for Nintendo DS.

Totilo makes some interesting points on the women-friendly gameplay, noting as background: "The DS has proven to be something of a laboratory for exploring games' gender appeal and women's influence on game design. The 2004 "Sprung" dating simulator was written by Colleen McGuinness, a writer for the TV drama "North Shore." In 2005 designer Heather Kelley, who works for game publisher Ubisoft, created an experimental game called "Lapis," which appeared to be about a cute, touchable blue bunny but was actually, according to Kelley, "a stealthy primer on female sexual pleasure.""

But a central point seems to be that games can unite female and male, as is intended by Rub Rabbits!: "Couples can definitely enjoy this game," said its lead designer, Emiko Sunaga. "I'd also like to think that those who aren't a couple yet will play together, and by doing so bring the bond between them closer together."