Take It Personally: Don’t Take it Personally

By Alec Meer on April 5th, 2011 at 8:24 pm.

I didn't show the characters because people would judge and dismiss it immediately. Tactical, me.

I’m going to have a whole lot more to say about this later in the week, but it is only right to point your ocular organs its way while I finish playing it and arranging my thoughts. The wonderfully-titled ‘Don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story‘ is the next (free) game from Christine Love, who you may know from the best adventure game of 2010, Digital: A Love Story. I’ve only played an hour or so, but already it’s lodged expertly in my head and won’t get out.

This is a follow-up of sorts, primarily in theme but with a few more direct meta-nods, but with the critical difference that it’s a visual novel rather than a text adventure. Well, ‘visual novel’ is the easy descriptor: this carries a few, very powerful choices and the best depiction I’ve ever seen of how we consume information and follow people’s lives in the internet age.

I’ve found it moving, I’ve found it sinister, I’ve found it painful and I’ve found it highly evocative. This is confident stuff, most especially in its writing and human observation. Visual novel? That doesn’t even begin to cover this.

More on that soon, however – in the meantime, go take a look at this tale of heartbreak, ethical and sexual dilemma and high school turbulence, and we can all have a chat about it in a couple of days.

Oh, and don’t let the anime look put you off. I don’t personally believe it was the wisest choice for the game, precisely because it will drive many potential players away as they presume it’s something it isn’t, but rest assured there are a great many other wise decisions in it.

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129 Comments »

  1. Nighthood says:

    I read the alt-text, so no big eyes and small weird noses for me.

    Fuck me, I need to learn to proof read my shit. Still, anime=no play for me. No matter what I’m missing out on, it’s a rule I’m not going to break.

    • heretic says:

      had a bad experience previously?

    • Itantor says:

      I completely agree, except it’s not anime which bothers me, it’s tabby cats. I just can’t stand them, even if a game is utterly perfect, tabby cats = no play. I’ve already had to give up on nintendogs + cats for the 3ds because of this, can anyone else let me know of games with tabby cats in so I can avoid them?
      It sickens me.

    • bob_d says:

      @ heretic: Whole family was killed by Sailor Moon.

    • Ravenholme says:

      That kind of attitude astounds me.

      Seriously.

    • Soon says:

      Harley turned him down, obviously.

    • GHudston says:

      What Ravenholme said.

      I don’t think I can bring myself to say anymore than that without sparking off a rant.

    • Teddy Leach says:

      So he doesn’t like anime. I don’t like it either. What’s the big deal?

    • Dances to Podcasts says:

      Itantor: avoid World of Warcraft.

      http://www.wowhead.com/search?q=tabby+cat#items

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Nighthood: Ha ha ha ha, I get to play things you don’t.

    • gwathdring says:

      What I find odd is more the “thing z has characteristic x and thus I don’t care about any of the details” attitude. It’s just very foreign to me. I’m not a big anime/manga fan, and tend not to enjoy the games that most closely match the common themes of your prototypical anime/manga. It’s an awfully large collection of games, shows and movies spanning pretty much all genres so there are plenty of exceptions, but I can see how one would come to the conclusion that nothing associated with anime is their thing. But supposedly the only thing “anime” about this game is the art style. And I’ve never personally been one to judge a game purely by one of its facets, partially because I don’t want to miss something wonderful I might have otherwise overlooked. Even if all anime was the same, and I hated anime … this just borrows the art style.

      So similar reaction to a few of the above, and there’s why. Don’t mean to beat on the OP, though. There are plenty of things I’m oddly prejudiced against outside of the gaming world so it wouldn’t be fair to judge you. Play what you find fun. :)

    • Malawi Frontier Guard says:

      The dangerous tabby cats are those with swirls. They are the devil’s eyes.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Also, guys, it’s OK, in Japan there’s plenty of dudes who have the same ridiculous allergy, except it’s to “Western games”. Bear in mind that they barely know what a “Western game” is (they’re thinking Halo and Call of Duty; they’ve never even HEARD of a LucasArts adventure) — if it isn’t Asia-developed and doesn’t have anime design in it, it sucks by definition.

      So it’s almost only fair that RPS would have its peculiar art-style-boycotting contingent. This kind of silliness is universal!

    • Vinraith says:

      I strongly dislike anime as an art style, but I can think at least a dozen post-Dreamcast games (and quite a few more before that, though low res pixelart anime is fundamentally less annoying IMO) that are so good I can get past it. For one thing, if I absolutely put my foot down on this I couldn’t play the Etrian Odyssey games, and that would just be totally unacceptable.

    • Jake says:

      I don’t see why it is a ridiculous allergy: it’s an art style and not everyone is going to like every art style. I personally love some anime – from Berserk to Studio Ghibli – but can’t stand the look of quite a lot of it to the extent that I wouldn’t be able to watch it. I know some people can totally ignore what things look like (programmers) but normal people are going to be influenced by cosmetics. This game is pretty borderline for me personally because it has clearly had a lot of care put into the art which is more than you get in a lot of anime, however the character design just looks like the usual anime cliches which immediately puts me off it. Though not as much as say, the trailer for Devil May Cry put me off.

      It is a mistake to assume that because of the art style the game/anime will be a certain way though. Even Evangelion has some nasty anime stylings (like those weird forehead crosses that denote anger).

    • sexyresults says:

      good miss out on this great experience cause your an asshole

    • Deano2099 says:

      I do understand the anime hatred but: make an exception. Not because it’s such a good game, but because it’s not about the visuals. AT ALL.
      Seriously, there’s like 10 characters in the game, they each have all of 2 poses, and there’s about 6 backgrounds. They exist purely as short-hand to tell you who is present in each scene. The focus is entirely on the text. You could play the game without even looking at the characters perfectly well and lose practically nothing.
      Honestly, dismissing this game for the visuals is the same as refusing to read a novel as the cover is done in an anime style.

    • steggieav says:

      Anime style? There’s like a billion different styles of anime/manga art.

    • Wulf says:

      I actually think the game is stronger for not being a game for everyone, and more power to them. Like I said below, they chose the art style that they thought would best serve as a conveyance for the story they wanted to tell, as part of the method in which it would be shared with us.

      That’s not going to work for everyone, and it’s a stronger game for it, a better game. To be bluntly honest, I’d like to see more of this. Don’t like X or Y? There are plenty of other games out there. It’s when people try to create games for everyone that they end up as dull as dishwater, because in trying to create a game for everyone, you must ensure that it fits the tastes of everyone.

      What I’m getting at here is that you have to find the most bland style possible, one that won’t irritate people, but one that won’t exactly greatly appeal to any particular group either. Something that seems to strive to inspire nothing other than feelings of blasé in its audience, no one can complain, but there’s so much less to actually praise and enthuse about. And in the end, it doesn’t really matter that it exists, because it’s not its own entity, it has no individual personality, it is easily forgotten.

      Too many games do this these days for my tastes. This one chose not to have a common style. It might have been a bit of a risk to make it a visual novel, it might have been a bigger risk to include an artstyle primarily seen in Asian cartoons, but it stands out all the more for it. And whenever you have something with character, you’re increasingly likely to get people who’ll like it, and people who won’t like it. And the more individuality it has, the more people are inclined to either love or loathe it.

      Whether you like anime or not is irrelevant, that’s a personal choice, what is relevant is that this game has a hell of a lot of character and it’s going to be great for some people. But worry not, the games for you will most certainly be out there. And if they’re not, talk passionately about them, people are listening and there’s every chance that you might inspire someone to work with the things you love.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      I’m just saying, imagine someone reacting to The Dreamhold with “Ugh, clay models, sorry, but I’m not clicking on that.” or to Machinarium with “Nope. I play no games with 2D hand-painted art. It’s a rule and I’m sticking to it.”

      Sure, it’s your choice, but you gotta expect that people are gonna think you’re weird for arbitrarily cutting yourself off from certain Fun Times.

      This is reminding me that I really ought to look into translating more J-games. I can only imagine what the RPS crowd would think of Monolith Sphere.

    • Jake says:

      Conversely Wulf, I would have said using generic anime graphics was a bland and unimaginative way to style the game and one of the most ‘common’ styles around, albeit not used extensively in Western computer games. The character designs could be from anything, the graphics have very little personality if you ask me. Completely the opposite side of Macharium, which was full of character and personality. Anime graphics like this imply a lack of imagination and potentially an adherence to cliched anime conventions. To me anyway, based on one screenshot!

    • sebmojo says:

      Nighthood, would you say that’s a smart rule or a stupid rule? Why?

    • Vinraith says:

      Anime style? There’s like a billion different styles of anime/manga art.

      That may well be, but there are really only two that turn up in games released in the west with any frequency. There’s the huge eyes, tiny mouth, no nose cutesy version and the jagged usually oversexed one. That’s not remotely to suggest those are the only ones to exist, they’re just the primary ones that appear to sell over here, and neither is visually (or usually thematically) very appealing IMO.

      Again, that doesn’t preclude the underlying game from being good, it just makes for an unpleasant aesthetic IMO. To each their own, of course.

    • Archonsod says:

      “Sure, it’s your choice, but you gotta expect that people are gonna think you’re weird for arbitrarily cutting yourself off from certain Fun Times.”

      Not really, people do it all the time. The funny thing is you only seem to get this when someone mentions anime. If he’d said “I don’t watch movies which are in black & white” you’d have had less than half the responses, even though it’s the exact same thing. And people tend to accept similar statements about music without batting an eyelid.

    • Wulf says:

      Yeah, but again, that’s only a personal thing – it’s not actually at all objective. When we talk about what’s wrong with the art style, we do it as though it’s some sort of accepted knowledge, but what one person dislikes about any given style, another may fall in love with for the same reasons. Anime is there because there are people who love it, and more power to those who absolutely adore it, it’s there for them.

      Again I come back to Super Meat Boy because I’m squeamish – the gore, the blood, and what looked worryingly like vore put me off. There are some things I don’t like joking about, I find them unsettling on an entirely personal level, but what’s vulgar to me might be the funniest joke to someone else, hence why I don’t house the belief that Super Meat Boy is a bad game. I’ve heard too much said about it to think otherwise. And it’s clearly bursting with personality, verve, and its own character. I can’t deny that. I just don’t happen to like the character it has, but at the very least I can respect it for doing its own thing.

      I feel the same way about anything, really, and that includes anime. It’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, but it is there for those who like it, doing its own thing and drawing in interested parties. Like I said above, when we remove anime, what do we do? We go with Western animated styles. But there might be some of those that large groups of people don’t like. What then? We end up with such a boring style that no one could find anything to complain about, but no one would see anything to be inspired by either.

      I honestly think we should be celebrating games actually trying to have a personality, even if it’s a personality we don’t like, because at least it’s better than some of the truly characterless stuff out there that’s about as interesting as John Major. Possibly even less so.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Archonsod: Well, I think immediately dismissing black-and-white movies would be just as insane. (And there are people who do this, too!) But yeah, I suppose it is common and not even controversial for people to avoid art based on certain signifiers: novels in a certain genre section of the bookstore, comics that include people in superhero outfits, hip-hop/metal/country music, movies with any hint of science fiction. And often that’s not a dumb decision; genres are genres precisely because they very often focus on a particular type of experience, and if that experience doesn’t resonate with you, you might as well set it aside and find something that does.

      That said, genres aren’t monoliths, and if the appeal of a work is broad enough or the quality is high enough, there are times you really ought to give it a second chance, especially when someone who knows a thing or two is recommending it. I’ll admit I don’t read romance novels, but if John Walker wrote a passionate paean to his favorite, I’d probably give it a look.

    • Thants says:

      Go to a film-fan forum and announce that you have a rule against watching black-and-white movies and you’ll get ten times the response here.

      I mean, fine, I’m not a big fan of country music but at least I’m not arrogant enough to be proud of it. If I came in to inform everyone that I have a rule against ever listening to a country song, people would rightly tell me I’m being stupid.

    • Acorino says:

      Most of my friends wouldn’t watch b&w movies, or old movies in general. Heck, it took a lot of convincing to make a friend watch Close Encounters with me. And he had to see a trailer with all the nifty special effects first. “Oh, doesn’t look that old…”.

      And yeah, while many people say the don’t want to watch b&w movies, I think they just mean old movies. Because, well, those friends of mine watched Clerks anyway!

    • Acorino says:

      Oh, I forgot:
      >>Fuck me, I need to learn to proof read my shit. Still, anime=no play for me.
      >>No matter what I’m missing out on, it’s a rule I’m not going to break.

      And you wouldn’t consider watching The Last Airbender either, yes? Because it looks like anime!?

    • Nick says:

      There are better reasons to not watch it than that.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      Of course, while this is an interesting discussion, it’s kind of distracting from discussion of the actual game as opposed to the art style. Sorry, Christine!

    • Alexander Norris says:

      If anything, my only complaint is that the character design is not close enough to Persona’s.

      (I really want a Persona game on PC.)

    • Archonsod says:

      “That said, genres aren’t monoliths, and if the appeal of a work is broad enough or the quality is high enough, there are times you really ought to give it a second chance, especially when someone who knows a thing or two is recommending it. ”

      The problem is, if you dislike the presentation enough then the quality of the work won’t matter, you’ll be too preoccupied by the presentation to be able to appreciate it. I hate opera singing. I can acknowledge there are probably some good opera’s out there, but I also know I’d be physically incapable of sitting through one because of the singing.

    • Acorino says:

      >>There are better reasons to not watch it than that.

      Exactly my point!

    • Wulf says:

      “(I really want a Persona game on PC.)”

      We did get one, but unfortunately it was a particularly horrible grindy MMO affair. I’d love to see the PC get a real Persona game, though.

    • Deano2099 says:

      @Jake You might be more right than you know, as the game was done as part of those one-month challenge things, so I think some of the character assets and backgrounds may have been re-used from elsewhere. It’s not meant to be stylistically innovative in terms of visuals.

    • steggieav says:

      @Norris: I played Persona 3 + 4 on the PC using the PCSX2 emulator, and they worked pretty well (I own both the games and the PS2) I like the character designs; they have an anime look, but are realistic enough to not turn me off.

  2. Blackseraph says:

    Oh, my I just played this like 2 hours ago. Definitely interesting game.

  3. Kits says:

    I believe I shall let my ocular organs peruse this right now. Rather enjoyed Digital: A Love Story.

  4. limbclock says:

    I like the way that it addressed homosexuality and stuff. Although the ending left me a but uneasy.

  5. Vagrant says:

    I just played this last night. It’s no Digital, for sure, but I still loved it enough to play through it twice.

    The question of privacy is what I view as one of the more important philosophical questions of this century. There’s not many games that analyze privacy in the digital age, and definitely not one that takes delivers a viewpoint like this one. I found the ending predictable, but definitely not the message. It’s really sent me into an inner philosophical debate.

    And she definitely has a knack for endearing characters.

  6. devtesla says:

    Oh, and don’t let the anime look put you off. I don’t think it was the wisest choice for the game, precisely because it will drive many potential players away because they presume it’s something it isn’t, but rest assured there are a great many other wise decisions in it.

    Don’t say that! Some of the most awesome parts of the game wouldn’t work if it didn’t look like a lol porn anime style visual novel. And in many ways it is everything you would assume it is as well as so much more. The game turns trash into gold.

  7. heretic says:

    why would you be turned away from anime style visual novel?

    • bit_crusherrr says:

      Generally when you see a visual novel with anime style characters its a weeabo sex game. That’s probably why.

    • Ravenholme says:

      @ bit_crusherrr
      Which just goes to show how little of them you’ve played.

      The When they cry series is a stand out and involves nary a bit of titilation. There are many others, but the No Naku Koro Ni series is my personal favourite.

      The problem only exists because the only ones that get any commercial translation projects (And Carpe Fulgur are awesome in bucking this trend and going for doujinsoft gems) are quote weaboo sex games unqoute.

    • Lacero says:

      I completely missed that Phoenix Wright subplot.

    • heretic says:

      crescendo was awesome btw, it was perfect with eng subs and original audio – oh my god I cannot stand dubs…

      EDIT: actually there was another really good one, involved a sister that had terminal cancer or something (can’t remember the jap name for my life) anyway, the part when the main character (i.e. you who makes the decisions) actually goes crazy was genuinely disturbing, one of the rare times in a video game when I had goosebumps…

    • Ravenholme says:

      @ Lacero

      Well, I was focusing on the PC there, but yes, that’s another example.

    • Nick says:

      surely they can’t be weeabo sex games when they are made by the actual japanese rather than white guys who wish they were.

    • Strabo says:

      The game with the little sister with terminal cancer is probably ‘Kana Little Sister’.

    • JackShandy says:

      You see a screen arranged with a variety of quirky anime-style girls, you assume the game will revolve around seducing one or more of them and suffering through multiple badly-written romances/sex scenes in turn. It’s pavlovian. There’s nothing you can do to stop that.

    • Archonsod says:

      It’s silly to be put off a visual novel solely because it’s anime. The fact it’s a visual novel should be sufficient to put anyone off, irrespective of the art style.

    • Acorino says:

      Well, it’s the first Visual Novel I truly enjoyed, I have to say. But then it’s only my third, too.
      Wasn’t really intrigued by Radical Dreamers all that much, to put it in perspective.

  8. Morph says:

    The only problem I had with the anime style is that for about 15 mins I thought one of the boys was a girl. This lead to a confusing twist at one point.

  9. Daniel Rivas says:

    I liked it a lot, but I can’t say it astounded me especially. The Amie facebook stuff was very well done, though it broke a couple of times. The 4chan greek chorus seemed periphery, and always annoyed me when I was forced to read it before I could proceed. Storylines were picked up then dropped unsatisfactorily. It was disappointing that it beat the foreshadowing drum so hard the entire back half was telegraphed beforehand. The ending was awful: a rubbish “gotcha!” moment (the main tripup in Digital was similar), then some terrible pontificating about online privacy.

    I enjoyed the gay dramas, though, and found myself getting properly, physically angry at what one fictional character had said to another; probably a good sign.

  10. Sunjammer says:

    Man, this is interesting. In 2006, I devleoped a LAN “rpg” for Telenor, a major telecom provider as part of their initiative to, you know, spend money on convincing school kids that they were great. School classes would be invited to visit Telenor, and play the game as part of their tour, as it showcased some philosophies about safe net use and being critical of information sources. The game was played on 20+ tablet PCs and mobile devices, with each player being assigned a team and a role.

    Each team represented a party in a global conflict, and each team was given access to its own separate stream of information, as well as a global stream. This stream was made up from emails, text messages, videos, dynamic web sites and more. Based on those streams, teams would have to build a case, as the game script was divided into a set of branching choices that the teams would have to choose between collectively; As an extreme example, one team may have information warning of an impending disaster, while another team might have directly conflicting information, and they’d have to debate over which path to take. The game was really about sifting through sources, following leads to get the best possible information and build the most convincing case, which scored your team individually, but also eventually reaching a solution that was best for *everyone*.

    An educational “payload” of sorts was teaching the value of discression, and the consequences of careless sharing of information.

    This game reminds me so damn much of the stuff we were trying to do from a narrative point of view! I really strongly feel that simulating a networked device is one of the few truly modern ways to implement social interactions in a video game. For every sci-fi futuristic world, i keep wondering why the hell i can’t text anyone at will. We are all wireless, but games and films insist on separating us for dramatic effect, while the idea of being globally connected is as cyberpunk dramatic as it gets.

    Between this and Digital, I’m frankly fucking stoked about this woman’s game design. It makes me want to give it another go myself. In fact, is there a genre label for this sort of game? I don’t want to call it interactive fiction, because potentially this can be super dynamic, like Uplink showed us, and how all the systems i implemented back in 06 showed me.

    Very cool, thanks for the link

  11. Teddy Leach says:

    Played. Did not like. Was not moved. Have no soul.

    EDIT: Will replay Digital and then this, in order. Want to like.

    • Keith Nemitz says:

      I agree. I played to the awkward moment dealing with the girl’s crush. I didn’t like the choices at that point. I particularly didn’t like feeling manipulated by the scene, which forced an interrupt to the girl’s dialog, one that I wanted completed, before I made a choice. It sucked! That threw me out of the story. So I quit. Other parts may be very good, but I’ll never know.

    • Tom Camfield says:

      @ Keith Nemitz

      Exactly the same reaction; it seemed to me that anyone with half a brain would be able to deal with the situation more reasonably, and unwilling to “be a jerk” or to “give in” I quit.

    • Acorino says:

      Funnily enough, the choice labels aren’t very representative of what he says anyway. He’s not as much as a jerk as you might expect, yet when dealing with Taylor, he’s not as gentle either when you choose that option.

      I guess those labels represent his possible intentions how to behave in this situation instead of how he actually will.
      The only parts where you can choose is when he’s stuck in an internal dilemma that you as a player can resolve, with the options that he sees.

      Maybe it’s me reading too much into it, but I appreciate the game more seeing it this way.

    • Tom Camfield says:

      @ Acorino

      I decided to say “What the hell!” and just launch into it in carefree mode: turns out that, despite aping the Sting song, there’s no fallout to your actions, this isn’t a bleak moral drama at all. It was pretty fun and a story that will stick with you, and in fact if you quit out of the story, it’s probably worth returning to it so you get the moral at the end! It’s probably more applicable to me given my moralising at the beginning, then someone who wasn’t moved to stop playing :-)

  12. Lewis Denby says:

    I spoil the shit out of this in a big ol’ analysis on my blog, but: there’s a point in the game at which a choice is offered to the player, as opposed to just the protagonist. Quite explicitly so. And it’s a choice that made me question myself more than any game outside of BioWare’s best work.

    This isn’t quite as effective as Digital as a singular piece, but, as a critique of the communications age and how we interact with and respond to it, it’s among the best commentary I’ve ever seen.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Whereas, I found the critique of the communications age just so incredibly crass and unsubtle. By the end it literally sits there and makes the same point around five times in a row.

      What I enjoyed was watching the facebook interactions between the kids (I am, I guess, the same age as them. Or a few years older?) , which were more-or-less exactly spot on. I didn’t care about the protagonist or his worries at all.

    • Lewis Denby says:

      No, I too disliked the protagonist. But I think it was very much an intentional move to split people on whether they identified with him or not. Immediately my reaction was: I don’t want to do these things. I don’t approve of this. Yet my character does, so that means there’s a clash.

      I think that illustrates a fundamental flaw in the game design, but at the same time, that split was also the cause of the most staggeringly effective moment in the game, the underage porn bit.

      If that split wasn’t there, the whole tumult of emotions I went through there would have been wiped.

      EDIT: Oh, also, yeah, the ending split me. On the one hand: yeah, unsubtle in its delivery, and far too twee for my liking. But on the other hand, I genuinely didn’t see it coming. I mean, I saw THAT coming, but the message you’re actually left with… well, it’s not exactly what I bet popular opinion is, y’know?

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Warning: Spoilers and such.

      Ah, no. I didn’t dislike him; I ignored him. I didn’t play as a character within the game, but as a disinterested reader. Which is, I suppose, why I didn’t feel the same compunction over reading their emails that you did.

      Really the biggest flaw with the game was its bringing back of a dead character in such a rubbish way. And she did the same in Digital! Augh!

      Edit: I never saw the porn stuff. I just assumed it didn’t actually exist, and didn’t feel much need to view it in any case. *pious face*

    • Lewis Denby says:

      Might wanna spoiler tag that post, Daniel.

    • Vagrant says:

      I never quite saw the teacher as the protagonist, just the spectator, and a vessel for the ending message. I thought that was the whole theme behind the title.

      Also, although I’m not QUITE as old as the the teacher, although considering it’s 16 years in the future, I will be by then. But I am old enough to not have had any of these social network things through my school life, and his viewpoint pretty much mirrored my own.

      It would be interesting to see an in depth study on the game’s effect on people based on age.

    • Daniel Rivas says:

      Yes, probably.

      Edit: Sorry, that was in reply to Lewis Denby.

      Vagrant: I’d imagine it would. I found it fairly lifelike. And normal, until the end-privacy reveal.

    • Acorino says:

      I didn’t like the view the characters put across about privacy and social networking and still think it’s naive, considering human nature and how the characters behaved themselves in regards to privacy.
      But still, I engaged myself in a discussion upstairs in my head room about it. Just when you stood before the choice of saying “That makes perfect sense” or “That sounds dangerous…” I quit the game cause I had to go somewhere. This was the most perfect moment to take a break from it! While I went I thought about it, how a society could work without any need for privacy. I thought about it there and when I went back. I considered the behaviour of the in-game characters, human nature, why we need/want privacy,…
      I felt uncertain if the game creator pushed her own beliefs about social networking, disguised as dialogue, or not. If she did, then it was a poor argument. Otherwise, how could one of the characters in the game not know what private means when he had private conversations on the social network all the time? So, unconvincing either way.
      Anyway, just the fact that the game engaged me mentally so much is quite an achievement, even if it didn’t make a particular strong case itself.

  13. winterwolves says:

    And if you like Christine’s work and want to support her financially, I humbly remember you that she made a commercial game with me ;)

  14. devtesla says:

    It is 100% intentional, including the underage porn part.

  15. Azuku says:

    Imagine my surprise when I learned that fictional characters, regardless of age, had human rights.

  16. cjlr says:

    It’s a neat little thing.

    Bonus points for having a character named John. Bonus points for being set in Ontario. ‘Course I’m only about two thirds in so far.

  17. gwathdring says:

    Anime and manga are primarily associated with porn? I thought they were primarily associated with the tropes of the most popular mainstream manga books and anime shows … none of which have porn, last I checked. What kinds of television are you other countries importing?

  18. Dominic White says:

    “Anime and manga are primarily associated with porn?”

    Yeah, this kinda threw me off too. More than anything, it’s associated in my head with poorly animated tweenage cartoons about ninjas and martial artists that stretch on for waaaaay too long.

    There’s quite a lot of good out there if you get past that, though. It’d be like judging the total output of the western comics industry based on the works of Rob Liefeld.

  19. cjlr says:

    SO MANY FRAMING DEVICES

  20. JackShandy says:

    Fuck yes, high-school drama! Don’t ask me why, but I’m a complete patsy for this kind of thing. Ever since the adorable summer-camp shenanigans of Psychonauts, any kind of adorably awkward romance drama just melts straight through my barriers.

    Gentlemen, you may judge at will.

    EDIT: God, it’s like this game followed me around with a notebook and took down all my horrible high school fumblings just so it could zap me with them now.

    EDIT: Taylor gibson can go jump into a fucking jet turbine.

    EDIT: TAYLOR GIBSON I WILL STRANGLE YOU TO DEATH WITH YOUR OWN INTESTINES

    EDIT: This school has the worst privacy policy I’ve ever seen.

    EDIT: And Finis. Turns out this Universe has the worst privacy policy I’ve ever seen. These characters would absolutely not be ok with their teacher looking in on their private discussions and naked photos. The minute this game pretends otherwise, it’s sacrificed the integrity of the characters to make a point. I don’t think that’s acceptable in any kind of story, but doing it when your characters are literally everything you have is a terrible decision. Label me shattered.

    • dethtoll says:

      Taylor Gibson is the worst person ever.

    • dethtoll says:

      Holy shit, and I said that BEFORE she pulled the shit she did.

      Wow.

    • Acorino says:

      Yeah, the story is uneven at times.
      Like when the teacher talks to Taylor about her ex-boyfriend, how selfish she was and doesn’t care about others. She retorts that she did care about her boyfriend. And then the teacher says something like “not just going down on him” in regards to what the boyfriend might want. Don’t remember it all to well, but…don’t think you can quite say something like that as a teacher. Maybe in 2027, but not today anyway.
      Oh, and saying, that he’d expell Taylor if she pulls such shit again? She may be a loathsome human being, but c’mon, what she did was still pretty harmless and sadly just very normal.
      Normally teachers wouldn’t and shouldn’t meddle so much in the personal lives of their students anyway. How could they even when their classes are so much bigger?
      It’s just…too much a fantasy. I love so much of it that I’m quite disappointed by its failings. :(

    • Deano2099 says:

      That line doesn’t come out of nowhere to be fair but it’s easy to miss the set up. Right before Taylor says something like “I shut my mouth when he asked me to. And kept it open when he wanted that too”.

  21. bjohndooh says:

    Played this a bit yesterday, despite having it crash semi-frequently.

    If you hold down “Shift” while starting the game, it’ll pop-up and give you a choice of renderers – Auto, Software, OpenGL.

    After I learned this and selected Software – no further crashes.

    As for the game, if you can get past the anime/visual novel style, it’s actually quite charming.

  22. Small Ivory Knight says:

    I read/played, and enjoyed it, actually found myself severely pissed off at Taylor and D’awwwing at both couples.

    I totally did a double take at the end with “Katherine(?) Mogavero” She totally stole my last name and it’s not exactly a popular one.

  23. Wulf says:

    “I don’t personally believe it was the wisest choice for the game, precisely because it will drive many potential players away as they presume it’s something it isn’t, but rest assured there are a great many other wise decisions in it.”

    Before I go and play this, I immediately had to offer my two pence on this. I just think that this is not a good reason for them to not embrace the art style of their choice – sometimes people make things and it is of an art style that we might not like, and saying that is sort of like me saying that Super Meat Boy should be reskinnable and have different visual options for different people.

    Everyone is going to want to express something in an artistic style that suits them. I can’t play Super Meat Boy for that very reason, as I’ve said elsewhere, but I also said that I don’t think that it’s a good idea for them to change the game just to suit me – this is an incompatibility on my end and a personal flaw. Sometimes people will like this style, sometimes they’ll be able to look past it, sometimes it’ll turn people off. But here’s a truth: You can’t please everyone.

    That said, I honestly think that there are more fans of this sort of thing around this part of the digital woods than you might realise, since many people have spoken fondly of the entertainment coming out of Asia right up until about the death of the PS2, where it all seems to have stopped. And that was all of the same culture. So I honestly don’t think there are as many people who’ll be turned off by this as we might initially assume, just a vocal minority.

    One or two won’t like it, but that’s okay, because there’ll be other things for them. Though this game should be allowed to stand on its own merits – including the art style, which we shouldn’t change just because it offends someone’s artistic sensibilities and potential dislike for Japanese media. If those presenting the game to us thought that this was the best art style for the conveyance of their story, then this is what we should accept it as.

    Just my two pence.

  24. Acosta says:

    Thank you for granting a miserable tomorrow for me when I wake up with 4 hours of sleep :P

    SPOILER

    But well worth it, it has been entertaining and it made me awwwww a few times. Call me dense but I actually thought there was some kind of ghost story there until the play, and about the criticism, I guess that I’m between two worlds for age, I see and understand how privacy and social networks go these days but I’m quite old fashioned about it myself. I think I can and should put a little of more thought on it but now it´s time to rest, will be fun reading afterthoughts about this tomorrow.

    • dethtoll says:

      That’s pretty much how I saw it. I’m old-fashioned too- I only just got Facebook like, in November. But after ten years of internauting, I pretty much understand how the internet works in socio-cultural terms, and I do see how privacy as a concept is gradually eroding away. I find that worrisome, actually, but I also recognize that there’s essentially no way to stop it.

      Which I find even more worrisome. But oh well. Time for cereal.

      Regarding the anime thing, I don’t care one way or another, there’s lots of things worth being an elitist about and dismissing an entire medium on the basis of its stylistic origins is not one of them.

  25. Tokamak says:

    Wow, did the weeaboo’s suddenly invade en masse onto RPS today? I personally don’t mind anime style too much, but this hipster/western blend is just a bit too much for me. I think I’ll backlog this for a boring day.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t think a regular here would use a term like ‘weeaboo,’ personally. I mean, it’s the most nonsensical non-word I’ve ever heard. I’m no Japan obsessive (I tend to obsess over all cultures that I’m not bored of from over-exposure fairly equally), but even I can see the value in every culture having its own way of doing things. Do we need to mock people for liking that? And if we must, do we really have to use… that?

      It sounds like something someone just threw together as a temporary escape from a bout of particularly nasty boredom. Why ‘weeaboos?’ Why not just call them floingyboingies? And if we’re just making up random crap to call people, then are we really very mature at all? I remember kids doing that on the playground, but not so much in my adult life.

      And if there’s some in-culture word play going on here that I don’t understand because I’m not entirely familiar with the Japanese language, then wouldn’t the people calling ‘weeaboo’ be ‘weeaboos’ too?

      But yeah, I tend to try to wrap my mind around ‘weeaboo’ and deconstruct it every time I see it, and every time I fail. I fail hard. What’s wrong with Japanophile? And what’s wrong with being a Japanophile anyway? It’s not like any of us are any less nerdly around these parts, we get pretty damn obsessive about Transformers, for one thing. I don’t know, it just seems to be an effort to alienate a group of people that aren’t too different from us.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      The story I heard was that on some forum somewhere (internet says 4chan?) people were calling other people “wapanese”, as in “white person who pathetically wishes he/she were Japanese”, and a forum moderator got so annoyed by these arguments that he/she adjusted the word filter so that all instances of “wapanese” were changed to “weeaboo” as a reference to the Perry Bible Fellowship comic, and then this term itself stuck.

      I think it’s a silly thing to insult people over, but then I’m a white guy who liked Japanese video games so much that I studied the language for several years, translated a bunch of games, and then got hired by a Japanese game publisher, so clearly I’m a pathetic nerd.

    • Wulf says:

      “[...] so clearly I’m a pathetic nerd.”

      Aren’t we all? And that was entirely my point from the beginning. Though I don’t think pathetic so much needs to come into it, and I don’t think that being a nerd is a bad thing – I just find this inter-nerd rivalry to be baffling. We’re all just crazy, obsessive nerds at the end of the day. Games, shows, creative fandoms, you name it, so I don’t really see why one-upmanship is necessary.

      The whole ‘my brand of nerd is better than your brand of nerd’ thing is… well, it’s childish, isn’t it? So in accordance with my own beliefs, fans of Japanese stuff, even nerdy, obsessive ones, are as welcome here as anyone else.

    • Archonsod says:

      “And what’s wrong with being a Japanophile anyway?”

      Worth noting there are still people around who could give a few answers to that one based on the effects of something that happened sixty years ago.

      The main problem is that it makes any discussion of the relative merits of something pointless. It’s essentially fanboyism – “X is good because it was made in Japan” makes a discussion of relative merits somewhat hard; either you agree with the statement or you don’t. Either way, you can’t argue with it as far as it pertains to X, so any debate ends up being about Japan rather than the actual game/movie/music/whatever.

    • drewski says:

      “The whole ‘my brand of nerd is better than your brand of nerd’ thing is… well, it’s childish, isn’t it? So in accordance with my own beliefs, fans of Japanese stuff, even nerdy, obsessive ones, are as welcome here as anyone else.”

      Pfft. What kind of tribalism would we have if we didn’t demean each other based on essentially arbitrary cultural preferences. You just don’t *get* society, Wulf.

    • Acorino says:

      Good game is good.

    • Wulf says:

      @Archonsod

      But you get that everywhere is my point. The part that I find unsettling is that we separate out one group for it when we all do it, anyway. An example being that a game is good purely because it was developed on the PC first rather than being a console port. Is that not basely the same sort of concept?

      I’m not saying that there aren’t flaws with this way of thinking, but what I am saying is that it’s human nature, and singling out any group of people for it is silly.

      @drewski

      The way you say that, it almost sounds like you’re praising me for my lack of understanding. :p

      Though really, I understand the need for different cultures and I don’t think that we should lessen each individual culture for any purpose, but I do think that it’s about time that society evolved to 2.0, a state where we can accept all cultures as being equal, despite their differences. Humanity has been working toward that for a long time – I think it’d be awesome if we actually practised what was preached by the best of our philosophers.

  26. Archonsod says:

    Probably an age thing. Back before Pokemon and the like got on the telly the only anime around was that imported by companies such as Manga Entertainment, a good 50% of their catalogue was tentacle porn.

  27. Megadyptes says:

    Someone says bad things about an animes and a thousand neckbeards cry out at once against this gross injustice.

    • Shih Tzu says:

      If only all the characters had been furries, people would’ve been able to focus on the game and not the art style.

    • Wulf says:

      I don’t think there’s anything wrong with furry, either. In fact, I’ve had one of the most entertaining experiences of my life, lately – watching /b/ suddenly, largely be overcome with something very similar to furry. That being the My Little Pony fandom. It’s actually taken pretty much half of /b/ mercilessly by storm. And /co/ never stood a chance. I’ve picked this all up from Ponychan and Equestria Daily.

      Why is it funny? They’re having to tackle the internal torment of not liking furry, because if you like MLP then that actually is pretty damn pro-furry if you ask me, and since the show tends to give messages of love, peace, and tolerance, which they’re trying to copy, they haven’t been able to ostracise the furry additions to the fandom. Again, this is all incredibly funny to me.

      I don’t know what form of brainwashing Lauren Faust included in My Little Pony to actually pull this off, I really don’t, but I completely approve of it. And it tends to get funnier by the day. It’s like parts of the Internet are suddenly discovering open-mindedness because of a cartoon. I can’t help but appreciate how completely and utterly ludicrous this is. It is genuinely funny.

      Really, it wouldn’t matter to me if this had anthro characters in it, anime, or if the characters were all User Friendly-style dustbunnies. I’d either like the art style or not and move on, perhaps even feeling a little bad at my personal failing, but accepting that it is such.

  28. Grape says:

    Meh. It was… kinda okay, although that whole bit about the [SPOILER] suicide-and-ghost-that-weren’t-actually-a-suicide-or-ghost didn’t really work, at all.

    Also; oh, the drama. Dang. That was one of the biggest clusterfucks I’ve ever seen, with relationships changing dramatically at least three or four times, and absolutely everyone having just so many issues. It’s like Twilight turned into a videogame, complete with the utter lack of sex. Seriously. EVERYONE seems to be in a relationship with EVERYONE, and although there’s all sorts of drama everywhere you turn, with characters routinely declaring their undying love for each other, one actually trying repeatedly to seduce you, two sending softcore porn pictures to each other and the rest being described as having hour-long makeout-sessions, the closest anyone ever gets to ACTUAL SEX, is dancing. Jesus-fucking-Christ. Stephenie Meyer would be proud. *Facepalm.*

    Also, at some point, you stopped being a teacher and started being a psychologist. With… very stressful results. If I was a teacher at that school, I would have quit long ago. I’m neither paid, nor qualified to deal with this. (Also, black-haired girl? STOP SEXUALLY HARASSING ME!)

    And once again – that suicide-that-wasn’t-a-suicide? Didn’t really work.

    Other than that, it was okay, and I did get invested in the characters. They were well written. It was the overall plot that was… strange. Also, the homosexuality sub-sub-subplot was well handled, I thought.

    The anime-visuals didn’t bother me at all.

    • JackShandy says:

      Also; oh, the drama. Dang. That was one of the biggest clusterfucks I’ve ever seen, with relationships changing dramatically at least three or four times, and absolutely everyone having just so many issues.

      Yeah! Not like real high-school at all.

      Spoilers: the dancing was a euphemism

    • Grape says:

      Yeah! Not like real high-school at all.

      You’re right, it isn’t. Real-life high-school does not work like this. There are limits, and this just took it way too far.

      Spoilers: the dancing was a euphemism

      Spoilers: No, it wasn’t. The entire joke was that you thought it was a euphemism at first, but then it turned out that they were completely serious.

      This was stupid.

    • JackShandy says:

      Hey now, I don’t think the situations in the game were entirely unrealistic. Keep in mind that it compressed the entire school year down into 7 chapters, so it obviously seemed more insanely fast-paced than it would have been in reality.

      Here’s the situations – and SPOILERS, GENTLEFOLK, AVERT THINE EYES:

      1. A girl gets a crush on her teacher (you).
      2. A guy propositions another straight guy, who is unsure whether to accept.
      3. A girl commits suicide.
      4. A girl doesn’t know if she should get back with her ex-girlfriend.
      5. A girl bullies the guy from 2.
      6. The girls from 4 go on a romantic evening, want you to get wine.

      I don’t think there’s anything there that’s unbelievable within the bounds of the game, or even- perhaps depressingly – anything I can’t see happening in a real-life high school. It’s only number 3 that seems out-of-place, and I agree that one was handled badly. To skim the sideplots, sharing naked pictures and talking about making out on the couch over facebook is pretty much Teen 101. Perhaps the friendship they have with their teacher is unbelievable, but it’s necessary within the construct of the game.

      Yes, the game isn’t entirely naturalistic, but it’s a drama about high school relationships. Attacking it for being dramatic and having too many high school relationships seems a bit unfair.

      EDIT: Oh, dancing: I suppose you could be right, but the fact that akira says “What, you mean the euphemism, or actual dancing?” when nolan asks him to dance made me think the girls were wink-nudging.

    • Grape says:

      Keep in mind that it compressed the entire school year down into 7 chapters, so it obviously seemed more insanely fast-paced than it would have been in reality.

      An entire school year? It begins in October and ends in December, all in 2027. That’s THREE MONTHS. In THREE MONTHS, one has committed suicide, only not really; one is borderline stalking you, there has been a really exentric love-triangle that culminated in one person locking himself in his room and wailing for hours while his weirdly repressed, formerly straight-ish boyfriend bangs on the door for that same amount of time, a lesbian couple gets brought back together via a super-melodramatic scene where one person stands in the pouring rain yelling “I LOVE YOU!”, (and the result is… some dancing. Whoa, there. Don’t get TOO wild n’ crazy, now), you sincerely belive a spooky ghost is haunting you, and you risk being sacked over having spied at your students for the entire time you were working there. (Only it’s okay, because this is in some horrible, Orwellian future where organized surveilliance is completely A-OK with everyone, including the victims.)

      …Phew.

      And this is just three little months in their lives. Christ. I swear to God; no-one can live through all this stress. I’m telling you, they’re all going to die before they’re 30. And all virgins. (Except possibly for black-haired-stalker-chick, who’ll have hooked up with her 50 year-old principal.) Mr. Rook would do very well to take the fastest means of transportation he can find as far away as possible; preferably to a high-school where Big Brother hasn’t been in charge of the school privacy-rules.

      I preferred “Digital: A Love Story”.

  29. Dominic White says:

    All I ever saw out of Manga Entertainment back in the day was excessively ultraviolent stuff like The Guyver. It’s almost like some of you guys went out of your way to seek out the most polarizing and extreme stuff that Japanese animation could offer, and then are blinkered enough to not acknowledge that maybe your sample was rather skewed and unfair.

  30. Archonsod says:

    Manga’s flagship titles at launch were Akira and the Urotsukidoji series. And certainly up until 1998 their biggest seller was the porn.

    Which is kinda the point. It’s the tentacle porn and ultraviolence which it’s associated with because they were the most popular. You didn’t have to go out of your way to find a skewed example, you had to go out of your way to find a more representative sample (by either learning Japanese or trying to track down the somewhat dubious fan dubs).
    Kiseki are a good example, they launched shortly after Manga with the stated aim of bringing the less adult oriented titles over (Tenchi Muyo was one of their flagship titles I seem to remember) but ended up having to abandon that due to the market.

  31. Dominic White says:

    The reaction to this I’m seeing around the internet is rather depressing.There seems to be interest in this, but the moment anyone lays eyes on anything vaguely Japanese-looking, you get a wave of ‘Deleting it now’ ‘Fuck this shit’ ‘Weaboo faggots’, etc. If a gay leather-daddy just walked into a skinhead rally, the reaction wouldn’t be colder.

    Worse still, people are falling over themselves trying to come up with reasons why this immediate kneejerk kick-yourself-in-the-face reaction is reasonable and justified. I really can’t chalk it up to anything BUT xenophobia these days. There’s no other excuse for it. You’re grown men. You can handle dealing with something with an art-style you’re not entirely a fan of.

    Don’t be a big whiny blubbery baby and eat your goddamn greens.

    Edit: Holy shit – not here, thankfully, but there’s a few people out there seriously accusing Christine Love of pedophilia now. Goddammit, internet! Stop being a big sack of cocks!

    • Lilliput King says:

      Oh Dominic, there’s plenty of reasons. Something about paedophilia and pornography if I remember correctly. Read a book sometime.

    • Oozo says:

      @Liliput
      I seriously don’t want to be snarky, but I don’t really understand your reply. Do you mean that paedophilia and pornography are common subjects in stuff that looks “vaguely Japanese-looking”, and thus it’s ok to dismiss everything with an Anime-art style?
      Or that those topics are why you can understand that people would have problems with the game?
      Or are you thinking, too, that accusing Love of pedophilia is ok?
      I hope it’s the second one, which would be the only one I could get. (I did not have that kind of reaction, but I might understand why it puts people at unease.)

      Just being curious, because you come off as a reasonable fella normally.

    • Wulf says:

      As if I didn’t respect Dominic enough already, I have to say that I respect him a whole bunch more, now. Yeah, there’s a difference between saying that an art style doesn’t agree with you (which I can honestly understand), to saying that an art style should never be used, or worse, to saying that anyone who happens to like the style is a ‘weeaboo.’ (I still think that’s the most ridiculous non-word I’ve ever had the misfortune to encounter.)

      And I agree, throwing things like ‘weeaboo’ around does seem a hell of a lot like xenophobia. I really don’t think we should be sullying ourselves with being xenophobic. If someone is Japanese then having a go at them is just out and out racist, if someone likes Japanese stuff, more power too them, and having a go at them is just attacking them for not being racist. It’s annoying.

      Don’t like the art style, that’s fine, I completely support that! But leave that ‘weeaboo’ nonsense at the door.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Oozo: Just my lame attempt at a joke, sorry.

    • Wulf says:

      The sad part is is that there are actually people who think like that, but I could tell it was a joke, my sarcasm radar went off, hence my lack of a direct response. :p

    • Oozo says:

      Woooooosh! Critical damage in the joke reception center. Immediate shut down probable! …must… …adjust… ….sarcasm… …receptors…

      (Sorry. Guess the negativity and ignorance some people sported without any hint of irony must have caused that case of don’tgetness.)

  32. Megadyptes says:

    Hey Alec, you shoulda went with this pic for the article screenshot http://i.imgur.com/nHvYo.png

  33. Wulf says:

    @Dominic White

    “Anime and manga are primarily associated with porn?”

    It’s because it exists. And because the Caucasian culture produces horrible, terrible, cheap, and nasty televised porn, those are the channels that our tellies are consistently tuned into, evading any other sort of channel in the process. :p This is how people think, but I honestly believe that it’s a repressed excitement in regards to a certain form of sexuality. It reminds me of how some American republicans have been so against gay, but have fallen prey to gay porn because it’s ‘naughty.’ That’s the mindset, right there.

    Many fandoms have had to endure this – because porn exists, it must therefore be about porn, and thus there can’t be anything to it other than porn. This is an incredibly short-sighted way of looking at things, and not at all founded in reality, but you know how people are with sensationalism. It’s as if the internal department of how one perceives, processes, and rationalises external stimuli is run by the Daily Mail in the brains of many. Which leads to awful amounts of sensationalism and the belief that the ‘naughty’ parts of something are the only parts of it.

    This is applied to gaming by the Daily Mail, but it’s also applied by each person’s own inner Daily Mail department to any particular culture they’re not familiar with, it makes it easier for them to categorise those cultures as something they don’t want to learn anything about. And thus xenophobia is born! One of my favourite examples is furry, which exists only for porn, and therefore the non-porn graphic novels being cranked out by the fandom must be some sort of fabrication, a vivid conspiracy to hide their true nature. It’s actually kind of depressing, isn’t it?

    This is why I do not do not do not do not do not do not like xenophobia and I try to avoid falling prey to it myself. We have to get over this eventually. Yes, some aspect of every culture has done something that might be questionable or even unethical, but you judge by the individual and not by the culture as a whole. We should be grown up enough to know that by now.

    One day, people will get over this sort of thing. I hope.

  34. Zagzagovich says:

    Hey this whole thing was pretty good. Some parts of inner monologue were waaaaaay too creepy even for situations they were in but still it’s a nice visual novel with a smart social network idea. It’s kind of sad to see the negative response above and Alec saying that “visual novel doesn’t even begin to cover this” but whatevs’.
    P.S.
    The event art is horrible.

  35. Deano2099 says:

    The ‘all anime just makes me think of porn’ argument is a bloody depressing one to see on a videogames site that spends half its time trying to push the notion that all games aren’t about mindless shooting a killing, as they’re labelled in the media.

  36. Joyo says:

    I find the strength of the reaction against the art style strange, partially because the art style is directly informed by the choice of setting. This applies less to Alec’s comment since he’s not really had a chance to expand on that yet, but there’s been several criticisms that seem to dismiss it as being trendy or lazy or fannish. I read it as an intentional desicion to place the ideas Love was playing with it in a setting that was recognizable and appropriate for the themes of the game, yet quite niche.

    This is exactly what she did for Digital, and in that game, despite my not being old enough to have been able to participate in the late 80s BBS scene I found it strangely familiar (falsely nostalgic, even), and wholly appropriate to the game.

    While Don’t Take it Personally isn’t quite as compelling or well-realized as Digital, I thought the desicion Japanese visual novel similarly effective, (though not as powerful/moving as its predessor). That said, I can’t evaluate how accurately she’s replicated the Japanese visual novel feel, because I don’t play them.

    Side note: I quite like that it takes place in the same “world” as the previous game, and in fact the teacher you play in Don’t Take It (John Rook) is actually the SysOp on the first local board you access in Digital.

    ::returns to lurk the shadows::

  37. Consumatopia says:

    Archonsod is making sense. In fact, I think all of you anime-defenders actually kind of missed something from this game–it’s totally working off that whole anime-is-porn thing. (Especially the “12channel” posts). After all, we’re talking about an anime visual novel. Are you really going to accuse someone of xenophobia because they associate anime-style visual novels with pornography or underage dating sims? Because the game itself seems designed with that association in mind. (Not that it’s porn, but it kind of wants you to worry about whether it’s porn or not.)

    Don’t get me wrong–this is a great game, even though it does have some weird narrative issues that other people discussed here. I’d encourage people to play it, but if someone responds that they can’t do it because the protagonist is just too damn creepy or the characters seem to be drawn to look a few years younger than the 16 or 17 indicated in the story, I can’t blame them.

  38. Deano2099 says:

    There are plenty of Visual Novels that aren’t pornographic too.

    A small number maybe but still. You’re basically saying the same as “I don’t play games as they’re all violent” – to which everyone on here would reel off a list of tons of non-violent games. Doesn’t change the fact that most of them are violent.

    Oh and most TV is reality TV so let’s not watch TV either.

  39. Easydog says:

    SPOILERS>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    … I’m kinda glad I read the comments before commenting, especially ‘Megadyptes’ pic. I just played it as responsibly as I could, avoiding the pedophilia. I didn’t know there was anything too bad and I assumed that if you seduced the girl or looked at the pics that there would be consequences. Is there any kind of comuppance? For looking at the pics or seducing a student? When one of my real life teachers was caught with underage girls there was a great deal of fallout, and most of of the student body was instrumental in seeing him get sacked. Does that happen in this?

    Despite that it seemed to be the opportunity to roleplay as a terrible teacher or a truly, horrifically, terrible teacher and prompt some minor dramas the students are having one way or another, which seems to be just whistling in the wind. Do they just carry on doing what they do anyway? What I said seemed to have little impact. It seems so disjointed and so detached from reality. Is the future of 2027 one where teachers don’t have checks, standards, rules to follow or any kind of moral guidance?

    The point about privacy struck me as poorly constructed, hypothetical and again just so seperate from my experience and expectations. The suicide/not suicide twist was one I saw coming from a mile away.

    It’s odd, because the game managed to do something. it managed to engage me and then it managed to frustrate me. The idea that schools would be so cavalier about privacy. The response to ‘I’ve been reading your private e-mails’ being ‘Oh sir, don’t be such a stick in the mud. Why don’t you go home and read some more and not worry about something so antiquated as privacy. Our civil rights were eroded so long ago that we stopped caring about them.’

    I get that they are living in a world without privacy, I just don’t get that this is supposed to be O.K?

    I didn’t hate it until that point. I avoided the weird crush, I was pushing the two boys and the two girls together, offering advice and whatnot, and I awwed at the relationships between them, but that ‘privacy’ conversation, the games assumptions and the discovery in replaying that the truly despicable behaviour seems not to be discouraged or dealt with appropraitely, it irks me somewhat.

    • Grape says:

      Why, arent’ we feeling moralistic, today.

    • Easydog says:

      Yep. Yes I am.

      It hit quite close to home, having recently had to watch a friend deal with being in an inappropriate relationship with their teacher, and the teacher in question not being so… ‘nice’… about it in their interactions. Plus when I was at school there were a couple of unpleasant scandals. I see it as a game where you’re given the option of playing as a ‘good’ pedophile.

      That it raises the issue, one that many games would shy away from, is a point in it’s favour. I just feel it’s very much a romantic notion of horrible behaviour. Like Twilight.

      In the fictional world it’s turned out alright (fine, fair enough) but when I’ve seen similar happen in real life it has been just plain nasty and just plain wrong. It’s at this point, and the notion that privacy in 2027 is just a quaint old-fashioned more, that cause a fundamental disconnect for me and makes me think that it’s, well, bad. Or at least irksome and irritating.

    • Ztroskotanec says:

      You called it, yeah, if you take the Path Of The Pedo there’s no comeuppance or fallout at all, the game proceeds as normal.

  40. Wulf says:

    http://pastebin.com/H55DSC1Q

    Hahahaha, I triggered the spambot again somehow. Anyway, got a reply to just… all of this general stuff in there, and I wanted to thank Deano for not judging everything by its worst element. That’s the sort of sage wisdom that’s rare on the Internet. Too rare.

  41. Akura says:

    Wow. So first off, i totally stayed up way to late to play through the whole game. I couldn’t put it down once I started. That’s good and bad, and the good reason is clear enough: It was really awesome. It engaged my imagination, just like reading a good book, with visuals to help through visualizing stuff (but thats all visual novels). The story and character were likeable and some were easy to warm up to, for sure. The reason it was bad that i got so engrossed in the story is because…

    SPOILER:
    The ending blows. It’s a big slap in the face depending on your choices, but it still is stupid no matter what because of one event that can’t be changed. The pull a prank on the teacher for like more than half the game, so it made me feel like i just wasted all that time for a joke. Bah!
    I at least ended up with Airy, so that was cool, i loved her character… but then she didn’t get much focus.

    The issues it raises on privacy is thought provoking, to say the least. I really thought hard about the impacts of privacy over these last few years, and they even make a huge jab at facebook, which i found hilarious.

    It begs the questions:
    Is privacy that important online? What would we do if nothing was truly private anymore (online, at least)?

    Anyways, i thought it was interesting. Worth the 39MB download.

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