My son is six-months-old, but my daughter is almost fully grown. She’s a homemaker, which is fine, but it’s not what I had in mind when god bestowed the child upon me. I spent all our money on magic lessons, after all.
This is how most of my experiences go in Princess Maker 2, a life simulator from 1993 that’s by turns moreish, compellingly daft, and creepy. Previously the only way to play it outside of Japan has been by grabbing it from an abandonware site and applying an unofficial translation patch, but 23 years later it’s getting an English and HD rerelease on Steam called Princess Maker 2: Refine [official site].
The rerelease remakes all the artwork in glorious full colour, where previously it used only sixteen, as seen below in this lengthy video:
You play the game by setting your daughter’s schedule, deciding whether she’ll spend her days going to school, working, or perhaps hanging around in the graveyard. Each of these decisions changes your daughter’s stats and mood, determining whether they grow up to be one of umpteen options, such as a homemaker, an adventurer, a great sorceress, the Princess of Darkness, or, er, your wife. That last outcome is one of the reasons why it’s a bit creepy; your daughter is ten-years-old when she’s given to you, a great hero of this medieval fantasy world, and is described as being pure and innocent and unknowing of the world. You raise her till she’s 18 and can eg. spend that time feeding her poorly so she fits into better dresses.
Or you could not do that, you monster, and instead let her spend too much time performing Cabaret, increasing her Charisma and Sin (the two often go hand-in-hand) while lowering her Refinement, Intelligence and Temperament. I don’t know where exactly that would lead – there are dozens and dozens of endings – but the game is great at producing fun anecdotes from relatively short play sessions as your daughter stumbles towards adulthood. And keep in mind that god will be pissed if you mess up your kid.
Aside from updated graphics and an English translation, Refine also has Japanese language voice over. It’ll be released on Steam tomorrow, September 28th. Hopefully if it does well we might see an official English translation of the most recent game in the series, 2008’s Princess Maker 5, which proved trickier for fans to translate.