Kaseki no Uta
Kimi ga Ita Kisetsu
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien
Muvluv Alternative (upcoming)
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien
Generic Disclaimer: Of course I wouldn’t know how the bishoujo games industry truly works, so some info below may be wrong or misinterpreted. This feature is from an outsider’s point of view, namely, my point of view.
I admit, I never knew anything about age until Kimi ga Nozomu Eien became anime.
I never even know about their older games at all. In any case, I think the company started around this new millenium. They did a couple games unknown to me, and then came Kiminozo.
Kimi ga Nozomu Eien is one which I think is a very healthy mix of all the good stuff in a bishoujo game, depending on your viewpoint. At one viewpoint, this title presents a LOT of H. I don’t need to describe how many HCGs are there and whatnot, but this makes it a very big game. You have your regular cast of girls, but the number of endings exceed the number of girls. Quite good, but it will result to obviously, a lot of choices. Many have said that Kiminozo is a very hard game to beat. At another viewpoint, you have a great story in the line. You’re in high school with your typical girls, but then reality strikes you when there is a terrible accident. The game immediately fast-forwards years later, and you will realize that Kiminozo is no ordinary bishoujo game. It’s mature, it’s fast-paced, and hell it is good.
The anime is equally excellent. With a plot that moves very fast, and with characters fully fleshed out, the anime has been the topic of numerous discussion. I remember when Kiminozo anime was still running, and with each episode, anime fans in forums discuss it very comprehensively. The plot and characters are so dynamic that so many viewpoints, scenarios and predictions could be considered, and the post counts just keep rolling and rolling.
The wild popularity of the Kiminozo universe gave age the edge to take advantage of it. Aside from numerous fandisks, there’s even a game dedicated to one of the most angsty girls in the entire bishoujo universe, Akane. Akane Maniax. Akane Maniax happens after the Kiminozo game, but only Akane got carried over from that. Everyone else is new. Akane Maniax is about this weird guy name Gouda and his hilarious antics, hoping for the day when Akane would get to like him.
Akane Maniax paved the way for new characters, some of which will also be carried over (again) into age’s next major game, Muvluv. Muvluv seems to be the game of the year 2003, if I’m not mistaken, because of the heavy hype. Again, this is the same town from Kiminozo, but with new characters (but Akane is still there as a cameo). I haven’t played enough of the game, but something tells me that Muvluv is all the more bigger and difficult than Kiminozo! There seem to be a lot of secrets to unlock, including an entirely “different” game named Muvluv Unlimited.
Muvluv Unlimited pits the Muvluv characters into a parallel world setting where they drive and battle with mecha robots! Bishoujo Gundam? What the heck? Talk about different, that sounded ridiculous isn’t it? Well apparently the Japanese fans like it, and so we would only wonder what the heck is up with Muvluv Unlimited, having not played the game. But wait, there’s more!
In reality, Muvluv was intended to be a VERY BIG GAME! The company had planned to comprise it of three parts. Muvluv Extra, which is the normal school part, Muvluv Unlimited which is the AU mecha part, and a third part which never got included into the original release of Muvluv… Muvluv Alternative. Apparently, this new game would bridge the two original universes (Extra and Unlimited) together.
Muvluv Alternative was never included into Muvluv, because of release delays, so I guess they are packaging it as a separate game. Apparently, this game is also extremely delayed. Just now did I discover that it is set for a February 24 (DVD version) and March 3 (CD version) release date… in 2006! Wait a minute… how many months (years?) has this already been delayed? Did I remember an early 2005 release date or something? Fans are getting more and more impatient, but at the same time maybe more and more excited.
This brings me to one of the possible factors why age games are quite popular. Not only because of all the crossovers and the unique alternative game ideas, but because their “game engine” itself makes their creativity possible. Age games utilize the rUGP game engine, which could only be seen as a “very sophisticated engine” for bishoujo games. While it really doesn’t look like much because bishoujo games look simpler as opposed to the massive graphic spectacles in other PC game genres, rUGP is capable of doing “stuff” to images like the industry has never seen before. It can warp, scroll, resize, crop, flip, re-angle, re-color, etc. What I’m saying is rUGP can make bishoujo games move more visually. I saw this in full action with Muvluv, where instead of just a static background and character art, the background can scroll as if it looks like a 3D panorama, and the character art could go with it pretty well. Again, it might not look too impressive for 3D graphics fans, but for bishoujo gamers, it is already amazing. What’s more, they update rUGP regularly in order to put in the latest engine-related patches covering all their games.
So there you have it. Equipped with their Kiminozo and Muvluv franchises, and armed with their powerful rUGP engine, I guess age is prepared for a hell lot of (mecha) battles ahead.