People may be interested about how the Love Plus gameplay works. Depending on how you look at it, this may either be the most innovative dating sim ever or a freaking marketing gimmick. After playing for almost a whole day, I managed to get one girl and move on to the second part of the game, which is supposed to be the, er… Tamagotchi part. Anyway, enough for intros, this may be a long one. Let’s start.
If the first article may have been a result of my personal burnout having lost interest in these kinds of games, I think this time the industry is in a real paradigm shift. Well, this news may have been mostly overlooked by everyone since… well, who among us really do play rape-related eroge anyway? This is a niche genre inside a niche genre inside a niche genre of gaming. I wouldn’t have even known of Rapelay at all if it were not for some over-conservative people who want this game banned, and in effect drove a massive campaign against this niche of a niche of a niche genre of games. I find this rather ironic, because as a result of this sequence of events that eventually led to the banning or restricting of games in Japan with rape themes, the gaming industry itself JUST GOT RAPED.
As I said, most people won’t care about this, and to the two people who are still reading my article, kudos to you because I am about to say why this is very important. As the legendary saying goes… THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS. The vast majority of people, namely the people who don’t understand, refuse to understand, or are co-erced by other people not to dare understand, ruin it for the rest of us. Well, it can’t be helped. We are in this niche genre. Anime is still niche. Heck, even with how big E3 is or how gaming is braving the economic recession tide… gaming is still niche. These two aspects of entertainment that are close to my heart are the current punching bags of our world. It gets blamed for everything wrong in the world, from violence, to immorality, to radical thinking… etc. And we are unable to save it because democracy is the most powerful thing in the world today. Whatever the majority of people want, they get, most of the time.
See, it has some advantages too. When the majority is on our side, the over-conservatives usually stay quiet. This is why violence and sex in games like Grand Theft Auto 4 were allowed. But in something as small as bishoujo gaming, only few would cry for justice. Little do we realize that each step in the wrong direction has some drastic implications for the future. It only started with games with rape, but what would stop them from banning something else? According to this blog post, the regulations are clearly set in paper now. Some of those regulations are not related to rape right? Who knows when the next big issue comes in that those rules would be further tightened? Who knows when someday sexual inclinations in games would be further reduced until it shouldn’t exist at all?
It’s not that I need ero in my games. As I said, it’s not my genre. But just like the other issue of banning everything hentai in my own country, I hate the reality that other people are dictating what I should and shouldn’t experience in life. It hurts to have no freedom in choosing my hobbies. While these bans don’t affect me, the point is they don’t affect me… yet, with the fear that it will definitely affect me someday.
Let me try to bring a positive note to this though. I admit I don’t know everything about the bishoujo gaming industry, but I imagine each game company’s state of shock looking at those reactions from them. Shock… because this time they have to do a little better. They have to be more creative in either avoiding the restrictions or circumventing them. In short, they should see this as an opportunity to change their ways. Make their own paradigm shift. Innovate. Well, they have rested on their laurels for so long after all. Look at all those bishoujo games, they have not changed all these years. We are still in 800×600 resolutions. Character designs still resemble each other. Storytelling and characters are just rehashes of each other. Sequels galore. Fandisks abound. Where are those innovations in the game engines? Why are the highest-selling games still the sequels? Why can’t the Da Capo multiverse ever ever die (I heard there’s a new DCII sidestory coming out)?
Sure, you can pull me back for a while with your sequels for a moment, but if the technology and creativity of this genre doesn’t change, I’m totally out of this market. You want examples of what I think should improve in this bishoujo gaming industry?
– Umm let’s go HD please? Even just widescreen options would be welcome. It shouldn’t be that hard to upconvert a CG either right? But the bigger problem is the simplistic game engines they use. I liked the one age uses in their games, they move and manipulate 2D as if it were pseudo-3D. Lately the games I see have over-simplistic engines, and only rely on the power of their art. What use are pictures if they’re not presented effectively?
– Virtual girlfriend simulation. Games like this. This time wooing a fictional character shouldn’t just be a simple matter of predetermined decision points. How about incorporating text-based commands first before moving to voice? With some kind of AI engine running a girl’s intricate characterisitics and emotions? Hey, you’ll even help wussies this way by training them for real-life social situations.
– Marketing should be better. This one is hard. They have to open their doors and appeal to newer audiences. They can’t expand their reach unless they do so. Surely, if there are creative games already out there, they must try harder to advertise, because clearly I ain’t hearing them from here.
This is a hard road ahead for everyone of us. I, as a consumer, must do my part as well. For one, we let this restriction in freedom of expression through undetected and undefended. I hope the few still reading this push the awareness further. This is not just about rape games, not about bishoujo games, not about games either. This is about being oppressed by the powers that be. This is about them dictating what is right and what is wrong for us. And someday, this may be about losing our human rights. I don’t like to live in a world like that. But this is not a battle for us to fight for now. I hope that when that time comes, the time when we are directly affected in some way, we should be better prepared for the next wave of battles. Let’s make this a game worth playing.
If there is one franchise that you can call sort-of open-source, it would be Touhou. Originally a series of doujin bullet-hell 2D shooters, it is now a megamultimedia metafranchise (if those words even exist or are applicable) that is impossible to contain in my limited scope of knowledge in writing this article. It’s like searching for an elusive treasure chest, that if you like the initial contents, you can decide to go “inside the chest” and realize that it is potentially bottomless. For those who don’t care about doujin works, this may really not apply to them, but who doesn’t nowadays? In an world where anything can be a meme and something can be a rehash of something else, fan-created fandom is rising to levels that even mainstream entertainment seekers understand.
I’m probably one of a few handful of people who still cares about Da Crapo, although I’m admitting that this bishoujo thing is slowly starting to wear out on me. And yet the series may still matter, after all, it was a remarkable anime that put bishoujo games into the anime map. One thing that ticks me off in ALL the anime counterparts of Da Capo (and even Da Capo II) is that the best girls always gets the worst parts. That girl is the lovely lovely Kotori Shirakawa (and her descendant Nanaka). While Kotori had a decent arc in the first season, the second season was of failed promises. I thought that she will be the main character in that season because Nemu and Sakura were gone. Alas, the two returned anyway, while Aisia stole the entire show not too long after. And so the prospect of having this D.C.if OVA almost 3 years after the last Da Capo anime gives me the giggles. It’s Kotori, and it’s Da Capo all over again!
In a cookie-cutter world of bishoujo anime, sometimes there are a few series that surprise and amaze me, one of which is Canvas 2. I actually watched this during a recent vacation trip of mine, and it never failed me at all during the boring bus rides. Canvas 2 is a witty, smart, and effective romantic comedy that tries to humanize the usual bishoujo romance and add not only an artistic element (focusing on art and drawings), but also real-life concerns and decision-making.
Hallo. I’m a male lead in a bishoujo game! And in my world there are lots of girls, not any different from your so-called “real life”. I’m just a bored and boring guy just like some of you. Maybe some of you play me because I already have tons of girls served to me in a silver platter, something which some of you may never get to have because similarly you are wussies like me! But I will differentiate myself from you, because I already have the girls, right? All I do is pick one! Easy squeezy! And you know what? I can “screw” them in the end of my short life! Jealous? Well, I only live like a few months because most of the time my story ends before graduation or something… but still… lolz.
Let me tell you, it’s easy work! I just be “kind” to the girl I want to have… done! I bump into one girl, she drops her books and papers… I just pick them up! Hello there iincho! I just out-shout and out-smart tsunderes who are annoyingly loud at times. I can bring out her softer side. I can just act like a baby to those girls older than me. I can also act like a onii-chan to those younger than me. See? It’s easy! Because I’m fiction!
Now it seems like it’s nearing Valentines or whatever eh? Lots of bloggers and others proclaiming their loveless lives calling it SAD (Singles Awareness Day) or whatever? Hahahaha! Too bad for you guys, because you live in reality! I heard it’s more complex over there. What with all the emos and such running around the internets. Me? I’m not supposed to surf the internets in my world anyway. I only have highschool settings. You know what I think what’s wrong with you guys? The internet itself! It allows you to groupthink. You meet people with almost the same lives as yours. You hear the same cries. You become most the same. And yet you don’t know each other in reality. And yet you still derive something from each other in reality. If you’re ronery you become ronerier because you see similar ronery people making you not move yourself because “oh other people are like this anyway, so I’ll remain like this for the rest of my life.” Me? Sure I have a worthless male sidekick or two, but at least I’m not affected by other people in other bishoujo game worlds. My world is small… well, small enough that all girls in my world look beautiful. HAHAHA!
Ok fine, I need to reflect on myself, as I am actually giving you disservice as well. I am a “wish fulfillment” property. I am not real, but some people may consider some parts of me and apply it to their own lives. Sometimes it can be beneficial, other times, not so much. I’m not in the position to explain this complexity in your lives, because I am not complex enough to think so. Maybe you are. It will depend on your personality, the environment around you, and the decisions you make towards life. You are a complex being.
I’m sorry if I’m kinda boastful about my own fictional world. Well it’s not my fault that I’m fictional, some writer made it out of their own thoughts. More importantly though, the writers made it out by their “inspired” thoughts. Those writers, they live in real life like you do. They may have experiences like you do, and maybe some experiences you don’t have yet. Similarly, you have experiences they don’t have as well. Ooh it sounds all confusing to me. In any case, I think you have tons of ways to live your life. Me, I only follow my dialogue and decision points. This is important, because to me, everything is a script. The world you have there is sometimes unscripted, and you alone are writing it, one second at a time. You actions, your decisions, you control your reality.
I don’t know how to console you. I may not even have the right to. But if this is any help, here goes. If you compare yourself with others, you may become bitter and jealous. There will always be people better than you. It works both ways too. There will be people worse off than you. But that gives you no reason to screw up further. Also, let me tell you this, because my endings with my chosen girls are sometimes unwritten. There is life after love. Even if you got your girl already, there are still challenges ahead. I can only imagine what these are, because as I said, I can never live it. How to nurture these relationships over the years are still up to you. How you grow yourself is also up to you. Many of you think that love is the only thing lacking in you, not realizing other real things you lack. People are somewhat blinded by love, saying it’s the only thing that matters, especially in this love month season. Again, that’s just groupthink. Sure, your society seems to embrace that notion, and that singles who grow old being single are somewhat ‘silently’ frowned upon. Bah, but who cares what they think? If you affect yourself with their thoughts too much, you would only pity yourself further and you just sit in that corner crying.
There is some truth to the “be yourself” saying that is sometimes overlooked. If you just simply and literally “be yourself”, you may end up not growing up and moving towards the goals you are supposed to set yourself. I think a better way to rephrase it is to “accept yourself”. Whoever you are, whatever you are. Know your limits. ‘Then from there’, build on your limitations to pursue your goals. Realistic goals first before you insert any fantasies. Well, fantasy goals can be good too, it reinforces your positive thoughts. Be yourself, accept yourself, then change. The only thing that may be constant in your world is change. Sometimes it’s hard to change, I know. Personally I can never change unless the writer gives me an additional scenario in a revision bump or fandisk. As I said, I’m just at the mercy of my writer. Don’t be like me. You are your own writer.
I hope I made some sense. My fictional life may never be reality, but at least some part of it is. It would still depend on you if you can apply this to yourself or not.
(insert bishoujo male lead name here)