The Un-Sexy Dating Game

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The Un-Sexy Dating Game

Katawa Shoujo isn't your typical Japanese visual novel.

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chronic onanists

xD

Hey, speaking of Mass Effect 3 (because everyone is) I like how by all accounts it has a less mature grasp on relationship-based storytelling than an anime porn game made by 4chan.

I'm glad some reviewers "get it."

I've read a few that had me facepalm over how blatantly ignorant and unprofessional they sounded.

Great article, and I wholeheartedly agree with what you wrote in it about the said medium.

All these feels.... yeah. The stories are wonderful, soundtrack was almost heartwrenching at times and sometimes even the characters themselves. Hanako for example, for one thing - never learn to whiteknight her. It's the biggest mistake you can make in this game.

Very well-written. I couldn't agree more.

Though I think Hisao does sometimes mention or point out disability stereotypes, at least when he first meets all the girls. But then again, that's because he's a jerk.

I was one of those people who went into the game not expecting a lot. This was due to my bias of not only the genre, but of the games origins on 4chan. But I was quite wrong. It certainly has its flaws, but damn it all if I didn't come to genuinely like the characters as each path went along.

Great article.
I remember when i first heard of this game i thought wow what crazy bastards made this? I assumed it would be a flash game where you bang handicapped people but then i was told that wasn't how it was so i gave it a go and i was pleasantly surprised.

Pyroguekenesis:
All these feels.... yeah. The stories are wonderful, soundtrack was almost heartwrenching at times and sometimes even the characters themselves. Hanako for example, for one thing - never learn to whiteknight her. It's the biggest mistake you can make in this game.

I did that on my first Hanako play by complete accident. I chose options I thought were merely being "nice" like any decent friend etc and it turned out I was spewing lines like "You damage female, me strong male, me save you." (obvious paraphrase), still love it though :D

The article talks way too much about hypothetical people "looking to be offended" and crying about horrible oppression from "political correctness", as if these thingd actually happened or existed and way too little about the game itself.

It reads more like the author is aware of problems within the game, causing them to overcompensate in describing the game.

Personally, I dropped the game in the route for the mute girl. A game that uses the most boring, tired cliché to write a lesbian character like this simply does not deserve more of my time. Yes, I get that many guys can't handle women that don't also sleep with men even if they aren't into men, but yawn.

To be honest, the rest of that route had already been plagued by bad writing and shoddy storytelling (and is considered as such in the VN community as a whole, so my opinion there is hardly unique), that's just when that particular route jumped the shark.

The Hanako route was good though, but it couldn't really get me to play more after the Shizune fail route.

Speaking of which, whose art of Misha is that in the header? I don't think I've seen it on the Shimmie before.

Punch You:

Though I think Hisao does sometimes mention or point out disability stereotypes, at least when he first meets all the girls. But then again, that's because he's a jerk.

Out of the blue he gets dumped into a school full of handicapped people. It'd be weird (and overly-PC bad writing) if he'd treat it like another day at the office.

"Leisure Suit Larry with Wheelchairs" is something I could very well see happening - and it being every bit as offensive as it sounds.

I played through 3 acts and i have to say the act with most finality to me seemed to be Lily. I was really pulled into the story and it really had an interesting take. For the first 1/3 of the game you play like the protagonist is you, but by the second act you lose that sense and notice not only the other characters buy Hisao as an individual and separate entity from yourself and that you truly are just along for the ride.

Presumably the basic reasoning behind these R-rated inclusions is that contrary to the wishes of Fox News et al., teens are going to have sex - to shy away from that in a romance-based story would be unconvincing.

Or maybe because the creators wanted to conform to the standards of this particular genre of visual novels. In any case, I think KS could have done just as well without some (or even all) of the sex scenes. Some of them felt rather shoehorned in.

For better or worse, it's a title that refuses to adhere to the trappings of modern Western game design.

Well, instead it (arguably) adheres to the trappings of Japanese visual novel design. If you judge it by the standards of visual novels, it's a very conventional work. Can you really praise KS for its "freshness" if it hardly offers anything new to its own genre?

I am playing this once I finish Fate Stay Night.

Wonderful review, happy to see a big internet force putting their weight behind it. This game is truly my GOTY at this point.

The feels, man... the feels.

Kahunaburger:

chronic onanists

xD

Hey, speaking of Mass Effect 3 (because everyone is) I like how by all accounts it has a less mature grasp on relationship-based storytelling than an anime porn game made by 4chan.

really? I supose I shouldnt ask becaue of spoilers (and i haven finished ME3 or my "romance" with Kaiden) but I dont think they are handled that badly...granted alot of the time I find myself laughing awkwardly

like

thats probably just me anyway

they can at least make a relationsip with a velociraptor faced alien NOT a horrifying/fetish feul experience

Vault101:

Kahunaburger:

chronic onanists

xD

Hey, speaking of Mass Effect 3 (because everyone is) I like how by all accounts it has a less mature grasp on relationship-based storytelling than an anime porn game made by 4chan.

really? I supose I shouldnt ask becaue of spoilers (and i haven finished ME3 or my "romance" with Kaiden) but I dont think they are handled that badly...granted alot of the time I find myself laughing awkwardly

like

thats probably just me anyway

Personally, any Bioware romance puts me in full cringe mode. Like, it's actually hard to watch. I would literally rather watch an equivalent amount of Rebecca Black's hit single. From what I've seen of KS, the stuff actually seems pretty down-to-earth.

Vault101:

they can at least make a relationsip with a velociraptor faced alien NOT a horrifying/fetish feul experience

I actually thought the Garrus thing was the least bad one in ME3, because it reflected how awkward and bizarre secks with teh aeilns would probably be. I like the fact that neither Shep nor Garrus seem actually attracted to each other. Of course, they probably completely screwed it up in ME3 because Bioware.

TR Juro:
I, a sophisticated Gameur

Oh, that's brilliant. I'm going to give this game a go now, thank you, sir.

The thing I love most about Katawa Shoujo is that it introduced me to visual novels.

Before it came along I was completely unaware of the whole genre and now I find myself hooked on them and wanting to finish one and then immediately play another one.

Except for when I finished Muv-Luv Alternative, that just made me want to sit back and think about how awesome life can be for about two weeks straight while singing "Asu e no Houkou" in my head over and over again.

Yeah, Katawa Shoujo really puts romance in normal games to shame. In defence of those games, though, it's not the main feature the game is designed around and is really an add-on as opposed to the entire point of the game, like KS is.

Anyone who's sceptic about this game, playitplayitplayit. You will change your mind immediately (on it being a fetish porn game, at least- I'm not guaranteeing you'll enjoy it, but you'll think better of it!).

Still got two of the girls stories to play through, and each one has genuinely taught me something about people. I know that sounds hyperbolic and makes me sound like 100% genuine neckbeard, but it's true. Sorry, I'll stop ranting about this game now!

I think it is society worldwide that tends to discrminate against the disabled to one degree or another. When was the last time you saw a disabled person play the lead in a film or tv show? In the US it's ironic because we are finishing up a decade of war with tens of thousands of disabled veterans returning home to a weak economy and a worthless government that is actively trying to deny them the benefits they deserve.
If it is handled with skill and respect the depiction of disabled people behaving like everyone else by having a sex life, I am fine with it. Personally I wish sexuality was handled maturely in every medium espcially in video games.

For anyone on the fence about trying this game due to the sex scenes, it's important to mention that the game gives you the option to turn off sexual content. You can still play through the entire game to experience the fascinating story and relationship development without concern about adult material popping up unexpectedly.

Personally, I agree with the author - the extra scenes do not detract from the experience and actually serve to strengthen the story, tying in with each girls' unique personality and world view. But it is nice that the developers give people the option to play without it.

Smertnik:

Presumably the basic reasoning behind these R-rated inclusions is that contrary to the wishes of Fox News et al., teens are going to have sex - to shy away from that in a romance-based story would be unconvincing.

Or maybe because the creators wanted to conform to the standards of this particular genre of visual novels. In any case, I think KS could have done just as well without some (or even all) of the sex scenes. Some of them felt rather shoehorned in.

For better or worse, it's a title that refuses to adhere to the trappings of modern Western game design.

Well, instead it (arguably) adheres to the trappings of Japanese visual novel design. If you judge it by the standards of visual novels, it's a very conventional work. Can you really praise KS for its "freshness" if it hardly offers anything new to its own genre?

I too felt as if the sex scenes were forced and out of place. Thankfully, the game offers the option of turning all that off.

Pyroguekenesis:
All these feels.... yeah. The stories are wonderful, soundtrack was almost heartwrenching at times and sometimes even the characters themselves. Hanako for example, for one thing - never learn to whiteknight her. It's the biggest mistake you can make in this game.

Oh Lord that bad ending shall haunt me for years.

Smertnik:

Presumably the basic reasoning behind these R-rated inclusions is that contrary to the wishes of Fox News et al., teens are going to have sex - to shy away from that in a romance-based story would be unconvincing.

Or maybe because the creators wanted to conform to the standards of this particular genre of visual novels. In any case, I think KS could have done just as well without some (or even all) of the sex scenes. Some of them felt rather shoehorned in.

For better or worse, it's a title that refuses to adhere to the trappings of modern Western game design.

Well, instead it (arguably) adheres to the trappings of Japanese visual novel design. If you judge it by the standards of visual novels, it's a very conventional work. Can you really praise KS for its "freshness" if it hardly offers anything new to its own genre?

I'd say that that is purely down to some routes being weaker than others in terms of writing. When you take into consideration that this is F2P, and made by a group of people in their spare time, to the majority of people (who haven't played japanese VNs) it is quite an example of what you can achieve.

Yes some sex scenes don't feel like they evolved naturally, but I don't think they were shoehorned in, Four Leaf was not trying for anything groundbreaking, so of course they're not going to dismiss eroticism entirely, especially when it was the basis for why the group formed and what their hobbies include.

And if the scenes were included to simply pander to those who normally play eroge, so what? Those people who were expecting something simply erotic probably came away learning something from the game, rather than simply fapping away.

And in the end, isn't that a good thing?

I never really managed to get into it, which is strange since I have no problem playing visual novels at all. I have played many eroge-games just for the sake of an interesting story and I love games like Phoenix Wright etc and dont really care that it is basically just a visual novel, so I really expected that I would like this but I found the dialogue poorly written and the premise as a whole rather uninteresting and I gave up a few hours into it.

My loss I guess =)

Damn It!
I'm in the process of writing a review of this game for my college's geek culture TV show, and the Escapist has scooped me once again. I agree with pretty much all of this.

The work I'm frequently reminded of as I read/play (OK, read) this game is Perks of Being a Wallflower. While the stories are only tangentially similar, being about introspective young men working through their issues by meeting interesting girls over the course of a year, the technique used to immerse the player in the world is pretty much the same. The writers of Katawa Shoujo give us interesting characters and shows them dealing with the absolutely banal world of high school, making the player care about them not because they're extraordinary, but because they're so familiar.

Heard about this and laughed a bit. Then I heard good things and dl'd thinking well although the game isn't to my genre taste and the game does have some overt issues I might hate if handled wrong I'll give it a go. I.E. Not high expectations

It blew me out of the water at how much I liked it. By far my favourite path was Rin's also while im typing and if people are reading.

Who else went to Kenji's manly picnic. I did it on my third try by accident when trying to get onto shizunes path (my least favourite. Not that it was bad but I found it boring towards the end)

I think most people will have had the manly picnic at least once. Some of the routes are not as easy to hop onto as Emi's.

And yeah, Shizune's route seems to be widely considered as the worst. Apparently the person who wrote it loathed Shizune, so that might have something to do with it.
It certainly lacked closure, at any rate.

Oughtta call her ShizunEA.

ChupathingyX:
The thing I love most about Katawa Shoujo is that it introduced me to visual novels.

That's also what I love about it. I mean, I already knew VNs, but I love what a great gateway it is for others.

EVERYONE IN THIS THREAD WHO LIKED KATAWA SHOUJO SHOULD CONSIDER TRYING SOME OTHER VISUAL NOVELS!

It was a relatively good VN, but not all that *unique*. The only reason why it got picked out by traditional gamers, is that it is written in english instead of being an unofficial fan translation from Japanese, and because it got viral on 4chan, who consider it theirs.

Otherwise, you can find dozens of well-written eroge with a similar lack of sexual focus, and with hearthwarming romantic themes, and several others in mystery, sci-fi, horror, or fantasy genres.

If Katawa Shoujo "isn't your typical Japanese visual novel", one wonders what exactly the author considers the typical traits of Japanese visual novels to be?

Visual novels - with or without erotic content - which focus more on story and characterization than they do fetishistic porn aren't exactly unheard of, so maybe Katawa Shoujo is more example than it is exception?

ChupathingyX:
The thing I love most about Katawa Shoujo is that it introduced me to visual novels.

Before it came along I was completely unaware of the whole genre and now I find myself hooked on them and wanting to finish one and then immediately play another one.

Except for when I finished Muv-Luv Alternative, that just made me want to sit back and think about how awesome life can be for about two weeks straight while singing "Asu e no Houkou" in my head over and over again.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higurashi_When_They_Cry

Play it.

TR Juro:
Now, because the Plot Wills It,

Whoaaaaaa there Amigo, let's stop here for a moment.
Am i mistaking or this article is full of subjective bias ?

Bland, cliche, generic, predictable, shallow -- these are all words that spring to mind. You have to be an alien not to see every event coming a mile and a half away. The characters almost go out of their way to tick every box on the Japanese character type dejour list and while deformed in some way, every one of them is otherwise 'perfect'--in that creepy dollhouse way. Just in case it wasn't clear enough that this was a video game designed for lonely men, they're all fully prepared and able to whore themselves to whoever clicks the 'be nice, not a cunt' button the most.

Erasing some arms and throwing hot water on your characters doesn't make you creative, it doesn't make your work original and it does nothing to draw the intelligent viewers' eyes from the painfully mundane story. It's difficult to take your efforts in character depth and development seriously (as already laughable as they are) when the words are being squealed and chirped out of a schoolgirl with either massively oversize breasts--not unlike those you would expect to see on a radiation poisoned stripper--or a flat chest seemingly designed in just enough of a sexual fashion to get the paedophiles excited.

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