The Un-Sexy Dating Game

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As a person who takes... several pills a day (allergy, asthma and hypertension), I can somehow relate to the main character of the game.

Started playing it today, although I've been meaning to do it for a while.

Grey Day for Elcia:
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.

Big boobs - BAAAD UNREALISTIC PERVERTS!!!
Small boobs - PEDOPHILES BOOOOO!!! PERVERTS!!!

Also I like how you simplified someone who's been through something traumatic as "having arms erased". Yeah, those cancer survivors totally are in it for the pity.

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.

I definitely agree with this. Thought that KS would have been far better without the sex scenes. I actually stopped Emi's path just because of her scenes and only a couple scenes from the paths of the different girls actually felt like they fit and added to the story.

Glad this game is getting more coverage though, even several months after release. The story (for the most part) was quite wonderful. Still have a couple paths left to play after I set it down a couple months ago, so seeing this post has definitely incited me to go and finish. Also Team Lilly forever.

Great read. It's nice to see people rate a visual novel based on, y'know, visual novels. KS isn't really novel, mind-shattering or adrenaline-pumping like some others, but it's a damn good intro to the medium, a fun read with some solid melodrama, and loveable characters. If you like it, there's a whole world like it out there waiting for you; if not, no worries, they aren't for everyone.

Grey Day for Elcia:
when the words are being squealed and chirped out of a schoolgirl

It's not voiced. I dunno if that's just poor phrasing, but since the rest of your post reeks of "I haven't played this but as I am well-versed in stereotypes I can easily predict what it's all about," you really sound like you're judging without any knowledge to base it off.

For some people, it just isn't their thing, and will never be, and that's cool. But this is either just deliberate shitstirring or arrogantly flaunting your own ignorance.

Deskimus Prime:
Great read. It's nice to see people rate a visual novel based on, y'know, visual novels. KS isn't really novel, mind-shattering or adrenaline-pumping like some others, but it's a damn good intro to the medium, a fun read with some solid melodrama, and loveable characters. If you like it, there's a whole world like it out there waiting for you; if not, no worries, they aren't for everyone.

Grey Day for Elcia:
when the words are being squealed and chirped out of a schoolgirl

It's not voiced. I dunno if that's just poor phrasing, but since the rest of your post reeks of "I haven't played this but as I am well-versed in stereotypes I can easily predict what it's all about," you really sound like you're judging without any knowledge to base it off.

For some people, it just isn't their thing, and will never be, and that's cool. But this is either just deliberate shitstirring or arrogantly flaunting your own ignorance.

I especially like the part where he is still under the impression that it is a dating sim, with dialogue trees simulating the conquest of various girls who are "all fully prepared and able to whore themselves to whoever clicks the 'be nice, not a cunt' button the most.", as opposed to a linear novel with symbolic choices about which route to read next.

Doesn't it has some great stories, Characters you can care about and yes it has a little of "that" but hey ..

What I like.. none of these are perfect nor stereotypes. So 4chan good done!

Juro,

I read your article and, right after, downloaded the game. I think the very fact that I did this proves that your article was a success on some level.

However, I honestly couldn't play the game for more than thirty minutes. The writing is terrible. I can't judge the game on any other level, as I did not play enough decide if it was, as some people have noted here, stereotypical.

Simply based on a language level the experience was unbearable. It read like a harlequin romance. Given that the experience relies so heavily on text, I don't think I'm in the wrong to call it a failure on this issue alone. I blushed with embarrassment when the main character stated that his home room teacher's handshake was "not too firm or sloppy." Sloppy? Jesus.

Great article nonetheless.

This I like, let the haters hate, because that's what they're gonna do. I'm surprised someone made a rather non-exploitative game about handy capable people in as close to a normal environment as possible. Sure it may play to some long abused anime and manga tropes to increase it's player base (giant tits and lolis oh my), but is it really any different than Mass Effect and their Asari who exist solely to fill the "Green Alien Girl" Scifi trope?

Now what really got me was the fact that it came out of 4chan, really something non derogatory came out of 4chan for once? I'm shocked and amazed. That alone is grounds for calling this game a success.

Ihniwid:

Simply based on a language level the experience was unbearable. It read like a harlequin romance. Given that the experience relies so heavily on text, I don't think I'm in the wrong to call it a failure on this issue alone. I blushed with embarrassment when the main character stated that his home room teacher's handshake was "not too firm or sloppy." Sloppy? Jesus.

Great article nonetheless.

Consider this: the main character is narrating the game from his perspective. He just finished a long stint in the hospital where he admits he did nothing but read a metric shitton of books. The writing seemed like a teenager who reads too many books using slightly inappropriately large words where he didn't have to.

But hey, you gave it a shot, and that's pretty cool of you.

When I saw the title, I thought this article was going to scold Katawa Shoujo for not being a good enough novel or having enough aspects to the characters thus I was ready to be civil yet defend the game with my life. However, there was no need for that- you did a fantastic job with this article, and I mostly agree (95%) with you on the game.

It's funny, because even when the sex scenes come around, they're not very arousing. In fact, some of the sex scenes make you wish it never happened (not because of "No that's my waifu!" but rather because it causes conflict with the protagonist later on to bite him in the butt.) Really loved the game to a point I decided making a Let's Play about it. Still, I must admit that before I played Katawa Shoujo.. I was hesitant.

Japanese sim games are mostly known for being erotic, cliche' games. Don't get me wrong, not all of them are like that but most appear to be so. When there was the article on here, by an Escapist staff explaining that there's a free game on dating disabled girls- it was the weirdest thing to me. I find disabled people to be like us, but an anime dating game? Sounded like some sort of fetish style story waiting to pop out at me.

But I gave it a go after checking out a user review because the Escapist member promised it was a brilliant story with little to do with fetishes or erotic stuff. He wasn't lying, the plots (especially Hanako's) is moving if not truly beautiful within it's narrative story with such depth, conflict, and loving grace. What I love most about Katawa Shoujo is that the game knows what to avoid, and what to focus on. Not at all did the game make the disabilities of the girls their major flaw- oh no, it was history or themselves at heart that was the main problem (well also Hisao is a really bad romancer so most of the time he thinks with his body if you know what I mean.. but he can be great too if he really tried.)

Great read overall, I give you props and an Easter basket since Easter is coming up! Cheers mate!

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

Doomfest

He's one of the staffs' senior artists and did the heft of the unique images. He has his own deviantart and personal webpage last time I checked.

Grey Day for Elcia:
dejour

It's apparent you only ever heard that phonetically and you have no clue as to its proper usage or spelling...

And speaking of faking knowledge and familiarity where you have none, your whole post reeks of "I haven't really played this, and the bits I have, I played with the express purpose of finding shit to dislike."

Look, if you consider the game to be cripple-porn and you're not into that, then ignore it. It's not like it's some AAA game that's being marketed up our asses, making it hard to ignore; It's a tiny free game made by a handful of people in their spare time. Why bother complaining about it?

You can call me a fan of it. I'm an aspiring writer, so I kinda felt like I needed to expand my own horizons into things like this (that's my excuse). As someone who has never touched this field, I was wary at first to go anywhere near it out of sheer embarrassment. Eventually I downloaded it and let it sit on my computer for months before I finally gave in and started it up.

Really glad I did though. It's not perfect, but it managed to reach me in ways I never thought possible. It's very intelligently realized for the most part, never feeling exploitative; the stories never actually focused on their afflictions. I could still heavily sympathize with almost every character on some deep, fundamental level. I nearly had an emotional breakdown due to my own, somewhat parallel experiences with them.

These are stories about your average young individuals dealing with the typical problems of young individuals in an atypical setting. That's the jist of it.

The hidden Kenji path though.. I don't think I laughed harder at how it concluded. I recommend everyone see it at least once by rejecting everyone else.

Deskimus Prime:

Ihniwid:

Simply based on a language level the experience was unbearable. It read like a harlequin romance. Given that the experience relies so heavily on text, I don't think I'm in the wrong to call it a failure on this issue alone. I blushed with embarrassment when the main character stated that his home room teacher's handshake was "not too firm or sloppy." Sloppy? Jesus.

Great article nonetheless.

Consider this: the main character is narrating the game from his perspective. He just finished a long stint in the hospital where he admits he did nothing but read a metric shitton of books. The writing seemed like a teenager who reads too many books using slightly inappropriately large words where he didn't have to.

But hey, you gave it a shot, and that's pretty cool of you.

Thanks Deskimus :)

But my problems with the narration began from the outset. It is not that Hisao uses large words, or even the wrong words (sloppy is not a word you use to describe a handshake, ever), as my first example posited. My issue is that the game is poorly written.

The opening narration, for example, reads:

"A light breeze causes the naked branches overhead to rattle like wooden windchimes.This is a popular retreat for couples in the summer. The deciduous trees provide a beautiful green canopy, far out of sight of teachers and fellow students. But now, in late winter, it feels like I'm standing under a pile of kindling."

When I read this I, honestly, already made up my mind about the writing level. It's bland. It doesn't really do anything but give a dry, empty description. It doesn't tell us anything about Hisao, and in my opinion, it doesn't read like a high school student. It reads like the first draft of a first time writer.

Now, I know that game writing should not be compared to literature. In some ways that is unfair. But if Katawa Shoujo's primary way of creating player interaction is through narration and dialogue, then I don't believe it is unfair to judge the writing level. If I'm going to read a story, I have to enjoy the language.

I appreciate what the game is trying to do, but I cannot push aside the way it is written just because the concept is honourable.

This has been mentioned for a while, and really on a lot of levels it reminds me of Edward Lee's "The Teratologist" which is pretty much a gross story about this rich guy having sex with deformed people, or forcing other people to do the same. There is a plotline behind this, having to do with the guy setting out to offend god enough in order to force him to come down to earth, but that's really besides the point here.

In this case however the visual novel isn't trying to be gross about it, it seems mostly to try and legitmize a specific fetish, casting it in the light of a pretty much "by the numbers" romance where the deformed or crippled girls are all cute (allowing for the stylized artwork), and the plotline by all accounts seems to reek of normality for the sake of trying to sell the subject matter.

On some levels it seemed like "Children Of a Lesser God" when I first heard about it, until I realized the extent of some of the "problems" involved for some of the characters.

I'll be blunt, other than being a bit creepy, I can't say I see anything especially wrong with this, however I *DO* suspect that we're going to see this snowball into some incredibly depraved stuff. Whenever a taboo/fetish starts to appear on the market for the first time, it's done slowly to see normal and as natural and positive as possible, and then starts to increasingly go off the deep end as the mask slips. The general acceptance of this work is probably going to start a snowball rolling where within a decade we're going to see manga/hentai/etc... that makes the descriptions in the above Edward Lee story seem tame in comparison. By all accounts there isn't much graphic sex in this graphic novel, but how long is it going to take before we start seeing how people can use specific deformities sexually or find was to force themselves on those deformities...

Don't get me wrong, this fetish isn't "new", really very little is, it's just new that it's trying to force it's way into the mainstream. Having sex with freaks and such (sex dwarves being the stereotype) being one of the big "harem stories" about decadent kings, nobles, and rich merchants.

Deskimus Prime:

Ihniwid:

Simply based on a language level the experience was unbearable. It read like a harlequin romance. Given that the experience relies so heavily on text, I don't think I'm in the wrong to call it a failure on this issue alone. I blushed with embarrassment when the main character stated that his home room teacher's handshake was "not too firm or sloppy." Sloppy? Jesus.

Great article nonetheless.

Consider this: the main character is narrating the game from his perspective. He just finished a long stint in the hospital where he admits he did nothing but read a metric shitton of books. The writing seemed like a teenager who reads too many books using slightly inappropriately large words where he didn't have to.

But hey, you gave it a shot, and that's pretty cool of you.

I think this is something many people don't seem to grasp. The game is written using contemporary language from the perspective of a high school student.

Abedeus:
As a person who takes... several pills a day (allergy, asthma and hypertension), I can somehow relate to the main character of the game.

Started playing it today, although I've been meaning to do it for a while.

Grey Day for Elcia:
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.

Big boobs - BAAAD UNREALISTIC PERVERTS!!!
Small boobs - PEDOPHILES BOOOOO!!! PERVERTS!!!

Also I like how you simplified someone who's been through something traumatic as "having arms erased". Yeah, those cancer survivors totally are in it for the pity.

While I agree with you about the laughable contridictory arguements about the breasts, I can say I agree with Elcia on the arms to an extent. The thing is that these girls look nothing like a "cancer survivor" or anything of the sort. It's pure fetish material about the crippled/deformed, and there is no real way around that. I went into that in another post I wrote on this thread. Another fetish/deviation being worked into the mainstream.

Basically if your arms-less girl looked like a cancer survivor or whatever, this really wouldn't work as ultra-soft core fap material. Plus the idea is that it's one of the first mainstream works of it's kind, so the guys doing it probably want to draw people in. What seems fairly "innocent" now, is probably going to snowball into some very disturbing stuff becoming more availible in the relative mainstream than ever before as this catches on.

chronic onanists

Glad to see that I'm not the only one who knows the term. I'm curious to know if the people who know the term are familiar with the Hebrew language or if they learned it elsewhere.

I played through the demo and was very impressed with the characters (although Hisao did seem like a jerk). I don't think I'll get the full game, but I have to agree that it feels like the adult content is only in the game because it's expected to be in all games of the genre.

AC10:

Deskimus Prime:

Ihniwid:

Simply based on a language level the experience was unbearable. It read like a harlequin romance. Given that the experience relies so heavily on text, I don't think I'm in the wrong to call it a failure on this issue alone. I blushed with embarrassment when the main character stated that his home room teacher's handshake was "not too firm or sloppy." Sloppy? Jesus.

Great article nonetheless.

Consider this: the main character is narrating the game from his perspective. He just finished a long stint in the hospital where he admits he did nothing but read a metric shitton of books. The writing seemed like a teenager who reads too many books using slightly inappropriately large words where he didn't have to.

But hey, you gave it a shot, and that's pretty cool of you.

I think this is something many people don't seem to grasp. The game is written using contemporary language from the perspective of a high school student.

I understand the concept. The literary term you are referring to is called the "narrative mode." You can write in the perspective of a high school student and still make it an enjoyable experience.

I think the prime example we all know is The Catcher in the Rye.

In my opinion, the game's poor writing makes it an unenjoyable experience. But this is only my opinion. What I want to make clear, however, is that the decision to deem bad writing as "okay" because it is written in the perspective of an individual who "writes poorly" is a foolish choice indeed.

Elvaril:

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.

I definitely agree with this. Thought that KS would have been far better without the sex scenes. I actually stopped Emi's path just because of her scenes and only a couple scenes from the paths of the different girls actually felt like they fit and added to the story.

Glad this game is getting more coverage though, even several months after release. The story (for the most part) was quite wonderful. Still have a couple paths left to play after I set it down a couple months ago, so seeing this post has definitely incited me to go and finish. Also Team Lilly forever.

Well, to be fair there is an option in the game itself to "remove" any of the adult content. If you aren't interested in the sexual parts, it'll skip them for you.
That being said, Emi and Lilly both tend to have the most sexual encounters of the characters throughout the game, with Shizune following close behind. Which in a way sort of makes sense for the characters I suppose.

As for my thoughts on the game, I enjoyed it. First "Visual Novel" I've ever played, and thought it was decently good. A few of the characters became instant-favorites like Kenji, for sheer amount of references he can make. While others I loathed, like Shizune, and not for the character herself but because of her father. The man was just a bloody pain to read, and every time he came up I just wanted to take his sword and gut him with it.

Therumancer:
Plus the idea is that it's one of the first mainstream works of it's kind, so the guys doing it probably want to draw people in. What seems fairly "innocent" now, is probably going to snowball into some very disturbing stuff becoming more availible in the relative mainstream than ever before as this catches on.

Honestly, while my knowledge on Visual Novels is rather limited (again I've only played one), I've heard of a fair chunk of them, both normal and absurd. The premises for some of those are tons more disturbing to me than what one might be able to pull out from this game, and they came out well before it.

Therumancer:
This has been mentioned for a while, and really on a lot of levels it reminds me of Edward Lee's "The Teratologist" which is pretty much a gross story about this rich guy having sex with deformed people, or forcing other people to do the same. There is a plotline behind this, having to do with the guy setting out to offend god enough in order to force him to come down to earth, but that's really besides the point here.

In this case however the visual novel isn't trying to be gross about it, it seems mostly to try and legitmize a specific fetish, casting it in the light of a pretty much "by the numbers" romance where the deformed or crippled girls are all cute (allowing for the stylized artwork), and the plotline by all accounts seems to reek of normality for the sake of trying to sell the subject matter.

On some levels it seemed like "Children Of a Lesser God" when I first heard about it, until I realized the extent of some of the "problems" involved for some of the characters.

I'll be blunt, other than being a bit creepy, I can't say I see anything especially wrong with this, however I *DO* suspect that we're going to see this snowball into some incredibly depraved stuff. Whenever a taboo/fetish starts to appear on the market for the first time, it's done slowly to see normal and as natural and positive as possible, and then starts to increasingly go off the deep end as the mask slips. The general acceptance of this work is probably going to start a snowball rolling where within a decade we're going to see manga/hentai/etc... that makes the descriptions in the above Edward Lee story seem tame in comparison. By all accounts there isn't much graphic sex in this graphic novel, but how long is it going to take before we start seeing how people can use specific deformities sexually or find was to force themselves on those deformities...

Don't get me wrong, this fetish isn't "new", really very little is, it's just new that it's trying to force it's way into the mainstream. Having sex with freaks and such (sex dwarves being the stereotype) being one of the big "harem stories" about decadent kings, nobles, and rich merchants.

That conspiracy theory sounds about as ridiculous as claiming that Skyrim is the first step to making nordic supremacism mainstream, or that Mass Effect is trying to turn us all gay.

It's not just blatantly untrue considering the content of the game (that doesn't actually contain anything fetishistic, contrary to your claims), but it's even more ridiculous if you know anything about how this VN came to be.

This game was written by amateur VN fans, who thought that it woud be an interesting starting point for a story. The original 4chan thread is archived somewhere, I've read it once. Almost all the constructive comments in it were based around how non-cliché such a setup would be. At first, for some time, it was planned to be an intentionally crass VN parody, mocking the more stereotypical stories, then more competent writers appeared, and chose to write a more serious romantic drama. For some time, it was a hot debate whether or not even follow the VN tradition, and have sex scenes.

You can also read the devs blog archives. The topics were never about sex with disabled people, or even about disabilities at all, but about writing, and about the state of VNs as an art form.

That's it. It was at NO POINT a sex game with some excuse plot around it. Just like in my above example, Skyrim wasn't ever a nordic propaganda piece that somehow outgrew it's frame, but an RPG first, an Elder Scrolls game second, and had a nordic setting third, Katawa Shoujo was a Visual Novel first, a romantic drama second, and an eroge third.

JesterRaiin:

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 ?

image

No, not really - his parents decide to ship him off to a school for disabled kids. Never mind he could live perfectly fine without having teams of doctors five minutes away, but then you wouldn't have a game.

Therumancer:
Don't get me wrong, this fetish isn't "new", really very little is, it's just new that it's trying to force it's way into the mainstream. Having sex with freaks and such (sex dwarves being the stereotype) being one of the big "harem stories" about decadent kings, nobles, and rich merchants.

It's an especially unfortunate kind of irony that Katawa Shoujo focuses entirely on treating the characters as ordinary people with ordinary hopes, dreams and failings; and it's the people who will never play it who insist that does nothing but fetishize "freaks."

People only seem to be bringing up the word "fetishizing" because they hear the game has sex. This is the part I don't understand. It's a visual novel of the romance genre. I think we can all agree sex is a pretty important part of romance, yes? So naturally, the vast majority of romance fiction involves sex.

But you change the characters ever so slightly, and then all of a sudden you're fetishizing a certain group? As if they aren't legitimately allowed to enjoy the full spectrum of romance without the thought that thousands of creeps are wanking it to the thought of this particular quirk? How should one go about portraying love between people with varying disabilities? No sex? The implications of that are probably worse.

I hate to play the race card, but say each of the girls was of a different nationality. Does that mean they're fetishizing race? If they all went to Harvard, are you now fetishizing intelligence? "Fetish" is treated like a dirty word because it's associated with the darker side of sex: rough S&M, weird cosplay, fill in your favourite weird one, etc.; when really it just means "thing that you like."

This is a weird argument you're trying to make; a lot of people seem to be desperate to convince themselves that only a filthy pervert could appreciate this sort of thing. Like they're trying so very hard to find elements of the obscene so they can write it off without thinking, because if there's one thing you learn on the internet, it's that the last thing anyone would ever want is to change their minds.

Therumancer:
...
In this case however the visual novel isn't trying to be gross about it, it seems mostly to try and legitmize a specific fetish, casting it in the light of a pretty much "by the numbers" romance where the deformed or crippled girls are all cute (allowing for the stylized artwork), and the plotline by all accounts seems to reek of normality for the sake of trying to sell the subject matter.

Have you played the thing?

I haven't - slice-of-life stories in mundane settings not being of much interest to me - but the feedback from the people who have, far too numerous to all be into a fetish as niche as amputee porn, seem to overwhelmingly be that the sex is a minor part used largely for story purposes (as "The Un-sexy Dating Game" would also imply), and that it seeks to underline not that they are deliciously mutilated cripples, but pretty much ordinary teenagers doing ordinary teenage stuff.

Fetishistic fap material is ultimately fetishistic fap material. So if this game was such, then it wouldn't convert people to enjoy some obscure fetish, as little as Mass Effect 3 is going to turn anyone gay. That it has actually succeeded in gathered a following is a rather solid indicator that it's not to any noticeable degree about amputee sex, but about more general themes ordinary young people can relate to.

And seriously, these young amateur game designers have really over-thought things if they've purposely released a niche game in order to gradually and covertly try and sway public opinion on an obscure fetish. To put it mildly, that seems a rather dubious motive to assign to them, instead of the more basic assumption that they're simply a bunch of people who wished to release a shout-out to Japanese slice-of-life eroge, with some ever so clean shaven message of how the disabled are people like everyone else as the thing it revolves around.

...
I'll be blunt, other than being a bit creepy, I can't say I see anything especially wrong with this, however I *DO* suspect that we're going to see this snowball into some incredibly depraved stuff. Whenever a taboo/fetish starts to appear on the market for the first time, it's done slowly to see normal and as natural and positive as possible, and then starts to increasingly go off the deep end as the mask slips. The general acceptance of this work is probably going to start a snowball rolling where within a decade we're going to see manga/hentai/etc... that makes the descriptions in the above Edward Lee story seem tame in comparison. By all accounts there isn't much graphic sex in this graphic novel, but how long is it going to take before we start seeing how people can use specific deformities sexually or find was to force themselves on those deformities...

This isn't a commercial product, so it's hardly going to affect "the market" much. And to call it "mainstream" is probably a bit of a stretch too, it's received uncommon exposure for a VN, but that doesn't exactly bring it into AAA territory.

That aside, I can't see why you'd be concerned by people watching animated pornography of any sort, much less how it's any of your concern. Not that I believe people not already so inclined are suddenly going to find the limbless unbearably attractive after playing a few games, but if they did, so what?

It's a speculative slippery slope argument, with as little actual basis for it as when it was wheeled out back when homosexuality became socially acceptable. And the idea that this game has some sort of cultural agenda to make amputee porn mainstream behind it is quite far-fetched to begin with.

1. If you're criticizing it without playing it, then anything you write about it is wrong, because they anticipated your reactions, and went in an entirely different direction in order to mock you. You make a predictable target when your cards are on the table.

2. You can completely censor the naughty parts in the options menu, at which the game will respond by replacing all the pictures with peaceful images of a chinchilla and some cantaloupes.

I don't think it's a bad game, I suppose it met my expectations, but I also play a lot of VNs and this one is rather mundane and run-of-the-mill in comparison to everything else.

But I can see how it would be groundbreaking in terms of western video games, where there is no such thing as a visual novels and romance-centric games in the mainstream, Catherine being a notable recent exception, but also a product of the huge visual novel industry in Japan.

It might help that it was actually written originally in English (where most VNs have so-so English translations of so-so Japanese writing) and has an interesting story behind it in the sense that it was made for free over the course of 5 years.

However, it is hardly groundbreaking. The only people who feel like that or those who have never played a visual novel before, and as such are unfamiliar with the kind of romantic stories they tend to tell: explorations of nonconventional and occasionally conventional relationships that culminate in some kind of sex if you do everything right with a multitude of endings.

In comparison, the only thing Katawa Shoujo does differently are the fact that the characters all have disabilities, but of course it still follows the hollywood rules of only showing the appealing or interesting disabilities as opposed to a girl in a wheelchair or with something more common like Cerebral Palsy. To be fair, they didn't even come up with the characters, but it's hard to claim that it's a "realistic" portrayal of such situations either.

Therumancer:

Abedeus:
As a person who takes... several pills a day (allergy, asthma and hypertension), I can somehow relate to the main character of the game.

Started playing it today, although I've been meaning to do it for a while.

Grey Day for Elcia:
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.

Big boobs - BAAAD UNREALISTIC PERVERTS!!!
Small boobs - PEDOPHILES BOOOOO!!! PERVERTS!!!

Also I like how you simplified someone who's been through something traumatic as "having arms erased". Yeah, those cancer survivors totally are in it for the pity.

While I agree with you about the laughable contridictory arguements about the breasts, I can say I agree with Elcia on the arms to an extent. The thing is that these girls look nothing like a "cancer survivor" or anything of the sort. It's pure fetish material about the crippled/deformed, and there is no real way around that. I went into that in another post I wrote on this thread. Another fetish/deviation being worked into the mainstream.

Basically if your arms-less girl looked like a cancer survivor or whatever, this really wouldn't work as ultra-soft core fap material. Plus the idea is that it's one of the first mainstream works of it's kind, so the guys doing it probably want to draw people in. What seems fairly "innocent" now, is probably going to snowball into some very disturbing stuff becoming more availible in the relative mainstream than ever before as this catches on.

Problem is, if you played the game, you'd know that it's freaking good and it tells us to treat people as they are. Trying to look past the "no arms/legs/blind/deaf and mute/scarred" things. It's as anti-fetishist as it gets - you are to judge people and their characters based on their words and actions, not appearance. Even the protagonist has problems with this when starting his life in new school.

Second paragraph is a big and very ignorant "slipperly slope", which is very akin to "FIRST YOU LET BLACK PEOPLE MARRY, THEN ANIMALS!". Whoops, I mean "FIRST YOU LET GAY PEOPLE MARRY, THEN CHILDREN!". Then again, the only difference between those arguments is that one was used few decades ago and nobody thinks like that anymore. Doesn't make the second one any more valid. They're both huge assumptions based on misinformation, prejudice and biased opinions.

Alterego-X:
[

That conspiracy theory sounds about as ridiculous as claiming that Skyrim is the first step to making nordic supremacism mainstream, or that Mass Effect is trying to turn us all gay.

It's not just blatantly untrue considering the content of the game (that doesn't actually contain anything fetishistic, contrary to your claims), but it's even more ridiculous if you know anything about how this VN came to be.

This game was written by amateur VN fans, who thought that it woud be an interesting starting point for a story. The original 4chan thread is archived somewhere, I've read it once. Almost all the constructive comments in it were based around how non-cliché such a setup would be. At first, for some time, it was planned to be an intentionally crass VN parody, mocking the more stereotypical stories, then more competent writers appeared, and chose to write a more serious romantic drama. For some time, it was a hot debate whether or not even follow the VN tradition, and have sex scenes.

You can also read the devs blog archives. The topics were never about sex with disabled people, or even about disabilities at all, but about writing, and about the state of VNs as an art form.

That's it. It was at NO POINT a sex game with some excuse plot around it. Just like in my above example, Skyrim wasn't ever a nordic propaganda piece that somehow outgrew it's frame, but an RPG first, an Elder Scrolls game second, and had a nordic setting third, Katawa Shoujo was a Visual Novel first, a romantic drama second, and an eroge third.

Multiple people seem to have said the same basic thing, so I'll respond to it all here since you wrote the first response.

In short, read what I actually wrote. The point isn't so much that this product in paticular is especially obscene, but the trend it's trying to start. Nobody is saying it's out to mind control the mainstream into becoming interested in this kind of thing, so much as it is to establish a prescence for this kind of thing to be accepted so it can creep into the mainstream.

It's sort of like scat porn, or golden showers. While it was always out there, it started out low key, with barely any prescence in the media that was perpetuating it. Then once it's existance became accepted the intensity increased, and it became difficult for anyone to say "this shouldn't be out there on the porn shelves" because it had already been there so long. This doesn't mean everyone got into it, simply that it became an accepted part of the market through gradual introduction, which made initial defenses... which are very similar to what your saying here, very easy and provided material for later defense.

I myself said this was ultra-soft core (as some people seem to have missed), the point I'm making is about the trend. I also made my predictions about where this is going based on a number of years.

Interestingly I wasn't even especially judgemental about it, I more or less just said "this is the way it is, and where it's going" since I've seen it all before on other fronts.

Also trying to declare anything someone says that you don't like is a "conspiricy" is ridiculous, and tempts me to just ignore what that person has to say. Especially when your talking about things like marketing, or a small group of people trying to break through with niche products, or promote certain alternative lifestyles. In general a real "conspiricy theory" has to operate on a much higher level and wouldn't have such a transparent motive.

A real conspiricy theory is more along the lines of saying that efforts are being made to cover up Princess Di's death and the specific details thereof. It by definition grows to include thousands of people but can be usually traced back to a handfull of ringleaders, and typically involves more questions than answers, such as why someone would bother to begin with. It's just like alien cover up conspiricies, any justification from "public panic" or whatever is ultimatly pretty weak.

In this case, getting a kink accepted to the point of being able to walk into the local adult shop and buy videos is a pretty straightforward motivation, and analogies can be drawn to how people into fetishistic behaviors have done the same thing in the past. It both has a focused goal, and a very limited actual effect, and really just has to involve people who are into that kink, which deals with the whole question of "why are they involved".

Or in short, you, and others, are projecting a lot more onto this than what I've actually said.

I thought one way "Katawa Shoujo" could have solved its lack of core mechanics was mimicking a graphical adventure game like "Monkey Island" or "Day of the Tentacle." However, I think these genres (visual novel and graphical adventure) have a lot of similarities: They both emphasize dialog puzzles, emphasize story and writing, have fixed avatars/characters, and (albeit rare for visual novels) have inventory management. Though that just makes me question why graphical adventure games never got picked up in Japan like they did in North America (but this is going off-topic).

While I like this visual novel and found the writing fun, I don't know if I would say it was "immersive" as a game--more like a book. I never felt like I was Hisao in the game (and considering some of the things he does in the game--outside of my choices--I'd rather not as he comes off as a jerk in my view), probably because it was Hisao narrating to the player on the events of the game. A book would feel more immersive as I could use my imagination along with the concrete images the author uses to "draw" the scene in my head. But, considering visual novels rely a lot on dialog, little concrete images, and sprite-dolls of the characters, it doesn't feel as lively like Yahtzee's "Mogworld" or Feist's Rift-War books.

Therumancer:
The point isn't so much that this product in paticular is especially obscene, but the trend it's trying to start. Nobody is saying it's out to mind control the mainstream into becoming interested in this kind of thing, so much as it is to establish a prescence for this kind of thing to be accepted so it can creep into the mainstream.

What, you mean... tolerance? That disabled people are just people?
God that's a terrifying thought.

Abedeus:

Therumancer:

Abedeus:
As a person who takes... several pills a day (allergy, asthma and hypertension), I can somehow relate to the main character of the game.

Started playing it today, although I've been meaning to do it for a while.

Big boobs - BAAAD UNREALISTIC PERVERTS!!!
Small boobs - PEDOPHILES BOOOOO!!! PERVERTS!!!

Also I like how you simplified someone who's been through something traumatic as "having arms erased". Yeah, those cancer survivors totally are in it for the pity.

While I agree with you about the laughable contridictory arguements about the breasts, I can say I agree with Elcia on the arms to an extent. The thing is that these girls look nothing like a "cancer survivor" or anything of the sort. It's pure fetish material about the crippled/deformed, and there is no real way around that. I went into that in another post I wrote on this thread. Another fetish/deviation being worked into the mainstream.

Basically if your arms-less girl looked like a cancer survivor or whatever, this really wouldn't work as ultra-soft core fap material. Plus the idea is that it's one of the first mainstream works of it's kind, so the guys doing it probably want to draw people in. What seems fairly "innocent" now, is probably going to snowball into some very disturbing stuff becoming more availible in the relative mainstream than ever before as this catches on.

Problem is, if you played the game, you'd know that it's freaking good and it tells us to treat people as they are. Trying to look past the "no arms/legs/blind/deaf and mute/scarred" things. It's as anti-fetishist as it gets - you are to judge people and their characters based on their words and actions, not appearance. Even the protagonist has problems with this when starting his life in new school.

Second paragraph is a big and very ignorant "slipperly slope", which is very akin to "FIRST YOU LET BLACK PEOPLE MARRY, THEN ANIMALS!". Whoops, I mean "FIRST YOU LET GAY PEOPLE MARRY, THEN CHILDREN!". Then again, the only difference between those arguments is that one was used few decades ago and nobody thinks like that anymore. Doesn't make the second one any more valid. They're both huge assumptions based on misinformation, prejudice and biased opinions.

Incorrect actually because unlike animals or children your dealing with a group of people that while disabled can make their own desicians... or at least in most cases. There is nothing paticularly illegal inherant in this fetish in of itself, nothing prevents you from having sex with a girl with no arms or other deformities assuming you are both of the age of consent... unlike children OR animals.

It's an odd enough fetish however, that it's one not catered to by the mainstream. If you go into your local adult store, or an adult video website, and try and find say Amputee porn, your not only not going to find any, but probably be treated rather harshly. Sort of like golden showers or scat a few decades ago.

The point here is that by starting out this way, and moving very slowly from the ultra-soft core stuff, they can establish a prescence before they really get the hardcore stuff out there, that the audience who generally supports a title like this wants.

What's more, just about all "porn" has a plot of sorts, and some kind of a message. The reason being is that actual "porn" is illegal, most of what we call porn is actually just "adult entertainment material". Something deemed to be obscene and without redeeming value can be banned, but by adding a plotline or "message" as superficial as it might be, the guys making the material can justify it's existance and avoid having it banned if it was ever reviewed.... in short, it's really a "non defense" in of itself, though it doesn't really matter here because I'm not attacking the game per se.

As I said, wait a decade or so, and then look at where we sit, if you follow it you'll probably be able to trace the rise back to this product.

I have mixed opinions about this kind of thing because over a period of time I imagine the deformities involved are going to get more extreme, and when it comes to crippled, disabled, and deformed people there are already questions about their abillity to consent to certain things even if their mind technically functions fine. Not to mention what a rising market like this might do to tempt caregivers and such, especially given a lot of the dubious
things that already happen within the porn industry.

All I can say is watch and see, as sad as it is, I might even be here on these forums to say "I told you so" yet again when it comes to societal predictions.

In the end though, since there is nothing nessicarly illegal about this, I very much doubt anything will stop it on that end.

Therumancer:

Abedeus:

Therumancer:

While I agree with you about the laughable contridictory arguements about the breasts, I can say I agree with Elcia on the arms to an extent. The thing is that these girls look nothing like a "cancer survivor" or anything of the sort. It's pure fetish material about the crippled/deformed, and there is no real way around that. I went into that in another post I wrote on this thread. Another fetish/deviation being worked into the mainstream.

Basically if your arms-less girl looked like a cancer survivor or whatever, this really wouldn't work as ultra-soft core fap material. Plus the idea is that it's one of the first mainstream works of it's kind, so the guys doing it probably want to draw people in. What seems fairly "innocent" now, is probably going to snowball into some very disturbing stuff becoming more availible in the relative mainstream than ever before as this catches on.

Problem is, if you played the game, you'd know that it's freaking good and it tells us to treat people as they are. Trying to look past the "no arms/legs/blind/deaf and mute/scarred" things. It's as anti-fetishist as it gets - you are to judge people and their characters based on their words and actions, not appearance. Even the protagonist has problems with this when starting his life in new school.

Second paragraph is a big and very ignorant "slipperly slope", which is very akin to "FIRST YOU LET BLACK PEOPLE MARRY, THEN ANIMALS!". Whoops, I mean "FIRST YOU LET GAY PEOPLE MARRY, THEN CHILDREN!". Then again, the only difference between those arguments is that one was used few decades ago and nobody thinks like that anymore. Doesn't make the second one any more valid. They're both huge assumptions based on misinformation, prejudice and biased opinions.

Incorrect actually because unlike animals or children your dealing with a group of people that while disabled can make their own desicians... or at least in most cases. There is nothing paticularly illegal inherant in this fetish in of itself, nothing prevents you from having sex with a girl with no arms or other deformities assuming you are both of the age of consent... unlike children OR animals.

It's an odd enough fetish however, that it's one not catered to by the mainstream. If you go into your local adult store, or an adult video website, and try and find say Amputee porn, your not only not going to find any, but probably be treated rather harshly. Sort of like golden showers or scat a few decades ago.

The point here is that by starting out this way, and moving very slowly from the ultra-soft core stuff, they can establish a prescence before they really get the hardcore stuff out there, that the audience who generally supports a title like this wants.

What's more, just about all "porn" has a plot of sorts, and some kind of a message. The reason being is that actual "porn" is illegal, most of what we call porn is actually just "adult entertainment material". Something deemed to be obscene and without redeeming value can be banned, but by adding a plotline or "message" as superficial as it might be, the guys making the material can justify it's existance and avoid having it banned if it was ever reviewed.... in short, it's really a "non defense" in of itself, though it doesn't really matter here because I'm not attacking the game per se.

As I said, wait a decade or so, and then look at where we sit, if you follow it you'll probably be able to trace the rise back to this product.

I have mixed opinions about this kind of thing because over a period of time I imagine the deformities involved are going to get more extreme, and when it comes to crippled, disabled, and deformed people there are already questions about their abillity to consent to certain things even if their mind technically functions fine. Not to mention what a rising market like this might do to tempt caregivers and such, especially given a lot of the dubious
things that already happen within the porn industry.

All I can say is watch and see, as sad as it is, I might even be here on these forums to say "I told you so" yet again when it comes to societal predictions.

In the end though, since there is nothing nessicarly illegal about this, I very much doubt anything will stop it on that end.

I'm sure people will be marrying animals if we allow gay people get married, too.

Just wait 20 years! Mark my words, this is bound to happen! It's an unnatural fetish, you allow this, you allow everything! And one day, people will be marrying inanimate carbon rods!

I think you are REALLY oversimplifying the game and issues it rises. To be honest, I've been playing the game for almost 3 hours now, and the most sexual scene I've encountered was the blind girl touching protagonist's face in a non-aggressive and non-sexual way. And holding his wrist to walk around the shop.

HUMAN SOCIETY AS WE KNOW IT WILL COLLAPSE!! THE END IS NIGH!! IT WON'T STOP TILL EVERYONE WILL MARRY EVERYTHING AT BIRTH!

Loop Stricken:

Therumancer:
The point isn't so much that this product in paticular is especially obscene, but the trend it's trying to start. Nobody is saying it's out to mind control the mainstream into becoming interested in this kind of thing, so much as it is to establish a prescence for this kind of thing to be accepted so it can creep into the mainstream.

What, you mean... tolerance? That disabled people are just people?
God that's a terrifying thought.

Preposterous. Next you'll suggest we try to look past their disabilities and treat them like everyone else.

You're just a sick fetishist... with a fetish for being tolerant!!!

Alterego-X:

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.

Name me some then. I have a interest in the genre, but I've never looked much into it and don't really know where to even start. Mostly because I need it to be in english or I won't understand it.

Captcha: gone fishing
I hate fishing! D:

Abedeus:

Loop Stricken:

Therumancer:
The point isn't so much that this product in paticular is especially obscene, but the trend it's trying to start. Nobody is saying it's out to mind control the mainstream into becoming interested in this kind of thing, so much as it is to establish a prescence for this kind of thing to be accepted so it can creep into the mainstream.

What, you mean... tolerance? That disabled people are just people?
God that's a terrifying thought.

Preposterous. Next you'll suggest we try to look past their disabilities and treat them like everyone else.

You're just a sick fetishist... with a fetish for being tolerant!!!

Ponies too. It's odd that playing this game and watching the ponies has pretty much annihilated my old anger management issues.

But that's not the place for this! I've been bad! I need to be punished!

... you know that really funny image of Hanako giving Hisao that letter saying she should be spanked? Well I've got about 25 tabs open here trying to find it, and I cannot. So just imagine I put that here, and laugh at my wittiness.

Halyah:

Alterego-X:

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.

Name me some then. I have a interest in the genre, but I've never looked much into it and don't really know where to even start. Mostly because I need it to be in english or I won't understand it.

Captcha: gone fishing
I hate fishing! D:

Quick ref guide to good VNs:
[Edit: pic uploaded too small, just posting a few from the list]
Yume Miru Kusuri - Quite similar to KS, including the protagonist being a ponce
Ever-17
Fate/Stay Night
Planetarian
Saya No Uta

Also good:

http://narcissu.insani.org/
http://cradle-song.com/ - Only a preview out atm

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