Disabled Girl Dating Sim Katawa Shoujo Finally Available

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Xiado:
4 Leaf studios? So basically this game was developed by 4chan, and it is exactly the kind of thing I would expect to see from them that doesn't involve appallingly illegal pornography. That being said, kudos for making something original.

No, the original idea for the game was brought up on 4chan and the team name reflects that, but the devs themselves aren't actually 4chan regulars.

I really like it, the story makes sense, and the dialogue is spot on. For personal reasons this game really hits home with me.

The comments on this are alternating between sickeningly depressing and cheerily optimistic.

It's either "I've played this and I think it's pretty right on" or "I have no idea what's going on but I'm gonna judge it anyway." Isn't that everything KS is trying to go against? Stereotyping, making assumptions about things you have yet to experience, jumping to conclusions without any evidence whatsoever. That kind of stuff.

Stop it.

Just judging by the sheer number of people "blaming" this on Japan, it makes me more than a little sad. Some people just don't want to read the article before throwing their opinion on the pile. This is a game based entirely around getting to know [people] as the people they are, instead of what your perceptions of them might me. And here we have people judging the game itself on their own perceptions, without bothering to see for themselves what it might actually be.

rhodo:
You guys have no idea how the way you defend dating syms by stressing on calling them "visual novels" has me utterly amused. Well, I also pity you a bit, but I'm mostly amused. XD

Date away

...though I suppose the lack of any romance whatsoever in that visual novel might pose a slight hindrance in that regard.

As for Katawa Shoujo, it does seem to have some fairly pronounced dating sim elements to it (as do several other visual novels). I for one don't see how that's bad, when the general opinion of the people who've actually played it so far seem to be that it's a good game with a worthwhile story.

Or do games featuring girls and romance have cooties?

image

*edit: I think the idea is brilliant, just thought this meme image might draw a laugh or two.

Don't be a dick: The Game

Wow. I don't post here for months, MONTHS, and THIS THREAD is what it takes for me to post again.

I finished the game in two days. I was so sunk into the story that I blew over 8 hours into it the first day, and ended up dating Emi who I would have completely forgotten didn't have legs if it didn't keep coming up, and if Hisao wasn't a massive derp and didn't connect a blatant plot element before it was spelled out to him.
The game is spectacular, and I'm legitimately disappointed by every single person here whose written it off as some porn riddled sex simulator WITH CRIPPLES.
The writing trumps most professional games. The characters and interactions are unique and compelling. The soundtrack is top of the line. The art is beautiful. I could go on about how I feel about this game after one route (actually two, but one was technically a bad end) but I won't, because I'm in a hurry to get out with my boyfriend. Everyone who thinks this game isn't worth it, play it. Now. I'll wait.

While I won't judge the game without playing it, the concept does make me feel a little off. The idea of a dating sim "but with disabled girls!" does indeed seem like blatant fetishisation (which is objectifying and more than a little creepy), and while disabled people definetly don't get enough representation in games, the way to fix that isn't to make a special section of games for disabled people (or in this case, games for people who fancy disabled people), instead it's just to make games which happen to have disabled people in them

However, as I said, I haven't played this game (but I do fully intend to, seeing as it's free), but those are my initial thoughts going into it.

I do hope to be proved wrong.

After playing it for a while (a lil into act 2 or 3ish...) I found that it is mostly just a novel, with the occational choice. I know the words 'dating sim' and 'visual novel' are thrown around a lot more here than anywhere else, but all I can think of is a 'Choose your adventure' book, honestly. You read a long bit, then a choice appears, choose one turn to page 34 choose the other turn to page 65.

Honestly if people are that worried about sexual content, there is a 'disable adult content' button, and as far as I've been playing it there hasnt been so much as a blatant pantyshot or even an unbuttoned shirt, it seems to be all story till the end when 'romance ensues.' Most of this game seems to be the main character dealing with his position and introspection of how the others carry themselves along with their individual situations.

I'll probably comment again upon finishing my first playthrough, and again none of this is ment to be arguementative, but informative.

rhodo:
You guys have no idea how the way you defend dating syms by stressing on calling them "visual novels" has me utterly amused. Well, I also pity you a bit, but I'm mostly amused. XD

It's a matter of terminology rather than any attempt to "defend" the game.

It's a visual novel because it is equivalent to reading an elaborate picture book. Gameplay equates to "read, read, read some more, read, choose a or b, read, read, and then read again". It's rather difficult to call it a "game" at all.

A dating sim is a bit more complex. The ones I've seen tend to play out like RPG's with stats and levels and traveling to locations and whatnot.

Or you could just ignore everything I say like some kind of deranged misogynistic harry potter lookalike.

Imperator_DK:
snip

Alterego-X:
return of the snip

Okay, I'll bite. I suppose if it's free I've got nothing to lose giving it a try.

EDIT: (Been 'playing' a couple of hours and enjoying it so far, the characters make sense to me, the protagonist seems to be reacting in just the way I'd expect being introduced to this environment. So yeah, I think they're handling it pretty well, so far at least.)

Mr.K.:

uzo:
Mind you, I lived in Japan for 7 yrs and read/write/speak the lingo fluently. My wife is constantly embarrassed as - when she visits family back in Osaka - I ask her to run down to Den Den Town and pick me up some random 'renai' sims.

I doubt it's embarrassment she feels when her husband is drawn to romancing cartoon characters while she struggles to get some attention...
While I am joking, this could quite possibly be true.

OT: This is just such a Japanese thing, people are so constrained and distanced from each other that they only see real prospects of a social life in dating sims.
Also comes in handy with boring relationships :P

Heh, yeah I hear ya lol. I actually play them to keep up my J-skills. You get spoken dialogue plus text (in Japanese of course) at full, natural speed. Plus, it deals with regular every day stuff. I tried keeping my Japanese up to date playing Shinsangokumusou (Dynasty Warriors) but there's only so many times in your life you need to scream in Japanese "The enemy are taking the flag!!!"

Brain_Cleanser:
WI finished the game in two days. I was so sunk into the story that I blew over 8 hours into it the first day, and ended up dating Emi who I would have completely forgotten didn't have legs if it didn't keep coming up, and if Hisao wasn't a massive derp and didn't connect a blatant plot element before it was spelled out to him.
The game is spectacular, and I'm legitimately disappointed by every single person here whose written it off as some porn riddled sex simulator WITH CRIPPLES.
The writing trumps most professional games. The characters and interactions are unique and compelling. The soundtrack is top of the line. The art is beautiful. I could go on about how I feel about this game after one route (actually two, but one was technically a bad end) but I won't, because I'm in a hurry to get out with my boyfriend. Everyone who thinks this game isn't worth it, play it. Now. I'll wait.

This. This is exactly my opinion.

I too went with Emi (I have no idea how, I just ended up there), stopped thinking about she being... legless, didn't care at all about the sex-scenes seeing as they were pretty much as erotic as the sex in The Sims games and yeah, I got kind of pissed at Hisao for not understanding that one thing I understood after about 5 scenes with Emi.

I think it all came down to the fact that my ex lost her dad while we were together and therefore this story kind of got me attached really easily, and to be honest I actually found myself getting sad after hearing Emi's story, which I don't recall happening in any game before.

So yeah, this game is really good, unless you came for the "bisarre sex-fetishes" part of it, since there pretty much is none. Or well, I've only done one story, so I can't judge anything about the rest.

Meh. I can't stand the art style and the premise doesn't sound interesting to me at all. I'd rather skip it myself. As to opinions on the game regardless of me not playing it the game doesn't really matter to me. All sorts of games exist so why not this one? Doesn't hurt anything and the message isn't too bad I guess. Still seems kind of weird to me that all these types of disabilities are sent off to a single specialized school. If there are that many types of disabilities then it's usually a normal school setting. Seriously, my high school had kids with most of these disabilities. Except for the short limbs thing.

Triality:

Beautiful End:

...And I still feel like the lead guy has no business at that school. There's girl with no legs, scarred girl, blind girl, mute girl, hyperactive/dumb (?) girl, guy with cane, girl with no hand and...guy who suffered a heart attack once and suffers from a condition that doesn't really come into play except once or twice. :/

While I was lurking 4LS forums a bit after the demo release back in 2009, one of the developers elaborated that the hero's heart condition was Low QT Syndrome.

Wiki it. It's fucking scary.

It is the inner demon he has to wrestle with after living a healthy life for 17-18 years, but now can't so much as break into a mad dash or be surprised by a prank... or make love, without being afraid of death at any moment, and he likely won't live nearly as long as anyone else. That's a pretty damn powerful "monster" he has to overcome.

Oh, I heard about that. I was actually looking at the Katawa Shoujo forums myself and there was a guy there who had the same disability. Now, I don't know how much of this is true, but he said that Hizuo's recovery time shouldn't have been that long despite what happened to him. It is also kinda weird that they operated on him when all he had was some sort of heart attack...unless they put something in him that was never mentioned.

Also, his disability isn't as bad since towards the end of the game, he learns to conquer it and it only comes into play like once or twice. The rest just feels like they need to mention it to remind everyone why he's there. His condition, if I understood correctly, doesn't go past being careful not to overdo himself. What he suffered was an extreme. Heck, if I read correctly, I might have the same problem myself, except not as bad. But it's not something that should be life changing. I just think they should have given him some sort of treatment/therapy before being all "Out of that hospital bed and off to school now!".

The only time it became serious during my playthrough was when...

I don't know. I get that he had a serious heart condition. But still, he's Superman compared to the other girls there...and he obviously has no problem with sex. But I digress. >_>;

White_Lama:
I too went with Emi (I have no idea how, I just ended up there)

Right?! I was shooting for Lilly or...the girl that can't speak whose mane I can't remember right now, and BOOM! Next thing I knew, I was paired up with her. But it's fine now; I actually agree with the whole thing about the great script and the way the story is handled.

And yes, Hizao is just a big derp for not getting her family situation. I don't even think he got it until the moment she...took him to see her dad.

I ended up giving this VN a go out of recommendation.

I managed to get myself onto Rin's path and got the good ending for it and christ, it was one of the most emotionally/mentally draining things I have ever experienced.
Even days after post reflection I still cannot work out what I felt afterwards. Happy? Sad? I truly cannot place it, but it was definitely a feeling that no game has made me experience.

It's astonishing to me that something like this had such a profound impact on me, some of Rin's scenes were so heart wrenching difficult to sit through and I genuinely feel like the experience as a whole has made me start to seriously re-evaluate some of the aspects of my life.

I've gotten a fair laugh out of the people who've dismissed this VN as some sort of disgusting fetish fuel without even giving it a fair chance first. Sure, there's a couple H scenes but honestly? They're more to be taken as a scene of intimacy written in a book, that is, furthered development of the relationship between the two characters and it's a bit of a let down that people refuse to think about that.

Katawa Shoujo was probably one of the most emotionally rewarding things I've played for quite some time, so I say bravo Four Leaf Studios for making a VN about such a controversial topic and handling it in such a tasteful manner.

I downloaded it and I'm going to play it soon. But really, shame on those who automatically say that there's something wrong with this game specifically. To say it bluntly, art forms should be pushing the bounds of society.

For people who criticize this before even giving it a chance, it sounds more like you don't want stories to feature disabled characters. It's fine to be prejudice against certain groups of people, if that's how you truly feel, but don't hide the hate by saying you're "doing this for justice or good, etc." Ugh.

Beautiful End:

I don't know. I get that he had a serious heart condition. But still, he's Superman compared to the other girls there...and he obviously has no problem with sex. But I digress. >_>;
.

You would get this impression if you only played Emi's route. Lilly's route (which is the most polished of the routes - it's the only one with a post-credit ending) has Hisao's heart problems giving him major problems three times. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD

Speaking of the Lilly route, while Hanako's route is my personal favorite, Lilly's route is IMHO the most romantic of the routes. It's the route that gives you warm and fuzzy feelings (shorthanded to WAFF for the uninitiated) that linger long after you finish the route. And if you get the Good End... the way the entire thing was set up glued an ear-splitting grin to my face that lasted for hours.

Deskimus Prime:
It's either "I've played this and I think it's pretty right on" or "I have no idea what's going on but I'm gonna judge it anyway." Isn't that everything KS is trying to go against? Stereotyping, making assumptions about things you have yet to experience, jumping to conclusions without any evidence whatsoever. That kind of stuff.

That it is. Unfortunately, for people to get the message, they have to play the game.

That said, I've seen enough people become interested enough to check it out (and, in the process, learn the ideal that drives so many of us VN fans), despite knowing little to nothing beforehand even about the genre, that I wouldn't call this situation a total "preaching to the choir" event.

Master Kuja:
I ended up giving this VN a go out of recommendation.

I managed to get myself onto Rin's path and got the good ending for it and christ, it was one of the most emotionally/mentally draining things I have ever experienced.
Even days after post reflection I still cannot work out what I felt afterwards. Happy? Sad? I truly cannot place it, but it was definitely a feeling that no game has made me experience.

It's astonishing to me that something like this had such a profound impact on me, some of Rin's scenes were so heart wrenching difficult to sit through and I genuinely feel like the experience as a whole has made me start to seriously re-evaluate some of the aspects of my life.

I can understand perfectly. That sort of experience and emotional turmoil is what cemented my interest in visual novels as a whole. There might only be a bare handful of titles with that kind of power, but they're frequently the ideal of the genre.

Granted, my first such experience was actually with a different game (A Drug That Makes You Dream...and later, Kana: Little Sister and Symphonic Rain). I'm only three in-game days into Katawa Shoujo, so far. But after hearing that praise (and what I've read in the game so far, particularly concerning Rin), I rather suspect I'll find this to be the fourth.

Im cool with this

(sorta, i dont play visual novels that much)

You know this is why i in some ways like destructoid more. Atleast in there you dont get 20 commentors pointing out about how "MORALLY WRONG AND DISCRIMINATIVE" things are.

I love sims, but maybe it's cause I'm single. I gunned for Lilly, found the ending a little cliche. Hanako's was more satisfying, Emi and Shizune somewhat out there and Rin is ... well, it's Rin. She's difficult to get. The effort of 5 years plus was there to be seen and heard. I have one friend who is currently recovering from her disability and you know what? She's independent, but yet willing to form proper and meaningful relationships, and most of the characters reflect that - although Emi takes it a little extreme.

Not mind blasting good, but not up-yours boring. A few years now I'll look back and probably run through the stories again. Good times.

I am... intrigued. Heavily. I want to play this-- I -will- play this. Thank you.

They sound like genuinely interesting characters. It should be nice getting to know them.

Ive never played or even seen any of this henti/anime stuff

but Ive played a bit and the "disabled" factor doesnt doesnt seem much of a thing at all...its just a visual novel/dating sim that happens to be set in a school for the disabled,

its got nice writing and charachters and everything...aside from the eroctiv stuff...it all seems very innocent

I mean Im assuming its erotic...havnt gotten that far

orangeban:
While I won't judge the game without playing it, the concept does make me feel a little off. The idea of a dating sim "but with disabled girls!" does indeed seem like blatant fetishisation (which is objectifying and more than a little creepy), and while disabled people definetly don't get enough representation in games, the way to fix that isn't to make a special section of games for disabled people (or in this case, games for people who fancy disabled people), instead it's just to make games which happen to have disabled people in them

However, as I said, I haven't played this game (but I do fully intend to, seeing as it's free), but those are my initial thoughts going into it.

I do hope to be proved wrong.

I'm glad that you are so open-minded about it and everything, so I don't want to sound too preachy, but here is a tricky question: If it would be a movie or a novel, would you say the same thing? Is there something inherently creepy about setting an entire movie's premise on the life of disabled people? Or a novel that is told from a disabled person's lover's perspective? After all, wouldn't that be vey objectifying, as in "regular novel, but about disabilities".

Of course not, these are the kind of stories that get a bunch of awards (at least if they don't go "full retard" :P)It is understood, that disability just happens to be the theme that the writers intended to tell. Yet with games, there is somehow this assumption that it's a gimmick, a wish-fulfillment theme.

It tells something very sad about the state of storytelling in gaming, that even us, gamers are barely more familiar with the idea of narratives that are used for the sake of storytelling, than the moral watchdogs who argue that every violent game is about simulating real violent fantasies, or that picking the terrorist side in Counter-Strike teaches you to be a terrorist.

And even among us, it's not just a stigma against dating sims. Just think about the "Killing children in Skyrim" conroversy. No one would think twice about the suggestion, that reading about characters of a fantasy novel, even a POV character, murdering children, might be morally wrong. Yet, there are several gamers that there is something "wrong" with your Dragonborn character killing children.

Nocturnal Gentleman:
Still seems kind of weird to me that all these types of disabilities are sent off to a single specialized school. If there are that many types of disabilities then it's usually a normal school setting. Seriously, my high school had kids with most of these disabilities. Except for the short limbs thing.

Actual schools like that exist. I happen to live right near a school for deaf kids. There are also mixed disability schools, just google for them. They are convinient for many purposes, like having medical staff around, specially trained PE staff who can give in therapy classes, a building with above-average accessibility tools, etc.

OmniscientOstrich:

Okay, I'll bite. I suppose if it's free I've got nothing to lose giving it a try.

EDIT: (Or I would if the download would work. >.>)

Just seach for it's torrent on any major torrent site.

I'm gonna go download this right now.

Not really interested in the game per se, it's just another thing to put in my museum of video game weirdness showcase.

Play this game. If you're playing the game for the sex scenes, its the wrong game for you. Its all done in context and frankly, me and my girlfriend did some of that when we went to college ;) . Personally I can relate to these characters well, but anyone can develop a bond with any of the girls. This is as much a game for the ladies as it s for the gents though. Its not entirely about living with a disability, that's more a case of what they are rather than who they are. Its more about trying to deal with those deep personal issues we all have and fight every day. Sexuality and drug addiction are questioned, even your own morality comes into some of your decisions, not to mention dealing with mortality because of your characters heart condition.

I love this game :p

Discuss:

Katawa Shoujo Website:

HTTP Error 503: Service Not Available

The Katawa Shoujo server seems to be crippled overloaded. Please try again later.

If you want to read the site right now, try the Coral Cached version.

You might also want to visit the blog or the forum.

For downloads, visit http://dl.katawa-shoujo.com/gold/.

I've got no arms to hug you with...

rhodo, you must be trolling. It's obvious you haven't tried it. And no, I don't care you have a collection of Visual Novels / Dating S_y_ms in your closet.

I haven't got all that far in yet, I think I'm on the day before the festival.

But so far I'm really liking the story. The characters are fleshed out and believable, and they actually draw an emotional reaction(Kenji is a pillock, Rin is hilarious and Hanako played my heart strings like a harp). The art design and music are both beautifully done as well.

I have no idea who I'll actually end up with yet though, I'm thinking Lilly or Hanako though.

P.S. I have NEVER played this type of game before, so if you're not sure because of the genre I cannot recommend trying it enough.

Downloaded this a few hours ago,and have put an hour or so into it. It is really tasteful, the people that are judging it clearly haven't given it the time of day.

There's something a little bit disturbing about this, but I'm okay with this. It's important to acknowledge that disabled girls (and guys, something the game doesn't address, although not sure if that's a good or bad thing though due to narrative) do exist. Although it's hard to tell who the core audience is. I'm tempted to say it's for those with fetishes for physically disabled women, but at the same time I'm not so sure. I'm sure it's done tastefully to the point that it's meant to appeal to a broader audience and acts as raising awareness.

Although I can't help but feel bad making nasty jokes out of this about dating a t-rex having advantages and so on....

Riobux:
There's something a little bit disturbing about this, but I'm okay with this. It's important to acknowledge that disabled girls (and guys, something the game doesn't address, although not sure if that's a good or bad thing though due to narrative) do exist. Although it's hard to tell who the core audience is. I'm tempted to say it's for those with fetishes for physically disabled women, but at the same time I'm not so sure. I'm sure it's done tastefully to the point that it's meant to appeal to a broader audience and acts as raising awareness.

The prtagonist is a male, and he is probably at least as important as the girls, if not even more so. By the description, it's easy to write him off as an audience avatar, but actually his inner monologue and attitudes drive the plot.

About the core audience: Since I followed the development from a distance for over a year, I can safely say that the core audience is simply the general Visual Novel-reading audience. The artists emerged from the Visual Novel fandom, not from the disability fetishist community.(if there is such a thing). On every forum that has a VN thread or board, this is hyped by everyone about as much, as smething like Skyrim in general gaming, as the best product of the past few months. The idea that it could have been intended as a fetishist niche game, isn't even considered, but only on outsider sites like this one.

I don't really have an issue with the concept as it is, not being terribly interested in this sort of thing, but what baffles me is how somebody thought of this first place. I mean, dating sims are a pretty obscure phenomenon and that the they were created at all is on the other side of unlikely but one about disabled people? Who thinks up this stuff?

Beautiful End:

White_Lama:
I too went with Emi (I have no idea how, I just ended up there)

Right?! I was shooting for Lilly or...the girl that can't speak whose mane I can't remember right now, and BOOM! Next thing I knew, I was paired up with her. But it's fine now; I actually agree with the whole thing about the great script and the way the story is handled.

And yes, Hizao is just a big derp for not getting her family situation. I don't even think he got it until the moment she...took him to see her dad.

I think it has something to do with the choice you get at the second day of running, to push yourself or take it easy.

At least that changed alot in my second playthrough (went for Hanako and I believe I'm on the right track, yet another sad story, darnit, next time I'll go for the deaf girl, at least she can't possibly be as sad as these two).

Alterego-X:
The prtagonist is a male, and he is probably at least as important as the girls, if not even more so. By the description, it's easy to write him off as an audience avatar, but actually his inner monologue and attitudes drive the plot.

Exactly. He's not a blank slate but a fully fleshed out character with his own arc which actually changes depending on the choices you make.

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