As a follow-up to my previous post on boys’ love games, I thought I’d dedicate this post to one of my favorite game genres: otome games. Don’t worry, I’m not done talking about BL games by any means! It’s just that a certain piece of extremely exciting otome game related news has got me rearing to talk about otome games today. If you’re too lazy to click on the link (which leads to a Video Game Writers article on the subject written by me, so shame on you), then I’ll sum it up for you: one of the most famous Japanese otome games is getting a localization (picture below), and will be released in the US for the PSP sometime during quarter one of 2012! For someone who never thought otome games would ever get translated, this is awesome news.
So, what are otome games? I’m going to be lazy and quote what I wrote in the aforementioned article: “Otome is the term most often used in Japan to refer to romance, or dating, simulation games that cater towards a female audience. In these games, you control the actions of the main character, who is always female, as she navigates through the game’s narrative, making decisions along the way that will ultimately decide which male suitor, out of a number of possible options, she will end up with at the end of the game.” If you read my BL article, the gameplay in otome games is often very similar, but the relationships that form the plot are heterosexual, rather than homosexual.
While many otome games tend towards the visual novel side of things, with lots of text and few options to change the course of the narrative, some have more simulation elements such as stat raising. The Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side games excel in that they provide more engagement than their visual novel counterparts, which is why I own not one but two of them for the DS. They also have a unique feature called “skinship” where you utilize the touch screen to interact with the various male characters–different types of touches in different locations (get your mind out of the gutter, this game is PG!) will elicit various reactions depending on the guy’s personality, which can be quite a bit of fun.
While unfortunately BL games seem to be neglected when it comes to English releases, otome games are slowly gaining ground. Besides the wonderful news that an official Japanese otome game will be getting a localization, there are a few independently-developed indie English otome games. One such game is called X-Note, and you can even try a demo of it on the site to get a feel of what to expect with otome games in general. It notably lacks voice acting, which provides much of the charm of the male suitors in Japanse otome games, but otherwise it seems like a very solid game with nice artwork, and at the very fine price point of only $15, anyone who has an interest in otome games should definitely consider checking it out. What’s even more impressive is that the game was created by a team of only two people! Wow.
|X-Note is one of only a few English otome games|
There’s a Japanese otome game available for the iPad and iPhone as well, and it includes not only an English translation but the ability to switch between the two. This one’s only $3.99, but unfortunately I don’t have an “i” anything, so I can’t give it a try. If anyone does check it out, let me know what you think!
|Heian Love for the iPhone/iPad|
I could go on and on, but I think I’ll have to leave things here for now. Atelier Rorona, my new gaming obsession, is calling me! If you have anything in particular you’d like to know about otome or BL games that you’d like me to cover in a future post, let me know in the comments!