This Game Did SOMETHING...

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This Game Did SOMETHING...

Post by Camoufrage » Wed Apr 18, 2012 2:31 am

Goddamn I love this game. It has been only about a week since I downloaded it and I've already done EVERYTHING. My life literally stopped until I could finish everyone's story. The game has such a feel to it that just tugs at my heartstrings for so many reasons.

I have a lot of trouble in my life, but being able to sit down and enjoy something as deep and enticing as this is incredible for me. It does something that normal novels just don't do for me. I'm not a pro at going deep into the reasons a game is great, BUT THIS GAME IS GREAT. The story arcs are all so interesting and the characters are so enticing... sometimes I wish these people were around in real life in my life :?. I'll be truthful this game helped me solve so many internal emotional problems. I don't even understand it, it's a simple game yet it has impacted my life more than anything else in this medium so far. The way Katawa Shoujo is written is damn good, and when people all it a "dating simulator" they are sadly mistaken. Missing out on this should NOT be an option, as it's definitely one of the greatest things to come out of the VN genre.

But it has also aroused many problems. Right after finishing I went into a state of manic thought-process (if that makes any sense) not getting out of bed for at least 6 days. My mom got worried and wouldn't stop calling, but I just didnt feel like doing anything. I just wanted to think and re-evaluate so many of the things in my life. Alas, now I have a therapist again (something I got away from YEARS ago) and am taking medication. I truly don't need it, but everyone insists and my family pesters about it. I guess they don't get it, do they :P

So yeah, the games awesome, but it put me back on meds and therapy sessions, even if I didn't want it :|. Kinda thought that was quite a story to tell, even if it doesn't look so good on paper LOL.

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Re: This Game Did SOMETHING...

Post by grey_ » Sat Apr 21, 2012 3:33 pm

It had a similar affect on most of its readers.

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Re: This Game Did SOMETHING...

Post by AdventSign » Thu Apr 26, 2012 2:21 pm

I really doubt there will be any other games like it sadly.

A lot of companies push out titles without fine tuning for money OR they have subpar writes OR they focus less on character development and more on something else (H-scenes, plot, the way it looks, etc.)
It saddens me a bit how companies that actually have the money to pull this kind of stuff off stick to the tried and true formula of VNs that have been successful in the past. Since Katawa Shoujo is not in it for money, there is little to lose if people don't like the game so they are free to experiment with it without worrying about having enough money to pay their employees.

As for the feedback? The Hanako storyline was a bit too short and could have been made longer to accommodate her character development rather than having the first two chapters focusing on getting to befriend her and trust you. The Shizune storytime was a bit confusing and required a few playthroughs in order to understand the story and her character development. It seemed a bit dragged out to me at first because it focused more on the student council duties rather than the relationship between the main character and Shizune. Things did come together nicely near the end of her storyline though and I did enjoy her character and her plot twist. I have no problems with Lilly's storyline....I enjoyed it quite a bit. Same with Emi's storyline. Rin's storyline was very unique and even though you can never really understand Rin's character, it is something many people can relate to. Doing things you feel you have to do even when you don't want to. People having high expectations. Wondering who you are. I have never found any sort of storyline such as hers executed so flawlessly even though you really can't understand her well. In the end all the writers did a good job with their story lines and it is very impressive to see how good a free game can be so well done without any money involved.

I enjoyed the art that was was simple yet effective in providing the atmosphere that was really needed for the game. Having actually pictures as backgrounds worried me at first but the backgrounds didn't stand out too much to take away from the story which is a good thing. The CGIs were good as well and were thankfully not overused.

The art and CGIs wouldn't have been as good as it is if the music was terrible or sub par. Luckily, the instrument used for most of the musical themes was an excellent choice (the piano) and the tracks were well played and were nice to listen to. A fair bit of games nowadays either focus on graphics, gameplay, music, art or the plot. Thankfully none of these really suffered and all of them were focused on equally.

The main things I enjoyed about all this though was how perfect all the character's stories came together near the end. If you took one storyline, the other characters weren't automatically discarded. I especially liked how Shizune continued to pop up from time to time depending on the girl you chose to be with. I have no idea how the team managed to tie together loose ends so easily without leaving anything out. The situations the characters face all seem very real and many people can relate to the characters regardless of what gender they are (which may be why so many people like this game). I am also pretty sure that many people can relate to the main character and how he acts as well which must have been hard to do but it was done rather well. He isn't a pervert nor a human who acts like a saint. He acts like many people in high school would act (has a sense of right and wrong but does things that are sometimes questionable) and overall I find most of his dialog very believable. The same can be said for the rest of the characters as well. All of the personality traits of the characters in this VN I can relate to the people that I have met in real life (the strict and by-the-books person, the always cheerful but deep down depressed person, the shy person who is dealing with emotional problems, the formal person who mothers other people but can still stand up for herself, and that one person who nobody can seem to understand).

The H-scenes weren't really needed because of how good the game is without them but they were there so I should mention them. The scenes were thankfully not too over the top and were not the main part of the game and in a way added to the experience of the story since it IS a high school and couples do that sort of stuff in high school (at least in Canada).

I loved the fact that you could replay scenes and that there were multiple endings and a completion percentage. This made me want to see every scene available in the game and gave it somewhat of a challenge after beating every story line. It is a nice little add on which I really didn't expect from a VN and made me want to run through each story multiple times.

It is a down to earth game where many people can relate to the characters and the way they feel. The writing/characters are realistic, the art is well done but doesn't interfere with the story, and the endings are very satisfying and not all of them are "fairy tale" endings. To me, all of these points is what makes this game near perfect (since nothing can be perfect despite what other people say).

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Re: This Game Did SOMETHING...

Post by mysterycycle » Sun May 13, 2012 10:47 pm

My comments won't really say anything more profound or amazing than anything that has already been said so far, but still I wanted to chime in and echo a lot of Camoufrage's comments. My otaku days ended in the early 90s but I've never stopped appreciating quality anime and manga (though I realize "quality" can be a highly subjective term in this context). While I'd heard of dating sims (and secretly always wanted to try one), I didn't have a proper introduction to the concept of visual novels until I bought and played "Analogue: A Hate Story" on Steam over my birthday last month. I immediately got sick afterward - just a cold, nothing serious - and so I had a lot of time on my hands while recuperating. Someone in the Steam forums suggested a VN called Katawa Shoujo, and the rest is history. While I'd still like to play other visual novels, I fear the dev team may have spoiled me for anything else out there.

I've been pretty obsessed with KS over the past two weeks; I've played through every girl's path, am now playing through Hanako's path a second time (Emi, the girl I unexpectedly but happily ended up with on my first playthrough, will be next), and have KS wallpaper on my laptop. I'm amazed at how these fictional anime characters have become so real in my head, and I'm a little sad to face the fact that I don't get to see these new friends and interact with them every day in real life.

That in itself, I think, is a marvelous feat, and one which I aspire to achieve in my own writing. But even more than that, I think I can safely say that KS has affected me in a positive way. It has made me stop and consider my life as I've lived it - or allowed it to just happen to me - over the past decade or so. I've been through depression and even contemplating suicide because of events in my life, from romantic heartbreak that I never got over to extended unemployment. I've had an expensive art school education that I'm going to be paying off for the next few decades, but I haven't summoned the will to actually do anything with it after my first few rejections. And I've watched myself get fatter and more out of shape with each passing year, feeling awful about it but never taking any steps to change things.

I can't credit KS with every positive change in my attitude and outlook right now (my Christian faith has always given me guidance and hope, and therapy has also helped me to reassess the way that I've been thinking about the things that depress me and to find ways of dealing with it), I can say that playing it has helped me to make some of the changes I've been needing to make for a long time. I've changed my eating habits so that I can start losing weight, and I'm making plans to start exercising regularly - including running, of all things - thanks to Emi's influence, and being able to vicariously experience Hisao's improving health as a result of it. I've started looking more closely at the relationships I have with my friends and family in real life, and I think I've been trying to be more thoughtful and considerate about them thanks to Lilly's example and Hanako's experiences. Rin has made me want to be more passionate about my artwork, and Shizune...well, I don't know that Shizune has made me change at all, but Misha has made me think more about how difficult some people have things, and hopefully will inspire me to be more compassionate. Most of Hisao's possible paths have made me want to start being more deliberate about how I live my life, and to make plans about my future, which I've felt has been on hold for the past four years. And then, of course, there's the obvious - while I had always known intellectually that disabled people are still people and should be treated with the same dignity and respect that you would give anyone else...but are also just people, and don't need or necessarily want to be put up on a pedestal either, KS made the same argument through my heart.

On a somewhat related but still tangential subject (mainly since AdventSign brought it up), I don't usually care for H-scenes in my entertainment, either. I played through KS the first time without realizing that they would be in the game - so yeah, a bit of a shock - but after completing it the first time, I realized I didn't want to use the option to skip those scenes, because they were so integral to the story and the development of the characters. It is far too rare to see sex scenes that aren't gratuitous fanservice or Hollywood-style idealized throwaway scenes that could be replaced with fade-to-black without affecting the story. "Mature" entertainment is often anything but, to my mind, but KS handled those scenes with such realism and maturity that I think the game would actually suffer without their inclusion. Congratulations are in order.

So, thank you, dev team for Katawa Shoujo. It has a special place in my heart.
You are not alone, and you are not strange. You are you, and everyone has damage. Be the better person.
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Re: This Game Did SOMETHING...

Post by gekiganwing » Sat Jun 16, 2012 9:11 am

Camoufrage wrote:The way Katawa Shoujo is written is damn good, and when people all it a "dating simulator" they are sadly mistaken.
KS does not include statistics, schedule management, or other simulation-style game mechanics.
AdventSign wrote:I really doubt there will be any other games like it sadly. A lot of companies push out titles without fine tuning for money OR they have subpar writes OR they focus less on character development and more on something else (H-scenes, plot, the way it looks, etc.)
That's a good reason to be active in the independent game community as a whole. If you look through indie games and freeware games, you will find only a few examples with high production values. Instead, you'll find experimental and offbeat games, as well as some games that focus on doing a few (or even one) things well.

The center of the freeware/indie visual novel community is the Lemma Soft Forums. You'll find that people there are working to create a variety of stories and games.

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