Monday, June 6, 2011

Topic: Gaming, and Otome games

Gaming. It's one of those things that I've done as far back as I can remember. My dad got me a Gameboy Color for Christmas the year the Pokemon games hit shelves; my grandmother got me my first Pokemon game. Before that, though, my dad still had games in the house. PC games, NES games... we had them all.

And today, that's no different. Today, we have a 360, a PS3, a PS2, and the Wii, as well as a DSi, 3DS, and PSP. We keep up with current gaming trends, continue to get games as they come out, and I keep myself on the lookout for older games at rummage, estate, and yard sales. (I'm frequently lucky.)

But don't get me wrong. While I love new games and feeling like I could reach out and grab whatever's in the environment around me, and I love (clever) motion controls that don't force me to waggle my controller around like a douchebag (Did you get that, Nintendo?) I often get nostalgic for old games. They have some sort of cracklike replay value that can't be outright expressed in words, but grab you once you see them online, or hear their theme played. There's something about older games that I really enjoy - still - that really shaped the kind of gamer that I am today. (Which is RPG first and foremost, in case you were wondering, thanks.)

But all the RPGs and classic shooters (my first ever PC game was Doom 3. Dad let me play it, and it was epic) didn't prepare me for one of my favorite game genres: otome games.

Otome games are the girl's equivalent of dating sims. (This has led to a long running joke in the family that the "normal one who doesn't need help getting a date" cripples herself with dating sims.) In a way, the joke is right. I don't need help getting a date - I never have - but otome games usually let me indulge myself in cheesy cliche-ridden storylines without anyone around me having to suffer through another viewing of Chocolat - because most of them are, in fact, portable. And that's awesome.

A few publishers aren't afraid to bring them Stateside. One could argue that Natsume's Harvest Moon series is part dating sim, because no matter what gender you play as, part of the game is finding a wife (husband, if you're playing as a girl.) Actually, half the fun for quite a few Harvest Moon players is the dating side of it.

Natsume's also brought over one other, non-HM title that I know of, and it's called Princess Debut. The game is part rhythm game, part otome, and you play as a girl who trades places with the kingdom's Princess (who looks just like you...go figure...) to a fantasy land to learn to dance at a major ball. That's in a month.

But see, while the storylines are kind of shoddy, they're not supposed to be great, because telling a great story isn't really what an otome game is about. It's about landing "your dream guy." Besides, everyone knows that no real guy is perfect, and that there's no such things as fairytale romances.

...Which is why women everywhere love chick flicks. And some like otome games.

1 comment:

  1. ... of course, a *lot more* are available on the PC than on consoles... :)

    It's much easier to publish games for smaller markets as computer downloads rather than having to commit to printing up cartridges.

    And many of the PC games have a HECK of a lot better stories too!