After my less than favourable review of ''Katawa Shoujo'', it was suggested to me that my problems were aimed more at the overall genre than the game itself. To see if this is true, I went looking around to see if there were any visual novels out there that I might like. I found Dont Take It Personally Babe It Just Aint Your Story.
(NB, from here on, the title will be abbreviated to DTIPBIJAYS
is an exceptionally post-modern game about an English literature teacher, starting up at a new high school. The twist is that the teacher has the opportunity to spy on his pupil's personal lives by accessing their messages on social networking sites. He can use this insight to overcome difficult choices brought before him by the pupils.
This "gimmick" is clever; the story eschews lengthy introductions for each character by simply letting characterisation seep through the online conversations. You can skim through these in seconds, without interrupting the flow of the story. This allows for far greater brevity without skipping on crucial information. It also provides plenty of interactivity, letting the player make far more educated decisions as they occur. Unlike Katawa Shoujo
and its peers, the decisions feel far less arbitrary, and the consequences more appropriate. In DTIPBIJAYS
, the effects of your choices become apparent almost immediately, as the inbox count climbs and the class conversation buzzes. That allows the player to feel far more involved in the situation.
has many interesting themes in play. One could try to play the game purely as a romance (though as the game hints early on, you aren't going to "fuck 15 year olds"), but the heart of the game lies in intrigue, class politics, voyeurism and secrecy. The thread that keeps the story going isn't "which girl do I get to screw" but "will I be caught" and "What are the long term consequences of my actions?"
is a breath of fresh air. It is a concise and witty novel that can be finished within an hour, yet it is also highly efficient at delivering plenty of colourful characters, an interesting plot and a smart commentary on internet relationships. Give it a try.