Follow TV Tropes


Visual Novel / VA-11 HALL-A

Go To
Welcome to Valhalla.

Time to mix drinks and change lives.

The year is 207X, and Glitch City is a Cyberpunk dystopia where rich corporations freely abuse the increasingly-desperate proletariat, violence rages unchecked in the streets and the corrupt White Knights freely oppress those they are meant to protect, even using infectious nanomachines to ensure that the people remain downtrodden. This, however, is not that story.

You are Jill, a woman trying to make ends meet in this dystopia by working as a bartender at the VA-11 building's Hall-A, more commonly known as "Valhalla". It may be a seedy dive bar in a bad neighborhood, but despite that, it manages to draw the most interesting patrons. Or perhaps, because of that. Quench their thirst the way they want, and you can hear their stories, make new friends and most importantly, pay your rent for the month.

VA-11 HALL-A: Cyberpunk Bartending Action is a Visual Novel developed by Venezuelan developer Sukeban Games, which describes itself as "a booze 'em up about waifus, and post-dystopia life." It takes heavy inspiration from old PC-98 games, with a chiptune soundtrack and a distinctly retro anime art style. In lieu of dialogue choices, Jill must mix the correct drinks for her clients. What she serves them can change the conversation; adding more alcohol to get the client hammered may get juicier stories, or it may just make them leave if they're a lightweight. The goal is to make enough money to pay your various utilities, and of course, better service means a bigger paycheck. Despite the game's dark cyberpunk setting, its tone is mostly comedic with colorful characters and plenty of (sometimes crude) jokes, but also has its share of emotional moments and dark stories that remind the player what kind of place they live in.

The game was released for PC on June 21, 2016, with a Play Station Vita release in 2017. Ports to the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch were released in 2019.

A sequel, N1RV Ann-A, is in development and was planned for release in 2020, but has been delayed until further notice. It will be set in an artificial island, Saint Alicia, and feature a different bartender, Sam, who struggles to balance her responsibilities between motherhood and bartending.

The game later had a collaboration with the Girls' Frontline mobile strategy game, which was available on the English server by August 2019. The story is split into two sections: the GFL-centric stages which have a fusion setting taking place in a post-apocalyptic "Griffon City", and the bar stories, which function as a kind of side-story sequel to the original VA-11 HALL-A and take place in Glitch City. The two narratives, needless to say, turn out to not be wholly unrelated.

VA-11 HALL-A provides examples of:

  • Absurd Phobia: The Lilim have fears programmed into them without much rhyme or reason. Dorothy, in particular, has a fear of dogs and chinchillas. The latter is especially notable as Jill and Dorothy both note that chinchillas are extinct in their time.
  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • Invoked when the Playful Hacker Alma accidentally turns Dorothy on when she describes hacking to Jill. To humans, Alma's giving a thorough technical explanation about a computer trick to a friend; to Lilim androids, she's giving a technical explanation that's essentially a major Lilim fetish.
    • When Mario delivers Dana's special wiener, leading to him and Gil discussing it. Dorothy has a prime time pointing out all the innuendos to Jill who loses her mind giggling over them.
  • An Aesop:
    • Even in a dystopia, the average person is basically good, kind, and decent. If you take the time to get to know them, people will look out for each other if given the chance.
    • Face your fears. A day of anxiety and awkwardness is better than a lifetime of regret and heartache.
  • Alan Smithee: invokedMost of the articles in The Augmented Eye are written under the pseudonym “Lana Smithee”.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: During Jill's Heroic BSoD, she'll be the client while the Hackette woman named Alma briefly takes over for her. This is so Jill can talk to a bartender and have a shoulder to cry on, the same way that Jill has done for all of her patrons.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Stella slaps Sei for making the former worry so much for the latter's safety due to Sei disappearing for a few days after the bank bombing.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • With many recurring clients, you have two options: serving them what they asked for, and serving them something they frequently order based on their drinking habits. Doing either one will count towards the Flawless Service bonus at the end of the day if you've been paying attention.
    • Your first customer requires you to make the "Big" version of what they ordered. Since you're likely not prepared to use this mechanic as soon as the game starts, repeatedly making the small version of the same drink will still count towards the Flawless Service bonus on Day 1.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Done as a gameplay element. Occasionally, when a new day begins, Jill will have something on her mind that she's fixated on. Buying a specific object on a shopping trip before work (such as a poster for her wall) will get rid of this feeling, keeping Jill focused. If the player doesn't buy the object or can't afford it, Jill might get distracted at work, which will negatively affect her performance as a bartender.
  • The Bartender: The main premise of the game is being this to the colorful cast of people that stream in and out. You score money by giving them the drinks that they want, getting tips for good service, and completing a shift without making any mistakes. You also have the option of adding more alcohol to certain drinks if you want to, which will make your clients much more frank and open about the problems in their lives.
  • Benevolent Boss: Dana is this in spades, having rescued Gillian from whatever trouble he was in and giving him a home and a job, and generally making sure to look after her employees while being nothing but understanding. Dana even says that she considers Jill more of a friend than a coworker. It's no wonder why Jill has a huge crush on her boss.
    • Brian, the BTC Regional Manager, is this to Dana and by extension the rest of the staff. He has a good working relationship with Dana herself and goes out of his way to fight to keep the bar open for as long as possible as it is one of the only ones in his jurisdiction that doesn't give him any major headaches. Likewise, he is either accepting or at least looks the other way for Gillian's sordid past and tries to ensure that Jill and Dana will both have good employment after the bar closes.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Golden Ending, obtained by paying Jill's bills on time every time. Jill and Dana undergo a Relationship Upgrade and take a vacation to Panama. Lenore is still dead, but Jill is Moving Beyond Bereavement and reconciling with Lenore's sister Gabriella. While Jill still isn't completely over it and speculates that she probably never will be, there's the implication that things are going to get better.
  • Body Backup Drive:
    • The Lilim have their consciousness backed up on a server and are automatically transferred to a new body. As a result, the Lilim have a hard time conceptualizing mortality, although according to Dorothy they do fear "death." Notably, Dorothy turned down a client who wanted to cut her head off not because Dorothy thought she would die, but because it would have been a big hassle to deal with the aftermath.
    • Averted in one told story where Jill reveals she had talked to a Lilim before cloud backups. He was on his last moments and terribly scared about it due to not leaving anything behind.
  • Broken Pedestal: Alma used to look up to her older sister, until Dayana became a teen and lost interest in their friendship. Alma recalls the time her sister rejected her in front of her friends.
    Alma: I think that was the moment that finally broke the pedestal I held her on.
  • Call-Forward: The game makes a number of references to Panama, where N1RV Ann-A will take place, and even mentions the bar itself.
  • The Cameo: The game throws several references at Read Only Memories (ads for Hassy Cola, a regional office of the Augmented Eye news agency, at least one off-handed mention of Neo San Francisco), but a series of cameos from TOMCAT, Jess, and Lexi confirm that the games either take place in the same setting, or at least one is canon to the other, besides Dana's cameo in ROM. Going beyond that, in said cameo, Dana tells the player of a drink that can be served in this game. Serving the Flaming Moai to Alma, Stella and any other customer will make the aforementioned show up. Lexi comes over to catch up with Dana, revealing she is now retired from the Neo-SF PD and giving a bit more backstory for Dana. TOMCAT is following the trail of Alice_Rabbit. Jess discusses the difference between hybrids and cat boomers with Jill. You can also buy a toy version of Turing at one point.
  • Cast Full of Gay: The main character is bi, with Jill having had at least one boyfriend and at least one girlfriend in the past. It's possible to get Multiple Endings, which might involve spending a lot of time with either men or women. A sex worker mentions that she works with multiple genders, and there's some very obvious same-sex flirting that can happen depending on drinks made and dialogue choices. As learned in the gameplay, Jill's former lover was another woman named Lenore, who becomes The Lost Lenore once Jill finds out that Lenore died after they broke up. The Relationship Upgrade in the Golden Ending is also between two women, if you played your cards right. Generally speaking, there's a lot of LGBT characters in this game, and Glitch City in general seems very accepting of gay relationships. Even the characters who aren't gay treat homosexuality as completely normal.
  • Cataclysm Backstory: Years before the game's story, the Great Earthquake happened that collapsed a good chunk of some part of the world, and Australia is... complicated.
  • Central Theme: How people will look after each other, if given the chance.
  • Chekhov's Gun: On the third day, Stella will mention undergoing a procedure that turned her into a Cat Boomer because of Nanomachine Rejection. Had Stella not gone through it, she would have died. Later on, Jill finds out that nanomachine rejection is what killed Lenore due to a heart attack.
  • Crapsack World: Glitch City, obviously. While corporations are given carte blanche to use the population as guinea pigs and the tyrannical Mayor QUINCY causes suffering with his every whim, food shortages are commonplace, hyperinflation has drastically increased commodities' prices (cup ramen is about sixty dollars and the cheapest drink at the bar, a Gut Punch, is eighty dollars), many university graduates moving to other places that marked its brain drain, and the streets are home to large amounts of violence, either from thugs and gangs or the corrupt White Knights. Although Glitch City is stated to be especially bad, Dana states that Panama is in an even worse state. (The developers are from Venezuela, a country where things like food riots and street violence have become commonplace ever since the nation's economy collapsed, and drew much of their inspiration from their surroundings.)
  • Crapsack Only by Comparison: It's implied that only Glitch City is much worse off than other places, which has pretty decent living standards that attracted discontent Glitch inhabitants, except Panama. On the other hand, Glitch City is the only city-state in the world that has granted full autonomy to the AI Lilim, treating them as fully sentient beings on par with humans. Conversations imply that outside Glitch City, the Lilim are forced to live with a lot more restrictions, though it is also mentioned that that is changing for the better.
  • Crazy-Prepared: The Zaibatsu Corporation implanted a hidden kill switch in the White Knights' power armor, only to be activated should they ever go rogue. Once credible proof of their crimes is exposed to the public and the White Knights begin rebelling to take over the city in response, Zaibatsu activates the kill switch, leaving many White Knights trapped in their power armor, with only the lucky ones managing to get out of their armor before outraged lynch mobs get them.
  • Cyberpunk: The main aesthetic of the game; Ridiculously Human Robots are almost fully integrated into human society, many people have cybernetic implants or replacements, and nanomachines can do anything from change the color of your walls to lethally suppress riots. However, very little of the setting is explored, as Jill is the kind of character who's typically in the background of such cyberpunk stories. No matter what the player does, Jill can do very little to change anything about the cyberpunk climate; the story mostly focuses on her relationships with other characters in the setting instead of anything about the setting itself.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: The game features a company called the Zaibatsu Corporation. "Zaibatsu" refers to a type of Japanese industry conglomerate, so its name is effectively "Corporation Corporation".
  • Detonation Moon: At some point in the past, somebody seems to have blown up a substantial chunk of Earth's moon, as can be seen during the intro to Chapter 3. It's not clear if this has any connection to the moon-mounted Hadron Cannon mentioned in the Moonblast drink's description.
  • Developer's Foresight: You don't check messages in your apartment during Day 6. Should you somehow end up there anyway (most likely by cheating), there's a series of messages from the developers which will taunt you.
  • Dirty Cop: The White Knights, who suppress any "crime" with brutal lethality and are prone to robbing and beating up ordinary citizens for little to no reason. Sei, a client and White Knight, is an exception and one of the most pure-hearted characters in the game, but even she acknowledges that their bad reputation is completely justified. In Chapter 2 the White Knights are disbanded after a massive leak links them to various criminal groups, and mass lynchings of White Knights occur in the streets. And in one of the good endings, Virgilio is revealed to have been a White Knight before who since has gone into hiding for protecting Sei and Stella from his Dirty Cop superior who had assaulted the two women when they were just young girls.
  • Do Well, But Not Perfect: There are a number of times that giving something other than what the customer asked leads to either completely different dialogue or, in one case, a scene you wouldn't get if you gave the drink they actually ask for. That said, you still get the flawless customer service bonus in these cases and payment for the drinks (barring giving Ingram sweet drinks for the latter), so you aren't punished for it; you're being rewarded for having a good memory and paying attention to the customer's habits.
  • Driven to Suicide: It's heavily implied that Dana rescued Kim from a suicide attempt, rather than having simply found her unconscious in the street as she claims. By the time Kim reappears on Day 10, she's gotten much better due to having quit her job at The Augmented Eye.
  • Easter Egg: An early Augmented Eye post has a message in binary, decoding it reads "THE RETRIBUTION IS CO" (sic).
    Jill: Those purple numbers...
  • Even Evil Has Standards: The Zaibatsu Corporation isn't evil, just greedy. They're only interested in becoming rich and continuing their profitable experiments, and have no interest in causing mass suffering and death for its own sake. Thus, the corpos are horrified when they learn about the White Knights' rampant corruption and their ties to various crime groups. After the White Knights' crimes are exposed to the public, the Knights attempt to take over Glitch City in response. When they do, the Zaibatsu Corporation activates the kill switch in the White Knights' power armor to prevent the incoming catastrophe, which paralyzes every White Knight in their power armor.
  • Everyone Is Bi: It may be a cyberpunk dystopia, but the general public seems a lot more accepting of LGBT people in general. Many characters in this game spend time openly flirting or crushing on people of the same sex. Jill herself is bisexual, having had at least one boyfriend and at least one girlfriend, and currently has an obvious crush on her female boss. Depending on player choice, Jill can outright admit to either Dana or Anna that she'd have sex with Alma if given the chance. While Alma struggles a bit with having a trans brother, she does seem to be trying to call him by the right gender and pronouns. All of that being said, homosexuality still has a stigma attached to it by older people — it's said that Jill's ex-girlfriend Lenore was disowned by her mother for being gay; her high-society friends didn't agree with the thought of it.
  • Evolving Title Screen: Completing the game once will show Gaby now standing by Jill on the title screen, symbolizing their restored bond.
  • Extinct in the Future: Dorothy is programmed to be phobic of chinchillas even though they're extinct.
  • Fantastic Arousal: Dorothy notes that if someone recorded a detailed account of realistic hacking in a sexy voice, the Lilim would make them a millionaire. When Alma talks about hacking into a server, Dorothy gets so horny that she starts screaming about how hot it is in the middle of the bar.
  • Flawless Victory: Completing a shift without making any mistakes will earn a Flawless Service bonus, giving you a little extra money.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: One of the few non-alcoholic drink options looks exactly like a Beer, but it won't get you drunk.
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Alcoholic drinks in Valhalla are cocktails of edible chemicals that can get you drunk rather than actual alcohol brewed from grains and/or fruits. Some off-hand mentions about actual food also show that the grocery shortages are severe, with things like chicken meat being a luxury item and people being allergic to shrimp being equal to risking starvation.
  • Gargle Blaster:
    • The Zen Star, which is composed of four of every ingredient mixed together. It's considered absolutely revolting as a drink. Yet, people still order them anyway.
    • There's also the Fringe Weaver, which is 'like drinking ethylic alcohol with a spoonful of sugar.'
    • Any drink with optional Karmotrine can allow you to fill the drink with as little or as much alcoholic content as you please, and filling drinks to the brim with it will get your patrons roaring drunk.
  • Golden Ending: You get the good ending of the game by paying every bill on time. Jill and Dana (who are now dating) go on a vacation to Panama, Gaby and Jill reconcile about Lenore's death, and it's implied that the hole in Jill's heart is beginning to heal.
  • Good-Guy Bar: VA-11 seems to be the hangout of choice for everyone involved with the game's overarching plot.
  • Hand Wave: It's mentioned that people get injected with nanomachines when they're born, but some babies undergo nanomachine rejection that could be fatal if not treated. The cure for this problem is to make them a Cat Boomer while they're still in the womb, essentially turning that person into a Cat Girl when they're born. How does being turned into a human-cat hybrid fix the problem of nanomachine rejection? No explanation; it just does.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jill goes into one in Chapter 2 after learning that her ex-girlfriend Lenore is dead. It really doesn't help that Jill blew up Gaby during the same shift after being accused of getting her ex-girlfriend killed via Death by Despair over their last big fight. Instead of talking with her cat the following morning, Jill is dead silent, and going into the bar to distract herself from her emotions shows Jill reacting to customers with a short temper.
  • Hero of Another Story: VA-11 HALL-A is a story about a Cyberpunk setting told through the lens of somebody who is of no consequence to any of it. As the bartender of the local Good-Guy Bar in one block of a mega-city, Jill's clientele includes the Playful Hacker Alma, the augmented Hitman with a Heart Jamie, the White Knights resident Token Good Teammate Sei, and the Defector from Decadence Virgilio. Jill's boss is the in-universe Memetic Badass Dana Zane, and her coworker is Gil, who has a Mysterious Past that implies he's actually rather dangerous. Most of the game is incidentally learning about these people as they come in for a drink, before they leave to go back to their story. Jill, by contrast, is an ordinary woman trying to get through her life while still being a good person and the doing the best she can at her job. Jill can't affect the setting much at all, nor does she want to. The story, by and large, focuses on Jill's personal life and the snippets of the day that she gets from her clients as The Bartender of a hole-in-the-wall dive bar.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted, as explained by Alma. The way Alma goes about her explanation is a very realistic explanation as to how a hacker might gain access to a system. The explanation left Dorothy a steaming, aroused pile of bolts, though.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Dorothy. Dana and Jill even admit that although she's a sex worker, she's so earnest and cheerful about what she does that it's hard not to root for her.
  • Imageboards: Jill can browse Danger/u/ in her room, which is essentially 4chan but with a majority female userbase. This is how Gaby finds Jill is working at VA-11 Hall-A as a bartender, which leads to Gaby telling Jill that Lenore is dead.
  • Interface Screw:
    • Whenever Streaming-Chan appears, there are waves of Nico Nico Douga text going across her face. Her theme song also overrides any jukebox music you've chosen for its duration. You can summon them whenever you want by pushing j, k, l, i or p on your keyboard, and this is required for an achievement.
    • A late-game character also messes with things. Anna Graem changes the textures for the bartending interface when she says she claims to interact with the environment.
  • Invisible to Normals: Anna Graem is revealed to be completely invisible to everyone else but Jill, though the Lilim cosplayer who appears once mentions "a girl with jeans under her skirt", implying to be able to see her as well.
  • In Vino Veritas: Naturally, most of the customers get more talkative and/or frank when drunk.
  • Kaizo Trap: Averted. Being hit by a bullet in the Model Warrior Julianne minigame after beating the boss does not count as failure, but it does glitch out a little.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: Art von Delay is one to George from Seinfeld.
  • LOL, 69: Jill used the Online Alias Shadowmaster69 back when she blogged about occultism, a username she eventually became ashamed of and moved on from. She claims it was meant to be six-nine instead of sixty-nine, but gets called out for no one possibly ever thinking of the numbers like that.
  • Loser Protagonist: Jill traded a fulfilling life, a steady girlfriend, and good future prospects for "freedom". For Jill, this translated to three years of living alone in a shitty apartment, within which she kills time drinking beer, browsing imageboards, mulling on her sexual frustrations, and holding conversations with her cat. In general, she has very little in the way of a social life beyond her work. Also, despite the cyberpunk setting, Jill is ultimately of no consequence to any of it. She's not some revolutionary, she's not a merc, and she's not looking to take down the Mega-Corp that runs Glitch City. She's just a woman trying to live her own life.
  • The Lost Lenore: Literally, as Jill's ex-girlfriend's name is Lenore and Jill hasn't gotten over the relationship. Becomes even more literal after she dies, Lenore's sister Gaby yells at Jill that Lenore died because of Jill's fight with her, and Jill has a nervous breakdown.
  • Meaningful Name: "Valhalla" is the name of the Norse afterlife for warriors, where they could drink and fight for all of eternity. A rather appropriate name for a bar.
  • Multiple Endings: In addition to the good ending achieved by paying your rent, there are various "endings" for different characters:
    • Good Ending: Obtained by paying your bills on time, every time a bill comes due. Jill and Dana (who are now dating) go on a vacation to Panama.
    • Bad Ending: Obtained by failing to pay your rent. Jill is evicted from her apartment and moves in with Alma, who cuddles her to sleep every night. But because Jill is bi and Alma is straight, this just leaves Jill more sexually frustrated than ever. The achievement received for it is titled Cozy Hell.
    • *Kira* Miki's Ending: Obtained by getting *Kira* Miki drunk the first time she's at the bar and getting her orders right, and giving her the Mulan Tea at some point. Jill, Stella, and Sei attend one of *Kira* Miki's concerts, and *Kira* Miki dedicates a song to Jill. Sei also mentions that Stella is going to get Sei a job after her injuries are done healing.
    • Dorothy's Ending: Obtained by giving Dorothy a Piano Woman whenever she's sad or depressed, and giving Sei a cold, non-alcoholic beverage instead of a Bleeding Jane when she's depressed. Dorothy and Jill have a conversation about Anna, with Anna listening nearby, in between raunchy stories of Dorothy's escapades in Neo-Tijuana.
    • Virgilio's Ending: Linked to Dorothy's ending, obtained by fulfilling at least one condition of her ending and getting all of his cryptic requests correct. Virgilio opens up a curry shop, and Jill reveals that his real name is Timothy Mercury, the former White Knight who saved Sei and Stella from a corrupt White Knight and had to go into hiding as a result. Jill, Sei, and Stella all happily eat curry together.
    • Alma's Ending: Obtained by giving her a Brandtini whenever she wants a "classy" drink, and then giving her one when she's feeling down. Jill, Alma, and Gaby all have a sleepover.
  • New Game Plus: Unlocked by getting any ending. You carry over all money and unlockables from previous playthroughs, which means that you're likely not going to worry about paying off debts or Jill getting distracted.
  • Never Got to Say Goodbye: Jill has been putting off closure for her explosive fight with Lenore for years. She learns the hardest way possible that she'll never get the chance to when Lenore's sister Gaby tells Jill that Lenore is dead, and it almost destroys her.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Virgilio is based on a character portrayed by Jim Sterling. In his ending, Virgilio more closely resembles Sterling, with shorter hair and the orange shades they wore at the time of the game's release.
  • No Periods, Period:
    • Double subverted. Dorothy will once ask for a Bleeding Jane to celebrate "that time of the month". Jill asks if she really means what the phrase implies (since Dorothy is a Lilim, not a human), but the answer is no.
      Jill: Then what time of month is it?
    • When Jill is having an extremely foul mood, multiple characters such as Sei assume she might have hers, only for Jill to correct them.
  • Non Standard Game Over: Happens if you make too many mistakes in a row while serving customers. Dana will abruptly interrupt the game, and force you to to stop working for the day. A Game Over screen will then show.
  • Noodle Incident: When Brian arrives to discuss the bar closing, he compliments the lack of complaints he receives about VA-11 Hall-A for chemical damage and shady drinks. Evidently, the only situation he's had word of was quite exceptional.
    Brian: The closest thing to a recent complaint was that whole Farmer Fabrics affair from a little while ago.
    Jill: So much saliva...
  • Oh, My Gods!: Zigzagged. Whatever religions are going on in Glitch City, at least one of them has more than one deity. Various customers say "Oh gods!" or "Gods only know..." from time to time. The specifics of the religion beyond that are vague. Other characters also refer to "God" in singular, so it's likely different faiths.
  • Out of Focus: The game starts with a small plot point where VA-11 HALL-A is being considered for part of a blanket downsize by its parent company BTC in an effort to curb alleged money laundering. A BTC employee shows up at Valhalla on Day 7 to give the bar a good review, noting that he's doing all he can to protect the bar, but his hands are tied. Outside of a handful of conversations referring towards it, the issue of what happens to the bar once the game's over is never resolved.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Twice in a row on Day 10. Virgilio's Bad Touch order, which usually cracks Jill up, doesn't even get a chuckle out of her. This is because Jill is still going through a Heroic BSoD after finding out about Lenore's sudden death. Clearly realizing that something is wrong, Virgilio drops his usual pseudo-philosophical attitude and calmly tells Jill that she needs to be prepared to forgive herself, or it will leave a hole in her that will never heal.
  • Playful Hacker: Alice_Rabbit, a parallel to Anonymous who vandalizes government pages and releases government files in the name of fighting corruption. Alma has some shades of this but mainly treats it as a job, and even rants early in the game about how Alice_Rabbit endeared the Playful Hacker trope in the youth and made them want to hack to stick it to the man, when doing such a thing is not only very difficult but also incredibly dangerous. It's subtly implied that Alma is associated with Alice_Rabbit in some way.
  • Playlist Soundtrack: The game has you make a playlist with songs at the beginning of each day which will play in the order you select throughout the day.
  • Post-Cyberpunk: Glitch City is a Cyberpunk dystopia where rich corporations control just about everything, the White Knights police force is openly corrupt, and cybernetic enhancements are the norm. Even so, the game manages to be more idealistic than standard cyberpunk fare. Its main message is that people are basically good, and even in a dystopia like Glitch City, they'll look out for each other. Stella even says that despite the Zaibatsu Corporation having a large hold on everything, it's definitely improved peoples' lives. Plus, the corpos aren't heartless monsters, either. When the White Knights go rogue, the Zaibatsu Corporation activates a failsafe in their armor to prevent them from kiling any more people.
  • The Power of Friendship: Reconstructed. Jill's friends and confidants can't solve her problems for her, but when a Drama Bomb goes off in Jill's life, they do all they can to try and make it a little easier for her to deal with it. Even with all of this effort, Jill has to take the initiative to recover on her own, though Jill's friends being there for her really helps her out. It ties into the Central Theme of people looking out for each other in hard times.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: A Beer in Valhalla will run you two hundred dollars. In various TV advertisements in the background, you'll often see sixty-dollar Ramen Cups. Jill also turns down an eighty-dollar bribe from Art, saying that much money is "not even worth a nice lunch".
  • Ridiculously Human Robot: The Lilim, who are sentient, have human emotions and have skin that at least mimics organic skin well. The newer models are even stated to be completely anatomically correct.
  • Running Gag:
    • Every time Jill ends up talking with someone outside the bar, she asks if they want a cigarette. Every single person she does this with will say something to the effect of "No, I don't smoke, but I won't stop you if you want to."
    • The various stories about Dana's days before bartending become this, seeing as there seem to be dozens of them and they come up frequently.
    • The argument over the noise in the alleyway. Gil insists that they're gunshots, Jill's convinced that it's a car backfiring, and Dana claims that they're fireworks. Every time the noise is brought up, all three of them chime in with their opinion.
    • Every time Anna shows up, Jill has mental conversations with her. Other characters will ask if she's okay, as she's "making lots of faces".
    • Jill trying to hold in a snicker every time a customer orders a Bad Touch. The one time she doesn't, the other characters take notice.
    • Gil and his "John" face which confuses him a lot, especially when brand new customers call him John unprompted.
    • Dana and her obsession with spicy chicken, to the point that the smell gets into Sei's helmet and that the empty buckets are so normal in the bar that Gil accidentally cleans one at some point.
    • Outside the bar is at least one talkative vending machine armed with a tazer that is not only best friends with some of the clients, it also has strong opinions on Jazz and will attack whoever disagrees with it.
  • Self-Deprecation: While this future has Sukeban Games upgrade into Sukeban Soft, a prominent first-party developer of specialized gaming computers, the only franchises people know them for are Monster Girl RPG, Monster Girlfriend, Monster Companion, and Monstergirl Puzzle. During an interview, art designer-turned-janitor Kiririn 51 summarizes the company's current business plan is all too similar to how VA-11 HALL-A itself was marketed.
    Kiririn 51: We're going for the weeb audience. What's dignity anymore?
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Jill notes at a certain point that the bar is being hit by a number of depressing stories and hopes Dorothy is the next customer that arrives. Dorothy isn't the next customer that arrives, but she is responsible for giving a significant morale boost shortly afterward, making this only temporary.
  • Slice of Life: The story does not focus on any major conflict in regards to the cyberpunk dystopian setting — the closest we get is Sei having to deal with some of those problems as a member of the White Knights. Rather, the world is examined peripherally through the characters and their everyday interactions with each other at Valhalla, along with their reactions to major events in-universe.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: It leans towards the idealistic side, certainly more than a lot of other cyberpunk works. While the story doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of living in a dystopian cyberpunk setting like the one it's in, it's mostly played for Black Comedy. Instead, the Central Theme is that most people — even in a hellscape of corporate corruption, greed, and oppression like Glitch City — are decent and kind once you get to know them. The story argues that people will look out for each other if given the chance, and focuses less on the setting at large and more on the characters involved in order to paint this picture.
  • Take Your Time: You're not under any time limit while mixing an order. You can screw up or change the mixing as many times as you want; the only time the order is served is when you say it's served. This is in spite of the clients sitting right in front of you, with a few telling you to make them something quickly.
  • A Tankard of Moose Urine: Promo Drinks tend to have been made to promote or memorialize something without any eye as to the actual flavor, and as such tend to be seriously nasty.
  • Technician Versus Performer: Discussed. Some patrons ask why Jill doesn't add theatrics to her serving drinks, like tossing and catching her mixer. Jill explains that it wouldn't really improve the quality of the drink, and it would also take more time than simply making and serving them. She also mentions a Noodle Incident where someone got injured from it while she was in bartending school.
  • There Are No Girls on the Internet: Inverted. One series of threads in an online forum Jill frequents features a bunch of rabid female *Kira* Miki fans dogpiling another user who claimed to be male.
  • They Died Because of You: Discussed. When Gaby shows up in Chapter 2, she tells Jill that Lenore died because of a nanomachine rejection disease that gave Lenore a heart attack. While Gaby doesn't outright accuse Jill of murder, the fact that Jill broke up with Lenore just a few days before she died means that Gaby believes that Lenore and Jill's break-up contributed to her death. However, Jill staunchly refuses that she had anything to do with Lenore dying, saying that only now did she even learn that Lenore was sick. Either way, Gaby calls Jill an idiot and leaves, prompting Jill to go into a Heroic BSoD because she Never Got to Say Goodbye.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Discussed by Jill and Dorothy. Dorothy finds the concept of binding AIs to artificial laws after they've become advanced enough to be self-aware to be ridiculous.
  • Wham Line: When Gaby comes into the bar, the story begins taking a drastic turn. When Jill asks how Lenore is doing, Gaby responds with "She's dead." Cue a very bitter conversation between Jill and Gaby that really messes with Jill's psyche and makes the story take a much more personal turn. Up until this point, Jill had largely been an impersonal vector through which the player could experience the world; after learning of her ex-girlfriend's death, Jill gets much more focus as a character.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It's mentioned at the beginning of the game that Valhalla is close to having its doors close for good, and there's even a visit from a higher-up at the BTC about this possibility. The player is never shown the fate of the bar by the end of the game, leaving it ambiguous whether or not the bar escaped closure.
  • Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The location of Glitch City is never specified, other than references to the developer's home country of Venezuela and the game's Japanese-themed culture.
  • You Mean X Mas: Christmas is now Mega Christmas in this universe. Festivus is also celebrated, and it's no different from how it is in Seinfeld.

Alternative Title(s): Va 11 Hall A