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Visual Novel / VA-11 HALL-A

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Welcome to Valhalla.

Time to mix drinks and change lives.

The year is 207X, and Glitch City is a cybernetic 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 dystopia 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 (or because of) that, it manages to draw the most interesting patrons. Quench their thirst and you can hear their stories, make new friends and most importantly, make 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 PlayStation 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 their fears programmed completely at random. 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.
  • 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
  • The Bartender: Obviously the main premise of the game is being this to the colorful cast of people that stream in and out. Expanded upon when it turns out that Jill has some serious issues of her own, to the point where Alma even makes the two of them switch roles to listen to Jill's own problems.
  • 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. It's no wonder why Jill has a huge crush on her.
  • 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."
    • Averted in one told story where Jill reveals she had talked to a Lilim before the cloud who 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.
  • 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: Even in a dystopia, most ordinary people remain decent individuals worthy of the time you need to get to know them — and they look after each other.
  • 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 $60 and the cheapest drink at the bar, a Gut Punch, is $80), 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: Though it is implied that only Glitch City is much worse off state than other places, which has pretty decent living standards that attracted discontent Glitch inhabitants, except Panama. (Apparently piracy is nothing to mess around with.)
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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: Stella reveals that the Zaibatsu Corporation isn't evil, just greedy since they're only interested in becoming rich and continuing their profitable experiments. Thus they 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 and the Knights attempt to take over the city in response, the Zaibatsu Corporation activates the kill switch in the White Knights' power armor to prevent the incoming catastrophe.
  • Everyone Is Bi: It may be a cyberpunk dystopia, but the general public at least seems a lot more accepting of homosexuality with many characters openly flirting or crushing on people of the same sex. Jill herself is bisexual, having had boyfriends and at least one girlfriend, and currently has an obvious crush on her female boss and can outright admit to either Dana or Anna that she'd have sex with Alma if given the chance. Homosexuality still has a stigma attached to it by older people however, as it's said Lenore was disowned by her mother for being gay simply because her high-society friends didn't agree with the thought of it. Also, while apparently being accepted, Transexuality seems to be still quite unique as Alma struggles a bit with having one as a brother.
  • Evolving Title Screen: Completing the game once will show Gaby now standing by Jill on the title screen, symbolizing their restored bond.
  • 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.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: One of the few completely non-alcoholic drink options, looks exactly like a Beer, but it won't get you drunk.
    • 'PG-rated shows' favorite Beer ersatz since 2040.'
  • Future Food Is Artificial: Many alcoholic drinks, especially Beer, 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. This seems to be the case with any "Manly" drink.
    • There's also the Fringe Weaver, which is 'like drinking ethylic alcohol with a spoonful of sugar.'
  • Good-Guy Bar: VA-11 seems to be the hangout of choice for everyone involved with the game's overarching plot.
  • Heroic BSoD: Jill goes into one in Chapter 2 after learning that her ex-girlfriend is dead.
  • Hero of Another Story: In many ways, VA-11 HALL-A is a story about a traditional Cyberpunk setting told through the lens of somebody who's of no consequence to any of it. As the bartender of the local Good-Guy Bar in one block of a mega-city, your 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. Your boss is the in-universe Memetic Badass Dana Zane, and your 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.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Averted, as explained by Alma. 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 you at VA-11 Hall-A as a bartender
  • 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.
    • 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: Downplayed with Jill, who traded a fulfilling life, a steady partner, 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. Her boss and some of her clients-turned-friends help her get better over the course of the game.
  • 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 and Jill has a breakdown.
  • 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 rent on time, every time it's 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. 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 the conditions 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.
      • The ending can be gotten without fulfilling all of the conditions of Dorothy's ending.
    • 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+: Unlocked by getting an 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, 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...
  • 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. Outside of a handful of conversations referring towards it, the issue is never resolved.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: A two-sided variant on Day 10. Virgilio's Bad Touch order, which usually cracks Jill up, doesn't even get a chuckle out of her after finding out about Lenore's sudden death. Clearly realizing that something is wrong, Armandio completely drops his usual bizarre, 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.
  • Ridiculous Future Inflation: A Beer in Valhalla will run you $200 (keep in mind that's not even a real beer) and in various TV Advertisements in the background, you'll often see $60 Ramen Cups, although the economy is stated to be in the shitter, not unlike the developer's home country of Venezuela.
  • 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.
    • 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. She isn't the next customer that arrives, but she is responsible for giving a significant morale boost shortly afterward to end up making this only temporary.
  • Slice of Life: The story does not focus on any major conflict (the closest we get is Jill coming to terms with some of her past mistakes). 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.
  • 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. She 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.
  • 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.
  • Three Laws-Compliant: Discussed by Jill and Dorothy. Dorothy finds the concept of binding A.I.s to artificial laws after they've become advanced enough to be self-aware to be ridiculous.
  • Wham Line:
    Jill: So, how's Lenore doing?
    Gaby: She's dead.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The player is never shown the fate of the bar by the end of the game, leaving it ambiguous whether or not it 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