Who doesn’t have a PC or Mac at home? If you’re reading this, you probably do, and that means – you can play otome games!
For the longest time, I thought you needed a Japanese operating system to play Japanese PC games – how sadly misguided I was! How much otome goodness I missed!
Then I discovered that Japanese games will play on normal Windows, though you might have to set your language option for Non-Unicode programs (in your Control Panel) to Japanese.
Now I’m happily playing PC otome games, and the only hitch is how ungodly expensive they are for importing from Japan. Seriously, if anyone wants to set up a competitor to Himeya, which is the only online store I know of to buy these at, feel free! Amazon Japan will not ship electronics (PC or console games) outside Japan, so we’re kind of
limited for options.
Even so, it’s worth the effort, because a lot of otome games don’t make it to consoles. Consoles have a much bigger requirement in terms of licensing and sales numbers to be profitable, so a lot of smaller games are released only on PC. Some, like Princess Nightmare, are so successful there that they go on to be released on consoles. But why wait?
Here’s a selection of all-ages tome games for the PC.
Heart no Kuni no Alice/Clover no Kuni no Alice: Two games about the adventures of Alice in Wonderland (kind of). Loosely based on the Lewis Carroll classic, it’s full of fantasy, violence (not on-screen), colour, and strong characters. Very popular, and of course, Heart no Kuni no Alice is coming to PS2 in the next few months.
Mahoutsukai to Goshujin-sama: The first in Quinrose’s otome game catalogue, this game is set in a kingdom of magic where the princess main character unfortunately has no magic power at all. To protect herself, she sets about finding herself a servant who does at the world’s foremost magical school, but she only has 25 days to do it. Arabian’s Lost follows on this game; though the plots aren’t really related, it’s in the same world.
Crimson Empire: The third game from Quinrose set in the world of Mahoushi to Goshijun-sama and Arabian’s Lost, Crimson Empire is set in a country based on swordsmanship and strength. The main character has been trained in combat by none other than Curtis Nile from Arabian’s Lost, and has sworn to protect her prince in the battle for the throne.
Coming Soon: Another princess simulation from the creators of Palais de Reine, Ayashino Miya is a story about a princess (with possibly the prettiest character design I’ve seen recently) rumoured to have special powers who has to decide how (if?) to take control of her kingdom, while dealing with the many people who also are involved in it.
You may recognize this company as the creators of Princess Nightmare. They’re making a new gothic otome game called Exorcism of Maria, where the main character has to exorcise 100 demons before her 14th Hallowe’en or she’ll die. She has a partner demon Uriel, and meets several other paranormally-gifted boys in her travels. Each has a deeva or partner that they can summon (similar to Uriel), but not all are demons – some have angels, some have animal spirits. Due out in 2008. Oh, and they’re already planning another game after Maria called Zettai Meikyuu Grimm, using Grimm Fairy Tales as inspiration. The main character Henrietta lives happily with her 3 stepbrothers, the brothers Grimm, but one day the 2 older brothers disappear. 5 years later, when Henrietta turns 15, she and the youngest brother Ludwig find the older brothers’ research journal…in this game, Henrietta gets involved not only with the brother Grimm, but characters from the fairytales such as Little Red Riding Hood (here a boy), Hamelin, Rapunzel, and the Frog King.
The early pictures and character designs are freaking adorable, so even though I’m not a huge fan of young protagonists, I think I want this!
Asaki Yumemishi: Coming out next week, this is a paranormal game that features three groups of potential allies – humans, spirits, and oni. The main character is trying to earn money by getting rid of harmful spirits during her summer vacation and meets lots of different characters, some who help her and some who fight her. Very nice art!
Girl’s Symphony – the first otome game from a company with a lot of experience in the dating sim genre, this was just announced and has a regular high school setting. The 16-year-old main character has just started living with her cousin after her parents move overseas for work, and has a secret – when she gets excited, her feelings are broadcast out loud without her saying anything.
Well, I think that’s enough PC gaming goodness to last a while, don’t you think? At least till I finish some more of Alice (I just finished Blood’s route tonight! Next up..maybe the twins)