It’s been quite a while since I posted, and I’ve made some changes in my otome gaming fandom. I stopped ordering otome game magazines from Japan, so I’m not as aware of the new JP games coming out. I don’t mind this, because I’m also pulling back on ordering the games themselves. I’m trying to save money to pay off some debt, and though this is my only real hobby, it’s pretty expensive. I’m still hoping to get the games I want eventually, but I’d rather save up money for a trip to Japan and get them there without spending so much on shipping and customs (I just heard how much more we’re charged on customs in Canada compared to other countries, and guys, it makes me really sad) – especially since I like the extras.
Anyways, even if I don’t get new imported games, there’s still lots for me to talk about. Besides all the JP games I have that I haven’t played yet or thoroughly, there are more and more games coming out in English! And of course, all the mobile otome games. So I’m planning on focusing more on those for the next while.
To start off, here are some English otome games that I’m working on reviews for and where I’m playing them:
And I’d like to review Amnesia and Code:Realize too, since I don’t think I reviewed the JP versions.
Also, Kickstarter has emerged as a pretty important way for developers to get the funding for otome games, so I’ll probably do some coverage of that as well – just today I backed a few really promising games:
Legend of Rune: A BL / Gay Visual Novel RPG
A Foretold Affair
Cinderella Phenomenon – the studio making this game also has a free browser-based otome game that I’m currently enjoying a lot, Locked Heart.
Are there any games you think I’d enjoy that aren’t on my list yet? Please let me know!
Here are some videos for games that are being localized to English, or (this is a copout) that I think should be! Usually I do these posts for the weekend, but…I really want it to be Friday, so this is going out early. Plus I just heard about the latest on the list and can’t restrain my joy!
I actually put this in BEFORE the recent Aksys announcement that they were localizing it – I’m so happy Code: Realize is coming to English fans! I recently finished it (full comp except for bad endings!) and I really liked it. All the stories were really good, several were bittersweet (which means I really want a fandisk), the graphics were beautiful, and I recommend it strongly. Look at this OP, isn’t it pretty? I love the costume design (separate from the character design, which I also like). Steampunk alternate history Victorian London with Arsène Lupin and Van Helsing! You can’t go wrong – well, you can, but Code: Realize did it right.
Amnesia V! I believe this is the version coming to English gamers from Idea Factory International, unfortunately only in digital copies (but honestly I’ll take what I can get).
Ozmafia! I was incredibly happy when this was announced as being translated by Mangagamer , and I think it will be great – lots of routes and a truly interesting story when you play everything. Also, that fairly addictive OP is by a boy band, Article One, from Ontario! Crazy.
Sweet Fuse At Your Side – this is old but it’s still great, and still one of the few otome games available in English commercially.
And finally, the fandisk I’m most looking forward to this year, Shinobi Koi Utsutsu Yuzuki Hana Koi Emaki for the Vita. Coming this June! Maybe if Code: Realize does well…
Also, there are TONS of indie otome games being made in English, I’m going to post about them soon (after the Nameless review). If you know of one please let me know in the comments or on twitter or anywhere! I’m sure I only know a small portion of what’s out there.
I just read an interesting article on otome games which focuses a bit on Hakuoki and asks whether otome games could be successful in Western markets. (It’s a month old, I wish I had seen it before!) The author, Anne Lee, doesn’t really think the market will work, but I disagree for a few reasons.
First of all, even in Japan otome games are really fairly new. Though Angelique came out in 1994, it wasn’t until around 2005 that otome games started to come out regularly, with established brands and creators. That means that even though we as otome gamers might wonder why a breakout could happen now, the genre is really just maturing now.
Also, I feel like otome games are not just for women who want romance, but also women who just want something made for them – with the female gaze in mind. And recently the female gaze has been getting a lot of attention, growing from BL and shoujo and the slash community into anime, and now into Western mainstream film and TV. A lot of otome games aren’t heavy-handed with the romance (part of this is due to the young target audience and characters, but whatever), and I could easily see women, who are still a growing share of the gaming market in general, embracing otome games not only for the romance but for the overall atmosphere that they’re made for them.
One of the points brought up in the article was that bishoujo games(1 male/many females harem games) had a few localizations that didn’t do very well, so otome games might not either. To rebut this, let me throw a few stats at you:
From RWA – Romance Writers of America – Industry Statistics:
2010 Romance Fiction Sales in Comparison (ed: this is as a share of all fiction)
(source: Simba Information)
I got into otome gaming not only because I love playing videogames, but because I love romance and am used to buying romance novels. Culturally, women are about a thousand times more likely to buy a piece of romantic fiction, whether it’s a novel, movie, or a game, than men. In 2010, romance as a genre sold almost TWICE as much as its closest competitor, and overall was 36% of the fiction market. That is a huge number yo! And most romance is bought by women. So…I really believe that otome games might succeed where bishoujo didn’t.
And to finish, I checked out Hakuoki’s Amazon.com rankings. The first thing that surprised me was that the limited edition is doing better than the regular edition! Aksys definitely hit the right price point there, I think. And it’s currently in the top spot for Adventure PSP games!! However, looking at the other games in the category, there’s not much new there. In total videogames it’s #784. Now that sounds really low, but taking a look at the top 100, a lot of those are actually accessories >.>;; Hard to tell what it really means.
Anyways, of course I want Hakuoki to do well so more otome games are localized, and so I’m inclined to be optimistic, but I really feel otome games have a chance in the Western market. Now I have to go and plan my Hakuoki party!