[EDIT: I don’t seem to have these archive posts in order, but I don’t think it makes too much difference really. Reading over this one, it makes me laugh thinking I wondered which game would be more popular…spoiler, it’s Hakuoki! Though to be fair, Bakumatsu Renka Shinsengumi did surprisingly well when it first came out for the PC, considering the industry was in its infancy. It might be the grandmother of all otome Shinsengumi games!]
Yup, just got my August B’s Log and Bakumatsu Renka Shinsengumi (originally for the PS2 EDIT: Sorry, I think it was originally for PC, tecknikully[face_coffee] ) is being adapted for the DS by D3. I’ve played the game, and it’s great – pretty historically accurate as otome games go, lots of characters, and many emotional rollercoasters – especially for those of us who aren’t that familiar with the details of the Shinsengumi members. This is one game where you’ll likely cry as much as you’ll laugh.
There will be new events and conversations for this version, and the game will be voiced, but it might not be full-voice as it was for PS2.
Release date is set for Fall 2008, so keep an eye out! Ooh, I just realized that’s the same timeframe as Hakuouki, Otomate’s Shinsengumi game…[face_worried] Which one will reign supreme??
I’ve been so focused on Hakuoki (one friend already downloaded it and is playing through it intensely, I love it), I haven’t been doing too much new gaming, though I picked up Uta no Prince-sama again and am finally working through Otoya’s route. I tried to find a PV for the new game coming up, Debut, but couldn’t find any. Oh well! Since I did upcoming PV’s last week, I thought I’d put up some vids that are a little different.
Party games! I’m thinking of putting out my only “party” otome game (now I wish I’d bought the Hakuoki one!) but I’ve never actually played it.
First, Hakuoki Yuugiroku – after the 1.5 minute mark it shows more of the games:
And B’s Log Party, which I have:
Hah, does anyone remember Hanayoi Romanesque Ai to Kanashimi: Sore wa Kimi no Tame no Aria? It was interesting.
I thought Takuyo Mix Box would be good too, but it seems that it’s only an intro of several of their games. Too bad, because their games have some fun mini-games.
Speaking of Hiiro no Kakera (you watched the last vid right?), my friend reminded me of the futuristic Hiiro no Kakera last night. For anyone who’s played Hiiro no Kakera, the seiyuu for #1 and #4 are the same, but they REALLY change their voices (except Sugita, his is similar ^_^). I remembered a vid I saw that actually shows their voices to compare – I wish the clips were a little longer, but it does the job.
Hiiro no Kakera Koe Kurabe
Lastly, did anyone ever watch Rurouni Kenshin? It was one of the first anime I really got into, and I got ALL the fansubs – way back when they were on VHS! Picture my shock when I hear that, after all this time, they’re making a live-action movie for it. And even more shocking, it looks like it might be decent!
Kenshin movie trailer
I also found a bunch of Hakuoki fan vids, I might put some up later, although most require Japanese ability to understand.
The podcast about Hakuoki and otome gaming in general is now up! Thanks so much to Anne from Video Game Writers for joining me on my first ever podcast, with all the hiccups that go along with it! It was lots of fun, we started discussing Hakuoki, went into voice actors a bit, mentioned Tokimemo, Harutoki, and Starry Sky, and then came back to Hakuoki. I’m sorry it took me a long time to edit – mostly because of noob mistakes. There are some moments where there’s static in the feed, I tried to get rid of most of them but some are right when we’re talking, so I had to leave them in.
You can either download it by right-clicking or left-click, and it will open in your browser. Let me know if you enjoy it!
Update: BTW, I saw this interview of the script rewriter that might explain Anne’s question about Hijikata.
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!
I couldn’t get these up yesterday as I had important things to do *cough*Assassin’sCreed2*cough*, but here are some videos for upcoming games. OH, and I found out that Diabolik Lovers, the vampire drama CD series, is being made into a game by Rejet and Otomate.
Midnight Bells & Cinderella
Hakuouki Bakumatsu Musouroku
This one is pretty good for showing the action gameplay, although it doesn’t seem as if there’s any otome stuff in it unfortunately. You do get to play “What if” scenarios where historical enemies like the Shinsengumi and Joui Shishi team up, or the Shinsengumi and Chikage (not historical but enemies in the original) join forces.
At the end of the vid they show what you get with the limited edition, and it includes a little fake katana! Or maybe it’s a wakizashi, I can’t tell the difference.
Uh, I found a PV of this and thought it would be great to have some gameplay info, but this looks like any visual novel PV, there’s no gameplay shown at all. I hope some comes out soon…
Ouma ga Toki
It’s a visual novel, but I’m excited about it because the characters and setting sound really good (high school = ok, supernatural high school = much better!). Look at the homepage, right up in the left corner there’s a girl holding her own head.
Harutoki 5 Fandisk
I wish #4 had gotten a proper fandisk, but oh well. I’m sure I’ll get this sometime.
And lastly, I never put a Strobe Mania vid up, so here’s one – looks like there’s a bit of detective gameplay and I just ordered it, yay!
Kimi ni Todoke – I was catching up on the manga a few days ago (how can it be so long and not feel like it’s dragging yet??) and wondered what the game was like so I found this vid – it looks like you can get events, and maybe endings?, with not just Kazehaya but Ryuu and Kento too. I wonder if it would feel wrong not going for Kazehaya.
Before looking at specific games, I thought I would try to find a few trends in otome games in the past year. First, I took a look at the covers for otome magazines:
I’m missing a couple of each, you can see the backnumbers for B’s Log on their website, I’m missing an UtaPuri and a Hakuouki cover. The two Girl’s Style I’m missing are a Hakuouki and an Arcana Famiglia.
I actually thought Hakuouki took up a sizable amount of cover space, and it does, but really, not much more than Starry Sky or Uta no Prince-sama. Oh wait, now I’ve figured it out, it was 2010 that Hakuouki took all the cover space (half the B’s Logs sold in 2010 had Hakuouki covers). And Harutoki 5 took 4 covers, wow!
Now if we take a look at the popularity polls inside, an interesting shift took place. In the Jan 2010 issue of B’s Log (sold in December), the top otome characters looked like this:
10. Mikoshiba Kyousuke (Storm Lover)
9. Shitara Seiji (TokimemoGS 3)
8. Sakurai Kouichi (TokimemoGS 3)
7. Sakurai Ruka (TokimemoGS 3)
6. Kazama Chikage (Hakuouki)
5. Toudou Heisuke (Hakuouki)
4. Harada Sanosuke (Hakuouki)
3. Hijikata Toshizou (Hakuouki)
2. Okita Souji (Hakuouki)
1. Saitou Hajime (Hakuouki)
Take a look at that, willya? Aksys chose well But all the same, it was a little…monotonous. (By the way, if you had to pick your fave guy from Hakuouki who would it be? I’ve only played Hijikata, Saitou, and Chikage, but Chikage was my favourite of those. Saitou was also great. Hijikata I liked, but it had very little romance. Aaaanyways)
In the July issue, Hakuouki still had the top 5 spots, though poor Heisuke had fallen to 8th position.
Now here’s the top 10 from this year’s Jan issue:
10. Otoya (UtaPuri)
9. Sanosuke (Hakuouki)
8. Masato (UtaPuri)
7. Kazuki (Starry Sky)
6. Ryuutarou (Starry Sky)
5. Azusa (Starry Sky)
4. Souji (Hakuouki)
3. Tokiya (UtaPuri)
2. Shou (UtaPuri)
1. Saitou Hajime (Hakuouki)
Saitou is still on top, but the rest are much more spread out. The numbers are also much more even. But considering Hakuouki has been dominating for more than a year, that’s pretty good (seriously, the original game came out on the PS2 in Sep 2008. 2008!!!)
On a side note, the top three characters in Boys Love last year were Akira (Togainu no Chi), Giancarlo (Lucky Dog) and Gunji (Lucky Dog). This year they’re Giancarlo, Akira, and Bernard (Lucky Dog).
Now looking at the games released, I checked last year’s post – 20 originals and 10/11 fandisks last year. This year combining consoles and PC games there were 30 original games and 11 fandisks, and a bunch of adaptations and ports. So the commercial otome release list grew by almost a third this year, wow! That makes me really happy.
However, I can’t help but feel like there was less variety in gameplay this year. Last year Tokimemo GS3, WagaHana, Steelwood, Love Root Zero (with all its problems), UtaPuri, and Storm Lover all had significant gameplay. This year there was Mother Goose (with all ITS problems), and Harutoki 5, FabStyle, and I think Miss Princess? I’m hoping that some of the ones I didn’t get to like Arcana Famiglia also had some, but it seems like a lot less and I can’t think that’s a good thing. Maybe that trend will reverse in 2012.
Now all that’s left is to JUDGE (my favourite part). I’ll probably do that in a couple weeks, because honestly I’m still working on a bunch of new releases! I feel like I should play Arcana Famiglia before I decide, does anyone recommend it?