I’m very happy with my Japanese 3DS, though it’s not easy playing games in a language that you don’t know. When it comes to choosing games I realize that I had better choose games that aren’t text heavy, like platformers or rhythm games. Apparently these last, rhythm games, are big in Japan, there’s a score to choose from. But, here’s the thing: I don’t like playing rhythm games or platformers. I prefer playing sim games, RPG or adventure games. And all are very text heavy. Slow going, but at least I’m learning something in the process too, so a win-win situation.
But I think now I’ve really done it in terms of difficulty. I bought a very unusual game. First, very unusual to try it because I’m a woman, and secondly, unusual by Western standards: I bought New Love Plus. Do you know these games? It’s a dating sim made by Konami, aimed at young men, and it revolves around a second year High School student who has just been transferred to Towano High School. There he meets three young women, and it’s up to him to choose one of them to develop a relationship with. The series has been going strong for a couple of years now, starting with the original released for the DS in 2009, up to this New Love Plus that was released for the 3DS on Valentine’s Day in 2014 and making free content available. They could download digital Valentine’s Day chocolate from one of the Love Plus girls! A well thought out move of course, because it would save a lot of guys the embarrassment of not getting any attention from the ladies.
In the new version people can carry over their progress from older games, which of course I won’t be using. To me, the game is all new. This latest installments ads new activities, like going on Field trips with your virtual girlfriend, fitness modes and even sick days. And for a fee, you can even receive email from your virtual girlfriend! In the game you choose a potential partner out of four candidates, but that’s not as easy as I make it sound, you will have to woo her first. And after the choice is made, you have to work to keep your virtual relationship steady, just like you would in real life. I’m glad I’ll be able to play the game in a third person setting, otherwise it would feel too weird.
I think these games are very much a Japanese thing, and most Westerners don’t really understand why they are such a big deal. The dating sims are mostly viewed with pity, as if someone who plays them is a failure in real life when it comes to having a relationship. Which is a bit strange, because it’s nothing more than having a virtual life like you have in lots of other games. But somehow it’s not weird to immerse yourself in the role of mayor of your Animal Crossing town, or to slay all kinds of monsters in Monster Hunter, while in real life you wouldn’t even kill a fly if you could help it. So these dating sims are just about a romantic quest in gaming. No need to be ashamed when you want to play them.
And yet it feels strange to even tell you about playing game, especially being a women. I’m not at all sure of how I will feel about the game once I’ve given it a try. But I’m open to giving it a go, approaching it as I would any game. I think it will be fun to play this game as a sort of management game and have fun reading this romantic novel, because that’s what it will be for me. Like watching a very nice romantic movie! Though I might have to admit defeat early because of the sea of text that I will have to wade through. I’ll keep you updated!
I pondered getting this for my Japanese collection but the text and activity grind would really limit my interest. Probably the most westernised version of this genre was the PAL release of SPRUNG on DS where you could play as a male or female, but it was very trial and error.
I haven’t picked up the courage yet to put in more then the name of the character. I’m afraid it will be very time intensive, and I have so many good games going at the moment. But I will try it, and when I do, I’ll let you know. But the way, I saw it was reduced to 50% now in the eShop 🙁