Quick game review: Katawa Shoujo
If there is a single phrase to summarise Katawa Shoujo it is – “it’s a trap.”
Price: It is freeware
Age Restriction: 18
Created by the darkest corner of the Internet (4chan), about what should be the sleaziest subject matter possible (seducing students at a school for the disabled), in the single lowest gaming genre (eroge), heck even the name is an accidental slur…
The basic plot is that you play a young man with a debilitating heart condition – arrhythmia. Because of this, you can’t go to a normal school anymore and have to go to a school for students with various disabilities.
While there you will meet various characters, each of whom is fully fleshed out and interesting in their own way. Nobody is perfect and there are no actual villains – it is a story that rests on a very sincere core of humanity.
You fast come to the realisation that while all the characters have damage – you are perhaps the most damaged of all. This is a game – and oh boy can you lose.
A quote from 4chan – the heart of Internet sociopathy – goes, “Want to do Emi or Rin next – see Hanako. Realise that if I go with someone else, she will continue to be alone - can’t bring myself to go another route.”
It is even the subject of a study by Professor Don Martinez of Panola College because of its redemptive ability.
I have never come across a game with that sort of effect before – it is no longer a question of whether video games are art, it is a question of whether any other art can quite match gaming’s power.
Created by the darkest corner of the Internet (4chan), about what should be the sleaziest subject matter possible (seducing students at a school for the disabled), in the single lowest gaming genre (eroge), heck even the name is an accidental slur and it has this power.
Now imagine what the rest of the gaming industry could do if it set its mind to it.
Extremely well written – extremely different and not at all what you expect going in.
This is pure role-playing – it is not an action game. There is no combat, there is no resource gathering this is about story and that is it.