Friday, August 21, 2015

My name is Kirsten and I'm a fan of "Hatoful Boyfriend".


In fact, Hatoful Boyfriend might be one of my favorite games. Have I said that before about other games? I really do need to publish that top 100 list I've been working on... Anyway, it's hard to take a formal tone when I'm writing about my new-found fascination with a pigeon dating sim. So here's the story: I got the game long ago on Steam, but have been hesitant to play it for obvious reasons. Usually I don't care what people think of me, but I was worried about the messages that would start rolling in when my friends saw me playing it. So I put it off and forgot about it for a while. Over time, however, I heard more and more good things about the game and by the time it was released for Playstation, I was completely ready to immerse myself in the fowl experience. I bought the game (at full price!) for Vita and started playing immediately. My mind was blown.

This actually sounds like something I might say.

I'll admit, I haven't played many Dating Sims or Visual Novels. In fact, I'm trying to play more of them so I can write a piece on my opinion regarding how they fit into the literary game mold. The few games I have played in these genres, however, were worthless sap and plotless nonsense compared to Hatoful Boyfriend. Okay, so that may not sway many of you critics, so I'll drop this bomb: Hatoful Boyfriend has a more intense and endearing storyline than (dare I say it?) the Dragon Age games. And those are some of my favorite games, so don't take my words lightly! I even have my copy of Dragon Age II autographed by the series' lead writer -- that's how serious I am.

Yes, yes, many of the reviews and screenshots of Hatoful Boyfriend show the humorous side of the game: mainly the parts that involve a character named Okosan.

Okosan is the bird who is obsessed with pudding.

But if you play the game thoroughly, you'll find that there is a much deeper story buried beneath the humorous pudding. Many of the characters' endings have a strong potential to make you cry. I believe the tumblr crowd would say that this game gives you "all the feels". If you don't believe me, look up the enormous amount of fan art that this game has provoked from its fan base! 

I do not wish to give spoilers because this game is worth playing spoiler-free. Thus I will say the following: the game is extremely well written and well translated (I saw few, if any, grammar or punctuation errors) and the story is to die for. Perhaps literally. If you read reviews from people who have played the whole game (i.e. they didn't stop playing after reaching only one of the possible endings), you will learn that if you achieve ALL of the endings, you will unlock the "true" ending, which is a whole new game unto itself. As you play through the various different storylines, you'll find that you have a lot of unanswered questions and you're not sure who you can and can't trust. After a few playthroughs, it becomes obvious that not only is this a Dating Sim and a Visual Novel, but it is also a well-thought-out mystery story! Look at that -- Hatoful Boyfriend even transcends genres.

In all, I cannot recommend this game highly enough. Hatoful Boyfriend is a shining example of compelling sci-fi (/mystery/dystopian future) literature in video game form.

Oh, and to answer the most pressing question: who is my favorite bird? That is a question I cannot answer, as I love them all.

But Sakuya's human form is pretty darn nice looking.

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