The English Otome Game Guide for Beginners (Part One: The Backstory)
I was pretty much born into gaming. Thanks to my ahead of her times and super awesome mother, I was watching her play Final Fantasy games before I could read the text myself. (She still mourns the day we learned to read/play for ourselves and stopped just watching her play.) I love books and always have (thanks again, mom!) but I’m not sure you can beat a well done interactive game for the most enjoyable way to experience a story.
I like all sorts of games, puzzle games, casual games, super hard core rpgs, even thanks to Mass Effect a semi-shooter (I have really poor spatial skills, including spatial navigation, the first time my brothers saw me attempt to play a shooter they were like ‘….Is that what your brain is like all the time? No wonder you are always walking into walls. Poor, poor thing, let me take that controller back now.’) But the common thread that I have always, always been drawn to the most is a well-done story, especially, super especially a story that is interactive and lets you have some control over the characters, the relationships and the overall story.
But one thing that bothered me more and more as I got older and played more games is there were really very few stories being told that felt like a ‘me’ story. There were plenty of macho men lets make things go boom stories, there were lots of power fantasies all the ladies lurrrv me stories, there were even plenty of hapless teen hero stories. But very, very few where I felt like me as the player got to interact in a story that felt like something I could relate to as the protagonist, even fewer that were girl friendly. (The few companies that have done that basically earned my undying loyalty I LOVE YOU BIOWARE <3)
I know that if I hadn’t been raised on games, I probably would never have gotten into them. So many of them, and so much of the narrative around them screams NOT FOR YOU, GIRL OF GIRLNESS. (I wouldn’t call myself super girly or anything, but I’m definitely more girly than your stereotypical hard core gamer. I don’t like pink or fashion, (okay, in games, I totally like fashion, I’m obsessed with making my avatars the PURTIEST) but the main thing I focus on in games tends to be the characters, the relationships to the characters, and the story. I wouldn’t be even a little bit sad if RPGs decided to cut out combat entirely of the genre. Although sometimes shooting/stabbing things can be fun, I will admit. IN GAMES I MEAN, not real life. Hahaha *awkward laughter*) That is finally starting to get better (although not without some unpleasant messiness) which is super exciting and makes now a really good time to be a female gamer.
When I was a teen, I really would have loved some more girl-story friendly games, but they didn’t really exist (Excluding ‘Barbie’s fun fashion show!’ type of poorly made thing,) in any major way. It wasn’t until college that I started learning about this genre of games made (mostly in Japan) especially for a young female market. Of course, there weren’t many in ENGLISH (and sadly, I have like 0 brain for learning other languages) so all I could do is drool enviously. But that is changing, more and more of these games are either being translated, or the genre is being brought over by independent game studios and creators. Basically the female-oriented english speaking gaming market has never been better, and I fully expect it to keep growing as phone apps and indie games become more and more popular.
So this guide is written for all the current versions of past teen Aly, (or even current versions of Aly or future Aly) who would have been really happy finding these kind of games, but either doesn’t know they are out there, or what to try or is feeling overwhelmed with the message of NOT FOR YOU that can be pervasive in certain realms of gaming.
(Also these games are usually targeted at younger female audiences, but they can totally be enjoyed by all types of people of all ages. I’ve totally addicted my mom and brought her to the dark side. She’s much less ‘girly’ than I am and is old enough to be my mom and still loves them.)
So here it is: The English Otome Game Guide for Beginners (With Recommendations.):
Part Six: New Addict Librarian Mommy Speaks (with her own ratings/recommendations)
Part Seven (Not really a part of the series): SPECIAL BIG ANNOUNCEMENT