2015 comment: Dunno if this one still holds up for everyone but it’s still worth checking out I’d say to see one of Christine Love’s old works before she became more famous.
Genres: Drama, Shoujo-ai, Shounen-ai, otaku, comedy, School life,
Play time: About as long as a Sono Hanabira game (2-3 hours), though it felt longer to me it wasn’t by much.
Rated Teen for strong language and minor sexual content.
don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story examines quite a few issues, though the crux of the story is something that encompasses it all, while asking us to explore something new and yet not at all. You are to take on the role of a teacher, John (Put the pitchforks and torches down doods, it’s not what you think…unless you want it to be so), who has his own past, issues, and insecurities. At the same time, you are asked to see this through your own eyes, the game subtly hinting that it wants you to not be immersed in the story a few times.
Seven students, three endings, one eavesdropping teacher. A full length visual novel about the erosion of privacy, gay drama (both sides), young sexuality, and the perils of modern online life for a high school literature class.
Christine Love, the writer and coder, admits it is a spiritual successor to her previous work on Digitial: A Love Story, (Which I’ll review in the future) so fans of that might well be on the track to enjoying this, though it plays quite differently.
This all takes place in 2027, which is somewhat significant. It’s in the future, but not far enough away that we are estranged from it. While the game does seemingly have anachronisms (I highly doubt that the same internet language we use would be that unmodded in sixteen years), it’s in a space where the game seems primarily directed at the previous generation before my own: people who grew up without social networks their entire lives, but were aware of them in their late teens or early twenties. Therefore, the language is far enough that it isn’t THAT hard to believe the teens in the game live on a social network all the time, and that it is a part of their daily life.
Animation: This is an Indie game so don’t expect any high quality CGs and stuff like that. The character models do look pretty good though and I like the variety of clothing each student (even the teacher) wears. So yeah, the anime characters are good and the CGs are okay at best.
Best line in the game by my favorite character in the game, Kendall.
Music: This is what I consider the game’s weakest link. It’s not terrible but let’s just say I played most of the game with the music set to zero. The sound effects…expect to hear the message chime quite a bit, in fact throughout the entire since it plays a key role. Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. It’s not as annoying as the WWE RAW Anonymous GM’s chime…scratch that, it is. As for voice acting, there is none, which for a 30-ish MB game shouldn’t be surprising.
This is the gist of the gameplay’s gimmick. In case it’s hard to read, let me rephrase it for all you doods and peeps out there. Basically John is given by the school administration, FULL ACCESS to every single conversation by the students on this game’s parody of Facebook. Of course the students have no idea that their PMs are secretly being surveyed by educators with access…Think about it for a second. In this game’s future, 2027, teachers will be able to secretly peek into conversations they normally don’t have the right to know about. Of course the main reason for this is for teacher to be able to protect students from bullying, harassment, suicidal emos and stuff that, but for a teacher like John…well…
Anyway, the gimmick is that you play the game while reading the messages being spread by the student, replying to PMs and checking out 12channel before most student/teacher counseling at 3:55 PM. for those with a sense of privacy who would rather breeze through the game without having peeked into student conversations even once, tough luck because reading the messages is mandatory to progress. The game is divided into 7 chapters, each focusing on a specific student (later on John himself) and their dilemma. You read the story and bump into moments where you have to pick one of two (once three) choices that will usually influence the story progress. (There are some choices that merely change the spoken dialogue instead of affecting story progression).
Characters + Writing:
As stated earlier, the story centers around a teacher with a messed up past and 7 of his students (5 girls and 2 boys) with personal issues dealing with guilt, sex, sexuality, trust, and acceptance throughout the course of its remarkably potent narrative. The cool thing is that none of the characters sucked in my opinion. Each of the students has their own charm that you can’t get yourself to hate any of them no matter what their beliefs. Their issues and views on life and people are, for the most part, believable. Each has a reason for their actions and the conclusions to their dramatic situations are acceptable…depending on your choices of course.
Like I said before my fav character is the controversial Kendall. Why controversial? The word’s definition pretty much speaks for itself. I like her because she looks cute, her speech mannerisms and how she approaches things.As you can tell from the pics she’s one of 2 characters who uses memes and abbreviations to a fault. Many of her spoken sentences HAVE to utilize meme, the other character being Akira. Oh, and she’s a member of “the nation” in both ways.
The writing is what I consider 50% of a VN’s appeal and can definitely make or break the experience. Having seen the rating you can already tell I think the writing is very good for all the paths. Heck this story even has a little twist near the climax that will have you scratching you head a bit but ultimately makes a lot of sense considering one of the game’s central themes, privacy. You’ll find out when you get that far.
In conclusion: This game certainly was a welcome surprise and opened my eyes to certain things in life. Also, as an aspiring future educator, John’s actions kinda taught me some things on do-s and don’t-s in teaching and counseling. I recommend anyone who likes Visual Novels to give it a go. It’s an interesting way to spend a few hours your day and will definitely give readers some things to talk about after getting one of the endings.
Oh, did I forget to mention the game is free and only 38-40 MB?
Christine Love’s blog:
Think very carefully before you act…T..H..I..N..K.