20 2 / 2013
OK, now that the Sweet Fuse hype has died down and the news has spread and I’m not flooding dashes/tags, I’m gonna talk about something not so happy, jut to get some Bad Feels out of my system. Namely, how the general gaming community/press has reacted to this game’s mere existence.
Because you’d honestly think the devs walked into their homes, shot their dogs, and kidnapped their family by how some people have seen fit to react to this game. Allow me to give you some gems I’ve collected from the internet:
"Why? why only otome games ?? pick up some other visual novels for guys…."
"You’ll never get me to speak ill of any VN or VN type, but the fact is it HAS been a long time since there was a traditional male MC, pick your lady title physically released stateside."
"I didn’t think they’d use their resources for more otome games"
Like….Let’s just address something first and foremost. There are PLENTY of Male MC Pick your lady VNs released stateside, physically and even more digitally. Many are ero-related, but that’s no fault of localization companies—most games coming out are either eroge, or ports of eroge with the ero taken out [and things like the Aselia All-Ages debacle JAST went through may make companies hesitant about picking up all-ages ports]. If you want to count straight, physical otome releases in the US, we have…..3. Including Sweet Fuse. Three. Even giving it to “otome-lite” titles like Princess Debut, we have about…….5 more to add to that. So 8. Total. Apparently, otome is taking the gaming world by storm and my copies of School Days and My Girlfriend’s the President don’t exist.
Anywho, stepping away from the bitterness, why this attitude? Sweet Fuse, like Hakuoki before it, is REMARKABLY open to play from both genders, given its fun plot independant from the romance and the puzzle aspects. The romance is merely a facet of the story, and I’m still not sure where gender plays in enjoying romance. I was extremely driven in Shadows of the Damned to save Paula and reunite protagonist Garcia Hotspur with her. I became EXTREMELY attached to characters I romanced in the Persona franchise, attempting to prevent Chie from falling in battle at all costs [though I knew I could bring her back, of course]. My status as a heterosexual female did NOTHING to lessen how I felt about these stories, as some men have reported they still felt very drawn to the world games like Hakuoki built.
This isn’t as if Konami was releasing Tokimeki Memorial Girl’s Side, but not vanilla TokiMemo and LovePlus. Furthermore, Hakuoki and Sweet Fuse are WORLDS apart from TokiMemo, whose only goal is the building of stats and development of a romance. While Aksys’ otome offerings are AIMED at women, there’s nothing barring men from playing and enjoying them, in my humblest of opinions. It’s much like playing games like the aforementioned Shadows, or LovePlus, or bishoujo games, or the bulk of video games since many are, in fact, aimed at men if one doesn’t identify as a typical teenage to whatever-year-old male. You can still enjoy it.
Otome games and visual novels in general have enough bars in the West. The mere EXISTENCE of an English localization leads to MANY downloads of isos/roms [See companies like XSeed games bemoaning the prevalence of torrents for Retro Game Challenge or Unchained Blades, games virtually ignored until they could be downloaded!] and “big” companies like Sony have historically decried the validity of visual novels as “games” and barred them from localization. I understand that this may not be the game you’re looking for, but please—don’t hurt this subgenre, this niche among niches, any more than its already hurting. Why do companies like Key refuse to license classics like Clannad or Kanon? Why has 5pb been very “meh” towards JAST/the fan group’s efforts to localize Steins;Gate? I can’t say for sure, but if perhaps VNs were met with more excitement in the US, it could help. Just some food for thought on this evening of late night shitposting.
So I guess, in summation, support the localization of niche titles in the West!! Support otome games in the West!! And support companies like Aksys who fight the good fight!! Spread the word and be positive!! :D Sorry for this deluge of late night feels, lol. I have a WAY happier Sweet Fuse post for tomorrow, promise!!
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