< Piro >
Thursday - August 24, 2000
Largo talks about the blurred lines between sci-fi and fantasy, and I take it a step further: gal games - or "gal-get games", "dating simulations", "love simulations", whatever you want to call them, really fall in the realm of "fantasy" too. But... what is so sad is that you fantasize about *school* - school in another country. It's a shame that the high school memories of so many young men in this country is *so* bad that they turn to another country for fond reminiscing.
This does bring up a interesting problem i've had recently - what exactly do you call this genere of games? In japan, it'ssimply called 'gamu' or 'games', which pretty much covers the whole gamut. Here in the states, I suppose i need to be a little more specific. There are two terms that *I* like to use, and pretty much describe most games in the category. Leaf games (like To Heart, the one in the strip) are called 'visual novels' - gameplay is basically clicking along and reading the story while watching the images and listening to the dialogue. Changes and shifts in the story happen based on choices you make as you go along. Games like Tokimemo Memorial 2, by Konami, are simply called "simulation games" There is a more elaborate game system to determine exactly how you stand with all the girls in the story. True Love Story and Sentimental Graffitti are two other examples of this type of game.
People like me are a relative rarity in the states, but this is not the case in Japan. Tokimemo Memorial 2 flew off the she lves and sold out in a single day when it was released late last year, and there are cult fans of Shiori that are really scarry. The arcade version of Tokimemo Memorial 1 (yes, there was an arcade version) actually had a sensor that kept track ofyour pulse to see how much 'in love' or whatever you really were.
Fantasy or simulation, the games are immersive and require an awful lot of free time - something (thanks to largo) i am now very short on. Perhaps this is a good thing...