Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Hatoful Boyfriend - Initial Thoughts

About the Game (From the Steam Store Page)

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted as the only human student at the prestigious St. PigeoNation’s Institute, a school for talented birds! Roam the halls and find love in between classes as a sophomore student at the world’s greatest pigeon high school. Finding happiness won’t be easy, but it’s not all academic - there’s always time for a little romance in this delightful remake of Hato Moa’s popular visual novel / avian dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend!
Please Note: No birds were hurt in the making of Hatoful Boyfriend. In fact, many found love.  

An Avian Love Story: Chat with birds of every feather from narcoleptic school instructors to pigeon biker gangs on your way to flirty encounters potential suitors that set your hear aflutter. Spend time with the ones that strike your fancy and ditch the birds that prove to be a bore!

New Scenario and Ending: Series creator Hato Moa has created an all-new scenario and ending to discover in this exciting update for fans of the original game and brand-new Hatoful Boyfriend players!

Replayability to Fall in Love All Over Again: Build your own nest of intrigue within the St. PigeoNation’s Institute with genre-bending intertwining narratives, hidden stories, surprise paramours, and multiple endings sure to send you back to the start to try a new path and a different love interest.

Attend Class and Level Up: Choose elective classes like gym and art class to raise your character’s stats and bend suitors to your will by mixing charisma, vitality and wisdom. Get wise and you’ll pass your classes. Getting fit might save your life!

Fowl Twists and Turns: Not everything is as it seems at St. PigeoNation’s Institute! Uncover dark conspiracies, unexpected twists, and hellish fiends bent on bringing on the apocalypse. Pick your dates wisely, and you’ll flap off into the distance with your one true love. Take the wrong turn, and you might just end up murdered in your bed.

Sensual Birdfeed: Purchase delicious beans as a gift for your potential love interests and wow your feathered crushes with Calm Corn, Country Millet or Bitter Black Beans.

Previous Playtime

0 hours

Expectations and Prior Experience

I don't even . . . What? If you could see my face right now, you'd see that I'm just flapping my jaw uselessly, trying to come up with a reaction that makes some kind of sense. But I can't. Pigeon high school? What?

I first encountered this game in a thread on I didn't actually read the thread, because it was already pretty long when I first encountered it, but I skimmed enough to glean the basic premise, and it was weird enough to stick with me. When I saw that it was available on Steam, I put it on my wishlist as a lark (no pun intended?), but I wasn't actually planning on buying it unless it was on deep discount and I had nothing better to do.

Then me friend Jared bought it for me. I have to assume it was because the thought of anyone playing a dating sim where all the boys are pigeons is hilariously deranged. The whole premise makes me deeply uncomfortable.

My hope is that it will be so absurd that I'll be able to approach it with a kind of ironic detachment, and then I'll be one of those cool, in-the know type people who can play self-consciously weird video games and not make a big deal about it. Maybe one day I'll just casually name-drop it ("you know, this reminds me of Hatoful Boyfriend. . ."), and people will think, "there's a guy who really knows a lot about video games."

Strangely enough, this is my first dating sim. I expect that will take some more getting used to than the whole "everyone's a pigeon" thing. I'm not even sure how the physical mechanics of the game work. However, the store gives it a "visual novel" tag, so I'm guessing it will be a lot like Long Live the Queen. If so, it should be easy to learn, but difficult to master. And perhaps the only thing more disturbing than pigeon romance is pigeon heartbreak.

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