My laptop does not run games of more than 16 bits, so I had to wait until Steins;Gate came out for PS3. Unfortunately, reading the text on my television gives me a headache, so I’m going to have to take the game one hour at a time. This is a visual novel, and there is a lot of text.
Both Chapter One and Chapter Two take about two hours to complete. These are the notes I have so far…
I am a megafan of Neil deGrasse Tyson and have been for years, but it turns out I can also get behind being on the receiving end of an anime voice actress delivering lectures on theoretical physics. Is the “tsundere lecture” an actual kink? Like, am I the only one who is overcome with feels when a girl says “I will explain the superstring theory of time travel to you, but you’re probably too dumb to understand, you stupid baka”? The anime girl in question, Kurisu Makise, is a wonderful character, and I love her.
There’s a recurring joke centered around a male character who presents as female (Ruka Urushibara) that borders on transphobic but actually comes off as amusing considering that the character is treated with an enormous amount of respect by both the game’s protagonist and the game itself. It’s never stated how the character identifies (the English text uses the pronoun “he,” while the Japanese voice acting doesn’t use any pronouns at all), but it’s clear that he has feelings for the male protagonist and is embarrassed about cosplaying as a female character. It might be best to refer to him as “genderqueer,” but regardless, none of the characters really care about or refer to his gender and sexuality outside of their gently teasing jokes, which seem to have more to do with certain aspects of otaku internet culture than they do to do with the actual character.
So far I’ve been reading this game more like a novel than playing it like a game, but in the next few posts I’m going to try to tackle how the “visual novel” gameplay elements function, especially as they affect the story (or stories) being told.
( Header image from the Gamespot forums )