When it comes to gaming, I am a bit of a weirdo. I don’t like any one genre, though I do dislike several. In the later category, anime, dating sims, visual novels, and JRPGs. I have several reasons for this, which I’ll save for another post, but then Ian told me about a game called Doki Doki Literature Club by Team Salvato, which at first glance looks exactly the opposite of up my alley. I mean:
It looks like everything I hate in a game. Sexualized schoolgirls, romancing said schoolgirls, it’s all very PUA-like. Say the right thing to get the right girl to like you. It’s all creepy and gross, and normally, I wouldn’t even look twice at it. Plus, it’s all froo-froo pink and fluffy. Bleah.
I gave Ian the side-eye, but he reassured me that there was more to it than met the eye, and it wasn’t really a creepy dating sim, even though it’s marketed as such. I trust Ian, and it’s free on Steam, and I’m in between games (though I just bought Night in the Woods, and I’m really excited to try it), so I downloaded it and fired it up. I will say the fact that it has a disclaimer and makes you sign it before it actually starts is my first indication that this game hopefully is deeper than it appears.
The first hour is pure agony, I will confess to you, dear reader. It follows down the dating sim path introducing you (the main character) to four girls. One is your perky, upbeat neighbor, Sayori, who you’ve known forever (girl with red bow), but have grown apart because she has trouble meeting you in time to walk to (high) school together*. She tricks you into joining her club which is the Literature Club, of course, and the other three members are also cute girls. Monika, the club leader, and the most popular girl in school (long brown-haired girl). Yuri, the goth of the group (dark-haired girl), and Natsuki, the annoying brat who’s covering up the softness inside.
You don’t want to join the club, but once you realize there are four cute girls with very distinct personalities, well, of course you join. What else is there to do, especially in a video game? What follows is an endless amount of talking and me mashing the button to get through the dialogue as quickly as possible. I read really fast, but still. You have to write poems for this club, and supposedly, the words you pick to write the poems will fit one of the girls better than the others. Or something.
Warning–spoilers to follow. I’m going to try to keep them as light as possible, but it’s hard to talk about the games without spoiling it somewhat. If you have any interest in playing this game, quit reading now and play it. It really is best played with minimal knowledge. For those of you still with me, the rest of this article will be below the cut.