The Hunter Gatherer
This morning I am getting a bit of a late start because the weather is dreary out and everything seems to distract me. I’ve had to contend with the kitten knocking all manner of things onto the ground from the cabinets, and the other two cats intent upon pinning my arms down so that I can’t effectively type. As a result I am getting a later than usual start on composing my morning blog post. This mornings post is going to be inspired by the sheer madness that Grace has bestowed upon me. What I am saying.. is everything is her fault. For those who have been following me over the last few days, you will know that the August AggroChat Game of the month is the bizarre bird dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend. I had been avoiding playing it so that I could stream my first moments, and finally the stars aligned for me having enough time to devote my attention to doing just that. Since this is a largely text based game, I figured I would act out the dialog as best I could. I set a time for 6pm last night, and I had an awesome audience of friends joining in the fun. I only actually made it through one play through however because by the end of all of that talking… my throat was killing me.
What can I say about Hatoful Boyfriend that has not already been said. The game is completely insane. You play the role of a “Hunter-Gatherer” human girl, having to fit into bird society and attending Saint Pidgeonations a prestigious school…. for you know… Birds. If that premise itself was not insane enough… in order to make progress in the game you have to develop a relationship with one of a cast of different birds. From what I understand if you have failed to gain the attention of at least one suitor by a certain point… the game just ends. From start to finish it takes about an hour to play, and last nights play through ended up running about a hour and twelve minutes in total. The game while short… has a lot of replay-ability as apparently there are secret endings that you can only unlock through repeated plays of the game. Having done this or that ending unlocks new options, and at this point I have completed the game three times and unlocked a total of three different endings as well as a bonus romance of sorts.
While absolutely none of this sounds like a game I would be interested in… there is something quirky and infectious about the game that makes you want to keep playing to see just how deep the rabbit hole goes. One of the nice features of the game is that there is a fast forward of sorts that lets you skip through some of the often long sequences of dialog that require no player action. In truth you are only really making a few choices per game session, and watching the events of those decisions play out before you. In many ways some aspects of it remind me of Persona 4 Golden, which is a game I need to return to playing at some point. I keep hearing there is an actual “bad” ending, but I have yet to find it. In many ways playing this game feels like the first time I watched the movie Brazil, with even stranger and more surreal experiences the longer I kept playing. In fact this morning I actually got up and started playing again, so maybe I am not hooked on the insanity?
If nothing else it is going to make for a very interesting AggroChat in a few weeks when we record that episode. I feel like so far maybe Grace has done the best job of picking a game title that generates conversation. I feel like There Came an Echo probably would have as well if I did not suffer so many technical problems that kept me from finishing the game. Thalen also has an interesting game picked for us, so I think the next few months are going to be a blast as far as the Game Club goes. I had a lot of fun recording the play through of this game, and it was so damned bizarre trying to act out the different birds. I stumbled pretty massively on some of the names and had to rely on some assistance from Ashgar a few times. However I made it through and now at least have some fodder to talk about for the show. I am not sure how many more endings I will try and unlock before we record but I still have some time. The gameplay goes fast enough, and in many ways it is like a train wreck… you just can’t help but keep watching it. As someone who went into “Birb Boyfriend” as deeply skeptical, I highly suggest everyone pick this title up and give it a chance. It is just too damned strange not to experience it for yourself. If you want to watch my play through if you missed the live stream I embedded the video below.