American visual novel “Shira Oka” is attracting attention amongst Japanese gamers as much for its deficiencies as its strengths.

In summary, it is an American developed visual novel patterned on a Tokimeki Memorial-style branching scenario, with mediocre artwork, no sex and an “all-star” voice cast whom the developers fail to name:


A demo and purchasing information ($25) are available on the game’s official site.

2ch is less than impressed:

It looks pretty good, for something by Americans. I thought it was Chinese at first though.

Could pass muster, if it were a Flash game.

This is DLSite level alright.

It’s a real pity there’s no sex.

The art looks about 25 years old.

Maybe it would be useful for learning English.

Looks like a 1995-level game… how nostalgic.

What’s with them following Japan… I was hoping for something more American, like massive and stuff.

It’s like a doujin-game.

I thought it would be something like this:


America is sprouting [moe-teiru].

For most observers, much apparently depends on whether the game is considered a commercial game or doujin soft.

Considering they face off against the established might of JAST, MangaGamer and, the developers do at least deserve praise for their boldness.

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    Comment by Anonymous
    08:18 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.8)

    Fuck this shit, when's Katawa Shoujo going to be finished?

    Avatar of Shuubi
    Comment by Shuubi
    08:39 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    My thoughts exactly.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:14 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.8)

    All things considered, the art isn't *terrible* - at least they've structured their characters unlike the plague of shittily drawn "anime" characters you can find on DeviantArt.

    Whilst it does remind me a lot of this type of game from about 10 - 15 years ago, I suppose the big draw will be whether the writing and story is any good. A well written narrative is what drives these games - whether they're developed by the Japanese or by Americans is really a moot point.

    Avatar of Croxino
    Comment by Croxino
    07:35 18/12/2010 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Noa hiiragi from MM!

    Avatar of alex251
    Comment by alex251
    17:19 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    you get 1 internet :)

    Avatar of Spikehamer2
    Comment by Spikehamer2
    07:33 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    It's like those flash games, i guess it's ok but goddamn 25 bucks?

    I guess this people could try out putting this on Steam (i would cry myself to death if it happens)

    Avatar of Kai
    Comment by Kai
    07:35 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Yeah it reminds me of those flash games from way back when on newgrounds.

    Avatar of Abel Liegod
    Comment by Abel Liegod
    07:31 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.5)

    That last pic reminds me of Leisure Suit Larry.

    Avatar of fre1gn
    Comment by fre1gn
    07:36 18/12/2010 # ! Quality (+0.8)


    Comment by Anonymous
    08:31 18/12/2010 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    That's what I would like to know aswell.

    Avatar of Rainney
    Comment by Rainney
    12:39 18/12/2010 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    Katawa Shoujo looks better than this honestly. But I might give the demo a try considering you don't see American-made galge too often.

    Comment by Anonymous
    14:05 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Katawa Shoujo looks WAY better than this, and it's, guess what, FREE. Anyone who played act 1 demo of KS would probably agree.

    Comment by Anonymous
    00:49 20/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "no sex"

    Sounds like it's perfect for the Tokyo politician market. In fact, maybe that's their marketing plan: get everything with sex removed from Akihibara and they have a stand-out product.

    Avatar of TNinja
    Comment by TNinja
    03:36 19/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Rape end :V

    Well, the art looks a bit, strange. Not to be picky asshole, but I really notice something's off with the arts.
    Also school girls.

    Avatar of Crim
    Comment by Crim
    02:50 19/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "no sex"

    Damn, I wanted it till I read this line

    Hey, hey, can someone lie to me and say there is sex at the end

    Avatar of Darkrockslizer
    Comment by Darkrockslizer
    00:33 19/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Being an artist, my eyes started to bleed by watching that OP. I still could not unsee nor turn away, similar as to when you're watching some shock videos.

    Comment by Anonymous
    02:05 19/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    And what is a japanese game and what is an american game? Fun is fun. Why doesn't everybody just make fun games? But then, what is fun right?

    Comment by Anonymous

    How about if japanese developers make japanese games and american developers make american games...?

    I know it sounds silly, but maybe it could work...

    Avatar of BlaqCat
    Comment by BlaqCat
    23:24 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Geez. The least they could have done is make good character art. Anon is right. Katawa shoujo is leaps and bounds above this swill.

    Avatar of Carrot_Glace
    Comment by Carrot_Glace
    10:32 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    Avatar of ゆっち
    Comment by ゆっち
    11:16 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)


    This isn't a milestone at all.

    The milestone is when the West makes a good visual novel.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:03 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.4)

    There are tons of US-made visual novels. They're all doujin because there's no real market for them here. I have Sprung which is basically a commercial one, but I don't think it's American, it might be Canadian or French. It's... actually not that bad, considering.

    I think you really can't have an "expansive" VN, the medium just doesn't allow for that. Maybe Western ones will have more adventure game elements or a mission based structure or have all the characters be hipsters.

    Avatar of HouseLife
    Comment by HouseLife
    13:02 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    You want an American made visual novel? I'll give you an American made visual novel.

    Motherfucking Planescape: Torment, Baldur's Gate, and Fallout. Those are visual novels American style during the golden years of gaming. And they are American Visual Novels because there's fighting involved ^^ If you get that, cool, if not, no loss ^^

    Avatar of Atzumo Kayami
    Comment by Atzumo Kayami
    20:46 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    A hipster VN?
    I say that VNs are already hipster-like in america, but I daresay that I'll give it a try if someone does it

    Comment by Anonymous
    17:15 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    tali's so cute ><

    Comment by Anonymous
    16:55 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Hey, America does have a visual novel dating sim series that's pretty mainstream to boot. How could you forget Mass Effect with its moeblob Tali?

    Avatar of ゆっち
    Comment by ゆっち
    12:09 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)


    I'd like to say yes, but a lot of people would probably say no.

    Comment by Anonymous
    12:54 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    What about Monkey Island?

    Avatar of Hatsune Miku
    Comment by Hatsune Miku
    10:46 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    ehh... Need a little more work there, America. Although it's not a bad start...

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:41 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Does Full Throttle counts as such? ^^

    Comment by Anonymous

    This is a milestone in history. Not because it was a good game, but because America just produced one of it's first visual novels.

    Avatar of Kyon
    Comment by Kyon
    07:57 18/12/2010 # ! Quality (+0.8)

    Think about it, if they're like this today, and Japan was like this in the 90's, in 2020 Americans will be just like the Japanese are today, let's just hope the Yanks dont start banning everything too.

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:49 18/12/2010 # ! Quality (+1.0)

    @Kyon I don't imagine U.S. being exactly like Japan with visual novels booming or an Akihabara stationed in New York anytime soon with all the superhero movies coming out. There are too many cultural differences between the two.

    Imagine yourself playing Clannad, one of Japan's best selling visual novels, in America. It would easily be perceived as being a "too girly", "a girl's game" Why? Because we associate "cuteness" with "femininity" and if you're a guy into the genre(especially the oftenly criticized "moe" genre) tough luck because you'd be encouraged to play games like "Call of Duty Black oops" or "Halo 3" instead of "Little Busters", "Da Capo", or Koihime Musou.

    Similarity, if you were Japanese and you were playing something along the lines of "God of War" or Grand Theft Auto" series, the game would be deemed as "barbaric" or "you're trying to be a yankee".(Yes I know because I had a friend living a Japan for two years and he knows how its like).

    Of course we, Sankaku residents, all know that both Eastern and Western games are great to play, but unfortunately we are in the minority. :/

    Avatar of Kyon
    Comment by Kyon
    07:26 20/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well, I could not agree more.
    I just hope the time will come, and we became majority.

    Avatar of Kwonnie
    Comment by Kwonnie
    08:01 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.4)

    Japan's animation never looked this bad. And the date would be 2030... and shit's banned here already.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:51 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (+0.2)

    well, you gotta admit, higurashi no naku koro nis art (the original visula novel) was pretty much horrifieng. it was just so bad thta words can only describe that character sprites as particularly ugly dwarf girls. good thing there is a patch that exchanges them with the sprites and graphics from the remake, negating the risk of eye cancer

    Comment by Anonymous
    18:54 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Higurashi, Umineko?

    Avatar of Sandalphon
    Comment by Sandalphon
    08:24 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    "...never looked this bad..."

    Two words for you: "Gundoh Musashi"

    Let us all now forget that series ever existed.

    Avatar of Kwonnie
    Comment by Kwonnie
    09:00 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    @Sandalphon Groundbreaking animation from only 2006. KyoAni's got nothing on it.

    Avatar of Chiaki H
    Comment by Chiaki H
    09:04 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Being 10 years behind today means we'll be behind tomorrow.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:17 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    We aren't ten years behind. We just have all the wrong people making the games. The sankaku users could probably make an accurate up to date doujin.

    Avatar of ゆっち
    Comment by ゆっち
    10:20 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    That's exactly why we're ten years behind, because all the right people know it won't work.

    Comment by Anonymous
    10:22 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    now after weeding out the people who can actually draw on par with artist on pixiv is highly unlikely.

    Comment by Anonymous
    11:03 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Well I mean, Sake Visual makes visual novels that are kind of almost kind of getting there. Oh, who am I kidding?

    Comment by Anonymous
    08:43 18/12/2010 # ! Good (+0.6)

    Yes, the backgrounds do somewhat resemble those 90s adventures - but then that style made many games what they were. Is it appropriate for this game / novel? I don't know, that would depend on the story I guess. At least it isn't just shopped photos, they deserve a plus for that. And the character designs are cute, if somewhat standard.
    The song however is rather... devoid of all the little climaxes that make a good song? I just can't like it. The animation is sloppy, but I've seen *much* worse in Japanese VN's, and in all likelihood most art will be (semi-)static sprites on background.

    Avatar of Renzo
    Comment by Renzo
    18:16 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    It looks good in its own, pretty classic and hmm, kind of Doujin Game, but it comes out from America rite ? ( where it's pretty scarce to have a galgame )

    Avatar of Kwonnie
    Comment by Kwonnie
    07:55 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    They were probably parodying shit like imvu.

    Avatar of Dia
    Comment by Dia
    10:59 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    In case it wasn't clear, the last picture in the quote isn't from the game.

    Comment by Anonymous
    15:05 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    Oh yeah, that was this other shitty game for the PSP. I can't remember the name of it. I considered buying it for like 5 minutes because It seemed like a western attempt at a VN, but it's soo hackneyed.

    Comment by Anonymous
    09:41 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    This topic reminds me earlier of Katawa Shoujo. Which is better in any way possible. I don't even care about having voices in it or not. NOT is actually preferred when it's originally English...

    Avatar of King Tiger
    Comment by King Tiger
    08:36 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    a new challenger has appeared!

    Avatar of Endersgame
    Comment by Endersgame
    12:56 18/12/2010 # ! Neutral (0)

    You mean the last pic in the 2chan posts? That is Leisure Suit Larry (My brother had that was a funny game). This game however does not peek my interests >.>

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