A little while ago Lizzo from Soulcial Dreamers included me in one of those Twitter tags that are always making the rounds. I usually ignore most of these, because the Twitter notifications for these can get into the triple digits… and they’re a pain to clear out. But, Lizzo’s prompt really spoke to me:
— Soulcial Dreamers (@SoulcialD_Ent) February 25, 2020
This one asked about the five games that had the biggest impact on my life and I really had to stop and think about that for a moment. I’m not really what you’d call a “hardcore gamer”, most would consider me a casual gamer at best and I’ve even had some folks call my gamer status into question because I tend to favor story based visual novels and otome games over other genres. But, I do love video games and over the years there have been a few titles that have shaped who I am, games that to this day I still have fond memories of and love going back and playing again and again.
But, the Twitter prompt didn’t give us the chance expand on our choices, so I figured why not bang out a post and do just that…
It’s no secret that I got my gaming start with the Pokemon, my love affair with the franchise is well documented in my Ode to Pokemon posts. But, Pokemon Crystal was my first ever video game. 11 year old me begged my mom for a copy of the game and after much fanfare from me the game and an at the time brand new Game Boy Color we waiting for me under the tree on Christmas morning.
I was the same age that most Pokemon Trainers start their Pokemon journey and something about that really resonated with 11 year old me. It was like I was really on my very own Pokemon adventure, exploring the vast reaches of Johto with my trusty Cyndaquil, Tracy as we tried to catch em all… sure the graphics aren’t amazing by today’s standards, but to 11 year old me everything was fresh and new- every new discovery was something to celebrate! Pokemon Crystal was my first video game experience and to this day I have fond memories of game and the franchise.
I can’t actually remember what turned me on to the Ace Attorney franchise, but it was one of the first adventure video games I’d played and started a love affair with point and click investigation games. Up until that point I was still primarily just a Pokemon fan, since I suck at platformers like Mario. But, some how or another I got my hands on a copy of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and it was love at first sight.
I love everything about this series the over the top characters, the cases… and my God the puns! It was like this game franchise was tailor made for me! I still remember staying up ridiculously late questioning suspects or searching for that last piece of evidence to make my case. The cases were pretty predictable, but that didn’t stop me from getting invested in Phoenix and Edgeworth’s courtroom showdowns! I have the whole series of DS/3DS games and I just recently bought the trilogy for Switch so I could relive all the fun again!
This one really takes me back, (P)lanets was one of the first otome games I ever played and while it’s not the most polished game, I still have really fond memories of the it. The game follows a young girl who falls down a flight of stairs one day and instead of dying, develops psychic abilities. Suddenly a boy appears before her and promises to take her to a school that will help her hone her new abilities, and so Marin leaves her life of normalcy behind and enrolls in (P)lanets –The Psychic Learning Academy for New and Exciting Tactical Studies.
This game was released before the “big otome localization boom” in the west and there were just a handful of games for English speaking fans and most were just your standard cutesy high school romance… and don’t get me wrong, (P)lanets has it’s cute moments, but it gets dark too! This game explores some interesting themes and Teacup built a really unique fantasy world full of fun dynamic characters, and I’d have loved to see this expanded upon in other games… but alas Teacup left the developing world a few years ago… But, we’ll always have (P)lanets…
I may not remember a lot of things related to my gaming journey, but I sure as hell remember the first time I played Time Hollow! Picture it, 2010, my second high school band competition! We gave a phenomenal performance earlier that day and we’re waiting for the results… but, as the hours tick by and the light wanes our resolve starts to fracture and fatigue sets in… so my friend Tiffany offers to let me play a game she bought with her to pass the time. I was exclusively a Pokemon kind of gal, but the prospect of another second of absolute mind numbing boredom tipped my hand and happily took her up on the offer— I got so into it that she let me borrow the game! I played the hell out of Time Hollow for two weeks straight!
I LOVE THIS GAME!! There’s a lot going on in this game, but the basics are this: high schooler, Ethan Kairos is given a mysterious pen that allows him to draw portals in time that he uses to alter people and objects in order to change the present (and future). Each change you make in the past has drastic effects on Ethan’s life and range from minor stuff like the rug in his room changes color to major stuff like his friend dies… yeah… heavy shit! But, it’s o much fun! There are real stakes not just for Ethan, but his friends and family and you spend a majority of the time trying to “fix” things, but some of the changes you make are irreversible. Along the way Ethan meets a mysterious girl, Kori Twelves (the characters all have number themed names) who seems to be at the center of all the strange goings on in Ethan’s life. Time Hollow has everything, mystery, drama, comedy, suspense, romance, multiple endings, fun easter eggs! This game without a doubt sparked my love of visual novels and story based games… I just wish it had a console release…
Aaaaand closing out this list is an otome game, of course. I know my timeline is a bit screwy, but my “first” otome game—at least the one I remember being the first— is A Knight’s Devotion. I like to credit Voltage for my descent into otome hell, their games are cheap and accessible—perfect for students or folks ballin’ on a budget.
I remember seeing the app in the App store, and I figured there was no harm in trying out the free prologue. What I didn’t expect was that I’d buy every route in the game… The premise is simple, your peaceful life in the countryside is disrupted when a group of knights arrive, revealing that you’re the long lost princess of the kingdom. What’s more, your father—the king—is missing and you must journey to the capital to assume your rightful place as heir. Along the way you get to know each of the knights in your entourage, developing feelings for one of them.
It’s not the best Voltage game by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s definitely entertaining. Even now, years later, I have fond memories of playing this on my lunch breaks with my coworkers giving me advice on which choices to make… and Lute will forever be one of fave otome guys.
Not gonna lie, it was kind of hard to pick just five games. I even switched up some of my choices a bit from the games I listed on the original Twitter tag:
But, that got me curious, what are some of the games that have had the biggest impact on your lives? So, I’m gonna spread the love and tag some folks here too!
Thank you for reading and supporting Blerdy Otome! If you like what you see be sure to drop a like or a comment to let me know which games are near and dear to your heart! And if I missed you and you’d like to give this tag a try DO IT!
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