I like to think that I’m not a gal that cries easily. Sure, I’m human, I get emotional sometimes, but it takes a lot to get me to actually cry, and not just a few stray tears, but like ugly cry. A story so heartbreakingly beautiful that you can’t help but let all your emotions just spill over.
So, I did some thinking and I came up with a list of five games that hit me deep in the feels and had me bawling like a baby! Now, it’s not just one route or one character with a tragic backstory… no, the whole game is one emotional gut punch after another! So, grab your Kleenex and get ready for five otome games that made me cry…
For many in the “mainstream” gaming community, visual novels are often seen as not “real” games—to many, an interactive story-based game can sound like a snooze fest. But, the truth is, visual novels are some of the most diverse games out there, covering a wide range of stories and genres… that quite frankly surpass anything I’ve seen from most mainstream games. Whether it’s a sci-fi adventure set in a distant galaxy, a slice of life romance, or an epic historical drama—visual novels are open to a wealth of story telling opportunities! They even lend themselves to giving creators from all walks of life a platform to tell their own unique stories with characters that are representative of themselves and the larger gaming community.
As a Black woman and a gamer, I find that I turn to indie visual novels whenever I am hankering for more diverse gaming options and always, visual novels deliver. Over the years I have discovered quite a few gems and I’ve even had the opportunity to chat with a few developers of color, like Jellyfish Parade founder, Jessinia. I am no stranger to her games, having fallen head over heels for her sci-fi romance game PAIRS—which follows two couples as they navigate the ups and downs of their relationship against the backdrop of an ongoing war between Earth and an invading alien race. But, what drew me to the game was the fact that both of its female leads have distinctly Black features (something that was WHOLLY intentional), while not being defined by the color of their skin—something that isn’t as common as it should be in media. So, when I saw that Jellyfish Parade was working on a new (longer) romance game featuring a Black female lead and a diverse set of love interests… let’s just say I was closely following the project!
Ocean Pearls: Kissed by the Sea is an upcoming fantasy romance visual novel that follows Nova, a young woman who finds her life turned upside down when she is unwittingly betrothed to one of several eligible ocean royals. I managed to get a sneak peak at the demo and y’all, I am in love with these mermen~ (and the game too)!
My birthday is on September 10th, which is smack dab in the middle of Virgo season—August 23rd to September 22nd—and I thought it would be fun to spotlight a few otome guys that happen to share my astrological sign. Some of these guys I didn’t even know were Virgos and some of the guys I actually thought were Virgos turned out to be Libras…go figure.
For those of you that don’t know Virgo is the sixth astrological sign in the Zodiac and one of the three Earth signs. Virgos are described as being loyal, analytical, kind, hardworking, and practical. And from what I’ve seen about the guys on this list, they all embody quite a few of these characteristics.
In recent years, I have found myself more drawn to indie otome games than traditional Japanese otome games and that has a lot to do with the seeming disconnect I’ve felt with the stories. Don’t get me wrong, I still love my otome games—I’m absolutely looking forward to the upcoming English releases of Cafe Enchante and Piofiore: Fated Memories—but as a whole I’m not seeing too much variety in the types of otome games that make their way to the West (ie. story heavy action-y otome games). I get it localizing companies are pushing what they think will sell best on the English market, and I can’t fault them for choosing games that are most likely to have more “mass appeal”, but there is a distinct lack in lighthearted comedic otome game localizations, that I find to be quite sad.
In comparison, the indie scene doesn’t have the same restrictions, so there’s often much more variety in the types of games that are released. So if you’re looking for a more relaxed otome gaming experience, you can’t go wrong setting your sights on some of the indie games available—like Love Spell: Written in the Stars, the debut romance game from female led indie studio Great Gretsuki. Follow the game’s heroine, Luna, as she embarks on a magical journey, full of love, laughter, and just bit of adventure!
It’s no secret that otome games are still very niche genre within the broader gaming community. Even with an increase in English localizations of Japanese otome games here in the West, our community is fairly small–but, what we lack in size we more than make up for in voice! As a collective, the online otome fandom has been especially vocal when it comes to protecting our otome games–whether that is calling out localization companies on the quality of their releases or letting companies know what games we WANT to see released in the West– you can bet that the collective voice of the otome community will be heard.
As a blogger I use my platform to promote otome games (and indie romance visual novels), but I am just one of many voices in the otome games community and I don’t speak for everyone. So, I wanted to reach out to the #OtomeArmada and see where we stand on certain topics specific to our community. Nothing fancy, just a Twitter poll every now and again to spice things up. Last week I asked you guys ‘Where do you play your otome games?’–and the response was overwhelming with 302 of you all casting your vote.
But, I wanted to do something with this and actually list out some takeaways from the poll and kind of suss out some trends! So, let’s break down the results!
Blerdy Otome is an otome games and visual novel review site that runs on Black Girl Magic and Dreams. While I mostly focus on romance themed games, I’ve been known to cover a wide range of nerdy and otaku themed topics.
So, step right up and prepare your heart! Let’s talk about otome games!!