So, apparently there has been some discourse in the otome games community—I mean, when is there not drama—concerning using the term “otome” for more inclusive titles. There have been some folks in the fandom who are upset that folks are using otome as a catch all term for any game that fits the otome mold, ie. a protagonist who romances pursuable characters. Some, use otome to encompass idol and card-raising mobile games, like A3!, and more recently Tears of Themis. While others feel that LGBT+ indie games to be otome.
This is not the first time this issue has cropped up over the years and it most definitely won’t be the last, but I think this new wave of discourse is just disheartening. Times have changed, games are becoming more inclusive and more people are seeing media that speaks to them and their truth, so it only makes since that the language we use should grow and change with the media. So, today I’m going to talk about what makes an otome an otome and where I stand on including LGBT+ games within that otome umbrella.
I know, potentially polarizing opinion incoming–don’t @ me.
But, if you’ve been following me for awhile it shouldn’t be such a big shock that I prefer indie otome games over the more “traditional” Japanese otome games. I mean on a very basal level, indie otome games are much more accessible and available than Japanese otome games. Sure, we’ve been getting tons more otome games than we have in the past, but given the volume of otome games being released in Japan annually, what we get through localization is merely a drop in the bucket. Not to mention localization titles are selected and curated by companies that at the end of the day are protecting their bottom line. So the games that do make their way to the West are ones that are considered the most “financially viable” (read: safe).
I started this series as a way to get personal with you all and share my thoughts about things happening in the otome community or share fun stories and anecdotes about being an otome fan. So, for the new year I wanted to share a story that is definitely one of the more interesting experiences I’ve had over the years.
For my first confession of 2021, I thought I’d tell you all the harrowing tale of how I got my copy of the Hakuoki Kyoto Winds art book–and trust me it’s something… Now, because this story involves another person I have omitted their name for anonymity and even though it was over 3 years ago, I checked in with them to make sure it was okay to share and they gave the go ahead. So trust I covered my bases on this one….
I have been running this site for a little over five years and there is one question that has plagued my blogging experience: Do you have any game recommendations?
It’s not that I don’t want to give game recommendations. Hell, I give them all the time, to friends, family, complete strangers on the internet… I have lists dedicated to game recommendations! I can’t tell you how happy I get when someone doesn’t just play a game I recommend, but they fall in love with it. It’s one my single greatest joys as a reviewer.
‘Do you have any game recommendations?’ is an innocent enough question–on the surface. Y’all this is one hell of a loaded question. Imagine for a minute that this question appeared in your twitter DMs; no background info about the asker, no point of reference on games they’ve played… nothing. Just…
DO YOU HAVE ANY GAME RECOMMENDATIONS?
Do you give a general recommendation? What if you suggest something from a genre they don’t even like? What if the game you suggest has triggers for them? What if they’ve already played it? What if they can’t play the game because they don’t have access to the platform it’s on?
Even if you know the person asking the question, you still run the risk of making a “bad” recommendation and that’s a lot of pressure sometimes OR maybe that’s just me. So, instead of sending “Do you have any game recommendations?” or some variation, here’s how you SHOULD ask for recommendations.
Blerdy Tribe, I’ve been rather inactive lately and for that I apologize, but real life got kinda hectic for a while there and I just didn’t have the time or the energy to read through 100k+ visual novels. I’m human. But, that brings me to something that I have been meaning to talk about on this blog for a very long time—visual novels are long af!
You’d think that’s a given, I mean they’re called visual novels for a reason. But, time and time again I underestimate just how much time I need to finish a visual novel (or an otome game for that matter). I know some folks who blaze through games in about 2 days and I am always in awe of their speedy playthroughs, but I just don’t operate like that—especially if I plan on writing a review. I take my time, dragging out my playthroughs for weeks (sometimes months) to ensure that I get the full scope of the characters and the story—or at least that’s what I want you all to believe.