I’ve kind of been dancing around this topic for awhile now, since like many gamers my backlog is a point of pride and shame. I’m not alone in this, just about every gamer I know has a backlog, that despite our best efforts never seems to get any smaller. In fact, backlogs tend to do the exact opposite.
I’d like to blame sales for my ridiculous backlog, I mean really it’s criminal to let a Steam Sale go by without buying anything and some publishers have taken to hosting release day sales in hopes of boosting their initial sales stats. The system is rigged to promote sales, I know this and yet, I can’t help myself… I am a willing participant yet another Capitalist scheme…
This post has been a long time coming, and I mean a LONG time coming… I had the idea for this post around the time that post about the infamous Vogue article, but it wasn’t until a month or two ago when I saw an especially troubling search term that I actually started writing this post.
Before I get into why this is so problematic, let me say that I am in no way shape or form the authority on otome games and the types of people that play them. I can only speak for myself and my experiences. However, despite that I can still say with some degree of certainty, that otome gamers get a bad rap sometimes. So I decided to write a post that addresses some of the misconceptions people have about otome gamers while still answering the above question.
*Disclaimer: The ideas presented in this post are my own, it’s fine if you disagree with me. All I ask is that you be respectful when commenting.
A few months ago, my old Galaxy S5 finally decided it had had enough of my abuse and decided to get its revenge… I’m talking, random reboots and dropped calls every hour on the hour, so after the umpteenth reboot I decided it was time to get a new phone. I typically stick to the Galaxy line of Samsung phones, because they’ve served me well in the past and I’d had my previous phone for quite some time before it started wigging out. They’re solid phones so I figured I’d just get another Galaxy. At the time, every mobile service provider was advertising pre-orders for the Galaxy S7 and the S7 Edge. I was already a fan of the line so it wasn’t really a hard sell, but T-mobile decided to sweeten the deal by offering a couple of extra perks. At the time, every pre-order came with a free Netflix subscription for one year and a free Samsung Gear VR… I almost broke my laptop in my excitement!
Before reading this post, it’s important to answer one simple question: What exactly is an otome game? Generally speaking, otome games (shortened to otoge) are “story based video games that are targeted towards a female audience” (wiki). Typically, the plots of these games focus on fostering a romantic relationship between a female protagonist and one of several male (and in some cases female) love interests. While romance is the main draw for players, otoges have been known to cover a diverse range of subjects and topics. In the past, otoges were only marketed towards Japanese women, but in recent years their popularity has extended to the Western market. This new, growth has led to a rise in English-language otome games and an increase in the number of localized Japanese otoges. However, the market for otoges in the West is considerably smaller than that of the Japanese market.
So this past week I saw that Vogue had written an article about otome games…At first I was excited, this is just what we need, I thought, more exposure means more games…and what better way to get that exposure, than to have an article in an internationally syndicated medium, like Vogue. So like many of you, I retweeted and reblogged the article, but then I read it again and I noticed something I didn’t realize the first time. First, they assume all otoge players are women and two they generalize players…On the first count, Vogue is primarily targeted at women…so I guess I can let that slide, but the second point isn’t so easily dismissed. The article made it seem like women/girls who play otome games do so in order to escape the reality of not having a real boyfriend….
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!!