Games offer a wealth of storytelling opportunities, giving players a chance to experience stories and characters far removed from their day to day lives–from supernatural romances to high fantasy adventures, each new game is a one of a kind experience. However, there are still many stories and characters that are often overlooked by the broader gaming industry. In recent years, indie games have become a hub for marginalized creators to tell their own stories and create characters that are representative of the diverse gaming community. Over the years, I’ve stumbled upon some true gems, but one series that always manages to tug at the heartstrings is npckc’s Springs series! Three LGBTQIA positive games that touch on the lives of three very different women as they come to an understanding about themselves, life, and friendship.
So, you can bet I was super excited to see that npckc had compiled all three games in the series into one compilation game, A Year of Springs! This new game comes with all three titles in the Springs series–One Night, Hot Spring, Last Day of Spring, and Spring Leaves No Flower–and as an exclusive bonus, npckc included a new epilogue that follows Haru, Erika, and Manami after the events of all three games!
Spring Leaves No Flowers is the third game in the LGBTQ positive One Night, Hot Spring visual novel series developed by npckc. The first game followed Haru, a 19-year old transgender Japanese woman as she goes on an overnight trip to a local hot spring for her oldest friend Manami’s 20th birthday. The second game focused on Erika, one of Haru’s friends as she attempts to plan a spa day for the girls, but she finds that accommodating all of her friends is a little difficult.
This third game, Spring Leaves No Flowers brings Haru’s friend Manami to the forefront as she comes to an understanding about herself as she thinks about what friendship and romance mean to her. Spring Leaves No Flowers picks up a few months after the events of Last Day of Spring with Manami coming home after a night out with her boyfriend Tatsuya, and her friends, Haru and Erika. While chatting with Tatsuya later that night he asks Manami why she never told him her two best friends were dating. Confused, she denies his claim, but the next day she notices that both Haru and Erika are acting strangely… maybe there really is something going on between her two best friends afterall…
Last Day of Spring is the sequel to npckc’s LGBTQ positive visual novel, One Night, Hot Springs—which followed Haru, a 19-year old transgender Japanese woman as she goes on an overnight trip to a local hot spring for her oldest friend Manami’s 20th birthday. The game focuses on Haru’s experiences during the trip and the affect they have on her—One Night, Hot Springs delves into many of the anxieties Haru has over not being treated as the woman she is and while it does have its fair share of heavy moments, the game is ultimately very positive.
During the trip, Haru meets Manami’s friend Erika and while they have a shaky start, there are opportunities for the two to spend more time together and eventually become friends. Last Day of Spring, picks up a few months after the first game and follows Erika, who at this point has become really good friends with Haru. At the start of the game Erika learns from Manami that it’s Haru’s birthday and decides they should do something to celebrate. So she sets out to plan a special spa day for her, Haru, and Manami.
I’ve played many games over the years, but none has so perfectly captured the human experience as poignantly as the short visual novel One Night, Hot Spring. This thought provoking title, gives players the opportunity to step into the shoes of Haru, a 19 year old transgender Japanese woman who has just been invited for an overnight trip to a local hot spring by her oldest friend Manami. While Haru is initially reluctant to attend, she eventually give in to the request. But, what would normally be a simple night out with friends is made much more difficult for Haru, who is still legally male must contend with the rigid gender structures of the Japanese hot spring. As the night wears on and Haru’s anxieties rise the player must decide how Haru reacts to the various obstacles she encounters.
npckc‘s short visual novel One Night, Hot Spring does that and more, by giving players the unique opportunity to experience life through the eyes of a transgender woman in Japan. I originally included the game in a list of ten LGBTQ positive visual novels in celebration of Pride Month and of all the titles on that list, One Night, Hot Spring was by far my favorite. The game was developed by indie developer npckc for the 2018 Trans Gal Jam.
Hey Hey Heroes, Travelers, and Wandering NPCs, I’m back… well, kinda. It’s June and that means it’s LGBTPride Month, the annual celebration dedicated to the richly diverse LGBT community. As an ally of the LGBTQ community I wanted to do something to celebrate here on Blerdy Otome, so I compiled a list of ten LGBTQ Positive Visual Novels I think you guys should check out. I tried to compile a list of games that I thought were representative of the LGBTQ community, so expect a wide range of titles with diverse characters and subject matter.
I want to emphasize that I went for games that represented the LGBTQ community in a positive light, so I shied away from titles that seemed to hypersexualize LGBTQ relationships, so don’t expect any overtly sexual BL or Yuri games on this list! As with any list, your mileage may vary, so if you don’t agree with my choices, you are more than welcome to suggest other games down in the comments section. So, without further ado, let’s get this party started, here’s my list of 10 LGBTQ Positive Visual Novels, you should definitely check out this Pride Month!