You’ve been distracted from your beloved JRPGs. No time anymore. It usually happens as you get older and other obligations take hold.
But then you find yourself suddenly and inexplicably sucked into a fantasy game world, for real. And your questing party, all handsome young men of varying job classes, have a bone to pick with you.
Because of your habits and recent neglect, they’ve all become w̬̗ͥͦ́̈̓̈́ͥ ̞̺̊ͤͯͧa͇̗̗ ̝͎̳͌̎̍r ̞̤̬͊̒̊̇̂p͎͈ ̙͇e̮͔̳̥͔̳͉ ͖̼̠̩͓͔ͮd̪̟͙̓̀
This is the situation of Dot Kareshi, aka “Pixel Boyfriend”, a very unique otome dating sim visual novel where all the characters are takes on JRPG tropes. The game series was released last year in three separate installments, with four different pursuable characters available in each disk. The games are developed by Rejet, a primarily PC developer known for their beautiful games with twisted themes and also their lewd thematic drama CDs. None of their games are officially available in English but just the other day a fan-translation patch for the first disk of their Dot Kareshi series was released.
In the first disk of Dot Kareshi, ~The Legendary Maiden~, the strange situation of the game is established and the first four characters are introduced. There’s the Hero, with a petty grudge and a lust for breaking pots; the Wizard, a sardonic glasses-wearing pyromaniac; the Priest, who’s on a domineering power-trip; and the Thief, simply obsessed with stealing hearts or copping a feel. You as the main character don’t usually communicate except for visual emoticons and sometimes the guys telephoning the last thing you “said” back to you, in addition to you as the player selecting responses at certain junctures. You actually don’t even have a visible face during the CGs, playing literally an everywoman. But through the game you learn that your player character does have a personality when it comes to how she played the JRPG originally, with the guys often complaining about your brute-force grinding methods and disdain for sidequests.
My boyfriend, friend, and I did a group play session of Dot Kareshi! You can catch a recording of it here, if you’re interested in seeing what the game is like and having our bawdy commentary (warning, I have the mouth of a sailor after drinking). One thing you may notice in the video too is the guys come off as pretty aggressive at times. It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world always, especially when they have an entertaining roll going, but it’s definitely par for Rejet’s other games and sort of what you go to them for: an acquired opt-in taste. In the Let’s Play stream we yell at the guys plenty when they start to go overboard.
The great thing about Dot Kareshi too is it’s extremely easy to import, unlike other video games. Amazon.co.jp has an English language mode on their site and they will ship most media internationally. While they usually won’t ship Japanese video games, because of Dot Kareshi’s drama CD inserts it’s categorized as a CD instead, meaning Amazon.co.jp will ship it to the United States just fine. That is where I got all three disks from. And they are quite affordable at 3240 yen a piece (about $26 right now).
The English patch for the first game can be found here, along with installation instructions. It’s pretty simple actually, just installing Dot Kareshi from your purchased disk (and make sure you’re running with your language and system locale is set to Japanese/Japan) and replace some of the resource and data files from the patch, it doesn’t even touch the executable.
There are also demos of the games you can download from Rejet’s site! So if you want to try it out before you order from Amazon.co.jp. Additionally an English patch is available for the first demo as well. I’m pretty excited about these patches, as it makes playing through Dot Kareshi less exhausting for me and my basic Japanese. I’m also eager for them to get to the later disks. Disk two is fun with it’s inclusion of Knight, Monk, Beastmaster, and Dancer; but disk three is the best since it’s all the villains, such as Dark Lord, Dark Knight, Slime, and Villager! Yes, little old Villager A.
And maybe hopefully awareness through these fan-patches may alert someone at some publisher to consider a nice official localization of these games. I’ve always thought Dot Kareshi was weird and marketable enough even in the West, with their familiar JRPG aesthetic and simple routes. And even the relatively tame, if warped, content would be okay for release on a mainstream platform like Steam.