Okay, here we go, time to make you buy another visual novel game!
Okay…that probably didn’t help. What about this one?
No? Okay, what if I told you it was 999: Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors before 999 was a thing? Also it’s my favorite portable game at the moment? There, got your attention now?
So man, don’t you just hate it when you get accepted into an illustrious academy out of nowhere, and then you pass out once you go inside, wake up in an abandoned class room, find out you’re the most uninteresting person in the world, and then find out you’ve all been abducted by some kinda crazy murder bear who wants you all to have it out Battle Royal style?
Wait, hold on, seriously? I’m the only one who got stuck in here? Alright, I gotta make this quick before Monokuma finds out my cell phone still works…
Danganronpa follows the tale of Makoto Naegi, who is super excited to be accepted into the high school for elites known as Kibokamine Academy, or Hope’s Academy. Only the best of the best, the crem de la crem get accepted there, and he’ll be joining fourteen other “Super Duper” students (not my words, theirs). Each Super Duper is Super Duper as being Super Duper at a different Super Duper thing that is Super Duper which is just so bloody SUPER DUPER!!!
I’m sorry, I’ve been playing this game for like five hours and they said Super Duper like fifty times in the first ten minutes. Also, I’m under a little stress what with hiding in the basement beneath the stairs texting about this game…er…place.
So anyways, once Makoto arrives, finding himself in the presence of such Super Dupers as the Super Duper Idol Sayaka Maizono or the Super Duper Badass Mondo Oowada or the inferiority complex stricken Super Duper Programmer Chihiro Fujisaki, well, let me backtrack.
FIRST he arrives, super excited because there’s absolutely nothing special about him (his admission letter even tells him he’s boring and lame and pretty much got in because of a lottery that lets ordinary folk have a shot at greatness), and then he blacks out when he goes through the door, and then he wakes up in a crazy other worldly school with the windows bolted shut and covered by massive steel plates and THEN he finds everyone who is better at life than him.
Anyways, the group soon meets Monobear, and is given the 999/Saw like ultimatum that they are to live the rest of their lives inside of the school, or “Graduate”. They’ll have all their needs met, food, clothing, shelter and the like, but can never leave…unless they’re willing to commit murder. The only way to leave what comes to be known as “Hope’s Academy: Despair’s Students” is to kill one of the other fourteen in a manner that cannot be traced back to them. If the others find out that person A killed person B, then they’ll be ineligible for graduation, plus everyone else knows what they did so they’re pretty much screwed.
Makoto, like any good protagonist, wants to find a way out without hurting anyone, and also wants to protect someone there who he knows from their childhood…however, as the Super Duper Heir puts it, “The real threat isn’t if Monokuma was telling the truth…it’s if someone among us has taken him seriously…”
Please look forward to Trigger Happy Havoc: Dangonronpa for the Playstation Vita early next year. The game was previously released on the Playstation Portable, and has a manga and anime adaptation. If playing visual novels in Japanese or waiting half a year isn’t your thing, there are ways to play the game in English, but please please please please PLEEEEEEEASE support the English release in 2014.
Seriously, this is the first time I’ve gone out of my way to say don’t be a jerk, but visual novels need help in America. Literally the only reason we’re getting Steins;Gate and Danganronpa over here is because 999 managed to become a success that no one saw coming.
Which, by the way, props America, I’m proud of us! We bought more copies of 999 AND Virtue’s Last Reward than Japan did by a HUGE margin, and because Japanese fans cared so little it was American gamers that the developers spoke to for ideas for Virtue’s Last Reward’s story. Good job us!
While I’m at it, please take the time to buy Time Hollow and Lux Pain new, they’re both on the DS, are amazing, and will not set you back that much. And now, I must bid you adieu and get back to trying to convince Sakura Oogami to be my bodyguard and best friend. Xeawn, out!