I had no idea what Otome games were but a friend of mine told me she played them and when I asked her what they were she said they were typically romance games and you tried to have fill the love meter as high as you could with the person you chose so reach the best possible ending. When I asked her how you did that, she said it all depends on the answers you give in response to certain situations. I immediately thought of one of the types of electronic literature we’ve studied this semester: hypertext and then I thought of the last time we studied which was video games.
People might laugh at the idea of Otome games and playing them but they are an interesting way to tell a story that gives the reader or “player” some agency as there are certain things they need to reach to continue the story or how the choices they make affect their romance with the character.
So since I’d never played an Otome game before, I asked my friend what she was playing and downloaded that game so try it for myself and see what it was all about.
The game I downloaded, to my phone since app Otome games are easily accessible, is called Midnight Cinderella.
The game opens up to a beautiful image which already let me know the time and dedication that the creators put into this game and also give me an idea of what the purpose of the game is.
After creating your avatar, the game puts you into a tutorial where you learn the backstory of your character and how they became the princess of the entire country. While going through that though, you are introduced to all the candidates for your love and after completing the tutorial, you have to pick one of the characters you want to have a romance with and start your journey.
As the image shows, the left side is how the story is told. It’s a series of dialogue boxes that are already set and you read through them to get the story. At certain parts however, as the middle of the picture shows, there are chances for the reader to actual choose the response that the character gives. It’s usually just a sentence long and whatever choice that is made affects how many points is added to your romance with that character. By understanding the character you chose, you can know which response is the best to choose and get more points. However, like most electronic games out there, Otome games have walk throughs! There are a number of different sites that offer them but they are there to make the reader have an easier time going through the game. At certain points of the story, the reader gets special images that are saved within the game and are viewable at any time as the right of the image shows. The beautiful artwork is an incentive for people to play the game because they show a romantic scene with the character they chose.
Like most apps however, what you can do each day is limited and you only get a certain number of story “tickets,” in Midnight Cinderella it’s five, each day which is how the creators get people to keep coming back because unless they pay, people can’t go through the entire storyline of a character in a day.
Another aspect that Otome games have is usually a type of challenge where the reader as energy that is expanded. In Midnight Cinderella, each reader has a certain amount of beauty based on the clothes they have so the more they have, the more likely they will beat their opponent. These challenges are a way to earn in game money that is used to buy clothes. Most Otome games have a challenge within the storyline where an article of clothing is needed to continue the storyline. This is another way to keep readers interested in the game because they need to do these challenges to be able to go through the ones in the story or else they could be stuck for days trying to get enough money.
So in conclusion, Otome games are more than what they are made out to be: romance games. They are well thought out in content and add beautiful graphics to make it pleasant to the reader and are basically a romance novel in a creative electronic format.