Since the opportunities to get otome games are almost zero in my country, I mainly live off downloading freeware or rely on friends getting them for me. Due to piracy rules and such I won’t be sharing any links in my blog other than the ones that are freeware, but feel free to message me if you have any questions, and I’ll try my best to answer. No promises about troubleshooting though 😛Now, let’s start~~
Oh, before that. As many people would ask about this, I ONLY play visual novels on PC, I can provide no help or guidance on PS2,PSP,nintendo DS,iphone or android games. I use a borrowed PSP sometimes but I’m not good with it so don’t expect any help from me about that.
Where to buy:
As I said before, I am kinda incompetent when it comes to getting games by myself, but this wonderful blog Yumi’s Game Factory has some good directions 🙂 The WONDERFUL cadavaberry of tumblr has also provided very detailed instructions in her reblog of this post on buying Japanese games, check it out.
EDIT: Otome Jikan has an even better and detailed article than the 2 above HERE.
Only English games:
Among the companies that make English otome games for PC, the ones I like most are:
English freeware downloads:
b) I feel are pretty good
c) I have played myself
1) Re:Alistair++ , Ripples , [text]:A summer story and My Magical Cosplay Cafe are freeware from sakevisual. I loved Re:Alistair++ most because of ‘s gorgeous art and super awesome story in such a small span. Sakevisual does good work in general, but Re:Alistair++ is too good!
2) duplicity~An eternal Lie~ is a freeware from roseverte, it’s a kinda “test” version, I don’t want to call it a demo since there is enough content and the routes can be played up to the endings. Though story gives a “unfinished” feel, it was a lot of fun!
3) Frozen Essence by VenusEclipse (who is made of awesome for doing such a great job by herself). At first glance it might not seem much, but trust me it has the most complex and thoughtful plot I’ve ever encountered in an otome game. Most otome games are either fluff heaven or rape story with stereotypical plot, this game was like a breath of fresh air ^^ People often are put off by the art at first, but for a single person project it is more than adequate.
4) (P)lanets -the life of normalcy has ended! from Teacup productions is a really cute game, it was a really refreshing and cute read, and teacup definitely worked hard on her own! Like Venuseclipse, she is an awesome person who tried her best by herself for us fellow otome lovers ^o^ The story is a sweet high school plot with a little sci-fi mixed (is telepathy sci-fi? I dunno), and the humor is really good.
5) RistoRante Amore is a free game by Cyanide Tea. It was worked on as part of NaNoRenO, I am still playing this so no comments atm.
6) Boku No Shokora, literally “My chocolate” is a free doujin game that has been translated. It was a very short yet fun read (I was literally falling off my chair at some points, haha)
7)The Knife of The Traitor is a small freeware otome game with rather quirky and awesome humor made for NaNoRenO 2012. I had a lot of fun playing this one! If you can’t access the forum, try the download links in my review post.
List of Commercial games available in English
OELVN (original English language visual novel)
Always Remember Me
Love & Order
Cafe 0~The Drowned Mermaid
Magical Diary Horse Hall
The Flower Shop: Winter in Fairbrook
dUpLicity – Beyond the Lies
The Royal Trap
Japanese/Korean Games translated to English
Starry ☆ Sky ~in Spring~
The Second Reproduction
Tokimeki Memorial: Girl’s Side 1,2 (DS only)
Hakuoki ~Demon of the Fleeting Blossom~ (PSP, DS)
Otometeki Koi Kakumei Love Revo!! (DS version translated, PC version untranslated)
Yo-Jin-Bo ~Unmei no Freude~
Dandelion ~Wishes brought to you~
Sweet Fuse: At Your Side (PSP only)
How to playNON-ENGLISH GAMES (without English patches):
I mainly play the VNs that either have been translated by company themselves or have an English patch, but since most of the BEST otome games tend to be in japanese and are rarely translated, so I had to learn the tricks to use translator programs to translate in game text. Mainly you need these programs- ATLAS, AGTH or ITH, and Translator Aggragator.
- AGTH is Anime Games Text Hooker, and ITH is Interactive Text Hooker. Both AGTH and ITH extract the text from the game as you play, but I mainly use ITH now a days as it is newer and works better with new games.
- ATLAS is an OFFLINE translator which instantly translates the text extracted by AGTH/ITH
- Translator Aggragator is an awesome program that runs Atlas alongside a couple of online translator interfaces, so you can get multiple translations in case of confusing lines (that happens a lot).
Often games have special region-crack patches and such, before playing you should check this page at Mistress Alita’s for detailed explanations. The information is a bit old -she mainly used AGTH and h-codes which ITH doesn’t need most of the time. You can look up The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Japanese Gaming in her site if you want in depth explanations. It’s a GREAT guide, and you should DEFINITELY read it if you’re new to all this, but I think you should take a look at the instructions below FIRST to have an idea of what you have to do before getting flooded with info, OK?
So what you have to do is:
-Change your regional settings to Japanese as per the instructions in Sasugasugoi’s “
Regional Settings Tutorial” if you use XP/Windows7, see Misstress Alita’s guide if you use Mac. The reason you have to do this is because your computer has to be able to recognize the Japanese text used in the games and needs to have the proper fonts.
-Download this VN tools pack (229 MB, contains ATLAS, AGTH, ITH, edict2, Mecab, TAHelper,TAplugin)
-Use ITH to extract the text from the game, there’s no installation needed, just copy it wherever you want. Look up Sasugasugoi’s “Interactive Text Hooker Tutorial” for details for use
-Install ATLAS according to “Atlas Fujitsu v.14 Tutorial“, we only need to install it once and forget about it, since Translation Aggregator doesn’t need ATLAS open to use it.
-Then open Translation Aggregator (just copy it wherever you want, no install required)by running Translation Aggregator.exe which will have a couple of windows. Close all other than the following: “ATLAS”, “Google”,”Honyaku”,”Babel Fish”, “Excite” and “Original Text”. Actually you need only “ATLAS” and “Original Text”, the rest are online translators to help you with the confusing lines. If you don’t have internet when playing these 2 are enough. Enable automatic translation for each window by clicking on the icon that looks like a clipboard, right next to the name of the window.
From now on ITH will automatically capture the text of your Japanese game as the lines of the game progress with your clicks/on auto mode and the ATLAS window of Translation Aggregator will translate it immediately even if you’re offline. Any online translator windows you have open will do the same, but you’ll need to be connected to the net.
More things to know
H-codes: There can be some problems with the text captured by ITH: it can have repeated words, weird nonsense, or not contain all the text-which means you’ll have to use a H-code (just a word, nothing big) that will tell the program how to get the correct. For AGTH you have to use H-codes for many games, but for ITH it’s pretty rare since ITH can handle these problems itself. I’ll explain the process of adding h-codes later since most of the time you won’t need any. You can’t make h-codes, you’ll have to find the ones people with programming knowledge have already found out. Visit here to check if your otome game needs any from here, or this page at Mistress Alita’s for detailed explanations (the database has more game codes and is updated regularly, but they aren’t detailed).
NoCD/NoDVD/AlphaROM patches: A lot of games need patches to run because the games are region locked meaning people outside japan can’t play them without patches (I have no clue why the makers hate the idea of foreigners buying their games). The details on whether a game needs such patch is mentioned at the Mistress Alita link above, but if even her advice doesn’t work try using a different version of the patch available here
Now you can go and read the Complete idiot guide, it can’t scare you any longer
Guide Sites for Japanese Games:
I need to warn any fellow Otome game lover about this: ALWAYS HAVE A GUIDE AT HAND! 90% of otome games (a lot of VNs in general) have such impossible-to-guess choices that you can never predict! I mainly use the following sites for my walkthroughs and keep 2 tabs open when I play-one showing the original guide, and the other a google-translated version of it.
However sometimes looking around for other guides is wise. Often google can be your friend, try finding out the japanese name of your game from VNDB (Visual Novel Database) and google it with “攻略”.
Since I only have a PC, for games on other platforms I need to use an emulator T__T These are the ones I use.
Playstation 2 (PS2):
PCSX2 is the only PS2 emulator that currently does everything you want and gives playable results on a reasonable number (but not all) of games. Get it here: http://pcsx2.net
Playstation Portable (PSP): JPCSP is the way to go while emulating PSP games even though it’s setup might scare newbies XD See my post here for a in depth video tutorial on how to set it up.
Nintendo DS (NDS): Hmm, I am torn between DeSmuMe and NO$GBA, as DeSmuMe is much more advanced and user-friendly than NO$GBA, which is faster but has less options. I suggest desmume if your PC/laptop is good enough.
Other otome blogger recommendations
This part of the post will keep growing as I find more people to stalk 😛 😛
Rivi’s adventures in otome gaming:(CURRENTLY DOWN) Wow~ This amazing person has a really big collection of otome VNs, of all types and qualities, both free and commercial mixed together. Really impressive collection, unlike me who only lists the games she likes. XD If you’re willing to spend some money on otome gaming, this site would be extremely helpful since she even lists the prices of all the commercial VNs. She even lists the otome games for PS2,PSP,nintendo DS,iphone or android. No download links though.
Hinano’s Game Babbles: She has amazingly detailed reviews with awesome CG sneak peeks. The only sad thing is majority of her games are Japanese, she doesn’t seem to play English games unless they are freeware. Besides her blog being absolutely awesome in general, her recommendations post is the main reason I linked her here as she gives awesome advice on what to play according to your needs. Whether you like games with badass heroines (as opposed to doormats like Tsukiko >.<), mystical creature bishounens like (vampires/demons), fairy tales, yandere, dark themes—-she knows all!!! Definitely worth a peek, specially if you’re into japanese games as well as English.
4Shiki: Most humorous otome gaming blog on the internet ：D I don’t know whether people who are too delicate have any problems with the rather colorful language they use, but I always crack up at how the adjectives used express the exact thoughts of my heart LOL Seriously, this blog is AWESOME ♥ ♥ ♥ Sadly most of game reviewed here are on PSP/PS2.