Katawa Shoujo, after spending five years in development, is now available for
purchase free download. It isn’t piracy either, the company that makes the game has a free download of the entire game.
Well, if you want it, I should first tell you that their servers are overloaded currently, so you will be unable to download it for a while.
However, their blog is functional, so I will be using quotes form their blog to explain the game.
“Katawa Shoujo is a visual novel set in the fictional Yamaku High School for disabled children, located in modern Japan. Hisao Nakai, a normal boy living a normal life, has his life turned upside down when a congenital heart defect forces him to move to a new school after a long hospitalization. Despite his difficulties, Hisao is able to find friends – and perhaps love, if he plays his cards right. There are five main paths corresponding to the 5 main female characters, each path following the storyline pertaining to that character. The story is told through the perspective of the main character, using a first person narrative. The game uses a traditional text and sprite-based visual novel model with an ADV text box.”
A fairly standard VN/Dating Sim experience. While it doesn’t mix anything up gameplay-wise, it does present us with a new, and hopefully quite compelling story.
The five female characters include a blind girl, a deaf girl, a burn victim, and a track and field athlete who lost both of her legs.
Also from their blog:
“The story of Katawa Shoujo is a long one, spanning over a decade. In December of the year 2000, the doujin Schuppen Harnische was released by the artist RAITA of circle Zettai Shoujo. One of the pages in the extras section of the doujin contained a sketch imagining a game about disabilities set in a Japanese high school. If not for later events, that may well have been the end of it. With the sticky in 4chan’s anime board in January of 2007, though, interest was suddenly sparked in the idea within, and the idea of creating this game came about. After months of brainstorming, but little progress, a core development team by the name of Four Leaf Studios was formed in April of the same year. With this, Katawa Shoujo was set on the path to its final creation.
Four Leaf Studios is a volunteer group of twenty-one developers from around the world, having come together for the sole purpose of developing Katawa Shoujo. Hailing from many different countries, backgrounds, and professions, Four Leaf Studios became committed to working towards Katawa Shoujo as an entirely free game, with no money involved in the project.”
I have to give a lot of credit to the group that made it. Company really wasn’t the right word to use.
At first glance, Katawa Shoujo seems like a dating sim designed to appeal to one small segment of the population. But, if anything, it also serves as a counterpoint to the big breasted blond haired cliche, and puts this game on the scale of realism pretty much right on the realism mark. At the very least, it should at least show what people who are disable have to go through, and will hopefully inspire people to do something about that.
So, do you want the game? Well, you can get it here as well as check out their blog and other details. However, be warned that the servers are overloaded, so it may be quite a while!