Another sunday afternoon with a dating simulator, except this time I did not enjoy myself.
When I first saw the launch trailer for Hatoful Boyfriend a few years back I remember thinking “heh, okay, that looks like it’ll be fun for a couple minutes”—and I still think it might be. Maybe I’m not in the right mood to be playing a game like this, maybe it’s because I launched it knowing full well that this was going to be a waste of time when I absolutely have better shit to do. But, this game has also been sitting in my Steam library for a few months and I’m sure as hell not going to let $2.74 go to waste.
I have a limited familiarity with dating simulators and visual novel style games. I don’t play games like this too often. I think of myself as someone that can only really balance progress in about one to three games at a time. I’ve come a long way from gaming all day every day. Nowadays, the only games I frequent are online multi-players. It’s not that I don’t like games like this, it’s just that I feel more of a connection to a community playing games online with other people than I do sitting alone in a dark room clicking through the fated romantic escapades of a pigeon.
When I decide to play a game like Hatoful Boyfriend, the game usually tends to have an outlandish narrative. If you’re an avid Too Far Gone reader you may remember the last analysis I did for “I Love You Colonel Sanders.” In the brief time that I spent playing Hatoful Boyfriend, I can tell you that it didn’t even come close to the joyful wonder of befriending the chicken-man – and that I got to do for free.
I can honestly say that I was expecting a little bit more action out of this game. It is possible that I went into the game with the wrong attitude though. Maybe I was hoping that a game that is clearly meant to have a comedic connotation would cheer me up or give me a laugh. Really I was just looking to kill some time as I updated my newly purchased copy of Halo: The Master Chief Collection. But in the short time that I spent playing Hatoful Boyfriend, I was impatiently waiting for the game to end.
Hatoful Boyfriend – Game Start
I started the game with a cheap laugh. I thought I knew what this game was going to be about. I named my character Pigeon Birdman, something I thought was funny at the time. Heck, I’m still chuckling about the name as I’m finishing to enter this sentence into my word processor. This is one of the only highlights of my experience playing Hatoful Boyfriend.
My First Semester
Needless to say, I only played one semester of Hatoful Boyfriend. By the time it was done, I had had enough. A classic start to the semester, my pigeon friend and I had joined our class of pigeons with our professor who seemed to be sort of a dick. The impression I got was that he just wanted rub it in our faces that he was better at being a pigeon than us… and what were we to do. We just had to click through and take it. But if I put myself in his shoes, any pigeon that specializes in physics and math might also share the same aversion as me to being trapped in the body of a pigeon.
I had spent some of my learning time in the library club and brushing up on my music theory. Before playing, I didn’t think it important for a pigeon to be educated in such cultural interests. I have never seen a pigeon make music or pick up a book. I did manage to increase my charisma and wisdom stats by a few points, but clearly my pigeon self is not fly enough to woo a paramour, even with additional charisma points.
After a while I found myself mostly trying to analyze the game clicking through with fast-forward on. I had grown tired of the day-to-day mundanities of a prep-school pigeon’s life. Even as I progressed through my semester, trying to live my life-long dream of becoming a famous artist, I just couldn’t seem to grasp the idea that pigeon-me was here to stay and there was nothing I could do about it. But then I noticed something, and I did something about it.
It was the end of my first semester and I was presented with my opportunity out of this nightmare. I was asked plain and simple, “hey pigeon, do you want a to get a job?” Reading the in-game option “forget it” sparked an epiphany… meh, forget it. In that moment, I realized, even as a pigeon, I, the teenage wunderkind and famous artist, Pigeon Birdman, could still find my way out. All I had to do was forget this life. Leave my pigeon life behind. So I did it. Exit. No save. Forget it. Pigeon Birdman died a misunderstood famous teenage artist without ever getting pigeon-laid. I don’t even know if that’s a possibility. But, sorry guy. My Halo update is done and I’m out. Zero achievements earned.
Fucking forget this game. Maybe it doesn’t suck. People seem to like it. That’s why I’ll say with confidence: although “this game might suck.” I know for sure I suck at this game. Smell ya later.
If you’re interested in hearing more about Hatoful Boyfriend, you can check out our video on parody and satire in visual novels.
Image Source: Devolver Digital