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‘Love Plus’ now playable in English

Screenshot: Rest Mode in 'Love Plus'

I have, more than once, written in defense of Love Plus, a game I have never even played. (In fact, I have only played and critiqued one high school dating simulation, Brooktown High for PSP. My review appeared in Electronic Gaming Monthly in 2007; I remember feeling very conflicted, because that game was hardly The Worst.)

In early 2010, the Japanese-language dating simulation got a ton of maybe-undue coverage, mostly because the types of people we figure are playing Love Plus on their Nintendo DSes are, we imagine, Akihabara-dwelling hikikomori who have never touched a breast that isn’t made of plasticized vinyl.

In April of last year, I admittedly got a little agitated and said too, too much about Love Plus+’s “Rest Mode.” Soon after that post, someone anonymously asked me to go into more detail, so I did:

…I can’t condemn a love simulation like Love Plus+ because that game only asks the heart to do real things in artificial situations.

Much worse, I think, is behaving artificially during true situations. And that is a truly human behavior. I guess in that way, some games train us to be better than ourselves.

So if Love Plus+ really is about manipulating girls and playing romantic odds, to hell with it. But if it instead teaches painful moments of human connection, which are rare in these times, that’s awesome! Embrace it! “Personal Trainer: Heartbreak.”

The point of all this is, I’ve always wanted to play Love Plus, since God knows I’ve already stormed the Internet with all my readymade assessments of the game. No more excuses: an English-language fan translation is now available as a patch.

One response to “‘Love Plus’ now playable in English” »

  1. Jake says:

    A few months ago I bought a copy of Nintendo DS launch title and dating-sim “SPRUNG” because I was jonesing for a new game, it was the cheapest one I could find, and I was certain it would be terrible enough to garner a few good laughs. Unsurprisingly, I was absolutely right on all accounts, but what I didn’t expect was that I would get sucked into it. I’m fully aware of the myriad ways in which it is awful, which only makes its strengths more striking.

    This is a sleazy piece of software which demands that you start and end maybe five or six relationships in as many days, sometimes going on multiple dates at the same time for your character’s own gain. Mechanically, it’s a mess, and the correct solution to dialogue trees doesn’t follow any sort of logical path, while the wrong answers lead to the Game Over screen with no hint at where you went wrong. It’s not hard to understand why this game was the butt of jokes.

    But at the same time, it’s a game that’s about relationships. Not abstract, block-pushing metaphors for relationships; just talking to people and interpreting their expressions. Granted, those relationships are juvenile and the characters are straight out of a PG-13 sex-romp, but compared to the brain-dead empowerment fantasies of so many other games, these wayward 20-somethings are actually… kind of interesting. I don’t mean to sell out storytelling in games – the medium has produced its share of round characters and worthwhile premises – but rarely will you find flawed figures in a contemporary setting who will never interact with a weapon more lethal than pepper spray and who have no mystery more puzzling than which drink to order for the cute girl at the bar.

    This is a game which is no stranger to hanging a lampshade on its stupidity, and while that doesn’t quite make up how dumb it truly is, it makes it clear that the writers were aiming for parody. This is the work of people who know that rom-coms about sexy kids bumming around a ski resort are mindless entertainment, but entertainment, nonetheless. SPRUNG is a worthy tribute. As a movie, it would be totally ignored, but as a game… well, it was still totally ignored, but I think it’s worth a second-look. It’s different, and bad in an amusing way, and just amusing. The writing is funny on purpose, and often more believable than 90% of game writing. Seriously.

    This has turned into a long-form review, but my point is this – I didn’t play this game for six years after it came out because of my preconceived notions of what dating sims are all about, and when I did, it was only out a sense of irony and being too cheap to buy a good game. It’s not perfect, but I have played a lot.

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