To Westerners, Japanese dating games are really weird. Also called “visual novels,” these are games where you…go on dates. Not surprisingly, they’re very popular among the socially awkward. Equally unsurprisingly, they’re popular among 4Chan.
So when it came out a bunch of 4Channers were making a visual novel about dating the disabled, everybody feared the worst. For no reason, it turns out, because this is not only not what you’d expect from the words “4Chan” and “disabled,” it’s apparently a genuinely good, sweet, and well-made game about dealing with disability.
In all, Katawa Shoujo is an excellent visual novel. It takes a delicate issue and treats it with all the respect it deserves, while not tip-toeing around it. Moreover, it delivers a touching slice-of-life story—or five of them, as the case may be. It really is a testament to what a group of random netizens can do when they have the same goal. Best of all, it’s free.
And, hey, it’s still way better than old people on the Internet.