Originally a visual novel game for the Xbox 360 released back in October 2009, "Steins Gate" will be making its way to the PC this July 30th (updated to August 28th due to quality issues) with new event illustrations added.
This is the second game produced by a collaboration between 5pb and Nitro+, the first being "Chaos;Head". Apparently this game's gathered quite some interest in the West too judging by what I can find using just the English name.
The story tells of Rintarou Okabe, a "sufferer of chuunibyou" which is slang commonly used on the popular Japanese 2ch discussion site to describe males who act as if they're still in the stages of puberty, acting and saying things that are completely inconsiderate of others such as anti-social behaviour. Written 厨二病 instead of 中二病 (same pronunciation) to give the term distinction from the original meaning which was used to refer to females who act as if they're still in junior high.
In Rintarou's case, he is a self-proclaimed "mad scientist" who starts his own "Mirai Gadgets" circle (a term used to refer to people with similar interests) in Akihabara right after being admitted into university. One day, he and the other two members of his circle create their 8th gadget, the "Telephone Cooker" and discover it has a feature that they had never planned - It allowed the user to send a message/mail people in the past.
With it they learn that a European science organisation by the name of "SERN" has been experimenting to create a mini black hole in order to create a time machine and begins to find strange things happening around him such as large groups of people suddenly disappearing. Rintarou even witnesses the murder of 18 year old prodigy, Kurisu Makise who was featured in the American science magazine "Ocarin" but for some reason, finds her still alive hours later.
When so many "coincidences" happening around them and the butterfly effect taking place, the Mirai Gadgets team know that they must be very cautious with their new invention.
Steins Gate features a "Phone Trigger System" where instead of having a large number of dialogue options to determine which story path you end up with, everything will be based on the use of your in-game phone such as whether you answer a call/message or not. An example on the official site is, what would happen if you decide to call another girl in front of one that you are fond of... ^^;
The Xbox360 version and related goods are already available on Play-Asia for ordering but note it only works on the Japanese version of the console. Limited edition came with a "visual collections" book and a toy model of the Mirai Gadget's third invention but it's not yet known if they will include something similar with this PC port.
Ah yes... Otaku slang. I guess that's one other thing that makes the Otaku subculture of Japan interesting and now I've learned another bit of trivial knowledge.
The artwork caught my attention for this game. The way everything is rendered looks very different from the other AVGs I'm used to seeing - Creepy atmosphere yet, beautifully detailed at the same time in a sense. Kind of reminds me of Serial Experiments Lain but interestingly enough, the illustrator is "Huke" who is known for "Black Rock Shooter" - One of the music videos virtual idol Hatsune Miku sings in.
I was wondering why there was so much hype in the Otakusphere about the upcoming Black Rock Shooter Anime when it's not from a popular animation studio or Manga... Now I know. Hatsune Miku, from one fascination to another ^^;
Anyway, the story seems interesting enough so maybe I'll give this visual novel a shot and hope there's not too much text. Some AVGs have so few choices to make it really does feel like you're reading a novel...
And check out the Wikipedia parody they created just for the game. I laughed at "The Encyclopedia of Useless Knowledge". They should have named it "Trivial Knowledge" instead to make it sound nicer but do they even know what "pedophilia" means!? I shudder even at the thought of it.
Also, I presume "SERN" is supposed to be the real life "CERN" which also happens to be the European Laboratory for Particle Physics running the Large Hadron Collider just now. Funnily enough, there are people against their current experiment, worrying that it will produce some mini blackholes once it's on full power and destroy the Earth ^^;