The last time I tried playing Nursery Rhyme, I didn't get very far. Time passed, and the blog stats kept telling me that people seem to like that post. Gods know why; maybe everyone's actually looking for real nursery rhymes, which have often struck me as being a bit creepy if one knows their historical roots.
(This is why I'm not heading my entry with "nursery rhyme", since someone looking for something for their kiddies might not react kindly to eroge.)
One of the frequent comments about Nursery Rhyme is that it's actually a pretty good game, or at least a good Visual Novel (disclaimer added to head off debates about the definition of "game"), and it is Such A Pity that nobody's made an English patch for it yet. Since the main reason I didn't finish the game was entirely because of the lack of an English patch, I can understand this, much like how I cannot understand most of the text in the game.
Therefore, a thought occurs: being that I have no other ideas for a blog post that haven't already been overdone, why not post about a playthrough of the game?
Normally I'd keep a post like this at the back of my mind, hopefully to be forgotten, because it's a very bad idea to start yet another thing I probably won't be able to finish. However, Real Life has landed me in the middle of what might be described as Excreta Occurs, and I really need something to cheer me up. Therefore, you get this. I may or may not continue on with this, depending on my whims.
In the far future, when I am no longer under the thrall of soul-sapping situations, or at least head up instead of head down, I might alter this intro to be less irritable. Until then, so it goes.
Incidentally, don't ask me where I got the game, since I don't even remember it myself. I suspect that this is one of those "friend of a friend", or "guy who knows a guy" things, and I'm horrible with keeping track of those.
The opening screen, over which an instrumental version of "true my heart" by ave;new (I didn't come up with the name) plays on loop. First things first, let's head into the config menu (third from top) to turn down the volume, because I swear one day I'll figure out why turning everything else down to a reasonable level makes my DVDs inaudible.
This is the config menu. The left side has the various voices, music, and sound effects volume sliders, while the right side has the message options and graphical effects like, say, rain, which City of Heroes still hasn't figured out how to do without burninating video cards everywhere.
Now that we've set everything to our liking, let's head back to the title menu (second box from the top right) and start a New Game (first option from the top).
This is just setting up the background. It's the beginning of the new school year, and you (or I, depending on one's point of view), one Shizuma Hasekura, have correspondingly just moved to a new school area. Alone.
The world of Nursery Rhyme has humans and what is katakana-ed as "E RU FU a N", which I'm translating as "elfan". Magic is around, although its mechanics are not explored in detail.
While waiting at the train station to be picked up, Shizuma gets hungry, and starts daydreaming about food. I'm skipping over most of these, because I'm starting to feel a little peckish myself.
There's another torrent of exposition, which I can't quite bring myself to believe is in any way relevant to the gameplay, but would probably be useful to anyone who wants to know about Shizuma's backstory. Along the way, he keeps mentioning his lack of anything resembling a love life.
I am unable to dredge up any sympathy for him.
Suddenly, a girl's voice breaks Shizuma out of his reverie. Said girl is being accosted by two guys intent on nanpa, ie picking up chicks (a trope which I've never quite understood), while she protests loudly that she's in a hurry. The two guys (you know they're nameless extras, since they're listed only as "Guy A" and "Guy B") start arguing with each other about who'll be a better boyfriend, and the girl yells at them for fighting in the middle of picking up girls. I can kind of understand how she feels.
Possibly in an attempt to save face, one of the guys notices Shizuma staring at them. Belligerence is attempted, and Shizuma insults them in an astonishing display of a lack of self-preservation skills.
The girl latches onto Shizuma as her "boyfriend" (whom she was in a hurry for), and further insults the two guys. Impressively, they don't descend into violence.
The girl also knows Shizuma's name, which surprises him. This will be explained in a bit.
Shizuma and the girl head off to… somewhere. The shopping district? Looks like it.
Here, the girl is thanking Shizuma for his help, while adding that he really needs to work on his acting skills. The praise tempered by harsh criticism thing is something I've never been able to get the hang of myself, and I suspect that it is a uniquely female skill.
The girl proceeds to make negative comments on Shizuma's appearance, like his messy hair.
First CG image! If you're wondering, you can remove the text box at the bottom with the space bar. At this point, it's just the girl giving Shizuma some unsolicited fashion advice, involving his hair (which she insists is too messy) and glasses (which she grudgingly admits is useful for the smart bookish look, but could have a better design).
There's a variation of this image directly afterwards, with the girl smiling.
Shizuma protests this ministration, and the girl wonders why he's speaking in keigo. She realizes that he probably has no idea who she is, whereupon a New Character Arrives.
Yes, I know you know who these people are, and I obviously know, but let's maintain that innocent naive facade for a while longer.
The newcomer greets Shizuma formally (but friendly), and the first girl looks incredibly surprised (again, this will be explained in a bit), as we are treated to a pan up to the sky.
Cue opening movie.
I never get tired of watching this.
Back to the game, Shizuma reveals unto us the names of these two sisters (which we already knew, but anyway): older sister (with long hair) Yukina Tomoe, and younger sister Makina Tomoe.
Yukina comments that meeting again after five years is a "romantic scene". Makina points out that considering Shizuma completely forgot what the sisters look like, "romantic" might be pushing it. Shizuma retorts that Makina also forgot what he looked like, and Makina complains about his hair. Again.
This is Renai Banter.
Makina called Shizuma by name just now because it was the first boyfriend-ish name she could think of on the spot, which is around the moment when the audience might see a blatant glimpse of the puppetmaster's strings.
This is the house that they'll all be living in. I thought you'd like to know.
It is also around twenty minutes walking distance from wherever they were during the prior conversation. This may or may not be important. (No, really, I have no idea. I've not played far enough for it to matter.)
It's a pretty big house.
Based on the kanji, I'm guessing that this is Yuria. She's Yukina and Makina's mother. Shizuma spends some time mentally guessing her age.
Makina makes some vague threats about the consequences of peeping in the girls' rooms or the bathroom. Yukina doesn't even need to make any threats to make Makina back down. Point, Yukina.
I'm not exactly sure what's being said here. They're in Shizuma's room, and Makina is explaining the layout of the house. Presumably Shizuma is not the only boarder, and the latter part of Makina's sentence is that one of the other two is a bit late, and I think the first part is that the other boarder is… coming later? Or something.
All the other boarders are female, and Shizuma wonders if it's all right for him to be staying there. Makina admits that she's personally slightly worried, but her mother decreed it to be thus. Also:
"It's all right if it's you, Shizuma."
Except that she proceeds to explain that it's because Shizuma is weak in every way, so there's no danger to the girls. Ouch.
Makina leaves him to look around the place, and look around he does. Specifically, outside the window.
Shizuma is too late in looking away, and is spotted. When he gets the courage to look again, the windows have been closed, and he can do naught but wait for judgement.
Makina comes back to tell him that tea's up, just as the doorbell rings. Makina guesses that it's Tita (again, don't look at me, I didn't come up with these names), and remarks on how amazingly angry she seems.
Bravely Shizuma goes forth to meet his doom. I have to give props to the man for that.
Tita (full name Tita Flawless Brandt, although I can't imagine why) proceeds to rant rapidfire, saying something about how Shizuma is trash and should leave the house immediately. Yukina and Makina wonder why Tita is so angry (she hadn't actually mentioned it to the twins yet), leading to our very first choice:
First option is "explain it yourself", second option is "don't say anything".
Opinions? I'm leaning towards honesty at the cost of common sense. I'll probably not break off at every decision point, but this seemed like a good stopping point anyway.