I’m writing this column now, while the rage is still fresh. You see, I just “finished” Hatoful Boyfriend. But let me give you some backstory first, let me explain how I ended up in this existential nightmare.
It all began on Wednesday the 1st of October, on the NAG Online podcast. Rick de Klerk, known sadist and underwear enthusiast decided to issue me a challenge. Naturally, I assumed he was going to make me play some hilariously bad game or other such witty, light-hearted shenanigans.. But I was wrong. So so very wrong.
De Klerk locked my gaze with his cold, dead eyes and said, “Chris. I want you to f**k a pigeon.”
And now here I stand. A broken, defeated man with tears in my eyes and feathers in my crotch. What follows is the story of how I got to this point, but I must warn you – it doesn’t make for pleasant reading.
I went in with as much enthusiasm as I could muster, which was somewhere between my enthusiasm for coffee enemas and sawing off my own appendages with a jagged piece of glass.
The first decision that was put before me was choosing a name. I knew that a pigeon high school was like prison – I needed something bold, something that meant business, while at the same time indicating that I was totally down for inter-species relations.
I was then given the choice of joining the library staff, track team or student council. If I’ve learnt anything from American television, it’s that all of the sex happens in the library. I figured having exclusive access would give me a leg up, if you catch my obnoxiously inappropriate pun.
I’d survived my first day of school, and now it was time to choose which extra-curricular class I was interested in – music, gym or maths.
Somehow the fact that I was a freaking human in a school for pigeons didn’t come up. Actually, the fact that this was a SCHOOL FOR PIGEONS didn’t really come up either. The only rational conclusion is that I was role-playing a psychotic, middle-aged man with a bird fetish who believed himself to be a schoolgirl attending some kind of pigeon Hogwarts, having conversations with the various patches of padded wall in his cell.
A quick check, however, revealed that the game was actually Japanese. Which explained everything much more neatly.
Anyways, naturally I chose music – each class gave me +5 charisma, which I figured would help me up my game. This was a decision I would come to deeply regret.
Let the Right One In
If you’re counting the awkward sexual puns at home, that title up there brings us up to two. Anyway, it was time to figure out which of these magnificent animals I would attempt to make my bedslave.
On my first visit to the library, a potential target revealed itself.
This bird obviously has extremely poor self-esteem, which bad reality TV shows like “The Pick-up Artist” have taught me is the number one key to success.
It wasn’t the most attractive bird I’d ever seen, but I wasn’t fussy. When you’ve lowered your standards enough that you’re giving pigeons the sideways glance, your plan probably involves closing your eyes and thinking of England as it is.
Then, however, I ran into this particular specimen.
That tail action has me feeling all woozy, but it’s more the attitude that baits me in – I love it when they play hard to get.
Mistakes Were Made
It’s at this point that I come to the awkward realisation that I am, in fact, a girl. I suppose the game’s title should have given it away, but honestly they lost me at “Hatoful”, which astute readers may have noticed isn’t actually a word.
This made some of my earlier choices completely asinine. What the hell was I working on my charisma for? Adolescent boys might need charisma to charm their female counterparts, but working the other way around? It doesn’t matter if a girl had the charisma of a tree stump, it takes a teenage boy a few more years of maturity before he even understands the word. I’m assuming birds are the same.
So I ditched music, joined the gym class and became a cheerleader. Because some stereotypes are stereotypes for a reason. Also, I’m probably the only person in the school capable of shaking a pom-pom; on account of being the only person in the school.
Apparently I’m an Idiot
I can’t say I’m surprised, I haven’t taken a single math class – gym class is more important. My teacher keeps telling me I need to “study harder”, when really I’m just hoping I can sex my way to an A. That option was not, however, made available to me.
It doesn’t stop me from trying, however – any opportunity to be alone with the teacher, I take. He even comes to my house one time, but alas I fail to seal the deal.
Towards the end of the game I hand in my recorder instead of my maths homework. Since those two things are not even remotely similar, I can only assume that I was a damned moron to start with. Perhaps when they told me I was “special” to be the only human in birdschool, they meant a different kind of special.
I decide to embrace my hippie status by refusing to study or get a job. And, when given the choice to purchase something, naturally I choose the one that sounds most like drugs.
I’d been wearing down that fan-tailed douchebag Sakuya over the course of the game, when eventually I find sexual conquest within my grasp.
Aaaaand nope. He tells me some sob story about how his rich parents won’t let him study music, he has to take over his father’s company and be a billionaire instead. #FirstWorldProblems
And then you know what happens? The game ENDS. Not only did I have to suffer the trauma of playing a game about banging pigeons, I had to end the game not even doing that. Why the hell would I want to role-play being a high school virgin? I’ve already experienced that firsthand (that’s four).
Hatoful Boyfriend isn’t really a game. That would require gameplay. It’s not an interactive story, either – that would require a story.
It’s a poorly constructed shitpile of sadness and hopelessness, and Rick de Klerk is a terrible, terrible human being.
Yes, I realise I’m supposed to play through it multiple times for “different endings”. That is the sickest joke of all, the idea that anyone would put themselves through this more than once. However, if I did have another crack at it, I’d pursue this guy instead: