Putting this here in case anyone’s interested in a mini book club, but this game is limited to PSVita so it probably wouldn’t be possible for a proper pick sadly
Side Kicks! ( サイドキックス)
Developer: Extend & Toybox Inc.
VNDB Play Time: 18.5hr
VNDB Link: Side Kicks! | vndb
Character count: ?
Number of weeks to finish: don’t have a character count, but it seems to have 1 less route than B$ so I’d imagine a little less than the current schedule. The VNDB playtime is also significantly shorter, but there’s only one vote so it’s not as reliable
Summary from VNDB
Side Kicks: a newly established special investigation bureau within the Sakrada Police Force, located in California, designed to heighten the security of Sakrada City with their unique style of thinking and individual skill. Currently seeking additional members.
A city in California, USA — Sakrada. In recent years, the spread of a highly addictive drug, ‘Lipcode’, has been causing several issues in the sunny, quiet city located on the West Coast. In order to control cases like this, the Sakrada Police Force established a new organisation — a special investigation bureau made up of members with unique styles of thinking and their idiosyncratic skills, known as the Side Kicks.
Chika, who has exceptional athletic talent.
Hibari, the profiler who possesses a way with words.
Shishiba, the quiet hacker prodigy.
Rico, gifted with photographic memory.
Tatewaki, the leader in charge of the four.
The special investigation bureau has become well-known in the city for its ground-breaking investigation methods that are unlike anything ever seen before.
One day, the heroine Inori is scouted as a new member of Side Kicks. The skill she possesses…is the mysterious ability of clairvoyant dreams.
(the PSVita’s store)
It’s the previous game by the team behind Bustafellows so if you liked B$ you’ll probably like this one too! It also takes place in the US and has no major fantasy, scifi, or specialized vocab apart from police lingo. However the MC isn’t voiced (unlike Teuta).
Pros and Cons for the Book Club
everyone apart from the MC (and her inner thoughts) are voiced
has the usual modern VN options: save any time, backlog to read and re-listen to what was said
apart from some police jargon there’s no heavy fantasy, scifi, historical etc vocab or different dialects
font is easy to read, and a lot of menu options are in english
9 hours 9 persons 9 doors my beloved I love Zero Escape so much, 999 in particular being one of my favorite games of all time. I’ve wanted to try reading it in Japanese for years, so if this is picked I’ll definitely read along!
Should probably mention there are some differences with the DS version (which is the original version, the rest are a remastered version). Most notable for the sake of language learning: the DS version isn’t voiced and iirc it has slightly different dialogue due to the nature of some scenes being rewritten for the dialogue-only option you mentioned.
yeah, I know Steam/PS4/Xbox all are remastered for sure. I think the Vita version might be remastered too? (just checked wikipedia: yes the vita version is the remaster) The way to tell is if it’s packaged as The Nonary Games, it’s the remaster.
mobile version is weird since it has an extra ending for some reason and doesn’t have the escape rooms, but I don’t think you can download it anymore anyway. I have no idea if it’s voiced since I haven’t played it, but I don’t think it is?
And here I was content to lurk in this thread until my all time favorite game was mentioned…
The mobile version of 999 is unvoiced, and notably does not include the puzzles. It’s not the ideal way to experience it but it is probably more streamlined if someone wouldn’t want to sit through all the puzzle solving.
As for the port, a lot of the narration that gets cut from ADV mode is IMO pretty critical, and NVL mode makes sure you won’t miss any details - but ADV mode is certainly faster and easier to parse given that it’s 100% voiced.
loving all the 999 talk! It’s easily in my top 3 games of all time and while I don’t know if I’d play it in Japanese, if it got picked I’d love to play in English alongside the group and help out that way
I also only ever played the trilogy through the original 3/DS games so i didn’t realize 999 got voiced in the remaster! I bought the steam version to force on lend to friends but sadly can’t play it on my mac otherwise I’d love to replay it voiced.
Edit: also didn’t realize they released a version without the puzzles! the story is definitely strong enough to be fun on its own but that’s missing out on a huge part of the experience. granted it would work great for a book club
I still haven’t finished this because I’m a dumbass
I should find some time to binge the rest soonish hopefully
Probably wouldn’t (re)read this with the club since it hasn’t been that long yet, but would enjoy seeing others play it for sure
I tried both in the beginning to see if there was anything in the narration that was really important and it seemed like mostly just obvious stuff, so I might have been playing with the dialogue only option 95% of the time
(except for when the game force-switches to the narration mode)
… should I switch once I get back to this? Hmm
My response was a bit rushed before but yay that’s super exciting!! If it works out that way I hope you enjoy it
Yay! The club’s influence grows haha
I meaaan if you’ve played it before that could be a good boost for trying it out in Japanese, just saying is my super subtle influencing working lmao but seriously either way I think it’d be a lot of fun as a group! I’m certainly interesting in rereading it and seeing what all I missed the first time
You know I wondered that but the opposite way when 9-nine first showed up, who’s to say
I must maintain my brand
I believe in you
I meaaaan that also sounds like a good excuse to reread it in a hypothetical club I’m a great influence
Unless I made a mistake, I used @Sylph’s math to figure out approximate number of weeks for all entries without a character count. I also added Sylph’s formula to the OP, so people can use that to calculate themselves in the future.
The way I did it was I calculated two character counts (aka a range) with Sylph’s formula. Playtime x 16k characters and playtime x 19k characters. Then I divided the low character count by the high weekly amount (25k) to give the lower weeks needed estimate, and I divided the high character with the low weekly amount (22.5k) to get the highest number of weeks estimated. Unless a VN was very short, the span of weeks a VN might take went from a variance of 1 with known character count to a month and a half difference in time.
Of those currently nominated, only one seems to potentially push past our upper limit, and that would be my nomination of Nightshade. I won’t withdraw it right now*, since the count is entirely based on estimates of estimates. But I will make sure to point it out for the poll, and discourage anyone who fear that the weekly amount might already be a big ask from voting for Nightshade at present.
So hopefully all this work will prove useful in the end. xD
A special thanks to @Sylph who made these calculations possible!
Personally I think that’s fine; having these guidelines for max length and such is good for having a general idea of these things, but I think if a VN goes beyond those and it’s clearly marked as such and it wins the vote anyway, then clearly people are also fine with that Setting hard limits is difficult especially when we don’t for sure know the character counts of like half the things we encounter
So basically yeah I think having general expectations for what the club will look like is helpful, but I think it’s also okay for exceptions to happen if the people involved are okay with it. But again that’s just me
I think you shoud leave it because I want to vote for it since it’s all an estimation and it’s supposed to be shorter than BU$TAFELLOWS anyway not to mention the only otome with a seemingly interesting plot that is available on both PC and Switch and isn’t 40h+
One day, earliest next year I suspect (more likely 2025 lol), I will start reading Hakuouki that I bought not too long ago. That one could only be a casual non-related-to-main-vn club at best, considering its length. xD
Whew, that’s one beast of a VN, easily +100h. Initially I think it wasn’t so long but then they added a bunch of extra routes and now there’s like 12 routes I got it a few years back and even though I played in English I’ve only done like half? At this point my plan is to just jump in to do a single route whenever I feel like it since it can get a bit repetitive doing so many routes in the same setting one after another. I wonder if I’ll be done by 2025
I almost said to bring this convo to the Otome thread but it seems it was closed a while ago, oops
I’m not sure how your version works, but I have the Steam one where it’s basically divided into two games (so all routes get split in half which is… a choice). The first half is all plot plot plot, mixing historical stuff with other things unique to the plot of the game (I won’t spoil it), and there are a few variations depending on choices that eventually determine which route you are on, but after a few routes you’ll have probably seen it all. You don’t really get into the character’s specific route until like the last chapter of that first half. Then in the second game they just let you choose which route you are on (since it wasn’t possible to know your choices in the other game), and that’s where the more otome side of the game begins. However in all-in-one-game versions I imagine it’s continuous and the choices carry over but I have no clue really.
In my opinion once you’ve seen the variations in the common route you’ll feel pretty done with it and at that point I’d just recommend skipping to choices to see what’s different for this character’s route. It’s very easy to know if you are heading for a good end in this game because there’s an indicator that shows when you picked the ‘good’ choice for a certain character so a guide may be needed to get locked into a character’s route but once you are there it’s a matter of saving at choices and reloading if you got it wrong.
The first half of the game is pretty dense and the samurai/historical talk feels pretty intimidating not gonna lie, but I’d also love to be able to get into those historical setting games in Japanese eventually so I’m rooting for you! Well, at least I can use the listening practice I guess
Now I kinda wanna go play one of the routes I have left…
It is that time again! Time to vote for the next VN. Remember to check out the info on each nomination. Some VNs are one platform only—and not necessarily the one you’d expect—like Side Kicks! Others might be pushing up against our new maximum time limit of 5 months, if so, it means the speed might be increased halfway through or so to make sure it finishes in time.
Voting ends (automatically!) on the 15th. 3 votes per person. Check out the links in the poll for information on our choices