Blast from the past
Oh my God… do you guys remember Megatokyo, the Western-created, manga-inspired webcomic about two American nerds who decide to take a trip to Japan, get stuck there, and find out that the country is exactly like all the anime and videogames they consumed as kids? Did you know that the damn thing is still running!? And it’s now being adapted into a visual novel?
I was reading this way back when I started college. I remember attending Anime Weekend Atlanta 2004 and getting comic creator Fred Gallagher to sign and doodle in my copy of the first printed volume. I was a huge fan back in the day, but I lost interest because of the drastic changes in the comic’s tone and direction — technically, it didn’t have much direction to begin with.
Originally a collaboration with another gent by the name of Rodney Caston, Megatokyo was a simple four-panel “culture shock” comedy comic with no true on-going narrative. Once Caston left and Gallagher assumed complete control, it started to develop some semblance of a plot that mashed relationship drama with zombies and robots and other crazy sci-fi tropes. Eventually, the “drama” became too ridiculous and annoying, and I couldn’t understand where any of it was supposed to be heading towards, so I stopped visiting the site.
Gallagher has now decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign for a Megatokyo visual novel on PC, Mac, and Linux. Launched on June 18 with a modest goal of $20K, the campaign has already amassed a whopping $130K with no signs of slowing down. If there was any doubt that a sizable fan base no longer existed after 13 years, consider that doubt smashed to oblivion.
Megatokyo the visual novel will allow you to experience the entire Megatokyo story from the beginning through the eyes of either Piro or Largo. Piro is the dating sim-obsessed otaku and Largo is the l33t-speaking hardcore gamer, and each of them visualize the world differently enough that you would think at least one of them was schizophrenic. The game will be split across three parts — the first two cover chapters 0-4 and 5-10 of the comic respectively, while the last contains all new material and multiple endings.
Thanks to meeting most of its stretch goals, you’ll also be able to play from the perspective of a number of supporting characters. The one stretch goal that it might not meet is the “excessively romantic content” at $500K, which is something Gallagher doesn’t sound super thrilled about adding but is willing to implement should his absurd benchmark be met.
Above is a rough sample of what the game will play like. You can actually test it out yourself by downloading the PC, Mac, or Linux files. Looking at the footage, and yep, it’s definitely a visual novel alright!
Tentatively scheduled to launch in February 2014, I’m pretty sure I will be skipping this game. Like I said, I’ve long since grown weary of the forced drama, but others may be willing to give it a spin. And of course, you can’t deny the importance of Megatokyo, which alongside the equally long-running Penny Arcade and PvP helped legitimize webcomics as a valid alternative to print comics. You’ve got to give it at least that much credit.