The Internet is an extremely fucked up and nonsensical place. Not exactly the definition of a revelatory statement, but sometimes it is important to scale back your narrow view of the Internet and look at the incredibly odd things that are not only a possibile, but more then likely inevitabile. Beyond the surface of Facebook friends lists and Netflix instant streaming, the Internet harbors communities devoted to everything from erotic Pixar fan-fiction to the preservation and use of the dutch oven.

The image board community of 4chan sits as one of these strange outliers, that despite its notoriety, still exists on the fringes of the mainstream internet. There is an argument to be made for 4chan as the last bastion of the uncommercialized internet, with a seemingly international community of Internet denizens doing their damnedest on a daily basis to broadcast the most degenerate and inane shit that is humanly possible. With this user base, 4chan establishes a very specific and unique space for collaboration and artistic expressions to take shape. An example of this handiwork can be seen with the creation of Katawa Shoujo.

When I first read about this game on Kotaku in a fantastic feature by Leigh Alexander, I immediately dismissed it as I do with every idea that come from narrow communities on the internet that would take actual time and/or monetary commitments on behalf of its supporters (see The Pirate Bay’s attempt to buy a sovereign nation). When Katawa Shoujo was posted a few days ago on the fifth anniversary of the game commencing development, it came as a genuine shock that a group actually delivered on an insane idea that has no rational reason for actually existing.

Katawa Shoujo is an erotic dating game set at a school for girls with disabilities. It is the literal definition of ‘4chan: the game.’ It has anime ladies, boobs, and a premise so ridiculous that it makes you question the sanity of not only everyone involved, but the human race as a whole.

My morbid sense of curiosity has caused me to download and install Katawa Shoujo. Will it deliver on what makes 4chan great, or will it simply be a serviceable, if not my cup of tea, dating simulator? When musicians claim that they want to release an album without the constraints of a label, or game designers break out on their own to focus on smaller titles, they usually are still thinking about the bottom line. By contrast, Katawa Shoujo seems to come from the singular vision of creating an experience by and for an individual community, a mentality that will see me at least give it a look.

I won’t say that I will play the game through to its probable multiple conclusions, but without actually playing it I would be doing a disservice to a team of internet users that had the balls to run with an idea that is synonymous with the idea of the internet itself.

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