Theory and reality rarely coincide with one another. On one hand, and as I have mentioned on this site in a previous post, I respect Katawa Shoujo as a game. I want to play it, I want to like it, but it is still an erotic visual novel (about girls that are disabled). My hesitation to dive into the game seems to stem from a deep rooted psychological aversion to crossing ‘that’ line.

I’ve installed it. I’ve put it in my Steam library. I’ve launched to the title screen to make sure it works. I’ve played through the first few dialogue screens, But that is it. I talked a big game, but am ultimately still reluctant to adventure further into the unknown. Like a bunch of grade schoolers’ daring each other to walk further and further into the weird dilapidated house that borders the school playground, Katawa Shoujo keeps egging me on with my fifth grade self becoming increasingly aware of the playground monitor’s ability to hop on the bull horn and send me straight to the principal’s office.

Through all of this, I have become more mindful of how strange it is that I am almost scared to play a game. I have no problem hopping on any number of image boards, or even playing visual novel-esque games (Sakura Wars, Phoenix Wright, Persona 4), but somehow the combination of the two entities frightens me. What is even more frightening is that I am unsure why it frightens me. Is it because I think I’ll actually enjoy it, or is it because I know I’ve gone beyond the point of finding anything objectionable? As any one of my friends could attest to, I’m not one to be easily offended, but after Katawa Shoujo I’m afraid I would loose all ability to judge things from a rational viewpoint.

Whether I find myself pulling off the bandage quickly, or slowly and painstakingly removing it millimeters at a time, it might be this protracted thought process that sees me through the experience. Simply being aware of what I am doing offers a minute comfort each time I choose to jump over the fence into the ill-kept yard. Unlike the blissfully ignorant kids that kept upping the distance needed to be deemed a “cool kid,” I suppose I’ll continue holding back uttering to myself about how this will probably all end with a letter home to my parents about my deplorable behavior.

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