This is Ikezawa Hanako. Shes the burn victim.
  • Four Leaf Studios
  • This is Ikezawa Hanako. She's the burn victim.

This morning a game called Katawa Shoujo finally debuted after years in development. The half-decade-long gestation of the thing is pretty interesting, but what's more intriguing is the game's subject matter.

Katawa Shoujo is a "visual novel" (translation: a usually Japanese, anime-style adventure game subgenre typically focused on romance) that tasks players with dating a group of physically disabled schoolgirls.

There's a burn victim, a deaf girl, a double-amputee track star, a girl who can't see and a girl who was born with severely shortened arms due to the side effects of her mother's thalidomide use.

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I wrote up the whole story for The Escapist a bit ago, but in doing so I realized that I was more interested in the wide-ranging opinions that seem to spill forth unbidden from everyone who hears about this thing. Thus, my complete lack of editorializing here, and the following poll.

Oh, and if you'd like to actually play Katawa Shoujo for yourself, the game is available free of charge for either PC or Mac from this official website. It's intermittently being knocked out of commission due to the massive coverage the game is receiving, but if you wait a bit it should be back up and running.

SLAY Film Fest
In person at the Clinton St. Theater 10/29 & 10/30