Yes itís a Japanese Dating game, but roll with it for a moment.
My interest in this game started with Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes and a person named Saki Omokane (aka Saki Kanebo), an assist character. She wasnít playable but jumped in, kicked some ass, and disappeared in an instant. I knew who all of the Marvel and the Capcom characters were, except for this girl Saki. She seemed so cool and made some great combos with the others, so why didnít she get her own feature? MvC could have used more female characters as primary players. I wanted to know where she came from.
This was 1999-2000 and luckily, we had just received the internet in our household! I know, a world where the internet didnít exist for the general public. I remember those daysÖ
After days of searching I found the game Saki originally came from. A dating sim called Quiz Nanairo Dreams
It goes something like this: You, an average, everyday male somewhere between the ages of 15-21, is smacked in the head by a falling fairy. She tells you that there is an evil source threatening to take over the world called the Devil King. To defeat him you must harness the power of 7 crystals hidden in the hearts of 7 young women that you have to befriend, and fight to the death in a trivia battle.
It was 1996. Letís give Capcom some credit here. XD It combined action, adventure, and platforming with trivia and dating simulation all into one ball. A number of websites still list the game as an ďactionĒ title.
Quiz Nanairo started as an arcade game in Japan for 1-2 players. Its popularity pushed it to release a console version for the Sega Saturn and PlayStation. Well enough to be a worthy footnote in the history of Capcom, but international sales were not in the cards. Bad play on words there. The last name of the female characters in the arcade version were all from candy card companies that helped sponsor the development of the game.
Me and my innocence of 15 didnít know what a dating sim was. AOL was not very helpful on the matter, even with parental controls on. >.> But the things AOL was presenting and what Capcom had on their website were totally different. It was clear that if I wanted to find out more I needed to know Japanese. The Capcom English equivalent of their website had no mention of Quiz Nanairo. I was determined to find out more about this game. I needed a copy.
ROMís online were still in their youth, and finding one for such a rare title as this was impossible. I was 19 going on 20 and in college when I finally got my hands on Quiz Nanairo. Three years later from my original quest. A friendís father took a lot of business trips to Japan as part of his work would bring home a game every time he went. He stumbled upon it and a small mom and pop shop that had a section of Saturn games in the corner of the store.
I pulled out my Saturn from its lightly dusty box, fiddled with the settings, and placed in the disc. It was trippy.
Between the fairy and the floating pink circle game board, with the music and the absurd trivia questions (What does red pepper taste like?), it was fun in the way that Katamai Damacy is awesome. Nothing like the dating simís AOL showed me. Thereís no nudity. No stripping of virtual women. No needless boobie jiggles, unless you count the fairy whacking you in the face causing the screen to shake-I donít.
Quiz Nanairo was an action trivia game that incorporated some dating sim elements. You cross over the realm of a pink board that act as days of the week, and have a few months in order to befriend all of the girls with crystals in their hearts. Friend, not sleep with. Itís actually a pretty PG game when you think about it. The women have a wide arrange of personalities; Ezaki the fitness guru, Shalllote the introvert with robot servants, Sakuma the typical girl next girl, and Saki the teenage super heroine. When time is up, you battle it out with the Devil King who looks like a cross between the Wise Man from Nights: Into Dreams and the Sailor Moon villain. The more crystals you have collected the less questions you need to answer. Itís a game within a game: collect the crystals and trivia!
Saki seems too nice and sweet at first. Just a normal, teenage girl going to school. But one call from the Earth Defense Force and bam! She transforms in front of your eyes, with a big ass machine gun in hand. Where she stores it, I donít want to know. No wonder I liked her in Marvel vs. Capcom. She dazzles you with her wit and skill, runs off to save the world, and comes back minutes later as if everything is back to normal. So silly!
It was a cute, quirky game with random trivia, bright colors and sound, and a ridiculous story. But it left an impression on me. Saki became one of my wish list characters to cosplay
because of this game. She transformed into more of a bad ass in the Tatsunoko vs. Capcom franchise. If you donít mind breaking a few things on your PSP or PS3, it was re-released through the Japanese PSN store
a few months ago.
So thanks Marvel vs. Capcom for opening up a new world of gaming for me. Who knows what else it could have created if it were given a chance outside of Japan. Maybe we would all have a different perception on the dating sim genre then women with big boobs, short skits, and ditzy dialogue.