Honorary Game Mention - Green Green
One would be surprised to see me say anything good about Green Green due to the clashes I had with the anime adaptation. The game, however, is a completely different story due to the rather advantageous setting combined with interesting story elements and bittersweet endings.
In Green Green, the player takes the role of Takasaki Yuusuke, a high school student in an all-male school named Kanenone Gakuen (literally means Sound of bell/Tolling Bell Academy). Said all-male school happens to be in a forested area with generic mountains and a lake, with plenty of wilderness as far as the eye can see. This should be sending signals to those who read yaoi manga, since this is pretty much the standard setting for that sort of thing. There's no yaoi here, though, since you basically have a bunch of perverted boys at the height of puberty with nothing to really...direct their energies at. As the new year begins, an announcement is made that Kanenone is aiming to become a co-ed academy, and will introduce female students for a one-month trial to see how things run. As such, a bus full of girls eventually arrives, driving all the boys crazy with anticipation (especially Yuusuke's three friends, Ijuuin "Bacchiguu" Tadatomo, Tenjin Taizou and Ichibanboshi Hikaru). This is where the story really kicks off, as the player becomes witness to the antics of some of the boys as they try to adapt and be hospitable (in their own weird, perverted way) to their new female classmates. From this we get the five lead female characters that Yuusuke can end up with, but there's plenty of stuff going on to show that Yuusuke's story is only the tip of the iceberg.
One could say the number of ero-games set in high school is ridiculously high, and I would agree with them. What makes GuriGuri shine, however, is the way the story is structured. While Yuusuke is focusing on a specific girl, his friends also have targets in their sights, and will pursue them to an extent. Thus while there are events where it'll be Yuusuke and whoever he's going after, there are other times where certain events involve either Tenjin, Bacchiguu or Ichibanboshi and whoever they're going after (in the case of Tenjin it's Sanae, and in the case of Ichibanboshi, its Futaba and Wakaba...Bacchiguu's is a secret >.>).
Concerning the game itself, the engine is close to being overly simplistic, since all the controls needed are on the panel itself. The log that is the standard in modern ero games is nowhere to be seen here. There's some customization that can be done to the text panel itself, which is quite interesting, and save files allow you to attach a comment to each save for future reference. Musically speaking, Green Green boasts of songs composed by milktub, which is a duo of musicians (bamboo and Ichibanboshi Hikaru) that do mostly rock but have given their talents for the good of Green Green. Though a lot of the BGM is rock, some of the softer songs are also very well composed, and this game has a good amount of memorable songs, including the opening song "Green Green", and my favorite of them all, "Otoko no ko" (Boy). The artstyle is very angular, though the bright colors used for the setting make use of those character designs very well. Characters blink and their mouths move during interaction with them, which makes for a neat experience. The voice acting is the impressive bit, since every character is very well-voiced, including the extras. Shows that Groover put a lot of effort when developing this game.
Overall, Green Green is an impressive game that those who have seen the anime probably did not know exist. The game truly surpasses a lot of newer games on the market, despite its slightly out-of-date interface, which goes to show that qulity is not lost throughout the years like many would think. While the ero and sexual tensions are the icing on the cake, this could have been your run of the mill game without them, which I guess says a lot in its favor. Though I am unhappy with how the anime was handled, I can live knowing that the game lives up to and beyond all the respect and hype the Green Green franchise has been getting for the last couple of years. Anyway, that's my two cents on the matter.
"This is Green Green, signing off."