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Don't Take it Personally, Babe,
It Just Ain't Your Story

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Rating: 4.7/5 (180 votes)
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Don't Take it Personally, Babe, It just Ain't Your Story

DoraBest of Casual Gameplay 2011The year is 2027, and you are John Rook, the new teacher of an 11th grade English Literature class trying to earn the trust and respect of your students. This might be difficult enough even without the fact that you know everything about them... largely because you're eavesdropping on their private lives. Is it a gross invasion of their privacy? Or do you consider it fine as long as you save them from themselves in the process... even if they might not need your help at all? Don't Take it Personally, Babe, It just Ain't Your Story is a visual novel from the creator of Digital: A Love Story that deals with guilt, sex, sexuality, trust, and acceptance throughout the course of its remarkably potent narrative.

Don't Take it Personally, Babe, It just Ain't Your StoryFor the most part, you play the part of John, a teacher who has essentially suffered a midlife crisis and has doubts about his own successes, but must put that on the backburner to handle his new job. At this school, as an experiment, all the students have been given personal computers, and to keep tabs on them (ostensibly to keep an eye out for bullying and the like) you have access to everything they say between one another... whether it's public posting on Facebook-like profiles, or private conversations. Naturally, the students aren't supposed to know this, and keeping this secret might prove difficult. As time progresses, you'll come to learn the good, the bad, and the ugly sides of the teenagers you're working with, and have to decide for yourself when and how to step in when they have problems... even if those problems are less related to school and more to their complicated personal lives.

Interactivity is fairly limited in the game. You can (and have to) read messages whenever you get a notification by clicking on the little mail icon in the upper right corner of the screen. This grants you access to John's computer, through which he can watch student interactions, receive mail himself, take a peek at the seemingly innocuous conversations going on on message boards, and, of course, save the game and change the settings. Reading messages winds up being the bulk of the actual gameplay, but throughout the narrative you'll be given chances to choose what John says to his students and how he deals with them. The game comprises seven chapters, each focusing on someone different with their own issues, from Charlotte, who seems to be the perfect student but remains clueless about how to deal with her own feelings, to Taylor, who can't seem to keep her mouth shut but remains locked in her own internal struggles, and even to John himself. There are three different endings depending on the choices you make, and the game features a text skip option so you can speed through dialogue you've seen before on different playthroughs to reach choices faster. (Please be aware that one of those endings results in an implied intimate relationship with a teenage girl, but it isn't explicit, and you can simply avoid the dialogue choices that would take you there.)

Don't Take it Personally, Babe, It just Ain't Your StoryAnalysis: Despite its popularity and ambitious scope, I failed to really warm to or become invested in Christine Love's earlier title, Digital: A Love Story, which was too much like listening to one half of a stranger's telephone conversation. By contrast, Christine here has managed to create a very large cast of characters I found myself caring about in a very short time. She has a knack for writing believable, natural dialogue and manages to craft some surprisingly engrossing drama into what is essentially just what we see from the sidelines. In a lot of ways, it winds up feeling like an experimental visual novel; all the typical love triangles and problems and rivalries are going on, but we only get to see the edges of them from our perspective as what is basically a voyeur.

It's especially surprising when you consider that it really isn't our story, just like the title bluntly informs us. John has very limited interaction with them, and despite the fact that each student comes to see him for advice once throughout the course of the story, to them you're little more than an authority figure. It's jarring to realise that the connection you feel to the students isn't reciprocated because any "relationship" you perceive is entirely one-sided; you might think Kendall is awesome or Taylor is a jerk, but to them you're just a teacher and you barely register as a blip in their own personal lives. Because of this, some players might not get as easily invested in the story.

Don't Take it Personally, Babe, It just Ain't Your StoryIt's easy to forget while watching the social lives of your students change, but you really are only tenuously connected to all of the drama and personality conflicts going on, an outsider looking in. Don't Take it Personally is, at its heart, trying to say something about privacy, and how the concept of the word is already changing. It's a little disappointing that the game won't let you proceed due to story constraints until you've read any backlogs of communication between your students. The game does imply that this is basically part of John's job, keeping tab on his students' activities for bullying and such, but there are more than a few exchanges I might have been more comfortable not witnessing, purely because they were such intimate moments. Even from John's perspective, I didn't feel like I was doing my "job", I felt like a voyeur, and I sort of resented the game a little for forcing me into it.

For all that, however, Don't Take it Personally, Babe, it Just Ain't Your Story is still a tremendously smart and creatively told piece of narration. Everything is peppered with meaning, and it's easy to see something of ourselves in almost all of the students, both good qualities and bad. The cast here feel like people rather than stereotypes, and that's what makes the story such a success and the game worth playing despite its limited choice and interactivity. I grew more than a little attached to the students and celebrated their personal successes as much as I desperately wanted to warn them when John's unique position let me see trouble headed their way. While not perfect, with so much chatspeak infiltrating even the students' everyday lives you might want to cringe, and a moral that feels heavy-handed and a little unsatisfying in its execution, it's intelligent and heartfelt and definitely worth a play.

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This game is absolutely wonderful.

Nolan and Akira's relationship is ADORABLE.

Spikey Cupcake April 10, 2011 7:09 PM

Wow...just wow. This is...amazing. It's beautiful, and well made, and I can relate to every one of the characters.


Just played through it once. I, for one, absolutely loved Digital, and after going through don't take it personally, I sincerely hope that Christine Love continues to create visual novels. Every time I play one, it makes me wish that the visual novel wasn't such a rarity in the states. Anyway, keep on posting these. I can't get enough.


I'm experiencing a bug in Chapter 5 -- the narrator won't let me continue until I read 1 AmieConnect message, but I have already read it... I can't seem to get around this, even after loading the saved games. (This is the Mac OS X version)



Z, you might have to check and read your Mail messages as well (the envelope icon).

InsanePenguin April 10, 2011 9:57 PM

I cannot believe that I took the time to get all three endings. Thankfully, I remembered the "skip text" function. So worth it though. All three endings are brilliant, as is the entire game on the whole. Personally, I loved Digital as well as this, and I really really hope to hear about more work from Christine Love soon.

And agreed about adorable characters. :D


I thought this was brilliant! Couldn't stop until I reached the end.

* Lots of chatspeak even for me - perhaps an option to replace it with standard English would improve accessibility. But would be a lot of work for somebody. However given the setting and the chatspeak, it seems a lot like this game is aimed at the younger generation when it could have been open to all.
* Regarding the plot

The twist at the end took me by surprise, and I got the same feeling that you get when you read a book/watch something that changes how you look at the world afterwards.

It's nice to see a game that deals with LGBT issues, I'm not sure I know of any others at all.

* Most of the choices were fairly straightforward 'predictable' approaches, but there were a couple of difficult ones where I really wouldn't have known what to say/do. Obviously I was very much immersed in the story! Will be replaying soon to see how different things could be.


Considering that the Oxford English dictionary added lol and omg, I suppose it isn't entirely implausible that by 2027, it'll have become part of the younger population's spoken vocabulary. It's still a little odd though.


@Dns Thanks! I think my problem is fixed. Now to finish the story...


I tried it again, playing as a creepy, belligerent, interventionist character instead of the strictly professional teacher, and am still not sure what the three endings are supposed to be.

Massive spoiler ahead!

I found that (unless I'm missing something) the only events you can substantially change are who goes to the dance, and what happens between you and Arianna. The dance is a subplot that doesn't seem to affect the ending.

With Arianna, you can either stay professional, or...get involved. These two choices lead to two different dialogue options at the end of the final chapter, which gives you four endings (or two, if you consider these choices to be trivial). What am I missing?


I don't like Akira.

STOP. STAYING. TOTES. Please learn how to say 'totally'.

Regardless, I actually enjoyed this game, like I did with Digital : A Love Story.


I enjoyed the game, but there's one part that still boggles my mind and that is...

Big Spoilers

The kids played the suicide prank in order to lighten Rook up...and everyone sees that as a totally logical thing. Plus, they make him believe he's being haunted. What part of that is supposed to make him go, "You know what? I've been too uptight about this whole privacy thing." It's insane reasoning. It'd be one thing if the prank was, "Isabella's dead! Just kidding!" This is, "Isabella killed herself AND YOU DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO STOP HER! Don't you feel more relaxed?" It blows my mind.


Wow... I'm... at a loss for words.

That was simply amazing. The storyline pulled me in, and the art and music really fit. And the twist... they honestly had me going there.

You didn't think much of the reading into their lives, thing, at first; you figure it's just part of the game--that it's there so you can react better to them when they came for advice.

But then that twist... it honestly completely changed how I look at social networking. I think I have a great idea for a book now (not, of course, writing a story exactly like this; more reflecting on my own social networking tendencies and how it might change the future... do WE even honestly understand the concept of privacy anymore?)

GREAT job, and many thanks, the the creator for making this. Just when I thought it was going to be about teenage life and angst, it turns on me, making me contemplate my own life and privacy.

Amazing, amazing work. Thank you.

On a side note, I love AkiraxNolan. <3 <3 <3

(Tho I still found it disturbing how Akira, or any of them, for that matter, didn't understand the concept of privacy AT ALL. D: )


I only got one of the endings, and I didn't care to get any of the others. However, I really enjoyed and got in to it up until a certain point.

I felt like the talk between John and Akira's mother about the privacy thing was really.. forced, like something I'd hear at an awareness campaign. It really ruined the atmosphere for me.


Yikes, this teacher is the most... embarrassingly... unprofessional teacher ever. I mean, I get that he's sort of a Greek chorus, but he really acted like just another teenager, and the way he took sides, etc--I disapproved of his lack of professionalism! :| But I managed to suspend disbelief and I was mostly with the story until one of the later chapters:

tbh, I thought the standout character was Taylor--she's the most interesting and flawed? I wish the teacher hadn't gotten alarmingly unprofessional and nasty with her in her big scene. I wanted to take a gentler tack with her instead of yelling at her about how self-centered she is like I'm one of the teenagers I'm supposed to be teaching. :( It was a little disturbing how personal the teacher got. I get that it's, like, living out a fantasy of comeuppance, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.

KingfisherEyes April 11, 2011 5:50 AM

While I did enjoy this game, I still have to say that SMOKESCREEN is probably the best game i've played dealing with the intrigue of social networking.

I agree with the above posters about the unprofessionalism of the teacher and actually felt quite sorry for Taylor and thought that suicide thing was absolutely horrendous. Even as a joke.


Kind of surprised to see this featured here so quickly, but it's not entirely unexpected. This game is wonderful. The story sucked me in so quickly, and I stayed up way way too late to play it some more...


I just wanted to throw in that although far more adult. Beautiful Escape: Dungeoneer is a little like this too in that it tries to make the player feel complicit, involved, and has a moral agenda that might not entirely be what the gameplay initially seems to be about.


@Calistus, I know exactly what you meant - it felt like a story, until that twist, at which point it felt sort of preachy. But I think that's part of the point - or at least, it's part of the tradition of sci-fi authors to do some sort of preaching as part of the story.

@Tom - Christine actually mentioned that this is one of her goals, given that she doesn't see (and I agree!) enough LGBT characters in the fiction/games she likes/plays.

I think it's an extremely well done visual novel, and indeed makes me want more of them - well, more by her, at least. The characters are all archetypical and yet not in the Glee sort of way where you can't imagine that real life characters would ever say anything like what they do; instead, they seem quite plausible.

And then the ending, even if the conversation is somewhat forced, is just an incredibly different way to look at things - it's the 'Big Idea' of the story, so to speak, and it's vastly fascinating to think of children who would actually believe as Akira does.


This was a fun game with really in-depth characters but I see what you mean about the ending. It's a little convoluted.


I played it through to try to get each of the endings, and although the writing was excellent, the content was very disturbing on more than one occasion... Is anyone else a little disgusted with

how the kids faked Isabella's suicide? Before the stupid "twist", I was really impressed with the way the author painted such a realistic depiction of the emotional aftermath when a child committs suicide. Maybe I'm being a stick in the mud, but I think some subjects should be out-of-bounds for "pranks".

I did love the relationships between the characters. The ups and downs and serious drama were totally believable, with one exception.

The "romance" between John and Arianna was downright creepy. It's not just the age difference or the serious lack of ethics, it's his twisted perception at the end. "She doesn't just make me hard in my pants (gag) I think this is true love!" Is this how men really think?!



I agree and disagree with you about the suicide thing. I agree that it's a tasteless prank, but I think it's also the kind of thing that young people think would make for a good prank. In college, I knew some people who played a much less elaborate version on some people in their dorm. It's not a good idea, but it's something some people would consider clever.

As I said above, my biggest problem with the prank was that it was supposed to get Rook to lighten up about invading the student's privacy. When it reality, it should and almost did cause him a lot of guilt and almost lead to a nervous breakdown. Still, everyone accepts that reasoning as completely legitimate.



On my first play-through I did turn down her advances, but I found the end to be a little anticlimactic. I suppose that would make more sense, since it's not really his story, but I had hoped that an alternate ending where he has a little more personal investment with the characters would have a better sense of closure.

What rubbed me the wrong way was that the author almost justifies John's actions with his vulgar internal monologue at the end. Every scene between the two of them is sexualized and lacks any substantial dialogue or character development. There's no reason to believe he would have anything besides physical attraction towards her.

I think your choice of the word defensive is a very fitting one, because it sounds more like he's trying to defend his own actions to himself by pretending he holds sincere feelings for Arianna. It's almost certainly a byproduct of his mid-life crisis and paramount loneliness, but it's a shame the author does not have him readily admit that as he does his other many shortcomings.


what the hell? ive never heard of a high school in ontario bell curving marks... WHERE THE HELL WAS I?!?!


@chiuni: Given that this takes place in (I think) 2037, it's not something they'll get around to for a little while. ;)


There are some very, very moderate spoilers here, but the big ones all have their own tags

Wow. This is unbelivebly good. Just incredible. The characters are great, the story is great...
Here's what really got me. I did notice the year, how it was set in the not-too-distant future, from the very beginning. I assumed, though, that this was just for some artistic license: More advanced computers and technology et. al. I think this sort of explains some of the gripes I had up until the ending. I, too, thought there was too much chatspeak, and while I do think that "perhaps an option to replace it with standard English would improve accessibility," I also don't agree that, for example, Akira should "STOP. STAYING. TOTES. Please learn how to say 'totally'." That would be like kids today having to say "just kidding" instead of jk. It might be nice (WOULD be nice...) but it's just the way they talk! I found it completely believable that kids in the future would use more internet slang.

"Most of the choices were fairly straightforward 'predictable' approaches." Seriously? I didn't have a single time where I knew immediately which button to press! Perhaps I'm just more indecisive...

OK, now here's my big opinion. I think a lot of the big things you guys think are creepy or wrong

arianna's romance, the suicide prank,

are supposed to show that people in the future are somewhat desensitized. Of course, this isn't absolutely a bad thing. I think it ties all into the ending, the subject of privacy. I don't really understand what a lot of you are saying about the ending seeming one-sided, unbelivable, and forced. Like a few others on here, when I read the ending, I didn't know what to think! I've been thinking about it all day now. I really can't figure out what's right: Is my initial reaction that I'm beeing creepy and voyeuristic correct? But the characters do make good arguments; and again, this ISN'T stuff the kids didn't want the teacher to see. Sort of. I half-think that it is good to be more open; but this game challenges me to think for myself where a line should be drawn.
OK, back to what I'm actually talking about. I think that people in the future of this game are desensitized, and I half-think that that's not really a bad thing. It's kind of half-bad, half-good. On the one hand, yeah, it can lead to things that we think of as being really creepy: the suicide prank , for example. But it also seems to be leading to a more relaxed world, in a way. Let me put it this way: The kids in this story might not be as book-smart, but I think what this game is half-arguing is that that's not really what matters. While we don't get a good look at the politics or welfare of this game, keep in mind that all the kids put something along the lines of either "liberal" or "don't care." But is that all kids, or all people in the future? This game does something really incredible, it portrays what I think is a future generation gap. John's just kind of stuck in the middle, it seems: Yes, he has a much more relaxed, less teacherly relationship with his students, and he romances one without any real outside conflict to it, but the students also seem to think that HE's the one that needs to lighten up. This is especcialy interesting after seeing all the very casual and teenagerly relationships he has with his students, and it makes me want to see more of this future world.

OKAY, cutting myself off, that's about 1/20th of what I have to say about this game. Sheesh was this good.

tl;dr (as the students might say): Game rocked, I'm opinionated.

Man was that a long comment. I'm sweating.



Regarding decisions

I felt the choices were predictable in that it was often just a decision between using the information gleaned from the students' private messages, or pretending not to know this information. If you are dead set on the importance of privacy/professionalism (or the opposite) then one choice will always present itself as being better (or crazier!). There was rarely more than 2 options to pick from.

I think your observation that the students are more desensitized is spot-on.

On Trinn's initial post

I also found the story of Arianna's relationship was a bit immature and some of the dialogue made me laugh out loud! I feel that's a general problem with trying to create believable sexual writing and doubt that anyone else would have done much better than the author.

GreatRedHeron April 11, 2011 9:02 PM

Loved it. It was perfect across all motifs - high school, LGBT, anime, social networking - for my teenager (whom I sat next to.) I've got to look up Christine Love's earlier game now.

Anonymous April 11, 2011 9:37 PM

I enjoyed the game, but really resented the implications at the end.

NisSandpaper April 11, 2011 9:37 PM

Wow. I have never been so sucked in by a game before. I despise Facebook but found myself checking the posts and messages immediately after they pop up.

I loved it save the realization of how pointless high school drama can rally be.
Just one question:

Is everybody gay in the year 2027?


I thought it was well done and definitely one of my favourite visual novels! It was long enough to keep me playing but it didn't drag on either. But I noticed some people complaining about

The chatspeak lingo everyone uses, particularly Akira. I didn't mind it at all to be honest and I think it added the humour in their conversations.

But in all lightheartness I love the fact that

Christine set up the story in Canada, I got the little inside jokes they were teasing Isabelle about when she went back to her hometown but that's probably because I live in the same area lol. Does anyone know if Christine is Canadian?

John Smith April 12, 2011 4:14 AM

Just a heads up: besides the >implied (ha) relationship, there are also some very risque images of one of the female students (frontal topless nudity) at one point.

Tofunaga April 12, 2011 8:33 AM

The story, setting, characterization, and the lone fact that it has legit canon LGBT pairings makes it way better than Smokescreen, in my opinion. Although the latter is more "entertaining" to play, since it gives you a whole range of stuff to do rather than to read dialogue. Most dating-sim-esque games have more interaction, but I know it really isn't the point.

Can anyone point out which choices actually affect the events in the game, and what they actually do?

Master of U April 12, 2011 4:00 PM

I don't think the ending was horrible, just rushed and surprising. Not sure if I got the message right, but it felt like it was something like "you should be more open, and if you don't want someone to know something don't write it at all". If it's really the case I kind of like it because I was expecting some obvious moral like "Facebook is bad".
And concerning Arianna I think

the romance plot

could obviously use more refinement, but generally wasn't a bad choice at all. In the end I was actually more afraid of having another talk with her than meeting

Isabella's vengeful spirit!

At the same time you could feel Arianna's emotions and loneliness which provoked kind of mixed feelings towards her. I thought it to be really interesting.
Overall the characters were really well written and I enjoyed every second of this game. Can't wait to check out the author's future projects!

Anonymous April 12, 2011 5:40 PM


Not that I want to, but is there actually any way to know the lesbian girls' middle name and type it in? I'd feel a lot better knowing that you can't.

BlackCat April 12, 2011 9:15 PM

There is a way to find out Kendall's middle name, which is a password. It's not in the game, though.

It's at the author's blog. The pictures are there, and they are exactly what you expect (graphic, some nudity). Just so you know, if you don't want to look.


Okay i get five ending here

John and Arianna is dating (done by make out with Arianna in first chapter and waving her in the end of seventh chapter)

John is ignoring Arianna and walk along (done by make out with Arianna in first chapter and just walk and ignoring Arianna in the end of seventh chapter)

John and Arianna is going eat lunch, and getting know each other (done by reject Arianna in first chapter, in fourth chapter Arianna comes, and you do well with her and say yes to eat lunch in the end of the seventh chapter)

John and Arianna is meeting but John refusing for lunch (done by reject Arianna in first chapter, in fourth chapter Arianna comes, and you do well with her and say no to eat lunch in the end of the seventh chapter)

John is asked to have lunch with the students except kendall (because she has period thingy) (done by reject Arianna in first chapter, in fourth chapter Arianna comes, and you reject her again)

And another not so has effect for the ending

you can make charlotte and kendall be a couple or not
to make couple

when talking to the charlotte in John office, select second choice (suggest to better off with kendall) and first choice (tell that kendall is interested in charlotte)

not to make couple

when talking to the charlotte in John office, select first choice (ask wether it is worth)

the effects

it affects the ending of 6th chapter, if they are a couple, they will go to dancing (6a), instead akira and his bf go to dance (6b)

fun thing when kendall and charlotte are a couple

in some place of the game, they will chat, and there are two link, and it asks for password, the password is Kendall middle name, you can get it by

enter the link in your browser, and you will get the web that say the Kendall middle name

the password is "Morgan" without quote, and the first char is caps.



Haha, totes agree :P. Couldn't help but think of Paul Rudd every time I had to read that word.

Cards on the table, I don't like Mr. Rudd.


Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. All I can say is WOW.
The storytelling is excellent, and I got the feeling that there was a lot more that I could change than apparently I really could, which made it feel more like my story as opposed to only theirs, at least until the ending.

In particular, I felt the notion that I could prevent Isabella's suicide if I actually managed to help Nolan. This wasn't helped by her vanishing just before coming to the same advice session Nolan (and eventually all the others bar Akira) did.

About the final message... I'm not entirely sure what to think of it. I suppose I'll decide on something later, but for now... it's left me puzzled.
But still... wow. It's been almost a week straight I've spent obsessively playing through this, and I've certainly not found myself disappointed.

Leighann Garber April 14, 2011 6:30 AM

I find this kind of game very interesting and plan to check out more like it. I found the use of chatspeak (is that what you call it?) kind of annoying, but yes, understandable in a future society that has something like iPads to carry all their textbooks and input their assignments (how cool is that? And totally doable, even with today's technology)and grew up with facebook and email (my son started on the computer at 2 when all he could "read" was the play button). I found the students being liberal, gay, atheist, agnostic, etc. to be both realistic and refreshing. I haven't spent any time in Ontario, but I think even as futuristic it would have made more sense to set it on the West Coast. Because the mix of opinions and also openness and tolerance of different lifestyles is much more like the west coast today. About the ending

with the no privacy thing. People have mentioned they expected a "facebook is bad" message. Don't you see? That's EXACTLY what it is. it's meant to shock you and make you think wow, if we keep going the way we are, this may be what people are like in the future, esp. the generation that grew up with their birth and baby pictures on mom's facebook, constantly connected with cell phones, and able to make meaningful connections with people they may never meet. I think that's one point about the suicide thing too... I was so shocked by that and felt so badly!!! I felt guilty and terrible, much more so that when I seduced or the girl (or allowed her to seduce me, i guess). It's about how the choices we make effect others, but also to get you to think about what sets off your moral radar? Many people i know would be bothered that the students themselves would even consider themselves gay or atheist or whatever. Anyway, it's also about how attached we can get to a virtual person. Or one who we only know virtually like followers on twitter. I must say that I also felt a huge sense of relief when I found out she didn't really die. :)

Wow, look at all I wrote. I never comment on games. But this was a thought-provoking one. Thank you JIG for a headsuup on yet another thinker.

Kalistik April 14, 2011 5:42 PM

My first play-through was basically PG-13 rated, so I didn't realize that there were more graphic or... Not-so appropriate things that could happen if you chose other options. I wish there had been a bit more warning in the review. The game itself is really great in my opinion, the story telling is excellent, I just think that the game would have been just as good if not better without the more graphic and overly sexual themes.

[This game received a strong warning from us in the form of an orange rating as per our ratings system. -Jay]

KingfisherEyes April 15, 2011 9:28 AM

>> tofunaga

Can I just say I don't agree. I think Smokescreen had a better message overall and was far more fun and realistic.


I have played through one time, and i think the ending choices depend on

A. The thing you say about your umbrella
B. The first choice to follow her advances or not
C. The second time she tries to advance.

Please tell me if I'm right, wrong, and how these affect the ending.


Great game! At first I thought this was just another lighthearted time-waster, then the big spoiler hit and everything just got more intriguing exponentially.

A lot of people are complaining about chatspeak, but I actually thought there wasn't enough. I mean, look at Facebook now, Who capitalizes their sentences? Who punctuates?

I think it would be a lot more realistic if at least the IM messages were so laden with chatspeak that they need some deciphering. That would add to the realism of a teacher trying to figure out what kids are thinking these days.


Need help...

In the first chapter,it asks you to check the 12 channel posts. I did, and nothing happens. It registers as if I never checked it and everything is already checked out. What do I do?



Are you sure you actually checked all of the posts? You have to click until the next button completely disappears.


Anyone notice that J. Rook is the system operator in Digital: A Love Story? (;


@Emmah: Woah. Did not remember/know that.

I liked the storytelling for the most part... until the ending, which was idiotic and preachy. There will never be a point at which people will have no concept of privacy at all; it's just not how social relationships work.

Also, the "prank" was idiotic, and though I was warned not to take it personally right from the title, if I was John Rook I would have quit the school district and moved elsewhere on the spot. Them kids has problems.


Also, yeah, I wasn't really sure what the different endings were, because the only thing that seemed like it would change was the relationships (Akira's, Charlotte's, and John Rook's), which isn't an ending so much as a state of being (compared to other visual novels).


I had a lot of thoughts about this game. Some of the topics it looks at were things that I'd been thinking about recently, so it really struck a chord with me.

Spoilered both for length and for big plot spoilers, so if you haven't played, don't read yet.

I recognize that the game had a point, but I'm not entirely sure what it was. The ending about privacy being an antiquated concept was somehow both preachy and diluted, and I'm still not quite sure if the game's author is in favor of that sort of society (I could go on for a very long time about how privacy in our society is already almost gone, but that's for another day I think). If you take the game's message at face value, then it seems she is encouraging that way of living, but there were a few things I noticed on my second play-through that made me think it was more of a warning than something to strive towards.

The fact that the kids don't care about their schoolwork in the slightest impressed me (and the fact the "smartest" in the class is only copying what Mr Rook says word for word), but what impressed me more was the email you get from the school administration at the end of the game scolding you for not curving your students' grades and making the school look bad. The kids don't try because they don't have to. It's ironic that the email also tells you that you'll put the children's futures in jeopardy if you don't curve your grades, yet having them not actually learn anything doesn't seem to be an issue.

A previous comment mentioned that the kids are more desensitized than we are between the suicide prank and no one seeming bothered by Arianna's advances towards Mr Rook, and I completely agree. The kids also throw around words like "fag" and "bitch" as a part of everyday conversation. I'm amazed at how much Mr Rook swears when he's talking to his class (and his "angry approach" with Taylor during their meeting felt borderline abusive to me). Again I'm not entirely sure what the author's point was. Is it to show the desensitization, or is it possibly trying to show that those words have been "reclaimed" somehow, or is there something else I'm missing?

And now I have to talk about the suicide prank, which I also think missed the mark entirely. To begin with, the point they try to make about no one saying anything about a suicide except online is completely untrue. Wouldn't you believe your student had died if a creepy girl in a yukata followed you home regularly and told you in no uncertain terms that you were responsible for the student's suicide (she says plenty of things like "Isabella," and "why did you let her die." Is there really any other way to interpret that)? And as many other people have already asked, how is that supposed to make someone "lighten up?" As someone who has had two people I know commit suicide in the past year, I can't even begin to wrap my mind around how anyone in any time period could imagine that it would something funny to pretend about.

According to the first email you receive about the messaging system, the whole point of teachers being able to eavesdrop was to keep track of bullying and other things that might be concerning, but Mr Rook never used it that way. All the warning signs about Taylor bullying Akira and Isabella's suicide (before the prank is revealed) are there in the messages, and Mr Rook ignores them in favor of keeping up with the kids' relationship gossip. Again, I don't know if that was a point the game was trying to make, but I thought it was interesting.

tl;dr as Akira and Kendall would say, but thanks for taking the time if you did. I am just an "old fogey" with outdated ideas (I realized I'll be right around Mr. Rook's age in 2027, plus or minus a year or two).


is it possible to...

save isabella?


vlad, I'll assume based on your question that you haven't yet beaten the game. I'll tentatively answer "no", but it'll make more sense (...kind of) at the end of the game.


Yeah, the complete indifference to their schoolwork was kind of... weird. I dunno what a good word for my feelings about it would be.

As far as the suicide "prank", I'm kind of appalled that the author would have the characters treat it so insensitively, and then implicitly suggest their actions were fine (or only a little "over the line", and that's just Akira's creepy messages, not the rest of the prank). The idea that it's okay to make Rook think Isabella committed suicide is just IDIOTIC. "Oh hey, your student supposedly committed suicide just before she was supposed to talk to you. Stop taking things so seriously!" AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHJSBDFKJLBSDLGKBSLDKFBSKLHBDF

I'm 20, so I'm nowhere near an "old fogey", but the ending really pissed me off as well.

On a separate note: I was annoyed that the only choices you could make were in helping/hurting the students' relationships, and nothing about the bullying or anything. This is sort of related to your point that Rook doesn't do anything to try to "save" Isabella.

...This pisses me off every time I think about it. Christine Love, you failed. That is all.

[Comment edited. Swearing is strictly forbidden here and is against our commenting policies. Please adhere to them, V2Blast. You should know better. :( -Jay]

Grant Thurston April 22, 2011 11:33 PM

Personally, I liked it a lot. Since I'm smack-dab right in the age group of the students involved, as well as various other factors of my life, I felt *extremely* connected to the characters, somehow. I thought I could understand how they felt, and I thought their reactions were realistic, especially Taylor's. Almost scary how accurate she was. Now, the ending definitely threw me for a loop. It seemed kind of weird to get a good ending the first time through, and certainly, the whole situation with Isabella seemed awfully... sadistic. But either way, I enjoyed it, and spent over 3 hours playing it in one go!

kotoktet April 23, 2011 7:13 PM

Whoa, all you people need to lrn2internet. Seriously.


Actually V2Blast, if you add 16 to your age (like I did), you'll be in the "fogey" age group too in 2027. Mr Rook would only be 22 right now. :)


I'm curious- What did Akira's mother write on his

coming out announcement?


...having trouble getting it to work in the first place, can anyone help me? Maybe I'm completely thickheaded, but after I installed and tried to play, all I get is a message saying "I'm sorry, but an uncaught exception occurred.
Exception: Shader error: Fragment shader(s) linked, vertex shader(s) failed to link.
After initialization, but before game start."

...help? I really want to play this game.

wickedcherub May 1, 2011 8:07 AM

I can't get it to work either with the Windows version - after installing, I try to open the .exe and a new window opens, then disappears.

mountblade98 May 1, 2011 6:52 PM

"I'm sorry, but an uncaught exception occurred.
Exception: Shader error: Fragment shader(s) linked, vertex shader(s) failed to link."
if you cant get the game to work because of the text above, heres the solution:
search "renpy" on google or something, go to the site and download renpy. open up the renpy exe, click select project,and choose "dont take it personally". hold shift while clicking launch. then choose prefer software renderer and continue. after that it should work!

wickedcherub May 2, 2011 4:15 AM

Thanks for helping, but when I press shift when clicking 'launch' nothing happens, the game tries to open as per normal and I get the same error.

:( I tried googling it and everyone's telling me to o the same thing you suggested.

mountblade98 May 2, 2011 9:58 AM

create a text file in the main renpy folder where the exe is. title it "environment" without the quotations.
inside the text should say:
exactly like that. then try the shift thing again. if it still doesnt work, try searching around the renpy forums for a solution.

wickedcherub May 2, 2011 9:42 PM

@mountblade98 that worked, thank you very much! It's very bizarre - I have played many visual novels before with no issue.


What Akira's mom posts on his wall says literally "That is time." (Meaning, I think, "it's about time"--my Japanese is really, really shaky though.)

m000000.I'm a cow 8D May 9, 2011 9:13 AM

quote: "Does anyone know if Christine is Canadian?"
apparently, according to her website, she is from the Philippines. She's a Filipina, huh? Makes me slightly prouder of the fact that I am too XD

awesome game.just. awesome.

raerae May 9, 2011 9:39 AM

Fun story, and fresh story-telling method!

I was somewhat bothered by the complete dissolution of academic standards, though. I kept waiting for

the *twist* to be "You're FIRED for NOT doing your primary JOB: teaching literature." Wouldn't it be a better division of labor to have the guidance counselor be the online voyeur?

The real twist for me was the administration's grade inflation.

I had *totes* figured out the fake suicide part when Akira and Pink-hair-girl give their presentation, and had suspected it before that, too. ;)

But seriously, if these kids go to a competitive college, they will be in for a rude awakening. :C

raerae May 9, 2011 9:50 AM

@tigrita: yep, I agree.

ArthurWilborn May 13, 2011 12:57 PM

I kind of get the moral at the end, although I agree it was a bit preachy.

Our default assumption now is one of privacy; that other people know nothing about us except what we choose to share about ourselves. This comes from a context of limited information.

However, with increasing flow of information, the default assumption becomes that people will know things about us without our saying so. And this is acceptable; we will want to put ourselves forward and be known for who we are and what we think. This is "social"; sharing of ourselves with others. Trying to engage in privacy would be anti-social; what do you have to hide that you don't want anyone to know about? It would be like locking yourself in a small room and never talking to anyone else.

This openness is a bit disturbing, perhaps, but what do you have to hide? Nearly everyone believes themselves to be a good person. In a way, people should be happy for more people to know about them. Openness breeds honesty and authenticity.

This is represented thematically in the story in several ways:

Everyone knowing Akira is gay before he admits to it.

Mr. Rook continually asking people to not talk behind people's backs, in a bit of irony.

Taylor shaping up when told "Everyone knows what you're doing, now stop it or there will be consequences". She's not allowed to hide behind her lies as the truth spreads.

Arianne sending love-love messages she knew would be read to make her feelings clear.

Mariena May 26, 2011 6:25 PM

The link is down. -.- And I haven't found a mirror link anywhere.. I want to play it, too :(

[Don't take it personally, babe, I'm sure it'll be back up again soon. Trying to get a hold of Christine to find out what the trouble is. -Jay]


Reading the comments on this game, I was surprised by how many people were confused/annoyed by the chatspeak, while it seemed pretty normal to me... I actually found it pretty refreshing that the author managed to portray the students' vocabularies realistically without using it to make them look like idiots... But maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm a teenager myself, heh...

And just my two cents on the ending...

I don't really get how faking Isabella's death was supposed to "lighten John up," either... The poor guy was about to have a nervous breakdown! On the other hand, I think it's pretty realistic to imagine the students going too far with it (like they did). I know a lot of people who would find it to be a pretty good prank!

On the whole "privacy" thing, I don't think Christine Love is trying to present the students' attitudes as a good thing or a bad thing... just saying, "Well, this is what it's going to be like in 17 years." And I think that's pretty accurate, be it for better or for worse.

Oh, and I was sort of wishing Taylor would end up redeeming herself somehow in the end... But she didn't. Ah well, I guess that's more realistic, anyways...

Reaperoa June 12, 2011 2:21 PM

Overall, I did like the game, heck, I loved the game, but I did have few problems with it.

For one, about Isabella's "suicide", I really don't know how Rook fell for it. I mean, he sees one message saying "Oh, did you hear, she's dead?" and suddenly she has to be dead? I mean, nothing on the news, no obituary, no nothing at all to show that she's dead, and the pricipal says "Oh her tuition isn't paid up, just drop it." and Rook does just that? Difficult to buy that.

Not to mention that it's implied that she just dropped out of highschool altogether. What, didn't catch that? Well, think about it, for her to get into another school she has to get her permanent records from the school she was attending, and for them to make sure they are up to date, they have to call up Rook. (Maybe Future Canada's system works differently than Present America's, but I can't imagine the system being so forigen as for her to not need school records) And I will not buy "Oh, maybe they're all public". Even if they are made all public, a new school would have to call to make sure that there are no irregularities to worry about.

Sure Rook could have not checked the news, and sure, the school may have decided that it was fine to hand over her records without talking to Rook (or she seriously just dropped out all together), but when the "hauntings" start, you're gonna say that Rook doens't even try to look up more info on her death? I find it hard to swallow. Particularlly hard to swallow considering you have a conversation with Charlotte about how easy it is to look people's info up (Sure, in a differnet context about it being difficult to feel lonely because of it, but it's still applicable).

From the start I knew that she wasn't dead, not because of the dropped clues, but because there was nothing to show that she was dead, and Rook did absolutely nothing to check up on it.

As for the ending, it did feel heavy handed.

However, the "Foreshadowing" scene had me cracking up when I read it the second time, as the first time I didn't get it and assumed that it was referencing something I'd never seen before, particularly as Rook said nothing about not getting what they were referencing, and so I just skimmed through it.

And, honestly, I don't know if the end message was supposed to be "This is how soceity should be." (Which I think was the message and totally disagree with.) I mean, come on, Charolette basically sent nude pictures of herself to her teacher. (While there is no way to get the password in the game, there is also no way that Rook couldn't have just looked it up within a few seconds.) Of course the ending may have been trying to remain neutral to the idea, but I find that hard to belive considering everything that is said. So, moral of the story: It's okay to send nekid pic to your teacher. srsly legit.

As for the leet speak (chatspeak, or whatever you want to call it), I thought it was perfect. It was everywhere, without every really being difficult to understand. It never went overboard, and I think you can probably glean the meaning of every sentence even if you're 60+ and don't know what 'lol' means.

What made me truly love it, despite some things making me facepalm so hard, was the characters, and every interaction they had. Everyone was believeable, and three dimensional. Normally I hate PC's with background, but I even loved Rook, despite him being as dense as a black hole sometimes.

Anonymous June 22, 2011 2:01 AM

*tries to download*

I hate my school's net blocker.

Stripeface June 25, 2011 3:07 AM

Some people are complaining about the lack of interactivity. Since you're just a teacher and aren't connected to the kids' lives much, I think the game was just being realistic.



Was Arianna's crush on Rook real, or staged as well?

Grant Thurston July 8, 2011 1:15 AM

Keiko, I think it was quite real. It depends on what ending you got, but in mine

She confronts John at the end and asks him on a date once more, even after the entire scheme was revealed. When you mention the things she said about you on the website, she looks embarrassed. (As though she might have possibly temporarily forgotten you were looking at them, but certainly didn't plan on taking them back.)

So judging by her persistence, I'd say she was quite serious about having a crush on John. I also think that works out since it seems like they want all the characters to have some definite good ending available, and that's really the only possible one I can think of for Arianna.

BlackWolfe July 8, 2011 4:10 AM

Finally got around to finishing this game today. I honestly didn't see the end coming until Akira and Kendall's oral report.


Axyraandas July 22, 2011 4:15 PM

What I don't like is how the outside materials referenced in the game don't exist in real life, like

Digital Shinigami.

Axyraandas July 22, 2011 4:20 PM

Sleepy Kendall is sleepy! XD x3


This is truly one of the most moving games I've ever played. I got so accustomed with the characters... I wish I had the time to get all three endings.
It definitely remembered me of Digital right from the beggining.

Had to leave a comment... September 11, 2011 9:44 PM

Okay... I'm sorry and may possibly be a small handful of players out there that thought this game was not all it was hyped to be. The presentation itself was not bad and the idea itself was not bad, but the "chat speak" was just too glaringly annoying. It didn't bother me when "chat speak" was used in the students' message boards, but it was just annoying as all hell when you (John) are talking to a student and the student says, "Yah, like, totes, Teach. You're like, so bomb! Aights, I'm outs, yo!"

...not exactly but I'm not far from exaggerating.

Also, I felt the game was too short and I didn't bond with any of the characters even though I am just John, the teacher who has a limited scope of his students.

Not to mention, why is it necessary to make the only other straight person in the game, a total bitch?

I feel that if the author had really wanted to dive into the whole LBGT area, she could have been more realistic as well. The whole school (or classroom, including John) seemed pretty excepting of LBGT. Seriously? No. Society will never be that accepting, even though this is 16 years into the future.

But hey, it's really not my story!


I feel the suicide prank was used to in a way show how connected to the social networking in that by moving away from it she was "killing" herself. I also feel that the entire game was very well done (Even though I occasionally got annoyed when Akira just kept using "totes" >.> I think that Akira and Nolans relationship was cute.. But I don't think it will last. I'm happy there was an overall good ending for everyone (Or at least in my playthrough).

I ended up HATING Taylor by the end, it really does make me sad to see people who can be so cruel. The relationship between Rook and Arianna wasn't THAT bad in my opinion, although there was a big age difference I feel that they both needed someone. I think his last comment about truly loving her, although put in a different way, meant he loved her for who she was not just what she looked like.

I felt bad for the fact Rook kept beating himself up about everything and although I feel it could of done with maybe a bit more interactivity I think it was well done and well worth multiple play-throughs.


I think the whole game had an anti-utopistic touch to it. There were the privacy issues, the overall illiteracy and ignorance among the youth, and, come on, you don't have to be homophobic to think it weird that most of the kids were homosexual... I don't know, I think this game had a message, or at least I perceived some definite.. foreshadowings about the future generation.

bsarrasin May 1, 2012 6:32 AM

"Not to mention, why is it necessary to make the only other straight person in the game, a total bitch?

I feel that if the author had really wanted to dive into the whole LBGT area, she could have been more realistic as well. The whole school (or classroom, including John) seemed pretty excepting of LBGT. Seriously? No. Society will never be that accepting, even though this is 16 years into the future."

1) there were two other straight characters in the classroom (three if you count at the beginning of the game)

2) I think it's pretty clear from your post that *you* may have some sort of problem with the LGBT community, or else just an incredibly skewed worldview. in a story with 7 central characters, more than HALF of which are in a "non-heteronormative" relationships you think the group is too accepting? THREE people? every story involving homosexual characters doesn't have to be one where they are oppressed.


My gosh... can't even wrap my mind around this game! Very worth playing!

sunnylauren January 3, 2015 4:39 PM

Wonderful game....but I don't have all day to play all 3 endings. Can someone tell me what they are and what the difference is?

emily79965 April 17, 2015 3:18 AM

I just finished playing this game and wow... just wow. Best visual novel type game I've ever played.


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