Another of Nitroplus and 5pb’s genius creations, Steins;Gate: Hen’i Kuukan no Octet (or more commonly known as Steins;Gate 8bit) was released for Windows PC on 28 November 2011. Hen’i Kuukan no Octet (transliterated as Variant Space Octet) basically takes place in an alternate timeline from the original game. While not necessary, it is recommended that you play the original Steins;Gate and also Chaos;Head (which already have English translations) to understand the story more.
The story is a continuation from the true ending of Steins;Gate (which I won’t spoil right here, for obvious reasons). Basically, Okabe Rintarou realizes the world line has changed once again. He receives a D-mail from his future self from the year 2025, and the divergence meter is off by 0.000132%. He is told by his future self that the IBN5100 has been stolen once again this time by a man named Knightheart and he must take it back to save the world from falling into chaos. He’s still the same ol’ crazy Hououin Kyouma otherwise.
The graphics and music for this game are completely reproduced to simulate the feel of the retro computers in the 80’s era. The moment you start the game, you can choose to emulate the game between 5 different computer settings, whose names are parodies for their real-life counterparts:
If you recognize any of these, you’re highly likely to be a geek, or a nerd.
Graphics-wise, each pixel and line is rendered one by one and takes time to load as if you were playing it on a 8bit CPU running on 1Mhz of processing power. It can be excruciatingly slow, but that’s how long the games of that era took to load. Fortunately, there is also a skip mode where you can skip the graphics loading. The game emulates the retro noises down to the last bit, instead of streaming an mp3 file. There’s even “sound chipping”, which is common with 8-bit games. For instance, when other sounds beep on screen, parts of the music will be silenced for the duration of the sound.
This game is less or a visual novel and more of a text adventure game, where you sometimes have to interact with the game through typing commands such as “talk”, “move” etc. It may be difficult for an average gamer, as you’ll have to work out which ones to use in a particular scenario. You have to pay attention to the text and know the characters and preceding storyline which generally offers hints on what to try out. But sometimes the game can really evil, like making you type “wait” a few times before you can actually proceed. This game takes from the actual difficulty found in early text adventure games, such as games from Infocom.
You can view the translated demo here (MAJOR S;G SPOILERS ALERT). The full English translation is in this blogger’s site as well: