This Valentine's Day millions of men around the world will buy chocolates, pay for an expensive dinner and hope to get lucky with their special somebody. Not me. This year my
goal is to bring you the most romantic video game review of all time. I have dusted off a very special game, turned on the music and dimmed the lights just for this occasion.
I'll let you slip into something comfortable as I try to understand Pocket Love: If for the Neo Geo Pocket Color.
Let's start with the obvious: Pocket Love: If. Is that a question? I'll be honest; pocket loving doesn't sound as good as the real thing. I've had a lot of different kind of
loving, but pocket loving is one of my least favorite types. Maybe it's because of the pants I wear or because I have so much with me at all times, but pocket love usually ends in
Already I'm not feeling this arrangement, but the game tosses in the word "if" to suggest that this is some kind of reward. Hey gamer, you'll get this barely satisfying pocket
action IF you do something for somebody else. I know she's cute and all, but don't do it. Wait for the girl that will do more than stick her hand in your pocket. Trust me,
this is high school we're talking about, the girl that will let you go all the way is just around the corner.
Pocket Love: If is a Japanese dating simulator for the Neo Geo Pocket Color. And like most Japanese dating simulators, it's completely in a language I can't read. But I'm fine
with that; I've been out with girls that don't understand a thing I'm saying. From what I'm led to believe, you play somebody who spends three years at high school and tries to
score with the hotties on campus.
Like I said, this is not in English, so I had no idea what was going on. In order to complete this review, I decided to role-play as myself, a creepy 33 year old games
journalist. From the get-go I'm immediately introduced to two hot Asian chicks who seem to be into me. They smile, flirt and play with their hair, which I'm told is the
international sign for pocket loving.
I have The Cardigans rocking out of my 1995 Saturn, because that's what hot 16 year old girls are into these days. Eventually I realize that I can't just scope out the girls
all day, I need to put some effort into going to school. I'm not sure why they would let a 33 year old adult go to school, but the Japanese are weird like that. I mean, they sell
panties in vending machines, so I guess it makes sense.
Day after day the teachers yell at me and I put off doing my homework. I hang out with the girls and try to match up the activities they would like to do. Mirei is a real
cutie-pie; she's a girlie girl who likes make-up and accessories. Konoha is into anime and video games, she's more my speed. Oh and there's Ruruna, who told me the other night
that she's into girls and secretly cuts herself.
As the years drag on I fail to learn anything taught in school. You would think that with multiple girls giving me pocket love and years to pick it up, I would know at least
one or two Japanese words. But alas, I go the entire game completely ignorant. However, I do learn a valuable life lesson: It's hard to explain why you're a 33 year old dude
going back to high school without people wanting to hit you.
I'm not sure that's the actual story in the game, but it definitely made Pocket Love: If a wholly exciting game. I like the attention to detail the game gives to each girl,
especially the way they emote. Even though I don't speak a word of Japanese, it was easy to know when they were pleased and angry. Not like a real girl, who will often act
happy when they really want to rip your throat out. In that sense, Pocket Love: If should probably be deemed science fiction.
This is not a game I recommend to anybody who can't read Japanese. This is also not a good way to spend Valentine's Day. You're better off giving yourself some pocket love.