Ask anyone who knows anything about games, and they will tell you that the biggest problem in the industry today is the never-ending slew of eccentric Japanese game developers taking massive risks on their mental games where you roll up household items into universe eclipsing balls, or control a man-train of naked, oiled body builders and polar bears as they smash through office buildings, trying to tackle an American footballer.
The best console ever, the Playstation 2, was sadly tarnished and burdened with these types of games, but luckily you couldn’t find them anywhere, because Fifa and whatever that weeks really awesome first person shooter was covered the shelf space. The worst console ever, the Dreamcast, was covered in them, and thankfully killed off by the PS2. HEADSHOT!
Knowing that their relationship with the Dreamcast was a dead weight guaranteed to drown them, the developers of L.O.L: Lack of Love, (which involves enough evolving robots that urinate to warrant its own article) entered into an exciting marriage with Sony, becoming pregnant with strange ideas and confusion over cryptic PS2 coding circa 2001.
The team at Punchline produced Chulip, after director Yoshirou Kimura was inspired by the public displays of affection he witnessed in the west, a phenomenon unseen in Japan, and also wanted to make a game that dealt with social issues, such as poverty and truancy. In the end, they developed Chulip, a game which plays similarly to Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing. You assume the role of a young man who has moved into Long Life Town with his father.
With Dad still paying Mom and his second ex wife a hefty alimony, money for food is tight, to the point where you will have to indulge in a spot of what is colloquially known as “midgey raking”.
You see, the object of the game is to strengthen your weak heart, not through exercise or medicine, but through kissing as many of the townsfolk of Long Life Town as possible, in the hopes that your heart will then be strong enough to write an adequate love letter to scarlet woman Hussy.
We don’t know why though, Hussy is a bit of a bitch.
We give the game credit for it’s realism though, as Hussy says exactly what every other woman we have ever loved without speaking to first (all of them) tells us.
So the bulk of the gameplay revolves around finding the townspeople you have to kiss, and then figuring out what conditions you have to fulfill in order to kiss them. Sometimes it’s as simple as sneaking up on an unsuspecting bin dwellling grump…
…then kissing them in space….
Which will give you the money to make rent.
The “bag with non denominational money symbol” is a nice change from the way we are usually payed, balled up singles inside a used condom.
And sometimes you have to move a boulder off some train tracks before a knock off of a beloved childhood favorite will give up the sugar.
What better way to impress Hussy by kissing old men in front of her?
The game has an internal clock, so you have to catch people at certain times of day, as well as sleep at night and pay your extortionate rent monthly.
Ironically, for a game based on an idea taken entirely from the western idea of public displays of affection, the game never made it to these shores until 2007, five years after the initial Japanese release. It doesn’t hold up to the vast improvements that came afterwards in the kissing-adventure genre, especially the pinnacle of Hugglecaust 3: Return to Auskisstz, but as a history lesson, the charming, muppet “inspired” characters and excellent music, sometimes upbeat and catchy, sometimes genuinely haunting, are better than being shown the motion picture Braveheart and being told to take it as fact.