Maybe you missed our review of Hatoful Boyfriend, the Japanese game where you can dream the impossible dream: go to a birds-only school and date the most handsome and comely of fowl. Or maybe you saw it, and thought the whole premise was stupid.
But as we were discussing this stupid/amazing game in the Bitter Empire chatroom, we became aware of the game’s backstory, which is far darker than what we’d expect from a game that centers around choosing which mourning dove you want to give beans to. Apparently all the game’s storyline is available in Hatoful’s sequel, Bad Boys Love, which still haven’t been translated from Japanese. (You read that right: there are multiple games about hooking up with birds.) Sadly, we flunked out of our college Japanese program, so we count on Wikipedia to serve us up our terrifying avian dystopias. Be aware that spoilers follow, if you’re the type who doesn’t like having your experiences of bird dating game series ruined:
In 2068, an incredibly deadly mutation of the H5N1 virus (get it?) sweeps through the world, nearly destroying the entirety of humanity. Brave scientists engineer a countervirus that’s intended to destroy the mutated H5N1, but as it infects birds it makes them sentient.
No doubt infuriated by humanity’s crimes – keeping their brethren in cages, withholding precious bread, that sort of thing – the birds rise up and attack the devastated human population. War rages. Uplifted birds establish themselves as the planet’s dominant species; humans rebel as humans do: by staging terrorist attacks. Enraged, the freshly-formed avian government creates an apartheid system that segregates the remaining 140 million humans away from urban centers, into the wilderness. (The protagonist of Hatoful Boyfriend, which takes place 40-odd years later, lives in a cave, surrounded by bleak countrysides and ruined cityscapes.)
Open warfare and terrorism in Hatoful‘s world have died down, but still avian society debates how to handle those pesky humans. “Doves” (!) advocate for peace and cooperation between birds and humans, while “hawks” (!!!) advocate for the extermination of humankind.
Dark secrets abound in Hatoful, most of them having to do with the war, and all of them inadequately explored. Most notably, your school nurse has “bird-Nazi doctor” on his resume:
Is Hatoful Boyfriend still a stupid game? Or is it a dark vision of humanity’s future? Man, we don’t know. We’re too busy hooking up with middle-aged lesbian biker finches.