[review] Don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story

Don't take it personally, babe, it just ain't your story
Don
genre drama, sci-fi
creator Christine Love
summary High school drama -in the future-

The horrifically-named Don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story was originally released for NaNoRenO 2011. It was created as a spiritual sequel to the well-received Digital: A Love Story.

Story

We follow the daily life of John Rook. Middle-aged and twice-divorced, he decides to take up a new job as high school English teacher. It’s the year 2027 and computers have entered the classroom in a big way, every student has a personal computer and they’re all constantly messaging each other during class. Possibly because of this, they keep using net-speak in real life which I find incredibly annoying. The desire to toss certain students into a pit of mangy bears was a constant accompaniment throughout the VN.

Must. Read. Messages.

Rook has been given access to his students’ messages, including ones made outside school hours in order to ‘prevent bullying’. His instructions are to tell this to no-one. Is the school doing it in secret, hidden even from the parents? Why would they take such a huge risk? When you read the ending, spying is apparently not a big deal anymore in 2027. Then why keep it a secret?!

An icon in the upper right indicates the number of unread messages. There’s a continuous torrent of new messages, often a new message for every line of dialogue. Every new message makes an annoying sound which can’t be turned off separately. It’s hard to explain just how ridiculously annoying it is to have a buzzer go off every few seconds while trying to read some text. I’ve added an augmented mode to the review to simulate the true DTIPBIJAYS experience.

Toggle augmented mode (turn on your speakers).

You are, of course, forced to read every message. At some points the VN simply refuses to proceed until you’ve read (or at least pretended to) every single message. Even if it didn’t explicitly force you, important plot points are hidden within the forest of inane pretend net-lingo blabberings from Rook’s students.

New messages stream in far too often to be able to read them as they arrive, but when you try to read them in bulk it sends you on a scenic trip, jumping criss-cross between a dozen in-progress threads. And after reading all those, there are still 12-channel (bizarro 4chan) threads to read (forced).

Unlike Digital and Analogue, most of the plot in DTIPBIJAYS is told through normal narrative. The VN is divided into 7 short chapters, with some events changing based on choices made, but no explicit or separate routes. The first major event is when a student (Arianna) tries to seduce Rook. His internal monologue makes him seem more than a little tempted — the logical consequence:

Stay classy Mr. Rook

Over the course of the story Rook gets involved in a bunch of teenage drama. Apparently the substitute English teacher is seen by the class as some kind of love magician, because pretty much every single student comes to him at some point for love advice. Also, either this class is an entirely unrepresentative sample or in the next 15 years being gay or bisexual will suddenly become the norm.

You might think Rook’s illicit relationship with a student forms the core of the story. Nope. It’s actually barely brought up and the entire thing has zero consequences. It’s not the only important plot point that’s quickly forgotten. When student goes missing after leaving a "goodbye cruel world" message — oh well, too bad. Both are referenced at the end, but more in an "oh yeah, there was that thing that happened" kind of way. And the ‘suicide’ turns out to be a practical joke. ha, ha.

The ending is a well-aimed crotch punch. It’s a ham-fisted moralistic message and makes no sense unless both Rook and the principal are completely ignorant of the changed cultural norms of the era.

Presentation

The user interface is a nightmare. It looks nice, but is hard to navigate and thin grey text often blends annoyingly into the semi-transparent background. 12 channel threads can’t be scrolled for some reason, you need to hammer a ‘next’ button. Pressing escape brings up a ‘Do you want to quit’ screen where the ‘main menu’ button tosses you straight to the title screen without warning instead of the main menu screen as you might expect.

The sound track primarily consists of 30 second ambient music loops. There’s the occasional hiccup at the loop point, and the songs themselves can get quite repetitive, especially when slugging through a 50-message backlog.

Most of the images are stock art with the exception of the interface and event graphics. It’s a NaNoRenO title, stock art is to be expected.

Event Graphics

In the next line he starts talking about his dick

Conclusion

Don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t that good.

5 thoughts on “[review] Don’t take it personally, babe, it just ain’t your story

  1. I like it how the author is so terrible at passing her message across.

    The teacher/student relationship seems to actually be portrayed as a healthy thing for both characters (she meant the exact opposite, apparently). Then the gay police bullies the “bad guy of the story” so much that you actually start to feel sympathy for the one straight girl who’s actually meant to be evil. Plus a lot of other stuff I (thankfully) forgot.

    Worst story I ever read, and I hope it’ll remain this way, because I don’t want to read anything even worse than this.

    • To be honest, I liked this game, although I didn’t appreciate the fact that, yes, they did bully Taylor way too much. As in way, way too much. Hahahaha. I mean, even the teacher was unnecessarily mean to her! I actually got so frustrated that I edited the script for that part and played it again for my own personal satisfaction. Lol. :))

      But that was the only major thing that absolutely irked me in this VN. As for everything else… meh, they were pretty fine I guess. Hahaha.

  2. I like it, but I had a feeling you would not enjoy it. Much like most people I know who played it.

    Granted, I despised the teacher/student relationship storyline but liked everything else, I usually like “forbidden romance” but that was bullshit personified when she wrote that one.

  3. Great story, just like it could happen these days, and it does. All those fights, romance problems, all. It’s cool that you step in the life of a teacher who just had his midlife crisis, and try to bring happiness in you class, by choosing how Rook will react to the students. The happening with Issabell got me a bit sad, as you punch right in my heart. And later on I felt a bit dissapointed how it all ended. I think it was a happy ending at last, but not what I expected.

    The love between teacher and student is not a bad thing, and you could just not reject her. As is homosexuality, it’s not a bad thing.

    The way you handle thing in the class is just amazing!

    One thing in particular with I didn’t like, was the lack of ‘moments’ where you could ‘change’ the plot, by choosing between a couple of options. The game also was a bit short, but I don’t mind. Because if Love made the game longer, it would be boring in my opinion.

    One word: AMAZING!

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