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Brooktown High: Senior Year

Platform(s): PSP
Genre: Action
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Backbone Entertainment

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PSP Preview - 'Brooktown High: Senior Year'

by Thomas Wilde on March 1, 2007 @ 4:09 a.m. PST

Set against the drama and excitement of players' senior year of high school, Brooktown High: Senior Year for the PSP is a groundbreaking social interaction and dating simulation that challenges players to create their own characters and find the girl or boy of their dreams.

Genre: Social Interaction/Dating
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Backbone Entertainment
Release Date: Q2 2007

For a long time, the dating sim was a uniquely Japanese phenomenon, which could be found in both G- and X-rated varieties. In recent years, Western companies have been making tentative inroads into the genre, with games like Sprung! on the DS.

Now there’s Brooktown High, a game that has “capture the female audience” written all over it. As a new male or female senior at Brooktown High School, you begin the school year with a variety of goals: academic achievement, finding a significant other, earning money, picking up a few hobbies, and more.

You begin the game by answering a brief quiz, the answers to which will determine what clique your character fits into, and thus what sorts of fashions and designs are available during character creation. You’ll appear in your character’s bedroom with some basic fashions available, just before your first day of school.

Each time you go to school, it represents a week of game time. You can talk to and hit on other students in the hallways, using dialogue choices to determine their reactions. As you make friends and flirt, you can eventually improve your relationships with the other students to the point where they might be willing to accept a date with you.

There are twenty different characters in Brooktown High that you can try and date, each of whom have their own interests and personalities. Some respond well to flattery, while others might be more willing to go out with you if you go to the right classes. Heading to class at the start of the week determines how you spend your next five days, and depending on what you do, you might do better at certain hobbies. You can also pick up a part-time job to earn money for more clothes and accessories, and take your dates out to the movies, the beach, or the mall.

There are a few things to do independently of the actual dating sim. At Konami Gamers’ Day, a big deal was made about the “tongue wrestling” minigame, which you can play on weekends in your character’s bedroom. You must slide around the screen collecting hearts while avoiding distractions, such as phones or television sets, while simultaneously spraying down greenish clouds of bad breath.

It’s more fun than it sounds.

That phrase, in fact, sums up a lot of Brooktown High, which is laboring under the weight of the predecessors in its genre. After years and years of dating simulators where simply knowing they existed at all was proof of some kind of profound psychological damage, Brooktown High is simply trying to be fun in its own right. It’s kind of a surprise that it’s coming out for the PSP, but it is, and it’ll be out this spring… just like everything else.


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