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Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate

Steins;Gate is a Japanese visual novel developed by 5pb. and Nitroplus and released for the Xbox 360 on October 15, 2009. It is the second game in 5pb. and Nitroplus' "science adventure game" series following Chaos;Head and was succeeded by Robotics;Notes. The game was ported to Windows on August 26, 2010, PlayStation Portable on June 23, 2011, iOS on August 25, 2011, PlayStation 3 on May 24, 2012, PlayStation Vita on March 14, 2013, and Android on June 27, 2013. The game is described by the development team as a "hypothetical science ADV" . The gameplay in Steins;Gate follows a non-linear plot line which offers pre-determined scenarios with courses of interaction. A fan translation was produced in 2011, and is planned to be used by JAST USA for the upcoming official PC version in North America. It will be released as both a digital download and as a physical game DVD with a physical collector's edition. It is intended for release on March 31, 2014 and is to be officially rated by the ESRB. The game will be rated M for Mature, citing blood, language, partial nudity, sexual themes, and violence as its descriptors.

A manga adaptation of the story illustrated by Sarachi Yomi began serialization in Media Factory's Monthly Comic Alive magazine on September 26, 2009. A second manga series illustrated by Kenji Mizuta began serialization in Mag Garden's Monthly Comic Blade on December 28, 2009. An anime adaptation by White Fox aired in Japan between April 6, 2011 and September 14, 2011 and has been licensed in North America by Funimation Entertainment. An animated film premiered in Japanese theaters on April 20, 2013. A fan disc of the game titled Steins;Gate: Hiyoku Renri no Darling was released on June 16, 2011. An 8-bit sequel to the game titled Steins;Gate: Hen'i Kuukan no Octet was released on October 28, 2011. Another game, Steins;Gate Kōsoku no Phenogram was released on April 25, 2013.

Steins;Gate Plot

The following summary is based upon the True End route.

Steins;Gate takes place in the Akihabara district of Tokyo. On July 28, 2010, Rintarō Okabe and his friend Mayuri Shiina head towards the Radio Kaikan building for a conference, where Rintarō finds a girl named Kurisu Makise lying in a pool of blood. As Rintarō sends a text message about the incident to his friend, Itaru "Daru" Hashida, he experiences a strange phenomenon and the people around him disappear, with no-one else noticing anything had changed. After later running into Kurisu, who is strangely alive and well, and discovering the message he had sent to Itaru had arrived a week before he sent it, Rintarō soon deduces that the 'Mobile Microwave' he and his friends had been developing is, in fact, a time machine capable of sending text messages to the past. He and his friends soon learn that SERN, an organization that has been researching time travel for some time, has actually succeeded in sending humans into the past although they seem to have all resulted in the test subjects' deaths. Rintarō begins experimenting with "D-Mails" (Dメール D mēru?, short for DeLorean mail), which begin to cause major differences in the timeline. Kurisu also manages to create a device to send a person's memories through the microwave, allowing that person to effectively leap into the past.

However, SERN learn of the time machine and sends a group to retrieve it, killing Mayuri in the process. Using Kurisu's time leap machine, Rintarō travels back in time numerous times to try to save Mayuri, but to no avail. As Rintarō reaches wit's end, he is approached by Suzuha Amane, a girl from a future ruled by SERN due to their possession of a time machine, who tells him that he needs to return to a Beta world line in which Mayuri won't die. By undoing the effects of the D-Mails that caused shifts in the time line, Rintarō regains possession of an IBN 5100 PC that they lost earlier, allowing them to crack into SERN's systems and delete the evidence of Rintarō's original D-Mail. However, Rintarō realizes that by doing so, he would have to return to a world line in which Kurisu is dead. After realizing their feelings for each other, Kurisu tells Rintarō to save Mayuri. Reluctantly, Rintarō agrees and deletes the evidence of his D-Mail from SERN's database, returning him to the Beta world line.

Some time later, Suzuha appears before Rintarō, having arrived in a time machine from the future. She tells Rintarō that the only way to prevent World War III in the future is to prevent Kurisu's death at the hands of her father, Dr. Nakabachi, who stole her time travel theory to present to SERN. However, this operation ends in a disaster as Rintarō ends up killing Kurisu himself by mistake. After this failure, Rintarō receives a message from his future self, telling him that the way to save Kurisu without altering the events that led to him developing a time machine is to fool his past self into believing Kurisu had been killed and thus achieving the final divergence value of 1.048596%, which he dubs the 'Steins Gate'. Returning to the past again, Rintarō puts his own life in danger in order to save Kurisu's life, prevent Nakabachi from successfully escaping with the time travel theory, and fool his past self, setting him on his journey through time. Returning to the Steins Gate world line, safe from the threat of SERN, Rintarō and Kurisu manage to reunite by chance (or by fate) in the streets of Akihabara.

Steins;Gate Gameplay

Steins;Gate's gameplay requires little interaction from the player as most of the duration of the game is spent on reading the text that appears on the screen which represents either the dialogue between the various characters or the thoughts of the protagonist. Like many other visual novels, there are specific points in Steins;Gate where the user is given a choice to affect the direction of the game.

For these decision points, Steins;Gate presents the user with the "phone trigger" (フォーントリガー fōn torigā?) system which is similar to the "delusional trigger" system that was introduced in Chaos;Head. When the player receives a phone call from somebody, the player can choose to answer or ignore the call. Incoming text messages will have specific words underlined and highlighted in blue, much like a hyperlink on a browser, where the player can select on to reply to the text message. Most phone calls or text messages do not have to be responded to though there are certain points in the game where the player is required to take action. Depending on the player's choices on how to respond to these phone calls and text messages, the plot will progress in a specific direction.

Reception
Steins;Gate placed 13th in sales during its first week of release with 16,434 copies sold, 28th on its second week with 4,253 copies, and 26th on its third week with 6,095 copies, totaling 26,782 copies by October 29, 2009. Steins;Gate placed fourth in overall Xbox 360 game sales on Amazon Japan on the year starting on December 1, 2008 and ending November 30, 2009. The PSP version of Steins Gate debuted at 2nd place on the Japanese game charts, selling 63,558 units in its first week. As of June 2011, 300,000 copies of the game have been shipped across the PC, Xbox 360 and PSP platforms.

Senji Ishii of Famitsu Xbox 360 praised the scenario for its detail and noted that events that were overlooked as insignificant later returned to affect events of the future. Due to the way the plot ties the many different events of the game together, Ishii believes it must have been a lot of work to write the scenarios. As for 2009, Famitsu awarded Steins;Gate an annual game of excellence award. 4Gamer.net commented that Steins;Gate is comparable to 428: Fūsa Sareta Shibuya de and felt that it is a gem that has not been seen in recent years. ITmedia Gamez noted that players should be attentive to all the details in the story as the twists will surprise the player in many different ways. It was also suggested to the player that the characters' voices be left turned on as the voice acting is very good. The review did caution that players who have played through the demo and who did not enjoy the atmosphere of the game were not likely to find the rest of the game interesting. In 2011, Steins;Gate was voted #6 in Famitsu's poll of most tear-inducing games of all time.

The anime adaptation has also been critically acclaimed. Anime News Network gave the anime series an overall A- rating, including a top A rating for the story. The reviewer Carlos Santos described it as a "thriller masterpiece" and "one of the most addictive sci-fi thrillers in recent anime history." He concluded that it has a "well-researched time travel concept" and "memorable characters," and that its "constantly surprising storyline" makes it "a supreme edge-of-your-seat thriller." Steins;Gate has also been praised by Square Enix producer Tomoya Asano, who described it as having "appealing and likable characters and a scenario that surprised players"; this led to Steins;Gate writer Naotaka Hayashi writing the plot and characters for the role-playing video game Bravely Default: Flying Fairy.


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