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A Game of Nurturing

This time, the randomness of the “Two Dimensional Gate” had completely let Zhao Youyue down. It would have been much better, if she had been randomly inserted into a Doujin novel of “One Piece.” One Piece was the love of the nation, and even fan-made, non-canonical versions of the characters would be far more popular than their counterparts in the Doujin of a niche game

Inside the gate, Zhao Youyue could only skim over the premise of the work. The name of the social game was not even mentioned, and the plot was ridiculously complicated and only served to confuse her. She could feel her brain short-circuiting. It contained many unknown terms. Apparently, only those who played the game itself would understand the jargon.

Faced with a title that was thoroughly self-absorbed in its premise, Zhao Youyue felt powerless. Should she even waste her time working on such a lost cause?

She would give it a try. She first withdrew from this other world as usual, and read the Doujin novel of “White Clover.” Along with that, she would also get her hands on this social game and see what it’s all about.

On the next day, she used her phone to look up “White Clover[1],” on the search engine – Baidu Baike. Three results stood out among others. Topping the list was a plant named white clover, the second was the name of a song, and third was the name of a female character.

She was a female character of a niche social game called “Dreamside Maroon.”

Zhao Youyue continued chasing the trail. As expected, it was not a creation of a well-known game company, but a creation of a small workshop that belonged to a Doujin Association. It was said that only one person was responsible for the original illustration, music composition and storyline. This person was called “Lady ZUN [2]”

Therefore, one could imagine how unrefined this game could be. Strangely, the Doujin circle found it remarkably attractive.

This caused Zhao Youyue to reminisce about a certain game from another world, “Touhou Project.” It started off as a very ugly bullet hell shooter, but soon became a staple piece among Doujin works!

Nevertheless, it gradually lost fame after the release of newer video games such as Kantai Collection. Along the way, it had produced an endless list of cute girls some of them immortalized in the eyes of fans, such as the rowdy shrine maiden – Reimu Hakurei, who would do anything for money.

Reimu Hakurei possibly the most accurate 2d incarnation of Su Li.

“Dreamside Maroon” was a Nurturing type Social Game with a rather intriguing background setting.

At a glance, the game’s world didn’t seem very different, compared to the real world.

Once inside, gamers could select a girl and build a setting around them, giving them a daily life that you would monitor closely. This would be a close mimicry of human life.

They could gain special abilities, but only by creating interesting stories for them to play roles in. Those abilities would only be validated if their stories are likable, and the characters themselves gain popularity.

Heavy spending wouldn’t give anybody an edge in this game. Everyone would have to whole-heartedly nurture their girls in order to give them good stories and therefore proper upbringings. Of course, a wealthy person could still keep money relevant by hiring someone to create the story on behalf, but, one could never count on guaranteed results.

So, it is important to get a character whose backstory suited the gamer most. A cute, interesting character would become popular with ease, especially if complemented by an interesting story. A solidly built character with sufficient levels and abilities would be able to fulfill the end-goal of the game, defeating the “Dream Eater Monster.”

The so-called “Dream Eater Monster” would be the main antagonist of the game. It would appear only in the dreams of the characters, but not in reality. If the character has low popularity, as well as no distinctive features, its dreams would get consumed by the “Dream Eater Monster,” and it would lose a state only triggered when selected by the gamer as the ‘daily life girl,’ known as the Two-Dimension setting, and return to its untriggered, original form.

The game had many obstacles, and the popularity of the character was key to overcoming them. The obstacles would increase in difficulty each time. Unless the gamer nurtures the character properly and turn them into a one-of-a-kind, it would die in the end, for sure.

“Shirotsumekusa” was one of the characters of the game with customizable settings. She had silver-colored straight hair, which one could relate to her name. As for the clothing, hairstyle and so on, it depended entirely on the preferences of the gamer.

It was somehow similar to the “Miracle Nikki[3]” game. Gamers could give different outfits to their characters. They could even draw up their own designs, if they are unsatisfied with the pre-set ones

This game would experience frequent updates, as many Doujin authors played it, while at the same time providing their comments, hoping that the game would become much more interesting. It mattered little to them, even though the game had a small but loyal fanbase.

A Godly Illustrator, who could not stand the awful artwork of the original game, reimagined some female characters, hoping that “Lady Zun” would accept them as official art. Unfortunately, “Lady Zun” took no notice of that.

That super talented lady did the programming, artwork, and music of the game all by herself. Such rough, unrefined settings only served to further rile up the passions of the gamers. So, the Godly Illustrator could only post his illustrations on the website.There, they did catch the attention of many Doujin creators, and they complimented it greatly.

“Dreamside Maroon” was far from a user-friendly game, especially for ordinary gamers, as they had to deal with the Two Dimensional setting, as well as create stories for the character. No other game demanded this much brainpower from the gamers. Couldn’t one use the money to cheat one’s way up?

Such a troublesome game was definitely incomparable to the King of Glory, which was easy to navigate inning, while providing rich folks the thrill of buying their way to the top.

For the Doujin creators who were well-versed with Two Dimensional creation, this game struck the nail right on the head. The lady Zun was indeed a boss of the Doujin world. She had announced that the copyright of “Dreamside Maroon” would always be open for them. So, they would not need to worry about it!

Doujin creators, who were worried about being charged for copyright infringement, were delighted to hear about this, as they now have a platform where they could express their talents freely.

Zhao Youyue downloaded “Dreamside Maroon” on her phone, as she wanted to experience it herself. Of course, she chose “Shirotsumekusa,” who had silvery long hair and a happy smile that never seemed to fade away.

She wanted to know how lame this nurturing type of social game could be. Games don’t become niche without a reason.

Translation note

[1] Once again, can be read as White Clover or Shirotsumekusa.

[2] Lady ZUN () is referring to the creator of East Project, . His pen name is ZUN. He founded the “Team Shanghai Alice” and he is the only member of the band. So, he is the only one too responsible for the programming, character setting, artwork, and music. Here, Lady ZUN is used because the author had genderbent him as a female.

[3] Miracle Nikki is a video game developed by Tencent.