Katawa Shoujo started out as an idea on image board, 4chan. It was inspired by a doujinshi work titled Schuppen Harnische, released by artist RAITA of the doujin circle, Zettai Shoujo. Schuppen Harnische contained a sketch in the “extras” section, imagining a game about disabilities, set in a Japanese high school.

 

This sparked interest in actually creating such a game, and after months of brainstorming, eventually, in April 2007, volunteer staff from all over the world came together to form Four Leaf Studios, which would actively begin development of the game for PC.

 

Over the years, Four Leaf blossomed into a volunteer group of 21 individuals from different parts of the world, who had assembled solely for the purpose of developing Katawa Shoujo, which is translated as “Disabled Girls”. After four years of development, today, the game has been released free of cost over the Internet.

 

Katawa Shoujo has you playing as Hisao Nakai. Nakai’s a regular kid until a congenital heart defect forces him to move to a school after being hospitalized. The game has five main routes, each one pertaining to a different female character. For the curious, yes, the game does have naughty scenes, but they can be turned off from the in-game options menu, if you wish to do so.

 

You can access the Katawa Shoujo development blog here. The post also contains links to a torrent from which you can download the game.

Ishaan Sahdev
Ishaan specializes in game design/sales analysis. He's the former managing editor of Siliconera and a contributing writer at GamesIndustry.biz. He also used to moonlight as a professional manga editor. These days, his day job has nothing to do with games, but the two inform each other nonetheless.

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