Something I finally got a chance to check out was the Serial Experiments Lain PS1 “game”. Calling it a “game” is a stretch, it’s more like an interactive media collection. You’re inside a computer database and you control Lain with the D-pad. You can move her up and down through “layers” of story data. Inside are audio clips from her diary, counseling sessions (more on that later) and a couple of animated clips. One thing that is confusing is that you obtain these clips randomly and there are many of them to surf through. You’re bombarded by data and it’s up to the player to decipher the story as it is. Also Lain moves as slow as a snail you can see her pace in the video below, which makes the interface downright frustrating. The twist on the story is cool and if you want to see spoilers check past the break.
The Serial Experiments Lain PS1 disc is entirely different from the anime series. You can probably tell this by the art style alone. Lain is portrayed as a depressed teenager rather than her split personality self in the anime. After her father is killed Lain has been seeing Yonera Touko, a new character who is Lain’s therapist. Through Touko’s journal and Lain’s diary we learn that Lain is isolated from the rest of her peers. Notably Alice, who was Lain’s sole friend in the anime, is nowhere to be found in the PS1 story. Being isolated Lain spends her time on the “Wired” and meets a friend called Misato. We never see Misatao, but Lain talks about her in her therapy sessions. Eventually Lain decides to try to recreate her father by making a robot version of him after studying robotics on the Wired. As Lain does this she realizes that she doesn’t need to create a physical version of her father, instead she can recreate him in the Wired. Lain becomes Touko’s only patient and Lain seems to be improving. Meanwhile Touko is going through problems of her own. Her boyfriend is actually married to someone else and we discover he works at the Tachibana Lab (the same group who made the Wired in the anime series). The emotional stress comes down hard on Touko and Lain reverses her role and acts as Touko’s mentor. Touko discovers that Misato doesn’t exist and Lain denies that is the case. Lain insists that she has a friend even though she might not be physical. The shocking point is when Lain nervously holds a gun in her mouth and shoots herself on a bridge (symbolic blinking light!). Her physical body dies there, but Lain continues to exist in the Wired where she contacts Touko. Touko now understands that there is a world beyond this existence and she dies to join Lain.