Heading back to the Christine Love visual novel well a second time, I recently made my way through the tangled romances of high school in don’t take it personally babe, it just ain’t your story. Yes, that’s exactly what it’s called. Capitalization and all. My spelling is prefect, don’t question me. dtipb,ijays is a spiritual successor to Christine Love’s earlier work, Digital: a Love Story, which we reviewed here. Like Digital, it can be downloaded for free here. As a spiritual successor, it hits a lot of the same themes as Digital. It’s about love, and the way the internet is used, and inter-character relationships drive most of the plot. However, the way diptb,jiysa delivers on those themes is radically different than its predecessor, and in my opinion, a lot stronger.
In this game, you play the role of John Rook, a twice-divorced 38 year old man who lands a teaching role at Lake City Academy, a private American High School that apparently has only seven students enrolled. Well, saying you “play the role” of Mr. Rook is stretching it a bit. pdibt,ayisj‘s storyline is a bit more flexible than Digital’s completely linear plot was, offering you the chance to push a variety of characters down a few different paths and having three different endings, but you’ve actually got very little input over Rook’s actions. Whereas the main character of Digital did nothing without you pressing a button for it, John Rook is his own man. Your only affect on the game is occasionally choosing which of two or three conversation options to take. It’s not a bad thing. If you go into a visual novel expecting to be able to bend the plot to your whim, you’re going to be more disappointed than I was when I was 5 and I learned my “Mickey Mouse’s Underwear” joke wasn’t funny.
Anyways: you=John Rook, teaching english literature at Lake City Academy. You have seven students in your one class. Maybe there’s more, but they’re never relevant to the plot so the game doesn’t bother to mention them. However, as the title mentions, this just ain’t your story. The story’s really about your students and the various juvenile romantic entanglements and personal problems high school always involves. Rook’s role is to take the bishop pawn and help the black queen put the white queen into checkmate within three moves. Oh wait. What were we talking about again? Right. btipd,jsayi takes place in a world were high school students actually talk to their teachers. Voluntarily even! So your role is to help your students work out their personal issues with love and… well, mostly love. Or, you could use your power to make sure everyone dies friendless and alone. If you’re a dick.
But you don’t go into your matchmaking services without help. Oh no! The school, in order to curb bullying, has given teachers full access to its students social media profiles and private messages! So you get every opportunity to spy on your students and learn that Jake is so dreamy but Rebecca’s already got dibs on him so I think I might try to move on his best fried Zack but oh he does that weird thing with his knuckles that’s soooooooooooo gross I don’t think I can go through with it. Obviously, there’d be some pretty big issues if the students found out that their worthless gossip spread outside their circle, so you have to keep your ability to read every private issue a complete secret.