MangaGamer has now opened its all-ages site, along with their first release of that kind, Higurashi When They Cry. The original 18 and over site can be accessed through a link on the right sidebar, and there is now an empty comics section on both sites.
The release of Higurashi When They Cry comprises of the first four arcs, collectively known as the question arcs, of 07th Expansion’s When They Cry(ひぐらしのなく頃に) doujin game series, which has been wildly popular in Japan and spawned animated and comic adaptations, as well as various drama CDs and a port to the PlayStation2 with voice acting, redrawn art and a conversion to a more generic adventure game format. The game is a suspense mystery and explores trust and paranoia between the characters in the story. 07th Expansion’s games are made in the style of sound novels, where the main focus is on the text, music and sound effects. There are no choices in the doujin game, but the amount of text in the question arcs is comparable to other visual novels, including KIRAKIRA and Edelweiss, both released from MangaGamer.
The release weighs in at roughly 250MiB (slightly over half the size of the Japanese release) and has been ported from the NScripter engine used in the Japanese version to Buriko General Interpreter/Ethornell with activation based copy protection, as used in previous MangaGamer games. As has been stated by the company before, some of the game’s sound effects and music have been replaced. In fact, in the first few minutes of gameplay, none of the original sound effects or music were retained; they were replaced with similar, but not identical ones. The menu system in-game is a bit more elaborate than the original Japanese doujin game. The translation has the occasional slip here and there, like “I’m dominating this magnificent view and fresh morning air,” but is of decent quality otherwise.
In addition to launching an all-ages site, MangaGamer has also added a currently-empty “Comics” section alongside their “Games” section. Due to the fact that “Catalog:” prepends “Games” and “Comics” and that you can search for games as well as comics, it looks like MangaGamer might be releasing translations of manga in the future.
With the opening of the all-ages section of the website, the main URL, http://www.mangagamer.com/, now redirects to the all-ages section, and the 18 and over section is accessible in the right sidebar. Registered accounts, however, are shared between the two sides. The only difference is that if one accesses their account page from the all-ages site, they can only click on game description links to the all-ages games and similarly for the 18 and over section. However, customers can download any game they purchased from either user account page, regardless of whether it was 18+ or all-ages. The adult section has a different color scheme as well as a logo with “for ADULT” tacked onto it. Lastly, perhaps in light of the controversy surround Soul Link, tags on the adult site no longer say “Uncensored” and “Censored” but say “with Mosaics” and “without Mosaics” instead.