Hatoful Boyfriend is a Japanese game in which you are a human called Hiyoko who goes to pigeon school. The goal is to seduce and date all the interesting pigeons at said school.
It was originally released for Windows in 2011 on April Fool's Day and has developed a cult following since.
The thing is though, not only is it a truly bizarre premise, it's also emotionally harrowing.
It's actually a parody of Japanese otome games where the goal is to have a romantic encounter with someone.
Except instead of people, the characters are birds, and instead of romantic encounters, there is pain and bird facts.
It's now been released for iOS, which means you can seduce pigeons on the go.
I decided to give this game a go and I can honestly say that I was not prepared.
The game starts off with you being introduced to all the sexy pigeon characters. After that, you are put in situations in which you get the opportunity to find out more about each character and eventually get them to fall in love with you.
The first time I played it, I flirted with all of them and almost immediately died.
Like, it was terrifying.
In fact, the whole game has some pretty terrifying post-apocalyptic vibes to it.
The second time round, somewhat shaken and having learnt my lesson, I decided to focus on just one pigeon. One thing led to another and before I knew it I was hitting on my pigeon maths teacher who has a tendency to fall asleep at random times.
I also had another brief murderous encounter for some reason, this time with the school doctor, who shut me in a dark room and refused to let me out.
Thankfully, my bird lover saved me.
Brushing the attempted murder aside, I end up finding an excuse to run after him and confess my love.
Only to have him reject me, because he was too hurt from another love affair and also I'm a student.
But then, he told me he will wait for me, if in many years later, as an adult, I still loved him.
Undeterred, I started a final game, determined to find true love with the pigeon of my dreams.
Everything was going swimmingly; it was even revealed that my character saved his life.
But he has a tragic backstory: He has severe health problems, as does his mother. He also has to work in a cross-dressing café to support himself and his mum.
What happened next was not what I have ever expected of a pigeon dating game.
His mother died. I never expected to be left vaguely emotionally traumatised by the death of a fictional pigeon on an iPhone app, but life is strange in that way.
And though he loved me, being with me would be cruel, because he would only leave me alone in the world like his mother left him, and he couldn't infilict that pain on someone he loved.
But I persisted, and eventually convinced my pigeon lover that pain is part of life, and whatever happened the love we have for each other would make it all worthwhile.
The story ends with us tearfully deciding to spend whatever time we have left on this planet happily together.
I was left feeling oddly emotionally vulnerable for the rest of the day.
If you too would also like to get more emotionally involved in a pigeon dating game than you ever thought possible, you can get it in the iTunes Store for £3.99.
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