Stay! Stay! Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! might sound like another example of Japanese weirdness, but it’s actually foreign-developed.
Dating simulators have taken a unique path to get where they are today. Originally conceived as (ostensibly) realistic recreations of romance in the flesh-and-blood world, somewhere along the line the genre fully embraced a spirit of self-aware weirdness, which is how we ended up with games in which you can romance an alpaca or traditional wood-carved Japanese doll.
Romance games that kept their narratives grounded in reality never really caught on outside Japan, but the new generation of weird digital couplings have earned the category an overseas following of not only fans, but developers too, which brings us to Stay! Stay! Democratic People’s Republic of Korea!
Set in the year 2021, the game casts you in the role of a U.S. Army soldier finishing a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Before heading back to the States, you decide to visit your pen pals Jeong and Eunji in their home country of North Korea.
▼ Preview video for Stay! Stay! Democratic People’s Republic of Korea!
The idea of an active U.S. military member visiting North Korea as a tourist makes it sound like relations between the two nations’ governments are much friendlier in the game than they are in real life, that’s apparently not the case, as the developers describe the gameplay with:
“Try and navigate your way through one of the world’s most tightly controlled dictatorships, with two cute soldiers by your side. Avoid getting shot, executed, black-bagged, or tried for treason as you explore Pyongyang’s most famous tourist attractions.”
▼ Whatever “it” is, odds are you’re not getting it back anytime soon.
▼ “CV” is usually used in anime jargon to denote the “character voice” performer’s credit, but here the text translates to “We have nothing” and “You usually give us money.”
While the anime-influenced art style, Japanese-language theme song, promise of a scene that takes place at “probably a hot spring or something,” and irreverent take on international politics might all seem like telltale signs of a Japanese-developed game, Stay! Stay! Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! is actually produced by American software development group DEVGRU-P, which previously released Panzermadels, a game in which you romance anthropomorphized tanks. While DEVGU-P first showed off its Stay! Stay! Democratic People’s Republic of Korea! concept video almost a year ago, the complete game has just been released through Steam in Windows and Mac versions, priced at approximately US$10, depending on where in the world you’re shopping from.
Oh, and DEVGRU-P would like potential customers to know that the game “Supports one-handed gameplay *wink wink*. We know what you’re here for,” so you might want to use some of the money left over after paying the game’s low price to invest in a lock for your bedroom door.