Breaking the Narrative 118: Little Girls Are Not Innocent Princesses! Breaking a Review of Rule of Rose!


In the spirit of being unpredictable I want to pull out a rare game as a way to show why the censorship of media is inherently troublesome. This is an example of a game that has been banned in multiple countries across the world, and was targeted with a ban attempt here in the states, though to no serious avail. (See me having been able to buy this game for my wife and I to play, though seeing as it is an Atlus-published game its American release in 2006 it is obviously a rarity.) Also, it is completely non-existent in the United Kingdom, the country in which it is based, as that is one of the countries where the ban actually stuck. This game is a game that I very loosely covered in the past, Rule of Rose!

The purpose of this ban, as claimed by officials behind it, was due to the ability to, and I quote, “rape, beat up and kill a little girl.” This of course was an abject falsehood, so nothing new to us. The real reason for the ban by moral guardians is more the depiction within the game of two underage girls kissing, something that would be lauded in expansion of The Last of Us known as Left Behind. The only differences between the two events was the interracial aspect, which should be irrelevant, and the setting of a healthy flower garden pre-World War II versus a post-apocalyptic environment. I reveal this to show the hypocrisy of the gaming press as they claimed the scene from Left Behind was a “revolutionary moment.” As to why they chose to ignore this game? Well why don’t we get to that? Let’s Hammer This In!

As I said, this game is set in 1930’s Britain: Cardington, Bedfordshire to be specific. You take on the role of 19-year-old Jennifer, a young woman who lost her parents in an airship accident. Due to this being set in the earlier half of the 1930s, this is not the Hindenburg crash of 1937 that’s most commonly known about. We are starting off on a bus ride in the middle of the countryside at night. A young boy comes forward handing Jennifer a storybook, and as she chases off after the lad, she comes upon a mysterious orphanage. This is the Rose Garden Orphanage, and is the primary setting of the game. The building is shown to us to be in disrepair and without adults though a group of children is seemingly found on the premises.

Dubbing themselves the “Red Crayon Aristocrats” The primary NPCs and overt antagonists in the story they are the ones who assign the quests in the story which you have to run through, sporting some rough tank controls which make combat difficult, especially when considering the spotty hit boxes and other combat quirks. This is actually somewhat appropriate considering the survival and psychological horror intent of this game. Now I’ve declared the “Aristocracy” here as the antagonizing force. This is due to the consistent bullying themes of the narrative, which also makes people uncomfortable, as it’s showing young girls being violent to a seeming adult woman. The truth hurts.

It’s no surprise that most gynocentrists would see this narrative as ‘disgusting,’ as it’s showing that among the primarily female group of 10 (Jennifer excluded, even though they ‘inducted’ her into their group as a ‘beggar’) only 3 of the ‘poor’ were male. Perhaps the fact that in many youth hierarchies, women tend to be on top, hit too close to home for many. Ask yourselves when you were back in grade school, how often was the most popular student and most revered student female? Kinda kills that ‘patriarchy’ theory doesn’t it?

To not spoil too much of the story, the game is filled with various fetch quests for the different girls and battles with seeming wraiths that typically represent the late adults of the orphanage. To aid in the quests Jennifer frees a bound Golden Retriever named Brown, the only positive male influence within the entire game. The male children are often submissive and show to go along with the desires of their “princess,” even if they don’t want to bully. The youngest is even shown to be potentially autistic. This shows that in this world that just like many other societies that men are seen as servants to women.

Part of the story is Jennifer trying to piece together her own memories as she is a partial amnesiac. Many of the quests lead to piecing together all these memories and working past her own traumas as well. Jennifer at first comes off as a meek and unimpressive individual but by the end of the game, as she comes to terms with who she is and works through the tribulations, she becomes a strong and complete person in her own right. Some would suggest she has become coded male by the end of it but I would suggest she is more coded a healthy adult by the end.

Why this is actually comes from the development team Punchline, which was later merged into development house Marvelous. The team wanted this game to be more than mindless entertainment, and give lessons and ideas for the gamer playing it to take into everyday life. The story is designed to give different feelings about its narrative depending on the personality held by the player. It goes about this by having most of the non-combat situations being rather realistic tasks. Even though this is a mature-rated game meant for adults, it could teach well enough how to deal with bullies and bullying overall.

The way is ultimately to stand up to bullies. This is a really good game overall for its story, writing, and message, though it falls a little short when it comes to controls. If you find it at a price of a more reasonable game (under $80) then I suggest to get it. But at its typical price ($200+) I would only suggest the purchase if you are one for huge game collections or want it for its rare and unique qualities. This is an extremely rare Playstation 2 game after all, and has limited replay value with 2 primary endings. However, there are a few unlockables that give a little more replay value. Otherwise watch a let’s play of it on YouTube.

Regardless, you should at least try to experience the story if for no other reason than studying an honest depiction of young girls when not limited by responsible parents. I would also suggest this to anyone whose daughter is on their way to puberty, as you would have to deal with several of these aspects in relation to a tween to teenage girl. Many gynocentric types and especially feminists don’t like admitting that these are aspects of women overall that tend to need balancing out. Traits like humility often need to be taught more than anything. This, along with self-confidence and reliance are what this game offers, if you are looking for it. This is why feminists want control of video games, so they can impart their ideology on to others.

I don’t mind games teaching as an option because there are some things that are best taught by experiencing them. Unfortunately for feminists, and perhaps fortunately for us, there is a lot more content out there in video games that counter and inoculate against their propaganda. It is of my opinion that Rule of Rose is one of those games. It also shows why content shouldn’t be censored, because there is always something to learn from it even if it may seem to be just mindless entertainment. Perhaps in the future I will continue to cover games that show ways of countering gynocentrism. Until then Please Remember to Game Freely!

Alex Tinsley
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About the author

Alex Tinsley

A student of Fine Arts and Japanese culture of six years at Murray State University. Having never graduated due to difficulties with a specific teacher has gained a unique perspective upon the issues being faced by men and boys. A father of a young boy and loving husband.

By Alex Tinsley

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