The anniversary of high school despair


Lee Christopher, staff writer

On November 25, 2010, A video game developer known as Spike Chunsoft came out with a game that would rock the world of visual novels forever. The title? Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc. A simple crime mystery game, with a few decent twists, amazing reveals and the world’s first ever build-a-bear gone rogue. (or, at least I hope the first). 

In case visual novels aren’t your thing, or you just haven’t heard of this title before, this is as spoiler free as humanly possible. The game Danganronpa follows the story of a young, lucky student named Makoto Naegi as he is chosen to go to the “Ultimate” high school. Hope’s Peak High. This school is known for its Ultimate students, such as ultimate athletes and pop musicians. However, when he walks in, he figures out all too early that the name of the school was nothing but irony.

The main curriculum there? Despair. 

Makoto and his 14 other classmates meet in the gym for orientation, when the rules of this game are explained by one of the best icons in video game/anime history — the two-toned black and white bear Monokuma.

Basically, the students (who ranged from ultimate body-builder to ultimate fanfic writer, I’m not even joking) are trapped there for the rest of their lives, and the only way out is, in Monokuma’s words, “Good ol’ fashioned murder!”.

This shocked the gaming community, as it was truly the first of its kind. A locked-door murder mystery simulator with 14 other contendors in a complete free for all. However, if you truly wanted to “Graduate,” which is the only way you could leave, you would have to not only murder, but also go through your trial without being discovered.

If you were, you would be executed. If not, then you would be freed and the rest of the class would be executed. And boy, for a teen rating, Monokuma was not scared to get a little violent with these executions. Ranging from shooting 1,000 baseballs at someone to literally dropping a firetruck on someone else. 

The game was, needless to say, praised. It had an addictive story, and has accumulated a cult following by now. With multiple spin-offs, and sequels, and seasons of anime, it’s no surprise that Danganronpa is a fan favorite.

So if you haven’t touched this gem since its release, I highly urge you to. It’s fun and innovative gameplay, mixed with deep and well thought out lore, not to mention lovable characters make it a must-play from the previous decade. Available on Steam, PlayStation Store, and iOS.