The very first Visual Novel that i have ever played, and perhaps even the game that turned me into the filthy degenerate that i am today.
This game is burned into my memory, for all the wrong reasons. But i won't get ahead of myself, so let me take you back to a story of my childhood, to see where all of this started.
It was the summer of 2009. I was 13 years old, enjoying the school break just like every other kid. Most of my days were spend playing on my Xbox 360 or PS2. But i would always look forward to the evening. Why, you might ask? Well, i had the bad habit of secretely sneaking into my dad's computer room after dinner. After all, on his work computer, i had access to the internet, so i could download and play anything that i ever wanted! I sat down on his comfy chair, turned on the PC and googled just about anything that would come up in my mind. That was always the highlight of my day. So during one of these special evenings, i came across a website that had links for anime games. I had no idea what i was getting myself into, but i couldn't wait to play, so i downloaded the first one that i came across. That game was Shuffle.
It all started out fairly innocent. The story revolves around our protaganist Tsuchimi Rin, your average high-schooler that is surrounded by a cast of colourful girls that are all secretely in love with him. It's a typical dating sim premise, however, there is a twist: He somehow gets himself thrown into a situation where he is forced to marry either the princess of the God realm or the Demon realm. Of course, it's up to you who you want to end up with, and most of the girls in the story have their own routes and endings. I had a lot of fun during the first couple of hours. The game is fully voiced, has some beautiful artwork and very catchy music that gets stuck in your head.
After a certain point, i ended up with Kaede, Rin's childhood friend. It was wholesome and funny, and i had a great time! However, nothing could prepare me for what was about to happen. Rin accidentely walked into Kaede while she was showering, and she slipped and fell right between his legs! Oopsie! What i saw right after that is still burned into my memory, even to this day.
Her face was right in front of his crotch, and she pulled down his pants to reveal his massive, erected penis. What did silly Kaede do next? She put that nasty thing in her mouth! She started sucking him off relentlessly, and i could hear every slurp and moan sound coming from my dad's computer speakers. I was absolutely disgusted, terrified and intrigued and i could not take my eyes away from the screen. Sweat started dripping from my face, i was excited and i kept going because i had to see what would happen next. That was my first introduction to sex as a thirtreen year old. It has only gone downhill ever since.
The next day, i would tell all my friends from school about this dating game that has a cute anime girl that sucks penises.
They would all come to my house and of course, i made sure to create a seperate save file right before the scene so that everyone could witness it in it's full glory. Needless to say, i was hooked on the VN, and played it for the next week so that i could see the sex scenes of every girl. The story was surprisingly good too, and there were many moments that i can still look back at fondly. It gave me a taste of what these visual novels are like, and i still play them now.
However, not every story has a happy ending. What i forgot to mention is that while this work computer was indeed owned by my father, it was also our shared family computer. My mother would occasionely check everything that was installed on the PC, because she knew that i would download things from the internet. Even though Shuffle was hidden in my secret folder, she found out about it eventually. She started up the game, went to the load section of the main menu and she saw countless of save files with thumbnails of underaged highschool girls getting fucked in multiple holes. She was furious and IMMEDIATELY went to my room. I couldn't come up with a good excuse in time, so i pretended that i had no idea what it was. Somehow, she believed me. Of course, there is only one other suspect in the house, so in the end, my father was the one that got all the blame. My mom was disgusted by him and wanted him out of her sight. My parents got divorced seven months after that.
Shuffle is a game i will never forget.

Rance is back, and this time he is traveling to the country of Nippon. What for, you might ask? For one reason, of course! To bang every beautiful Japanese girl that he can get his hands on. It's not just Samurai, Ninja and Kunoichi, because his eyes are set on the sister of Oda Nobunaga, Princess Kouhime. Before he even knows it, he finds himself with the task to conquer feudal states in order to unite all of Nippon.
Sengoku is the 7th installment in the Rance franchise. With gameplay that is clearly inspired by it's predecessor (Kichikou Rance) Sengoku may perhaps be one of the greatest titles ever produced by AliceSoft, and that's no easy feat to accomplish, when you look at all the amazing games that they've developed over the years.
As a strategy RPG, it's your job to take over the nation. When you start the game, you'll be presented with a massive world map and it becomes immediately apparant just how much freedom Sengoku gives the player. It might all seem overwhelming at first, because it's not afraid to throw a lot of different gameplay mechanics in your face at once. But you know what? To me, this is where the game truly shines. There are so many ways to approach and conquer your enemies, which means that not a single playthrough will feel the same. It's all about planning ahead, managing your troops, maintaining your land and socialising with your soldiers and comrades. The order that you want to do all of this in is completely up to you, and there are plenty of missable events or scenes which means that it is always actively encouraging replayability if you want to see everything. It's also surprisingly challenging and does not mess around.
Of course, with this title partially being a VN, it wouldn't work very well if the characters weren't interesting. Thankfully, Rance has a great and memborable cast that i've never gotten bored of even once. They all bounce off of each other very well and Rance being the dumb, horny manchild that he is, is always hillarious whenever he interacts with the others. The lighthearted comedy is great and works very well in balance with the darker aspects of the story, which takes a more serious tone near the end of the game. Neither side overstays it's welcome however, and that always make the text a joy to read.
Before playing this title, the only game in the series that i had prior knowledge with was Rance 01, a remake of the first title. While it was a fun adventure game, it was very simple and straightforward. Enjoyable, but not exactly something that left a big impression.
Sengoku feels like the complete opposite and blew my expecations out of the water. The scale, complexity and worldbuilding is unlike anything i've ever experienced in a VN before. Before i knew it, i was hooked. This was the title that turned me into a fan, showed me what Rance is capable of and i have never looked back since. This game holds a special place in my heart and i will always remember it as one of the best experiences i've ever had.
Sengoku is ambitious, addicting and most importantly: one of the best eroge you will ever play.