Electronic visual novels aren’t that big in the West, but in Japan, they’re a huge deal. Much to Sony’s presumed delight, their strong presence on PSP has been a noticeable part of the system’s great success in the Land of the Rising Sun. Now, an extremely rare visual novel is about to be re-released as developer Prototype does its part to provide disaster relief.
In the wake of the Tohoku Earthquake and tsunami that followed, several companies in the gaming industry donated some money, some created downloadable content and sent the earnings to relief funds, and some have thought of new ideas. Prototype’s version of help will be to take what was once an extremely rare PSP title, Planetarian, and re-release it, with all profit going to the Japanese Red Cross to assist with providing continued shelter and basic necessities to the hundreds of thousands left homeless by the events of March 11.
Planetarian was originally on PS2 and enjoyed a very brief, extremely limited printing for PSP back in 2006. Most retailers never even saw a single copy hit their shelves, as it was mostly reserved for those diehard enough to attend a Prototype fan outing. The reprint will have the same cover art as its PS2 forefather, but with “Charity Version” written on it, as if to say “Yeah I donated money when I knew there was something cool I could get for it.” The game will have only one printing and ship on May 12 for 3,000 yen (roughly $35 US).