Sarara's Little Shop

Anyone heard of this game? It‘s a PS1 game that’s like a traditional fantasy RPG but you run a shop in town. It‘s unusual in that it was one of the few games released in the English Playstation Store completely untranslated from Japanese - apparently this was done with a few titles experimentally and, unsurprisingly for a text-heavy game, didn’t work, as the reviews were mostly people upset the game wasn‘t translated. The original title is だんじょん商店会, which is kind of like "Dungeon Merchant’s Guild".

I started playing it a while ago and got distracted and didn't finish it, but it's really cute. There are a lot of interesting details to the gameplay - you don't have a constant party, instead each time you go into the dungeon you pick a team of adventurers from the local pub to go with. Each team levels separately and plays completely differently.

In the dungeon, besides fighting, you can talk to monsters and barter with them. Each type of monster gossips about you to their friends, so you can form a good relationship with a certain monster type where they'll stop battle immediately if they come up in a random encounter, or you can form a bad relationship where they won't bother to talk with you.

The story is split very loosely into episodes; the order and which ones happen is partly randomized I think.

Here's the super cute OP:

I can't find the Playstation Store link due to their weird history-destroying redesign, but the old home page for the game is still up.

The creators - a writer husband and illustrator wife - haven't made any other video games since then, but they do a lot of analog game work, and refer back to the game pretty frequently. They just released a gamebook based on the game today.

The developer also has a weird history - they were mainly a web dev company, and only developed three games. Besides this game, one is the famously grungy and weird GARAGE, and the other is the strange Alice on Borderlines, which is hard to explain but kind of like D.

Garage. It's hard to get a hold of and is currently listed at roughly 2500USD on Surugaya.

Alice on Borderlines, which is <$10.

For those curious about Garage

This game sounds amazing and I wish I could play it (Garage, I mean). Other than seeing a few images and reading a two sentence description of the plot, I know nothing about it. Vibe-wise though it reminds me of Haruki Murakami‘s Hard Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Which is coincidentally Murakami’s best book by a country mile.

I haven‘t played any of these, but I’d sure like to now. I really wish the idea of releasing japanese games untranslated had paid off a bit more. As I‘ve mentioned before (I think?) I was involved with many of the early monkey paw releases that did this, but it never really worked out and I never got paid (lol). seems the market of weirdos is a lot smaller than I had imagined. there’s just like 500 of us bidding on the same copy of Bulk Slash.

@exodus#12568 Wow, I had no idea you were involved with that. Releasing untranslated games seems like it should have been really low-cost and effective for some types of games, though text-heavy RPGs aren't one of them.

I found posts introducing the games, it's quite a selection.

The only ones in there I'd heard of besides Sarara's Little Shop are Lup Salad (I recently became a fan of the artist) and First Queen. The First Queen dev, a small indie (maybe single guy?) is still making games, and just released a version of First Queen on Steam last year.

I wish I had known about this gungho stuff, I would've helped them out! I only worked on the monkey paw ones, so it was stuff like rapid angel, cho aniki, chaos seed, etc.

@exodus#12893 Oh, I thought you were using the term “monkey's paw” metaphorically :sweat_smile:

I guess that's this company?

yes, correct!! you can see a lot of the PS1 games they published here:

about 1/3 of which were recommended by meeeeeeeeee, and pretty much the ones you'd think.