I haven't played the game yet but I had to make an account and comment on how eye-catching your game is. Not only am I sold on the time period but the diversity in the characters, but how the main character is Chinese... with freckles!? ACK! Never have I found a character I could connect with on a physical level. Not a lot of VN or games have a badass lookin' character as her. Can't wait to play it!
The Blind Griffin
A downloadable game for Windows, macOS, and Linux
The Blind Griffin is an otome game developed by Asphodel Quartet for NaNoRenO 2015. Our team is made up of artists Auro-Cyanide and Rins, writer/programmer Lorelei, and composer/musician Noyemi K. The game features three different character routes (Giovanni, Alexei, and Emilio) and has 10 different endings. The game is free with a pay-what-you-want system in place for people who'd like to leave a tip.
Trigger/content warnings for mentions and/or depictions of: death, execution, suicide, drug use/abuse, alcohol. We recommend that players be at least 13 years of age to play this game.
S T O R Y
It's the roaring 20's. Alcohol-loving Americans are chafing underneath the restrictions of Prohibition, but speakeasies have thankfully risen to fill the void with ill-begotten booze. The Blind Griffin is one such speakeasy in San Francisco, California, but it's about to go out of business...because its employees are a den of magicians who are more concerned with their magical studies and experiments than moonshine! Desperate not to lose the building that has become their haven, they hire the first streetsmart guttersnipe they find with some experience to help turn things around, but could she perhaps turn out to be the strongest magician of them all?
C H A R A C T E R S
GIOVANNI (GIO) // The speakeasy's premier violinist. He moonlights as a saxophone player but he's awful at it (nobody tells him). The laid-back older brother of the group and widely regarded to be the strongest magician of the coven, Gio takes the safety of the group as a whole very seriously. Specializes in earth magic.
MARIE // The owner of the Blind Griffin. She was disowned by her high-class family because of her gender identity, but is allowed to keep the building provided the business turns a profit. Cultured and delicate, Marie is unfortunately a busybody for whom money seems like it's water. Do NOT make comments about her height.
ALEXEI // The displaced nobleman. He and his family were part of the Russian imperial court, but had to emigrate to America after the revolution. Though he acts cold towards people he's unfamiliar with and comes off as blunt and awkward at first, he is actually kind at heart and easily flustered. Specializes in water/ice magic.
EMILIO // The working class baby of the group. Emilio is the most junior member of the coven until the heroine arrives. His family runs a small bistro, but they barely make ends meet. His bad experiences with non-mages have put a chip on his shoulder and added fuel to his already hot-tempered, megalomaniacal tendencies. Specializes in fire magic.
??? // The heroine. The youngest child of a large Chinese family, she had to make herself useful from a young age and thus never received any formal education. She is practical, street-smart, and no nonsense. For some reason, she hates her actual name so she goes by a nickname (that the player sets). The extent of her powers is unknown.
VIVIENNE (VIVI) // The songstress. A city slicker originally from New York, she saw Bessie Smith performing live once and was so totally star-struck that she decided right then and there that she would put her all into becoming a singer. Vivi is bubbly and sweet-natured, but also quite headstrong. Specializes in air magic.
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My central complaint is gluttonous in nature: the writing, setting, central premise, and cast of characters are all so wonderful... well, it's a shame that there isn't more of it. I was spellbound by the narrative and really grew to love all of the characters, but wish I could have spent more time with each of them. Selfish, I know. But hey... this is all so rich and original, it could easily sustain a bigger game.
I would happily donate to any Kickster for a longer, more comprehensive Director's Cut of this game.
Things I loved:
I was dazzled by the beautiful artwork, sleek mechanics, and well-written characters and conversations. Authenticity to the racial tensions and culture of 1920s. Inclusion of POC, a trans matriarch, and a lovable, diverse cast of characters. Wonderful game mechanics, though there was lag in the skip option, including the definitions of 1920s slang and intro tutorial. It was so enjoyable to click through the scenes and look at the design.
The MC is Chinese American (like me! woohoo) and kickass. She's strong-willed and offers insightful analysis of gender norms and racial stereotypes, and owns up to the many mistakes that she makes. I enjoyed the inclusion of each character's native language and how natural it felt. The initial interactions between MC and the coven are so adorable, especially Vivi and Emilio's bickering and Alexei and Giovanni's hilarious bond. The nude scene cracked me up. Blessings upon blessings to Marie and Vivi for setting MC up. >:)
Giovanni was by far my favorite character :). I was pleasantly surprised by Alexei's kindness, and though Emilio pissed me off quite a bit, the last romance scene was the best out of the three LIs. I liked how the story challenged my initial perceptions of the LIs and other characters, much like how the MC grows as a person.
1) Pacing is awesome until after the confrontation with the LI. From there, it gets faster and faster. The true love/neutral endings feel rushed and underdeveloped, and the climax of the story, which is MC's test, is barely touched on. The ending romance scenes feel a bit awkward and out of place, which is disappointing because of all the great build up in the first half.
2) Lack of choice. We only get 3-4 choices per LI, that I didn't feel held enough weight to have so many influence on the ending. I liked the MC's personality and responses, but I wished we had more control over that. It would also be nice to have more say over the development of romance. It was sort of evident with Emilio's route (hold hands vs. put hand on shoulder), but not so much with Alexei and Giovanni. I didn't think calling him a flower = let's move to Paris and sleep together ahaha, no matter how in love with him I am.
That being said, I could never understand the insane amount of work that goes into creating a game, especially one this well-executed and created within the span of a month! Overall, I really enjoyed the experience of playing this visual novel. I look forward to seeing your future projects. :)
oh my god, i love this game!!!
first of all, beautiful art. the characters are wonderfully designed and drawn, from their physicalities to their clothes to their facial expressions. the design of the buttons, the text, etc is also gorgeous. i love it so much, it's so nice to look at and really fits in with the rest of the game.
secondly, brilliant functionality. really thorough explanation at the beginning of the works of the game which was super handy. and i love how there's quicksave functions as well as regular save, how you can click the mouse or press the spacebar or the return button (my favourite is spacebar and i dislike clicking the mouse to continue - but everyone has different preferences so i really appreciate that you made sure there were options!). i love how there's a screenshot function.
thirdly, amazing job with historical accuracy. i love the glossary! it's so useful for comprehension while maintaining historically accurate vocabulary, and your definitions alongside your witty comments make me laugh!
fourthly, excellent music! it really added to the feel of the game and imo, perfectly matched the different scenes and situations. and it felt very 20s so that helped add to the historical setting. i don't really know what else to say about it other than AAAA I REALLY LIKED IT bc i have no idea what i;m doing when it comes to music, but oh my god, amazing job.
and last but certainly not least (probably actually most!), is the fantastic characterisation and gameplay. i believe i've played all the alexei as mentor routes now (and am in love with him), and have yet to explore the other routes, but i have been having an absolute blast!! this is so fun, the concept is very original, the plot is super engaging, the dialogue is brilliantly written and incredibly entertaining. i love all the characters and they all feel really real and multi-dimensional! and i love hearing their backstories, which again, are really well written.
tagging on from that, great representation! thanks for making a chinese protag! i haven't come across many games with chinese characters let alone a chinese protag, and as a chinese diaspora this means a lot to me. plus i love the inclusion of a trans character despite it not being core to the game!! only thing i might critique about the writing of marie was the language aroun "being born in the wrong body", but then that is the experience of many trans people, just not all, and you didn't imply that it was all. perhaps you could make it clearer that it is not the experience of all trans people? (speaking as a trans person) although i realise it might be harder to weave that into the game now, but just suggesting this for future reference.
anyway, thank you so much for creating this amazing gem of a game!! i can't believe you've offered it initially for free with pay-what-you-want, it's very generous of you to do so when the game has clearly had a whole lot of heart, soul, time, effort, and energy into it! i will definitely be tipping, and hopefully tipping more once i have more money because i genuinely believe this game is worth it and would like to thank you for this amazing, wonderful gaming experience!!
In love with Alexei... but okay, PLEASE, I need to know what Marie's specialty is??? Did I miss it???
remember when there's a part where you have to give the boys the ties and you forgot to give them the ties at the end. remember the part where the game said you heard snickering but when you turned around there was no one? i think marie's power has something to do with that..
i absolutely LOVE this game ,the main character has a really strong eill and i like that. the characters ere so cute and i didn't even mind the bad endings because they were really clever and weren't just the normal "you didn't get in his pant" type of ending.but yeah i really loved the game
Really love it so far. Got all the endings for alexei. Taking a break to prepare myself for the other guys as the bad ending really took a toll on me and others have said his isn't the worst. The good ending was worth it though, as I luckily got it after all his bad/ not romantic endings . Loved everything about the game (animation, characters, setting, storylines ). Wish Marie and vivi were dateably
I get an error message every time I try to save the game unless I open it as an administrator. Not sure what's wrong, but it makes the game unplayable.
I've only played Emilio's route so far (I've gotten Rings of Promise and Rivals as endings) but I definitely planning on playing all the guys. The art is GREAT, SO, SO, SO GREAT. Everything is so crisp, the sprites are original and well-designed, and the background has great detail. And I love how this game offers a tutorial in the beginning, as well as a glossary for all the 1920s terms (not to mention that it incorporates those into the game so well too)!
(A plus is that the protagonist in Chinese! As I am one too, I was pleasantly surprised, and I even ended up using my own name, something I never do.)
We've been playing this game on Dizzi recently. It caught our eye because of its Chinese protagonist and 1920s theme. Plus, witches? What's not to love?
Nani loves your definitions for the 1920s slang used in the game; nice touch! Wise-cracking Emilio has been to jab at, as well. We hope you create games like this one, with the same detail and new settings and characters.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this games quality. As a few of the other reviews have pointed out that for a pay-as-you-like game, it was remarkably well written and composed all together. The artwork was unique from my experience with VNs thus far and I thoroughly enjoyed every character design and background image used. I also liked the soundtrack, and will probably consider buying that as well to show my support when I have the chance. The only complaint I could have is that I felt the endings were all rushed, especially Giovanni's romance ending. The only ending that I felt had adequate dialogue to build into it was the romance ending for Emilio, but beyond that, the rest I felt could have used some additional work-in. Maybe to have taken the time to write out the course of Giovanni and the Protagonist's trip? Or maybe involve that sort of thing as an additional "DLC" style bonus sometime down the road. Or just to see a sequel would also be pleasantly acceptable, and I'd happily support its development. But wishful thinking, I suppose!
Overall the game was very well done. I would have happily paid more for it if I had known its value beforehand. Thank you for sharing this game! 8/10
This game was great. It is amazing quality for a free game. I don't always like to play through bad ends in some games because I just have a lot of feelings and get really emotional, but I was so compelled to complete this whole game because I was so captivated by it!.....But the bad endings still had me become an emotional puddle. Also-- loved the racial diversity in here. Outstanding job <3
In what game engine was this game done?
Loved playing through this! The characters were great, my favorite was Alexei, I especially loved the scene before the party with everyone getting dressed. Hilarious xD My only comment for improvement would be I felt like a lot of the romantic development happened after the story, years later. The trials everyone was dealing with absolutely should have been the forefront, so I understand this, and the endings were very cute, so I can't complain much. Anyway great job!
This game was really great, I must admit. I felt compelled to it because I love this team's work (well, I already know other games made by some of them) and because I'm in dire need of games that take place in the 20's up to the 60's. It was a very enjoyable experience, with gorgeous art and interesting characters. I loved Emilio's route, and both his good and bad endings were awesome, even if I must say his bad ending was one of the most horrid endings I've ever seen in an otome game. I've read the booklet (these booklets are always so cool!) and I agree with the fact his bad ending CG is the hardest to stand of the three - it breaks my heart, really. But on a brighter note, his good ending CG was ALSO the sweetest and prettiest in my opinion.
I must say I really love the MC here - she's a really cool character, and she's so damn pretty - I love androgynous heroines!
So yeah, thank you for making such a lovely little game!
I got Alexei's good ending which was endearing.
Amazing game, very well made. Characters are diverse and interesting. Plot is nicely defined. The artwork is simply amazing. I really enjoyed playing this.
At first glance, I thought this game would be dull, boring, and something I would not be interested in. I was wrong just by playing this game once. This game is very well developed. The Blind Griffin is by far my favorite visual novel. I wanted to replay this game many times just to play all the endings because they were all different and interesting from each other. The character development was just phenomenal! I loved how diverse and distinct each character was. My favorite character has got to be the protagonist or Vivienne <3. I become attach to all the characters and getting attach to these characters did not help with my emotions at the end of the 'bad' endings. The ending 'Cycle of Revenge' was the worst and best 'bad' ending there was. I teared up by how sad it was. My favorite routes to play were Alexei or Emilio. All the 'neutral' and 'true' endings were great as well. They were very hearfelt. I felt as it I was in the game itself. The art was beautiful. I loved the CG's, sprites, and backgrounds. The writing was compelling and I wanted to read every single word.
Since the game takes place in the 1920's, I didn't really know what to expect because usually the visual novels I read take place in modern era or in a fantasy world. It was a great experience to learn what it was like during the 20's. From speakeasies to slang used during the time and to the way they dress, I kind of wish I was alive during that time.
I know a lot of time, hard work, and dedication went into this game. Hopefully a sequel or another game comes out soon! This was a great game to experience and read!
I'm not able to play Blind Griffin. I've downloaded the zip file for windows several times and each time I try to open the app my computer says that BlindGriffin.exe is missing. Can somebody help me. I'm really excited about this game.
The same was happening to me. I realized my antivirus was removing the program because it thought it was unsafe. I hope this reply isn't too late. ^^
Loved this game! So far I've unlocked 5 endings and they've all be either pleasantly surprising or shockingly sad. I would definitely recommend this game to anyone that's on the fence about it. The characters are unique and have great personalities and the dialogue is light and easy to follow while the art is wonderful. Also, the hotkey and glossary are pretty useful too. Only problem is that I can't seem to access the 'Characters' page in Extras and I noticed a few others were having this problem also. Thanks for creating such a great game! :)
I can't access the "Characters" portion of the "Extras"-menu.
Is it only accessable when you have found all endings?
Edit: It seems I was correct about the Characters, would be nice if there was a note informing the player.
I really enjoyed playing all the endings of this game, and loved how there was such a range of endings— from very very dark, to, of course, happy and lovey-dovey. Also, I really do enjoy how you made all the characters so unique and multi-ethnic. Definitely characterized America :)
This game was lots of fun! The alternate endings were a really cool addition!
This game was amazing. I loved the different endings. I got the MUTUAL RESPECT ending. It was a lot of fun, great art and music. This was a joy to watch/play.
Honest to God, I expected the first Giovanni ending. But Cycle of Revenge and Burned Out Hope killed me. ;n;