“When are you going to shape up and find yourself a job?”
“We’re making do right now, but what’ll happen when we pass on?”
You say, “Alright, already! I get it!”
“You keep saying that, but nothing comes out of it!”
“Aargh! I’ve lost my appetite now! Excuse me!”
You storm out of the dining room.
This doesn’t usually happen so early in the day…
That’s the doorbell. You turn on the door intercom.
“Alright, I’ll be out in a moment.”
Huh. Maybe it’s another prize from a contest you won.
You open the front door and walk up to the deliveryman at the gate.
He gives you a startled stare. You also glance at a couple of women down the street staring at you as well.
Considering you’re the kind of person no one would expect to see at home in the middle of a weekday, it’s not really surprising.
You take the parcel and go back inside the house.
Your mother calls out, “Did you buy something suspicious?”
You go up to your room and open the parcel.
Village of Fate? Is this some sort of game?
There’s a booklet inside as well. Might as well read it.
Congratulations, Yoshio! You have been chosen to participate in the alpha test of our latest game, which utilizes the latest in A.I. technology to replicate human behavior in its characters! As the game’s player, you bestow prophecies and miracles to villagers as the God who controls fate. Once per day, you can give an instruction to the villagers to guide the development of their village!
A town-building game?
Be sure to play this game while connected online. If all the villagers in this game die, you may not play this game again. Progress in the game will be automatically recorded on a single save file and can only be reloaded from this file.
There’s no way to save games yourself? That’s kind of harsh…
Please do not share any details about this game to anyone, even online. Failure to uphold this agreement will result in the immediate confiscation of this game. Further specifics about the game can be learned as you play.
Sounds a bit suspicious. You should use your older PC to play it.
Alright, the game download is finished.
Let’s start it up…
You’ve never seen such high-definition graphics before! The wagon, the horses and the driver all look so…real!
Are those goblins on warthogs chasing the wagon?
They each move to one side of the wagon and soon reach its front.
The driver fends off one goblin with his sword but the other is poised to strike the horses.
W-What’s that light?!
As it dims, you see the goblins turn and race away from the wagon.
The driver looks into the wagon and several people come out of it.
Looks like this is where the game begins…
What should you do now?
This Village Sim NPC Could Only Be Human (村づくりゲームのNPCが生身の人間としか思えない, Murazukuri Game no NPC ga Namami no Ningen to Shika Omoe Nai) is a light novel series and manga written by Hirukuma (昼熊).
After graduating from university, the young Yoshio was repeatedly rejected at countless job interviews while his younger sister and his friends soon got jobs, with some of them even starting their own families. Over the next ten years, he grew more disappointed and he gradually settled into the life of an unemployed NEET (“Not in Education, Employment or Training”) still living at his parents’ home.
One day, Yoshio receives a parcel with a game CD titled “Village of Fate” and a booklet inside. When he starts up the game, it opens to a scene where a wagon racing through a forest is being chased by two goblins mounted on boars. Just as the goblins catch up, they are terrified by the sudden appearance of a bright light and retreat. The wagon’s five occupants, Gams, Chem, Rodis, Layla and Carol, all believe this event to be an act of salvation from their God of Fate. Yoshio types a message on his computer commanding them to build a settlement in the forest and it appears in Chem’s bible like a holy proclamation!
As the game’s God of Fate, Yoshio watches over the villagers and occasionally performs miracles to protect them, such as enabling a fortuitous event, such as a passing healer, or creating a familiar in the game to allow for direct intervention. In witnessing the characters’ struggles in the game and trying to help them in any way he can, Yoshio looks inward and gradually faces his own weaknesses. He instinctively changes his lifestyle as he works up the courage to earn money in order to perform greater miracles in “Village of Fate” by both selling his possessions and getting part-time jobs. In the game, the villagers periodically send offerings of food and other items that somehow make their way to Yoshio’s home! Best of all, Yoshio gradually rebuilds his relationships with his family.
What trials await the God of Fate and the village?
Yoshio (良夫), a 30-year old part-timer and the God of Fate. Anxious and moody, he hides his angst with escapism and a mask of apathy. When he was in high school, Yoshio was stabbed by a stalker who had been eyeing his sister. The trauma from that horrible moment haunts him to this day. Through acting as a god over a village, Yoshio learns how to act more responsibly and improves his own life step by step. Curiously, he does dumbbell training every day.
Gams, a 26-year old warrior and Chem’s older brother. Brave, responsible and somewhat strict, he acts as the leader and protector of the villagers. When Gams was a teenager, he took his sister away from their abusive, alcoholic father and raised her himself in another town. Before the events of the game, he fought to defend said town as it was ravaged by a horde of monsters, but he eventually had to flee with his sister and Rodis’ family. In addition to fighting, Gams is skilled in hunting and tracking, making him the villagers’ primary source of meat.
Chem, a 19-year old novice priestess of the God of Fate and Gams’ younger sister. Gentle, pious and selfless, she is the villagers’ pillar of spiritual support. Having been raised by her brother, Chem is very protective of Gams and will discourage other women, including children, from getting close to him. She can use basic healing magic but is unskilled in fighting. Yoshio’s proclamations as the God of Fate appear in Chem’s bible whenever he writes them, making her his most direct link to influencing events within the game.
Rodis, a 33-year old former general store owner. Diligent, nervous and thoughtful, he is the most knowledgeable villager. Having once managed a store, Rodis is experienced in anticipating common problems such as the need for food and proper shelter and the preparation of lumber for construction. He handles the task of managing supplies for the villagers, as well as helping with various tasks.
Layla, a 30-year old housewife. Calm and confident, she is more outgoing than her husband Rodis. Layla handles most of the cleaning and cooking for the villagers and forages for food in the forest along with Chem and Carol.
Carol, the 7-year old daughter of Rodis and Layla. Cheerful, curious and energetic, she is relatively mature for her age. Carol enjoys helping her parents and the others however she can. She has a childish crush on Gams and enjoys teasing Chem over this sometimes.
One of the most poignant yet hopeful isekai stories I’ve read so far! Traumatized in his youth, Yoshio took easy paths in life such as attending a mediocre university and using escapism to distract himself from his angst and disappointments. However, these choices proved costly in the long run because he didn’t have a way to support himself and his situation tried the patience of his family. In watching true-to-life villagers of a game soldier on despite their fears, Yoshio is inspired with courage and gradually takes on responsibilities to improve his life and theirs. Is this just a game or does this village really exist elsewhere?
NEETs often face criticism by both media and society in general as lazy and reluctant to work, but it’s more complicated than that. Nowadays, it’s common for most people to spend almost as much as they earn on essential living expenses and even high-end workers such as accountants, doctors and managers can’t save much money. Employment uncertainty, rising rents and several consecutive global economic recessions have made simple independent living a challenge in itself. Many people have also chosen to remain unmarried and childless to relieve themselves of further burdens. In the end, NEETs have some reasons to be afraid of the world around them.
But nothing will happen if we do nothing. Yes, the world is a harsh place, but we can find good things in it too. There will be disappointments and hardships, but we can find it within ourselves to face them. In taking responsibilities, we can find fulfillment in easing the difficulties of our families and working with others towards a goal. This can involve learning useful skills, doing jobs to earn money and reducing expenses. In doing this, we can survive and build our lives into something we can be happy with.
The world is harsh place and we all have fears, but we must face them with courage and humility.