Serial Experiments Lain is a PlayStation game released on November 26, 1998, where you piece together medical documentation, diary pages, and videos to learn about a young girl named Iwakura Lain and her psychiatrist Yonera Touko.
This game is only available in Japanese but a fanmade English translation is available here.
There isn't much for traditional gameplay, in the game, you control Lain's avatar and sift through hierarchal computer files called the Life Instinct Function, or "lif," located on a server in Tachibana General Laboratories.
The file system is separated into two Sites, A and B, which require a disc change to switch between the two. Each Site is separated into levels, which the player can jump between to reach content.
The computer files consist of audio recordings from psychiatrist sessions, notes, and diaries of both Lain and Touko. There are also videos to watch.
Lda: lain's_DIARY, 237 diary entries written by Lain in around 3 years time.
Tda: TOUKO'S_DIARY, 92 diary entries written over roughly 2 years.
Cou: COUNSELING_RECORDING, 53 recordings of sessions between Lain and Touko.
Dia: DIAGNOSIS_CLN##, 48 diagnoses written by either Lain or Touko.
TaK: 181 recordings of a single sentence by either Lain or Touko, seemingly addressing the player.
Ekm: 6 recordings of conversations between Lain and Kyoko, an acquaintance of Lain.
Ere: RESEARCH_"Ky" and RESEARCH_"Ka", 10 interviews between Touko and Lain's classmates.
Eda: RESEARCH_"Ma", 4 sessions between Makino and possibly Professor Takashima, and 1 news interview.
Sskn: Freeware upgrade apps for the games moving player tool.
P2: POLY-TAN PARTS, parts of a virtual bear model named Poly-Tan
GaTE: series of 4 network applications needed to proceed from Site A to B.
Dc1: DATA of CLN##, a series of 57 video files, mostly consisting of Lain.
Env: 12 files that contain nothing but static and assorted voices, all located on Site A's Level 0.
Xv0: Unused video clips. Not part of the game, extra content.
Xa: Misc. audio, these are not part of the game but are also extra content.
Graphics and sound:
Graphics are a bit rough in parts but have a unique charm still. The sound isn't the best quality but stayed true to sounds the anime could feature.
- Interesting story and main character.
- General Lain aesthetic that fans of the anime could enjoy.
- Interesting videos.
- Voice actors are expressive.
- Rough graphics and sounds.
- Not much for gameplay.
Serial Experiments Lain for PlayStation may not end up being everyone's cup of tea, but for a nostalgic fan wanting more of Lain, it's very nice and the story is worth sticking around to hear.
As a big Lain fan, I give this game 3.5 mechanical dad torsos out of 5. Score: 3.5/5