Science Adventure is filled with overwhelmingly endless possibilities. From route divergences to time travel and specific worldlines, anything can occur if one simply ponders. Fittingly enough, Steins;Gate can be seen as the “gate” for many perceiving the franchise in this way. That random Steins;Gate doujin or fanfiction you once read? Yeah, that probably could’ve happened in some random worldline. Admittedly, it’s a silly thought bubble to have. Still, it’s undeniably joyous to sometimes reflect on media you especially love and think of alternative scenarios or results that might have taken place.
- View my previous coverage of the Science Adventure short story, Chaos;Gate, featuring Steins;Gate’s protagonist.
You know, I won’t deny that there is a part of me that has grown somewhat vexed by the immense popularity of Steins;Gate. For as much as I first enjoyed and still enjoy its original visual novel and various adaptions, there has almost always been this loose thread in my mind annoyed by the fact that no other Science Adventure entry has received the level of adoration that Steins;Gate has.
That is just the way the cookie crumbles, though. Franchise popularity is beyond any person’s control, and it’s not like Steins;Gate is underserving of its fame. It tells a genuinely magnificent story with terrific characters. However, I’ve always wanted to see more of the other titles’ casts.
And recently, a significant fragment of that desire has been fulfilled via avenues I never even knew existed. Today, I will be elucidating the official non-canon Steins;Gate sequel that most of you have likely never heard of, Steins;Gate: Variant Space Octet.
This text-based adventure visual novel was released for PC in Japan on October 28, 2011. And, as expected, it never came West. Now, while the visuals may look somewhat similar, this game should not be confused with Steins;Gate 8-bit, which was released with the Nintendo Switch version of Steins;Gate Elite. Steins;Gate: Variant Space Octet and Steins;Gate 8-bit are two entirely different experiences. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if 8-bit further dug the already tenuous existence of Octet into obscurity.
You might have noticed that I specified this game as a text-based adventure rather than just a visual novel. And that’s because you actually have to type to perform actions. So, for example, even on the title screen, you must type ‘Start’ to begin. Definitely unexpected.
We start from the perspective of Okabe Rintaro riding a train, following the events of the original visual novel’s true ending, meaning that he is the Steins Gate worldline, so everyone is safe. However, he is soon hit with vertigo implying that divergence has run amok. He doesn’t realize the severity of the situation at first until he gets sent a D-mail from himself 15 years in the future. Okabe’s future self informs his past self that he is now in a worldline with a divergence meter of 1.048728%, confirming that his life’s course has deviated by 0.000132%.
The phantom PC that played a crucial role in the original story, the IBN 5100, is back in play, with someone called Neidhardt seizing it. Somehow, someway, Neidhardt possessing the IBN 5100 eventually caused the world to collapse under the might of moe, going beyond the destructive scope World War III caused. Okabe is then tasked with Operation Razgriz, a mission to find Neidhardt and take back the IBN 5100 from his clutches to avert the terror of moe. Unfortunately, or perhaps, fortunately, Okabe can’t time leap or use D-mails since he is still technically in the Steins Gate worldline. This means it’s time for some good old-fashioned sleuthing.
From here on, the game has players progress past a series of puzzles involving several Steins;Gate characters such as the Tennoujis, Mayuri, and Lukako. And, well, these puzzles pretty much consist of finding the right items to give to particular characters. For instance, there’s a scenario where Mayuri loses her pocket watch, and Okabe has to barter with this random shop vendor to get it back, utilizing a doujin bought from Faris. Yeah, a lot of weird stuff happens.
Still, a bunch of bizarre events take place. From a casket in the middle of the city to a giant Gero Froggy blocking the entrance to the MayQueen cafe, something is clearly amiss. When meeting each of his Lab Mems, Okabe inquires if they saw anyone unusually strange in Akihabara, with most of his friends answering that they saw a male Japanese high schooler carrying what looked to be a rather heavy cardboard box. Additionally, he had a figure of some scantily clad anime character in his breast pocket for whatever reason.
Considering the hefty weight of the IBN 5100, Okabe reasons that this Japanese high schooler must Neidhardt. With that revelation in mind, Okabe continues his search, with his assistant, Kurisu, helping him at every turn. The duo engage in a series of humorous banter each and every time. A variety of antics ensue, such as Okabe having to carry Kurisu to reach a mysterious supernatural flashlight and him having to borrow money from her more than once for fetch quests of sorts. Still, despite growing repeatedly vexed at him, Kurisu is always just a step behind, eager to provide aid behind her tsundere persona.
After solving a puzzle to enter the lab, which comprises using an Upa as a key into a brand new entrance door, Okabe asks Daru if he potentially knows who this Neidhardt guy is. He asks Daru specifically since, based on the reports of him carrying an anime figure, the two are probably on similar levels of degeneracy. At the name, Daru is shocked since Neidhardt is an internet celebrity rumored to be related to a certain incident in Shibuya that occurred a year prior. A distant photograph of the event is then brought up, with Okabe getting a general sense of the youth’s appearance. He sports slightly spiky blue hair and a distinct school uniform. Obviously, it’s not much, but this is still better than nothing.
After Okabe helps more of his friends, including a newly time-traveled Suzuha, who arrived solely for food, Kurisu sees Suzuha’s time machine leave. At the sheer sight of such a massive vanishing object, Kurisu demands answers, and without much of a choice left, Okabe relents and lets her know of the mission he’s on, Operation Razgriz. The search for Neidhardt and the world’s impending doom of dominant moe are fully exposed.
Being incredibly open-minded and trusting of Okabe, Kurisu accepts the outlandish truth and aims to help him to the end. Then, after reasoning wholly dependent on Okabe’s history with time travel, he concludes that the IBN 5100 is at the fated coin lockers. Not finding any room to argue with what she doesn’t understand, Kurisu follows, and the two arrive at the coin lockers, of which only one is occupied. And the IBN 5100 is indeed here, but it’s locked, and the Neidhardt guy isn’t present.
Finding it odd, they decide to try luring him to their location. As it turns out, the anime figurine Neidhardt carries depicts a character named Seira Orgel from an anime called Blood Tune. Realizing that Seira is Neidhardt’s waifu, Okabe contacts Mayuri to see if she has a cosplay of the character for Kurisu to wear. Coincidentally, Mayuri does, in fact, have a costume of Seira, but the chest area wouldn’t fit Kurisu, so Okabe not-so-stealthily rejects the plan. The next idea is to mimic any mannerisms Seira has, and there is indeed one; her catchphrase “Dummy☆.” Of course, hilarity ensues as the pair enacts the phrase, but more importantly, Okabe is contacted by Neidhardt via his phone.
The two converse, with their personalities clashing. Neidhardt is expectedly perverted, yet he also sounds oddly wise and trusting of Okabe. Somehow, he knows who Okabe is alongside the supernatural phenomena surrounding him. Further, whenever Okabe talked to himself on his phone during his Hououin Kyouma episodes, Neidhardt could hear him. Adding on to the craziness, Neidhardt is actually there, but his existence has been fused into the IBN 5100, and the only way to free him from the device is to input the correct password. Sadly, communication cuts off, leading to Okabe and Kurisu having to figure out the password on their own.
From this point on, players must find out what the password is. Several fake ones are available, with Okabe unsure of how or why he’s inputting them. “Nanami,” “Delusion,” and “Find the Blue” are some of the incorrect passwords Okabe seemingly hears from somewhere. Eventually, if the player converses with Kurisu enough, she implies looking up the answer online because, believe it or not, the correct password is not found within Steins;Gate: Variant Space Octet at all. It instead originates from the first Science Adventure entry, Chaos;Head. And what is this password exactly? Well, I’m not at liberty to say. Not at this point in time, anyway.
After putting in the password, the world turns white, and here’s where I must break from the story to inform you, dear readers, of the fact that this game has manga and light novel adaptions. And, I kid you not, if you thought this game was obscure, these adaptations are drastically more, to the extent where they’re practically impossible to find. So, our team and I decided to digitally purchase the manga illustrated and written by Tatsuya Ikegami to discover that the ending has a different visual interpretation of the events.
After Okabe inputs the correct password, the world turns white, and he sees Neidhardt in person for the first time. He doesn’t share his real name, but Neidhardt’s true identity is Takumi Nishijou, the protagonist of Chaos;Head. Following a certain incident that happened the previous year, Takumi was looking forward to visiting Akihabara for the first time in a long while. Unfortunately, he got caught up in a problematic mess here as well, though Okabe thankfully managed to save him. Humorously, Okabe even asks Takumi if he would want to become a Lab Mem, but he outright refuses. Still, the two amicably part ways, eager to meet again if the future wills it.
Okabe finds himself back in the Steins Gate worldline with everything back to normal. Kurisu nearby doesn’t remember the recent chaos that just transpired. Normalcy truly returned. Yet, when gazing at the serene sky, Okabe could’ve sworn he felt something looking at him, alongside hearing a familiar voice. A familiar voice asking, “Whose eyes are those eyes?”
While this will undoubtedly sound immensely silly, Steins;Gate: Variant Space Octet is one of the most surreal and emotional media experiences I’ve ever had. The direct connectedness and interactions between my favorite protagonist, Takumi Nishijou, and Okabe Rintaro felt almost fanfiction-like yet also incredibly fulfilling. It’s an odd sensation, to be sure, but I also can’t deny it. While all of Science Adventure is connected, it is rarely ever super overt like this, so the experience Octet provides is innately distinct. Takumi and Okabe both saying “El Psy Congroo” in tandem provides a sense of catharsis I can’t quite describe.
The individual responsible for this game’s fan translation from a decade ago is @blockwonkel, who has become a professional in the field. You can access Steins;Gate: Variant Space Octet via their old blog, though there are significant Chaos;Head spoilers in the full game that I purposefully omitted throughout this article. It is also worth noting that a few instances of language used in this game have not aged well and may be considered offensive since this was back in 2011.
Finally, I am proud to announce that we have translated some ending pages from the Steins;Gate: Variant Space Octet manga adaption. You can view these pages below:
Once Chaos;Head Noah is officially localized this year, I intend on writing a follow-up article about Steins;Gate: Variant Space Octet, discussing the various references I had to avoid mentioning due to spoilers.
- Thanks to Game FAQs user Zetsumei for creating a walkthrough for this title.
- Immense thanks to prominent Science Adventure community member Fasty for support regarding article editing, game information, as well as manga translation help; a special thanks to community member ChrisGLink for manga editing support.
- Immense thanks to our team’s Ryuji for editing and typesetting the manga.
Chaos;Head Noah / Chaos;Child Double Pack is releasing for Nintendo Switch in the West on October 7, 2022. Further, Chaos;Head Noah is releasing on PC via Steam on the same date. Chaos;Child is already available in the West on Steam, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation Vita.
Chaos;Head Noah / Chaos;Child Double Pack is a physical Switch release of the collection that includes both games, a Steelbook, and lingerie DLC (only for Chaos;Head Noah). However, the official website states that the protagonist’s fictitious waifu, Seira Orgel, will not adorn her lingerie costume DLC for the North American and European releases.
Chaos:Head Noah can be seen as the director’s cut version of the original Chaos;Head which was a PC-only release in Japan. Noah added character routes and released for several consoles. Unfortunately, no edition of Chaos;Head has ever received an official localization.
Chaos;Child is a visual novel taking place 6 years after Chaos;Head Noah, focusing on a new cast. This title did receive an official English localization from publisher PQube on PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita, and by publisher Spike Chunsoft on PC via Steam.
- Check out our beginner’s guide to the Science Adventure series.
- Why Chaos;Head is my favorite visual novel of all time.
- The newest Science Adventure entry, Anonymous;Code, is coming West in 2023 with a Steelbook.
- Latest Anonymous;Code Coverage
- Check out the Steins;Gate x Hello Kitty Visual Novel that received a fan translation.
- Robotics;Notes recently shared its 10th anniversary illustration.
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