No doubt, many of you who have started playing this game will find NoEL to be quite unique to other simulation games like Tokimemo. For one thing, all the interactions are done using your computer. Basically the object of the game is to find out as much as possible about the three girls- Kaho, Yuka, & Emi - using everything resource your computer has as its disposal. Ultimately, your goal is to win someone's heart by Christmas day. I have only started playing this game myself, so I will try to give a rough sketch of the game's controls and highlights as a way of introducing the game to new users.
Introduction to the Rabbit OS v.1.00:
When you start playing the game for the first time and after you have viewed that gorgeous demo, you will be contacted by Kaho Shimizu through the VDO phone, which will be your primary means of contacting the girls. Move the rabbit cursor to the lower right hand corner of the screen to the command circle and click on W. Phone, which is the VDO phone. Click on Interactive to start talking to Kaho right away. During the talk mode, there is a re-sizable data window in the middle of the screen. The data which goes into this window comes from this black bar at the lower left hand corner of the screen right below the timer. As you talk with Kaho or any other character, topic icons stream across this bar, so click on them and they will be transferred to the data window. If you want to ask Kaho about a particular topic, just click on the topic icon from your data window. In general, the more you ask the more clues you will get. One helpful tip I've found is not to use all the topic icons the second you get them, but to use them slowly, perhaps once every 30 secs and use only the recent ones.
You can also leave the topic icons in the data window for later conversations. Of course, you may not get a connection every time you call someone and even you do, if you don't have enough data (more on gathering data later), she might cut the conversation short, so it's helpful if you collect enough data first before you call.
In the W. Phone mode, there's also the pool"Delete.. mode which allows you to delete data acquired from conversations by clicking on the topic icons to be deleted. This is useful if you get repetitive data and the icons are starting to hog up screen space :). Be warned though that there is no undelete command for this, so be careful!
This is the second command in the command circle which is your means of finding data about the three girls outside of conversations (and this data can aid conversations as well). Once this command is selected, you will see two large squares, one with the Rabbit OS logo (for viewing data) and the other filled with data search icons (the square can be rotated by using the arrow keys on the left). There's also a bar at the bottom of the screen lined up with 5 "search rabbits". To collect data, simply click on the data icons you want to find. For example, if you click on the icon "K" and then the cat icon, you want to find out info about Kaho's pet. You can select up to four topics to search for at any one time per rabbit. To initiate search, just simply click on one of the search rabbits and it will disappear into the cybernet and may or may not appear with the data you need (if it does, you'll see it holding a new data icon). The availability of each new data icon depends on where you are in the game, so keep on trying! Here is a brief overview of the 6 sides on the data search square:
First side: has the half-black half-white open book as the first icon. The icons here deal with your relationship status with the three girls, whether it's about dating, money, etc.
Second side: has a wavy line as the first icon. The icons here deal with the personal aspects for each of the three girls. You normally would not get much info here yet until late in the game because the data you get are things like personal photos, maps to their houses, and time schedules (mighty useful for timing phone calls!).
Third side: has an arrow pointing upwards as the first icon. The icons here deal with latest happenings, for example, weather reports and news. You will use this side the most as the data you get here will be your basis for conversations. For example, if you wanted to ask someone out for a date you need to know weather report first.
Fourth side: has the K letter as the first icon. The icons here contain information directly dealing with the three girls. You can find out things like their personal profiles, their airline schedules (if they are traveling overseas) and their school sports day activities.
Fifth side: has the lock with the letter S as the first icon. Mostly misc. stuff here like cosmetics, gifts, etc. But the icon which has an arrow with a D in it is useful because at one point the girls will go to an amusement park and you can use this icon to talk to them.
Sixth side: has this thing that looks like a chip as the first icon. Again, mostly misc. stuff like clothes, etc. The tree icon is very useful during Dec. 23-24 as it contains vital information about Christmas activities.
Once you have collected all the data you need and you wish to view them, click on the Program button on the right side. The Rabbit OS logo screen will enlarge and from here, click on the search rabbit(s) carrying the data to view that item. You can also click on Text to view the text data of that file.
There are four commands here that deal with your computer. They are:
Time Control - allows you to jump ahead in time in increments of minutes, hours, and days. You can't jump back, so use this command with caution. Time control is useful when you don't want to spend anymore time collecting data and want to jump ahead to events, like dates or times of the day when one of the girls is at home and you want to call her. To jump, just use the arrow keys to fix the future time and click on Jump to execute.
Account Meter - allows you to see various game settings like speech rate but you aren't allowed to change anything.
Sound - allows you to change various sound settings.
Shut down - quits and saves the game. You are allowed to save only one game, and this is loaded automatically every time you boot up NoEL.
Supposedly stands for "Video Mail" which isn't far from the truth as this command will allow you to view whatever video clips you may have acquired. You automatically start out with one clip (which is the demo animation) and will gain more later as you progress.