Serial Experiments Lain (game)

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Released on November 26, 1998 for the PlayStation, the Serial Experiments Lain game consists mostly of pieces of information collected in a random order that allow the player to piece together Lain's story.

There is guidebook for this game titled Serial Experiments Lain Official Guide.



The player controls a Lain avatar and navigates a hierarchical system of computer files. The events of the game follow Iwakura Lain and her psychiatrist Yonera Touko. The following is a rough summary of the game's events as related by Keisuke Shindo. [1]


Iwakura Lain An apparently ordinary girl with a highly introverted nature and low self-esteem. At age 11, she begins to see and hear hallucinations, most prominently a double of herself. As a result, she sees a therapist at Tachibana General Laboratories. Lain also proves to be adept at psychology and computer science. Most of all, she is unbearably lonely.

Yonera Touko Recently graduated from an American university, Touko serves as Lain's counselor. She is a new employee, and Lain is her very first client, establishing quite a good relationship with her.

Makino Shin'ichirou An ordinary office worker who encounters Lain online. Impressed with her abilities, he provides news, data and computer parts for her.

Tomo A boy in Lain's elementary school class that Lain has a crush on.

Kyoko A girl in Lain's elementary school class that Lain is somewhat friendly with, who treats Lain like a younger sister.

Mayu A friend of Kyoko's.

Kaori A girl in Lain's elementary school class that tries to be friendly with everyone.

Father Lain's father. He and Lain are very close and he treats Lain very kindly, often buying her presents. He is a businessman that occasionally needs to travel.

Mother Lain's mother. She and Lain are on slightly less good terms, and she is a bit harder on Lain than her father. She still treats Lain very well and looks after her when she needs help. She is a housewife.

Misato Lain's (imaginary) friend in her middle school class. Getting along extremely well, Lain and her do all sorts of things together, at least in Lain's memory. Misato is an ideal girl, able to play the violin beautifully, paint exquisitely, and is also very beautiful and elegant.

Harumi Touko's longtime friend. She rather abruptly gets married.

Kanako Touko's longtime friend. She's a hardworking woman trying to become a publisher.

Takeshi Touko's boyfriend, met while studying abroad. He works at Tachibana General Laboratories alongside Touko. Their relationship is very platonic.

Yoshida Touko's other lover. He works at an exercise equipment manufacturing company that visits Tachibana General Laboratories from time to time. He is popular with women.

Professor Takashima Touko's boss. A well-meaning man that often dumps chores on Touko, impeding her research. Touko hates him.

Mr. Rabbit A friend that Lain made online. He teaches her how to hack.

Shock Spammer A malevolent user online that sends encrypted shock images to Lain's inbox.

Progenetis Lain's father. After the disappearance of Father, Lain begins to make artificial replacements of her friends and family, starting with Father.

Bike-chan A stuffed toy that allegedly has been Lain since her birth. Lain seems to view it as a friend.

The Other Self A hallucination of another Lain that appears nude. She is the reason that Lain starts seeing Touko.

CLN-1 An unnamed woman that shoots her boyfriend in public.

File System

The game's interface is designed to be somewhat similar to a database, apparently called the "life instinct function" or "lif", which appears to be located on a server at Tachibana General Laboratories. The name of the database could hint that it is serving the purpose of keeping lain alive somehow. The database is divided into two Sites: Site A and Site B. Site B is locked when the player begins the game, and can only be unlocked by finding updates hidden in the files. Each file in the site contains an invisible version number. The version of the player's in-game media player must be greater than or equal to that number in order to play the file. The media player can be updated by finding various upgrades hidden in the files.

Located within the database are several different filetypes:

Connections between the game and the anime

This game explains many elements in the anime that are taken for granted or left unexplained. It can be considered an alternate timeline to the anime, perhaps one where Lain is incarnated into a different environment.

In the game, it is revealed that Lain cut her own hair. The longer lock of hair where she clips her hairclip is meant to prevent something that "enters from the right" from "going out through the left". Not much is known about the context of this statement (at least to the English-speaking fandom), but it has been theorised that Lain's hairstyle wards off demons or prevents her memories from disappearing.

According to the guide, Lain's mysterious statement is referring to her auditory hallucinations. See Q&A for more information.

This may be the same in nature as the machine that Touko received from Tachibana Labs.

As part of the same franchise, both the game and the anime cover topics such as the reliability of memory and the nature of existence and reality.


The game currently remains untranslated. There are currently two attempts to translate the game.

Serial Experiments Lain media
Omnipresence in WiredThe Nightmare of FabricationSerial Experiments Lain Official GuideSerial Experiments Lain Ultimate Fan GuideScenario Experiments LainVisual Experiments Lain
OP Duvet • ED Tooi SakebiSerial Experiments Lain OSTSerial Experiments Lain: Cyberia MixLain BOOTLEGLPR-309
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