A guide how to play Hourglass of Summer on a PC

"Hourglass of Summer" is one of the visual novels released by now defunct "Hirameki International" on a widely reviled DVD-PG format. Theoretically it means that the game should be playable on any device that has a DVD drive - practically it means that you cannot play it at all.

DVD-PG is so incompatible with many devices that modern gamers have lots of problems. It is especially true for PC players as HoS doesn't run perfectly on any media player straight out of the box. This guide is intended to help you enjoy the game without worrying about such pesky things as compatibility.

Note: the guide is partially based on Suicide Victim's "Phantom of Inferno" guide.

1. Even before starting playing the game you might run into another problem if you are the owner of a legal copy of the game. That is copy protection and regional lock. This is the first time in my life that I saw a Region 1 locked DVD, where the protection couldn't be circumvented by using VLC. No worries, though. You need "AnyDVD HD" and "DVDShrink".

2. Install "AnyDVD HD" and restart the computer. The program will immediately launch itself, and if the game DVD is in the drive it will immediately be stripped of any locks and protections. The protection is only gone as long as the program is running in the background.
P.S. This is a commercial program. If you don't want to pay for it, will help you in this matter.

3. Now you can already play the game, but maybe we should copy the game to HDD as I'm sure you have better uses for your CD drive than spinning the game disc. Install "DVDShrink" and launch it. Make sure that "AnyDVD HD" is running in the background.
Go to Edit->Preferences. Under "Preferences" tab choose target DVD size as DVD-9 (8.5GB). Under "File I/O" tab disable "Enable Burning with Nero". Press OK.
Press "Open Disc" and pick your DVD drive with the game.
Press "Backup" and under "Select backup target" choose "ISO image file". Under "Select target image file" pick a folder you want to save the file in. Press OK and wait until the ISO file is made.
4. If you decided to make an image file from your DVD disc, you will need a virtual disc program like "DAEMON Tools Lite". Install it, create a virtual device and mount image.

5. If you pirated the game, I conjecture that it already has all the protections removed and you can skip all the previous steps. Go to No. 6.

6. Download and install "Cyberlink's PowerDVD". You actually don't need the player itself, but the codecs that come with it. This is a commercial program, but I think that the trial will be enough as the codecs don't stop working after the trial expires. Alternatively you can buy the program or again use warez-bb.
Update: it seems you might need Version 9.0 of PowerDVD in order for the method to work correctly. The older version should still be fairly easy to find on warez sites.

7. Download and install "MPC-HC".
P.S. Only HC version of the player will work correctly. Using an outdated "MPC" player will cause menu options to be invisible unless you put a mouse over them.
Go to View->Options
Go to "External Filters" tab, press "Add filter" and search for either "Microsof MPEG-2 Video Decoder" or "Microsoft DTV-DVD Video Decoder". It's actually the same codec that can go by one of those two names. Check the box by the codec, highlight it and check "Block" on the right side menu.
Press "Add filter" again, look for "Cyberlink Video/SP Decoder (PDVD9)". Check the box by the codec, highlight it and check "Prefer" on the right side menu.
If it exists you should also block "MPC - MPEG-2 Video Decoder (Gabest)". It doesn't exist on my computer though.
It's not all yet. Go to Playback->Output tab and under "DirectShow Video" choose "Enhanced Video Renderer (custom presenter)". Press OK.
8. Now launch the DVD in "MPC-HC". Press right mouse button and pick Filters->Cyberlink Video/SP Decoder (PDVD9). Under "Settings" tab make sure that option "Use DxVA" is unchecked. Press OK.
Well, that is all - enjoy yourselves. Everything works perfectly. When you want to save the game press right mouse button and pick Navigate->Root menu->A password is displayed. The password is shown one letter at a time. You have to press an arrow to the right until all the password is revealed.

Das ende.


  1. Anonymous23/8/13 08:36

    Convoluted shit is convoluted. Oh well, at least you took the effort to write this, so kudos for that, even though I will not touch this thing with a ten foot pole...

  2. Anonymous25/6/14 14:05

    Seems your need version 9 for this to work.

    1. It might be so. When I wrote the guide, I had Version 9 of PowerDVD installed and didn't suspect that other versions might not work.
      I have updated the post to reflect that.

  3. Anonymous4/11/20 18:14

    Its 2020, trying this guide doesn't work. At first I couldn't get the PowerDVD9 plugins to show up for the life of me. Later I realized its a 64bit thing, MPC-HC 32bit seems to happily load the plugins.

    On 1.73 MPC-HC, this guide doesn't seem to work. I ended up using PowerDVD Ultra 19, and the dvd does work appropriately. However I really wanted to play this with MPC-HC to take advantage of madVR upscaling.