Machi is a story of 8 unrelated protagonists, all with their own problems and objectives, all living in the Shibuya district of Tokyo, Japan. The story spans 5 in-game days and is told through a huge number of live-action still photographs. The protagonists are varied, including a high school playboy, a gamer geek police officer, a struggling actor, an ex-Yakuza man, a TV scriptwriter and many more. Each of the protagonists lead a completely different story that even defies genres, with one story having a lighthearted comedy style while another having a dark, ominous tone.
The player must play all of the stories in parallel, jumping across different protagonists, and backtracking to re-select branches which not only affect the active protagonist, but also other protagonists through often bizarre twists of causality.
Since its release in 1998, Machi has amassed a cult following among Japanese Sound Novel players, causing a yearning for a sequel for years which did not come to fruition until 2008 which had the release of the spiritual sequel, 428: Fusa Sareta Shibuya De.