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Signs of a saturated market: Charage/moege


Clephas

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Now... I know you've heard me bash charage/moege before.  That isn't the purpose here, though.  I've played plenty of VNs of the type over the years, and a decent number of them have actually managed to make it pretty high on my list of recommendations, despite the genres' flaws.  I've also mentioned before that VN quality has fallen drastically in the past two years... and I still think that, despite a few seriously stand-out works this year in general and this month in particular.

The reason why I'm focusing on charage/moege right now is because I just played one great one, one average-quality one, and now I'm playing a mediocre (but pretty-looking) one.  Having seen, just in the last few weeks, the variance in the genre in detail... I've had it thrust in my face that my conclusions, which were previously just instinctive (thus I thought it was at least in part because I was tired of the genre/s in general) and thus had the possibility of not being entirely justified, were not entirely off the mark. 

To be specific, I'm somewhat bemused at the degree to which people have been pushing/hyping the one I'm playing right now, considering how pathetic this writer is at using the tools available to him. 

It isn't the first time where I've encountered a mediocre VN with great visuals that gets pushed by the Western community (mostly by people who haven't played it but voted on it anyway... or ones who just extracted the CGs or used a save file to read the h-scenes) like crazy.  However, it is the most egregious example of this particular social pattern I've seen recently. 

Now, leaving aside my outrage at completely unjustified hype and recommendations...  I have to ask, why is this VN, which probably never would have made it to production three years ago, is still somewhat better than the baseline of what I've experienced in the last two years?

Thinking about it, the answer came to me startlingly quickly... it is because it satisfies people's nether-regions and their desire for idealized slice-of-life with a few quirks without actually having a personality.  The very reason I hate it is the reason it has caught the interest of some in our community, and I find myself smiling wryly as I realize that most of the people who play it are only interested in fapping to archetypical moe-heroines. 

Understand, I actually don't have any objections to non-extreme fap material or moe fap material.  I don't have problems with others' sexuality in general (as long as they don't inflict it on me or create victims along the way).  However, I do have to wonder why these same people don't hit up one of the dozens of moe-nukige that get released every year instead, lol. 

Obliterating all twists and scent of personality from a VN story is reemerging as a habit in VN makers, after a very very brief hiatus, and it is coming back even worse than before.  On the bright side, it makes the gems stand out more... but it also means that I have to listen to people fawning over mindless drivel that isn't even good by genre standards.

I actually should have seen the signs long ago... considering Sougeki no Jaeger (Propeller's last VN) and the sudden reappearance of the previously endangered beast known as the 'pure moege' in the last two years (though only a few of them, thank god).  The problem now, as it was thirteen years ago, is that the market is saturated with VNs in general and charage/moege in particular.  Because of this - the Japanese being the most conservative businessmen on the planet - the various VN companies have started to 'go back to basics', trying again the sort of tactics that succeeded before.  The fact that the average otaku ero-gamer in Japan is perfectly willing to shell out $120 for a crappy game that happens to have a cute (and preferably half-nude) dakimakura attached actually makes this trend worse, as it is creating an artificial (and very temporary) inflation of a stagnant market (and not for the first, second, or even third time).  It is almost like the real estate market here in 2007... everybody knew the bottom was going to fall out eventually, but people kept putting their bets on making a few more bucks before it did.

Worse, even if the market does collapse, it is unlikely to result in better VNs, lol.

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Thinking about it, the answer came to me startlingly quickly... it is because it satisfies people's nether-regions and their desire for idealized slice-of-life with a few quirks without actually having a personality.  The very reason I hate it is the reason it has caught the interest of some in our community, and I find myself smiling wryly as I realize that most of the people who play it are only interested in fapping to archetypical moe-heroines. 

Understand, I actually don't have any objections to non-extreme fap material or moe fap material.  I don't have problems with others' sexuality in general (as long as they don't inflict it on me or create victims along the way).  However, I do have to wonder why these same people don't hit up one of the dozens of moe-nukige that get released every year instead, lol. 

Eh, what?! You're criticizing that people like romance with ero because those titles might not be the deepest ones, and then advice them to play simple nukiges without ANY personality at all instead? :blink:

You should also keep in mind that your perspecitive is different from the typical English VN reader simply because you can read Japanese and freely choose from all the VN's the Japanese market has to offer. The typical moege everyone likes to bash might be the most common release in Japan, but that isn't the case in the west. The majority of VN's we get are story VN's and then some nukiges from time to time.

Moeges usually have the lowest priority - we get maybe ~2 bigger ones per year. And half of those are even from fan translations, otherwise it would be just the one MangaGamer release per year. And the released nukiges are either extreme fetish ones like Starless, all ages 'Steam-nukiges' like many Sakura titles or shovelware of the lowest quality. I think the only major developer of story VN's who isn't active in the west is actually Light. The other ones like Liar-Soft, Nitroplus, Innocent Grey, AkabeiSoft2 and a bunch of indie ones - we get them all. And how may moege developers are active in the west, maybe 5-10 %?

That's not to say I wouldn't understand your situation, since you're more or less buried in generic moeges every month. But the situation is simply different for most English VN readers since the ratio of moege to story VN releases is almost reversed. And what else can people use for judging a new VN than art and a small synopsis which says almost nothing in case of a moege anyway, since ratings are just slowly dribbling in and reviews don't exist yet.

There's also something that's bugging me for some time now. And that's the assumption that story VN's with a decent plot 'automatically' also have good romance and characters with great personality in it. And that's unfortunately not the case - AT ALL.

Let's have a look at Innocent Grey's take on romance: Boy meets girl he hardly knows or just has a working relationship with. Girl says "Hey, wunna ****?", boy answers "Yeah, let's ****!" followed by an H-scene. That's Innocent Grey and romance in a nutshell. Now let's take Tokyo Babel and see how it approaches a grim apocalyptic setting where humanity, angels and demons got almost extinct in several gruesome massacres: Let's build a high school for people who are already thousands of years old => slap stick festival => brutal murders followed by battle for life and death => slap stick festival => impaled victims burning in hellfire and screaming in agony => slap stick festival. Yeah, it does have some good scenes and interesting ideas, but is that really supposed to be admirable 'character building' with the only person that seems to somehow reflect the situation being the protagonist? And don't get me started with the character simpletons in Root Double - it's essentially a kids novel. <_<

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1 hour ago, ChaosRaven said:

Wall of text

>vidya gaemz

Honestly, what do you expect from modern vn's? All the professional writers - those who actually can and DO create good stories run away from the industry, they treat as adolescent training ground and start writing actual prose or LN's. Modern vn's are nothing but cliche-fests with bland settings and constantly re-used stereotypes, strictly followng marketing trends to maximize already low profits; it's a common problem where market becomes so oversaturated, it's nearly bursting, yet people who are a part of it cling to it no matter what, because they know they WON'T be able to do anything else to make a living; "I worked creating eroge for many years" isn't a good point for a resume.

I can only hope the opening western market becomes a safeguard floodgate, allowing the japanese industry to relax a bit, whilst our influence will increase overall demand for better, higher quality games with well written stories.

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Guest Anonymous

Posted

I will never understand people who bash things they eagerly read themselves.  People who play moege are not here to find the greatest story of all time nor a revolutionnary attempt worth of litterature classics, but just want to have an experience putting a big emphasis on atmosphere, characters, slice of life, and it will mostly be appreciated by these criterum . If you are not searching that, there is no meaning to read this particulary genre. Also i don't understand people who consider vn like a

media where only story seems to be an important factor to determine if it's good or not. Actually almost none vn even the one people praise from the story would be considered good by people judging

them against pure books (i mean classical litterature, novels and such).

 

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Guest Anonymous

Posted

since i can't edit my message...in the last sentence i meant: "wouldn't be considered good by people judging them against pure books"

 

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It's true that the story is not always the most important factor. Sometime playing some moege with cute girl in it is fine. But they are recycling the genre indefinitely with nothing new every month. Same type of heroine, same setting, same joke, same story. Over and over again for years. For a veteran reader, you are just tired of that stuff. I'm not criticizing anyone. I'm just sharing my opinion on the subject. 

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xD. It's fine that people liked those type of game :). I just want them to make a little more less of moege to have other things time to time :p. 

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Still, I don't think the solution is that moege readers suddenly start reading just nukiges instead. The signs for the industry would be... fatal.

At least I wouldn't call the majority of VN's turning from moeges to nukiges an improvement. :unsure:

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3 hours ago, ChaosRaven said:

Still, I don't think the solution is that moege readers suddenly start reading just nukiges instead. The signs for the industry would be... fatal.

At least I wouldn't call the majority of VN's turning from moeges to nukiges an improvement. :unsure:

I wouldn't call it an improvement either... but you should try reading some of the online chats in Japan about various charage... like the fact that some fans go 'eh, why aren't there at least five h-scenes for each heroine?' and crap like that all over the place...

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On 12.6.2016 at 1:00 PM, ChaosRaven said:

And don't get me started with the character simpletons in Root Double - it's essentially a kids novel. <_<

Didn't you put Root Double on hold after Root A? Because that route is mainly an introduction to the plot. The vast majority of the characterization for literally everyone happens in the later routes. If Root A is all you've seen, you're not really in any position to judge the characters' complexity.

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35 minutes ago, kilicool64 said:

Didn't you put Root Double on hold after Root A? Because that route is mainly an introduction to the plot. The vast majority of the characterization for literally everyone happens in the later routes. If Root A is all you've seen, you're not really in any position to judge the characters' complexity.

Nope, I've continued some more since then and now I'm almost finished with route B. Unfortunately, it didn't really improve in comparison to route A even if the style is very different.

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28 minutes ago, ChaosRaven said:

Nope, I've continued some more since then and now I'm almost finished with route B. Unfortunately, it didn't really improve in comparison to route A even if the style is very different.

Okay, then you have indeed seen more of Natsuhiko, Mashiro, Yuuri and Salyu by now, though they all get some additional development later on, especially the latter two. And you're still not really in a good position to judge the other characters.

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