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An explanation of the "Golden Age of VNs"


Clephas

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Some veterans of reading untranslated VNs refer to the period between 2004 and 2010 as 'The Golden Age of Visual Novels'.  However, you shouldn't really take that statement at face value, as the meaning is a bit more complex than you'd think.

There are some significant differences between VNs today and VNs during that period that both made it the peak of the medium's sales in Japan and produced the greatest ratio of quality VNs to crap VNs. 

One of the primary differences was that, other than moege, there were no strict genre boundaries and genre conventions had yet to slide into place in the minds of fans and writers both.  Companies were mostly experimenters during that time, sometimes basing their projects on previous works (Tsukihime and the Key games got a lot of knock-offs during this time, of varying levels of quality) and sometimes forging out on their own.  

Since there were few genre boundaries, companies were more likely to give the creative staff free reign as to what kind of story they could write, and  - ironically - this actually helped define the various genres in the years to come, as people explored the boundaries of how they could stretch a concept or theme in a story.  Some of these attempts were abortive (ie- thematic moege where all the heroines are of the same type, such as tsundere or yandere, generally didn't catch on) but others were immensely successful (ie- the definition of the chuunige genre and its gradual escape from gakuen battle mania).  However, the point is that the writers, directors, and producers of the time were allowed to fiddle with the formula a lot  more than they are now.  Most major companies nowadays have a 'signature style', that was formed during that period, even if their greatest successes weren't during that period. 

This period also killed the 'pure moege' as a genre, ending the majority genre of the previous half-decade (moege having dominated during that period due to the Da Capo series and Key's games).  The rise of the charage, a demi-moege genre that was much wider in scope and more adaptable, occurred during this period, mostly unrecognized until after the fact.  At the same time, nakige, which had previously been enslaved to the moege genre through Key and others like them, came to define itself as a new, standalone genre that wasn't necessarily dependent on moe stylization.  Even Key itself moved beyond pure moe, though it didn't entirely abandon some elements of it (as the existence of Kud testifies).

However, this age was already ending in 2009, as clearly-delineated genre norms began to form, and charage became the driver for the industry, taking us back, in spirit, to the age before that.  By 2011, the ratio of truly creative works to derivative works was overwhelmingly in favor of the latter, in comparison to the previous decade. 

That isn't to say that the years since haven't produced some great works.  That is patently untrue in my experience... but the fact remains that fewer and fewer writers are able or willing to look outside the 'genre boxes' for answers as to what to write.  I sometimes refer to our current age as the Age of Stagnation, where there is an overwhelming industry pressure to stick to genre norms and those that break the mold are so exceptional they stand out more than they should.

It is possible to create a charage kamige... but it is much easier to make a kamige out of a game that breaks genre boundaries, lol.

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There are still good games being produced, like hello lady and such.

Since 2016 i have a hard time finding good vns, but i believe it will get better again ˆˆ.  I tend to like older charage and it just feel like something is missing from the newer ones.

I'd love something like swan song / evolimit or izuna zanshinken. Some more baldr series wouldn't hurt too but we had baldr heart recently so...

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10 minutes ago, Tweek91330 said:

There are still good games being produced, like hello lady and such.

Since 2016 i have a hard time finding good vns, but i believe it will get better again ˆˆ.  I tend to like older charage and it just feel like something is missing from the newer ones.

I'd love something like swan song / evolimit or izuna zanshinken. Some more baldr series wouldn't hurt too but we had baldr heart recently so...

I never said there weren't good games being produced.  However, there is a lot less in the way of exploration, and when someone does go outside genre boundaries, they do it half-assed. 

Incidentally, a new Baldr game is coming out sometime this year.

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4 hours ago, Clephas said:

I never said there weren't good games being produced.  However, there is a lot less in the way of exploration, and when someone does go outside genre boundaries, they do it half-assed. 

Incidentally, a new Baldr game is coming out sometime this year.

Yeah, i know, i was just exposing my opinion ˆˆ.

 

As for the new baldr, that's great news, i though we would have to wait 3 years to get a game from the baldrhead Team again.

I just checked the vndb, they seems to have bring the old art back, which is awesome btw.

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4 hours ago, Darklord Rooke said:

Soul.

Yeah, that must be it :leecher:

 

Sorry for the double post, but i am on the phone and i can't quote two people in the same post (copy paste do no work for quote on phone)

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