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Some thoughts on Digination and its subsidiaries

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Clephas

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As I'm currently playing Sorceress Alive and have played numerous Digination games in recent years, I thought I'd talk about my thoughts on the company and its subsidiaries. 

My first thought is that the company is both aggressively pushing the current boundaries of the industry fanbase while also regressing into an older time.  When I first expressed this thought to a friend of mine, he asked me if I was crazy... but this is how I explained my thoughts to him.

While charage/moege have always dominated the non-nukige part of the VN industry (since the turn of the century, anyway), there have been times when the percentage of such games to other games has leaned toward more variance.  This last year and a half has been very much such a period, and the period between 2004-2008 was another such period.  In these periods, less 'genre-bound' games have been released in larger amounts than is common in what I call the periods of stagnation (2008-2010, 2012-2017).  Common genres often named are charage/moege, chuunige, nakige, utsuge, and plotge.  While these should be merely generalized 'umbrellas' under which games fall, during the periods of stagnation, there is far less blending between the genres.  Chuunige are chuunige with little or no SOL, charage/moege are entirely SOL-romance focused, nakige go for your tears from beginning to end, etc, etc...  The current period is one where we are seeing more genre blending and the resurrection of genres that were mostly dead until recently (mystery, psychedelic, etc). 

I first noticed the trend was changing (as well as the number of non-nukige being produced overall going down) when Navel released Kimi to Mezameru, Ikutsuka no Houhou, a peculiar blending of genres (mystery, sci-fi, chuunige, nakige, SOL) that was unusual in my experience when coming from a frontline charage company like Navel (though they have at times produced more plot-heavy games like Tsuki ni Yorisou, Otome no Sahou).  However, Digination was already digging into this back in 2016, albeit in the form of the 'close but not quite there' Shinsou Noise.

I'm uncertain whether Digination has succeeded because it happened to start producing this type of game when the market's hunger for more varied genre-blends was rising or because it was doing something a newer generation of VN fans had yet to experience.  However, soon they had begun putting out genre-blending and unique titles at a rate I found somewhat surprising, though not all of their games appeal to me.  Sorceress Alive, for instance, is hard to get past the first part of the prologue, because the protagonist is somewhat of a doofus when he lets his enthusiasm take over.  I actually had to come back after dropping Raillore no Ryakudatsusha to be able to be able to appreciate its better points, lol.

Missing X-link told me this company, owned by DMM, is serious about making its mark on the industry, because it was both ambitious and highly emotional in a way I found fascinating... though I also found their choice to use the ladder-style structure to be frustrating, since many of the side-heroines are as interesting or moreso than the mains.  However, Digination strikes me as a company that is willing to experiment to a degree that most other companies are wary of even considering.  I find in this company a gleam of hope for the future of VNs in general, though it will take more than a single company pioneering the way to drag the industry out of its sludge-filled ruts.

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