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Showing most liked content since 06/04/2020 in Blog Comments

  1. 2 points

    Visual Novels are a Hot Medium

    One thing I've noticed about the best Japanese VN companies is that they manage to keep all elements of their VNs at a high level or at least an aesthetically pleasing level. Visual elements are pleasing (though the Japanese baseline is much, much higher due to a near-standardization of the art quality in commercial vns, than the Western one), music direction is still a thing (you know, the thing that vanished after the PSX era from regular games, due to the arrival of voice acting), and voice-acting is even more refined (for the most part, though there are exceptions) than what you see in anime. The area where the Japanese stumble is writing. Due to the 'crutch' of voiced dialogue, there is a tendency for many writers to try to tell most of the story with dialogue and sprite poses. However, that is like using only black and white when you have a full color palette available. If there was one thing that struck me immediately playing my first VNs, it was the sheer impact of combining first-class narration with the other elements of a visual novel (as well as coordinating those elements). Heck, I've even encountered games where the appropriate use of music, narrative, and voices have carried the game past lower quality artwork to startling heights (Devils Devel Concept being a premier example) that only get better the more times you play it. When everything is high level, however, you wouldn't believe the degree to which it blows you away... the first time I played Dies Irae (In Japanese) it destroyed me completely. Everything about it quite simply was so different from what I'd experienced previously, while using many of the same elements. Bradyon Veda did something similar to me, as did Sakura, Moyu and Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo yori mo,. To put it simply, there are works out there that utilize the full 'palette' of what the medium is capable of. However, I can tell you that very few companies would have the wherewithal to gather the talent that can create such games. First, writers with that kind of sheer brilliance are rare. Second, companies that might gather such writers would not be able to handle them, because each one needs different things to work at 100%. Third, maintaining all the other parts of a game (Art, VA, Music, and direction) at the same high level even if you have the writing staff has got to be a serious pain in the rear. To be blunt, Visual novels have a lot of moving parts, and just throwing extra people at it doesn't usually work (very few games with multiple main scenario writers or artists have turned out well, though assistants sometimes work out fine). In retrospect, is is amazing that I can name double digits worth of games that have drawn on every element of the medium to its fullest, considering what a pain it must have been to put it all together.
  2. 1 point

    VN of the Month December 2007 - Dies irae

    Keep in mind Dies Irae is more of a retroactive masterpiece for this month, because from all acounts the 2007 version is vastly inferior to the 2009 version that got translated.
  3. 1 point

    nothing & nowhere (Western VN Review)

    Although this is about Nothing & Nowhere you've ended up convincing me to read Lynne! To be honest I haven't heard of it before, but I'm a sucker for good psychological horror, and I actually really like the artistic design of it based off of the vndb sample photos.
  4. 1 point

    nothing & nowhere (Western VN Review)

    > a teenager crumbling under pressure from her toxic and demanding family I feel like this is a poor description because it misses the class aspect of Lynne I thought was somewhat obvious (and calling her family toxic feels overly reductive). It feels clear to me that she's written to be lower class and part of her struggle is dealing with a sense of low worth that brings (cf. her comparisons to Lynne), apart from her generally grimy (in all senses) surroundings. anyway I guess maybe I'll read this ge later if I can acquire it, idk tho
  5. 1 point

    Visual Novels are a Hot Medium

    That is a completely different definition from the one Zalor presented though, touching on a seperate issue. It kind of makes both claims true... But when it goes to the mode of engagement, I'm definitely with Zalor on this. In my experience, reading VNs is close to reading a novel or watching an engaging show, when it goes to mental effort. I can watch YouTube or play traditional PC games for hours/days on end, but VNs are way more emotionally stimulating and I need proper mood and mental energy to tackle them. ...and that's why also get burned out on them and anime pretty regularly, even though I still consider those my favourite forms of entertainment. :C
  6. 1 point

    Visual Novels are a Hot Medium

    I've mostly given up on anyone in Japan utilizing the medium properly. The ones who do don't seem to prosper (Light for instance) or are entirely reliant on a single genius (Caramel Box, Propeller before it disbanded after two failures in a row without Higashide). I think the reason for this is that the medium got defined really early on as an ero and romance focused medium, due to the twin dominance of the moege and nukige genres. While there are a number of VNs out there that qualify as true literature, it takes someone with a lot of patience to find them in the first place. I don't have the knowledge to speak definitively about the Western market, however. Edit: Part of the reason the Japanese market is so awful is that Japanese find it difficult to ignore preconceptions. It took even longer than it did here for otakus to stop being treated as second-class citizens, and even now, that prejudice is pretty strong in some quarters (particularly the over-sixty generations). This tendency to simply believe the preconceptions created by others' words and initial impressions have led to mostly people interested in ero and idealized romances to take an interest in consumer visual novels in Japan, meaning that a greater majority of the games are made to satisfy that type of consumer. The market is currently contracting (yes it is contracting) and as a result, a disproportionate number of games escape the 'moege' label than in previous years. However, this is simply because the makers who cater to people who want actual plots or something else in their visual novels still have about the same number of consumers, not because there are a great many more such in an absolute sense. In time, this shift might result in more serious works gaining an advantage, but that is only if the moege/nukige genres don't bounce back.
  7. 1 point
    The art really was the draw for me, but after reading around 10 - 15 minutes of it I have to say I was kind of confused as well. Glad I wasn't the only one since I thought maybe I was just stupid. I think it has a problem where the art is nice, and for a different story it could have worked perfectly, but in Unfamiliar Work it felt like the art and writing were in conflict with each other. Not helping each other out which is the relationship art, writing and audio should have in a VN. I guess I'll have to try Eislyn's Apocalypse next.
  8. 1 point
    Indeed, Unfamiliar Work looks very different, which is something to appreciate, but I'm still not sure what that story was about. I'll be curious about your impressions of Eislyn's Apocalypse when you get to it. Zakamutt lately accused me of overhyping stuff in my game jam articles and I can't say he's totally wrong. Just the fact that you confront it with very amateurish entries can make a game that is just decent look like something really impressive or make you ignore some flaws... Which I don't think is a massive problem, as these posts are more about selecting noteworthy games from the sea of random weirdness, but if someone has really high standards they might expect a lot more than a game jam title can reasonably deliver. :>
  9. 1 point
    I love it when a VN actually make proper usage of having multiple endings by expanding on different things with each different route. That sentence alone convinced me to check out Eislyn’s Apocalypse. Also the honorable mention, Unfamiliar Work, looks to have quite an interesting art style. At least based off of the sample art on the itch.io page.