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Plk_Lesiak last won the day on July 14

Plk_Lesiak had the most liked content!

About Plk_Lesiak

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    Honorifics Hater
  • Birthday 05/31/1989

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    Anime & VNs, writing, popcultural studies
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  1. N1RV Ann-A Cyberpunk Bartender Action Announced

    My VN consumption is sailing the seas of crap and mediocrity while quality VNs are the occasional harbors. It makes them feel that much better though. :3 I'll get to it though. Just like I'll get to Flowers... As soon as RL let's me consume anything beyond let's plays...
  2. N1RV Ann-A Cyberpunk Bartender Action Announced

    I don't mind, I estimate it will take me another year and a half before I get to reading the first one. :] Actual romance sounds awesome though. :3
  3. Unlimited Chat Works - Random Talk

    How did you end up there then?
  4. ~Hia

    Wow, that's a surprisingly reasonable answer! I approve. Hope you'll have fun around here!
  5. ~Hia

    Welcome to Fuwa! So, are you a Pulltop fan? What's your take on MoeNovel?
  6. Hello

    If you don't know, you're better off that way. :3
  7. Regarding Horror Visual Novels

    I personally think that VNs are simply not a good formula for horror, at least not the "scary" type - you can have suspenseful moments in an average-lenght VN, but you can't reasonably keep it like that all the way through like you could with a movie. "Disturbing", on the other way, is something that VNs can do amazingly well, as evident by Saya no Uta, Lynne, Soundless, or even Clock Up titles (I don't think calling euphoria or Maggot Baits horrors would not be that much of a stretch). So, you'll more often see good VNs with horror themes/elements than straight up horrors, unless it's some kind of short, indie stuff. Also, what others said is very valid - it's moe and ero content that sells, you have some niche fetishes that work with horror, but generally, it's not what's the most profitable or "safest" to make.
  8. Hello

    Hello, new person! ... It might be a strange question, but are you a bee? Or THE Bee?
  9. Issue with Germany is about lack of proper age verification on Steam - from what I read you need a third party, reliable system to legally sell porn in Germany, to make sure it can't be purchased by minors - not the kind of law that many companies would care about, knowing how internet works, but I imagine both Valve and publishers would rather play it safe at this point.
  10. While this situation is changing significantly nowadays, as the Western visual novel market is professionalizing both when it goes to development and publishing, in the past EVN scene was primarily a world of extremely short, freeware titles, created by countless enthusiasts as minor passion projects or game jam entries. While these games, often very simple and minimalistic, rarely deliver sufficient material for full reviews, many of them are still worthwhile and artistically pleasing titles that I would like to cover more consistently. For this reason, I’ve conceived this new format – mini-reviews, that will provide the basic outlook of the VNs in question and rate them on a simple, three-point scale: - Highly Recommended: for short VNs that provide an exceptional, memorable experience despite their limitations - Recommended: for titles that are enjoyable, but significantly flawed or advisable mostly for people enjoying their specific subgenre/dominant themes they use - Not Recommended: for titles that in my opinion simply fell flat or were misguided to the point they’re most likely not worth your time – a rating I expect very rarely to use, considering the games and authors I’m going to cover In the next few months, I hope to deliver a few posts in this formula, while I’ll also be redacting the old Yuri Game Jam/Free Yuri EVN lists according to it. As a starting point, however, I’ll take a look at a developer with maybe the most impressive catalogue of short, free VNs, some of which I’ve already covered in the YGJ series. While The Sad Story of Emmeline Burns and Once on a Windswept Night might be ebi-hime’s best-known freeware titles, since late 2014 she released 8 other free games of varied scale and quality (I am skipping the earliest ones, not listed on her Itch.io page – those were mostly humorous experiments with the VN formula rather than legitimate stories). Recently, ebi announced abandoning freeware projects for good, as they were draining too much of her time and resources – and while it might be a sad thing to hear, it’s both understandable from the viewpoint of any commercial developer and a good opportunity to look back at her extremely generous contributions to the EVN scene. Today, I’ll cover the first four games from the eight mentioned before, in the chronological order, starting with Dejection: An Ode, released on November 2014 and ending with Round the Mulberry Bush from the mid-2016. In two weeks I will complete this list, starting with Where the Sun Always Shines and ending with the 2018 April Fool’s VN Learning in Love!. I hope you’ll be willing to accompany me on this little journey and enjoy reading my reviews! ------------------------------------ Dejection: An Ode Taking its title from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, this VN is a direct predecessor to Asphyxia, taking the same themes of gender-bent romantic era English poets, depression, substance abuse and unrequited love. Samantha, female version of Coleridge is placed here as the protagonist, with an unhealthy obsession about her best friend and fellow poet Lillian (William Wordsworth) and constantly struggling with what we can assume is a bipolar disorder – episodes of extreme agitation and inspiration, followed by extreme depression and inability to work. Her struggle is shown through simple visuals, with just sprites and a few backgrounds, but the dynamic and stylized prose makes it a very enjoyable and convincing read. The abrupt, inconclusive ending felt slightly disappointing, but the story makes it clear that any proper resolution of the plot would be even sadder and harder to accept. While it’s definitely a simple and minimalistic game, visibly from the very early period of ebi’s activity as a developer, it’s still very much a worthwhile read, especially for the fans of her characteristic style of writing and storytelling. Final rating: Highly Recommended Is This The Life? While Dejection was a historical drama, Is This The Life? explores similar themes in the modern setting, following the story of Luis, a French teenager trying to cope with the death of his mother. The plot is centred around his harsh, sometimes violent rebelling against the world that deprived him of the person closest to him and inability to cope with his new situation. The already rather disastrous setup is made even worse by an unrequited crush towards his young, attractive math teacher – all of this presented in the same, minimalistic visual style known from the previous title and simpler, context-appropriate prose. Unlike Dejection, which I, for the most part, liked a lot despite its depressing themes, this game left me with highly mixed feelings. While the trauma Luis goes through and the way he pushes away people trying to help him are understandable and to a large extent not really his fault, the continuous deterioration of his family relations and the few social bonds he has outside of it don’t really make for a compelling read. The ending it leads too mostly left me tired and frustrated and while I can’t blame it on the quality of the writing or the characters (it’s as hard as it is exactly because they’re believable and consistent), it’s also not an experience I would like to go through again or blindly recommend to others. It is a good VN, but might be worth reading only if you’re ready for its genuinely-depressing tone or are looking specifically for the themes of loss and unresolved grief. Final rating: Recommended Lucky Me, Lucky You The third freeware game by ebi, released in March 2016, brought both an improvement in the visual quality (with much better-looking sprites and some very much welcomed visual effects) and a change in tone. Its story follows Nanako, a lesbian college freshmen going on a rather absurd journey – one to meet the erotic model, who was her first crush and the stimulus that made her realize she’s gay, whose area of residence she found out by sheer accident. Also featuring Nanako’s cross-dressing gay friend, Ryo, Lucky Me, Lucky You is very heavy on LGBT+ themes, but approaches them without any kind of moralist fervour. Nanako’s slightly obnoxious personality, the vulgar language she uses (maybe more vulgar than the Japanese language would actually make possible) and flashy way of dressing above anything else makes her feel like a genuine, flawed person whose problems and anxieties, while often connected to her sexual orientation in some ways, are in their core universal and relatable. Same goes for Ryo, whose eccentricities, while in plain view, are not really his defining features, as we learn quite a lot about his personality and his friendship with Nanako. While the two VNs described above were somewhat alienating with their depressing themes and somewhat hopeless conclusions, Lucky Me, Lucky You tells a very humane, original story that simply makes you enjoy the characters and even while they might anger you at times, cheer for them in their struggles. For this, I consider it a thoroughly positive and worthwhile experience. Final rating: Highly Recommended Round the Mulberry Bush If you thought that after the bittersweet Lucky Me, Lucky You we’ve escaped the world of angst and tragedy, Round the Mulberry Bush comes to prove you wrong in a manner that probably deserves a proper trigger warning. While the story of a stableboy becoming a friend and hopelessly falling in love with a young daughter of a wealthy noble clearly foreshadows the sad ending since its opening moments, the extreme character of the conclusion it proposes is something I didn’t really expect (and that I probably wished I was warned about beforehand). My personal complaints aside, this VN, with a plot spanning over 8 summers and 8 meetings between the protagonist and his ever-slipping-away love interest under a mulberry tree, proves ebi’s talent as a writer and willingness to explore darker aspects of human nature in all their nasty, gory reality. However, as I’ve found this one particularly painful, I hesitate to recommend it unless you’re really sure you can handle its soul-crushing plot developments. There’s no denying though that it is a solid piece of writing, interestingly stylized and bold in its storytelling. So, if you’re willing to excuse me, I’ll just go cry some more... Final rating: Recommended ------------------------------------ To be absolutely honest, while I knew that ebi-hime is not scared of some heavy themes and borderline-macabre plot developments, going through her early work was tougher then I expected. Not because I could ever complain about the actual quality of what I was reading, but exactly because everything in her VNs was convincing and engaging – and particularly heartwrenching because of that. Apart from the sole exception of Lucky Me, Lucky You, I’m both impressed by what I’ve experienced and borderline disturbed by the intensity of the negative emotions filling those stories. While I usually treat my VNs as a form of escapism, these ones are the exact opposite of that – they’re brutal confrontations with harsh realities of life and the extreme suffering it can bring to people. An interesting, in a way compelling experience, but one you have to approach with extreme caution. In two weeks, we’ll be continuing our journey, hoping there’s some kind of light in this world of endless suffering (spoiler: there is. kind of…).
  11. Kickstarter up for Loca-Love: My Cute Roommate

    Yeah, I wondered if I'm the only one that finds the fact they never fixed this awful piece of promo art and used it for title screen insulting? It feels below a developer of their size (sorry for slight OT)...
  12. ey

    Welcome to Fuwanovel! When you get done with Ace Academy you might consider giving Crystalline a try, PixelFade stuff is quite fun.
  13. SubaHibi was a very peculiar case, as the "all ages" version was basically an extended demo (first 2 chapters) while the whole rest of the game was hidden behind a patch. Quite an absurd workaround on Frontwings part, but indeed, it's the kind of aberration that shouldn't happen under the new rules. TBH, I hope that we can keep both the reasonable all-ages releases and get games such as Saya no Uta or Kara no Shoujo on Steam, but it might quite likely be 2-3 years berore the situation stabilizes into some kind of clear pattern.
  14. I think this is the road most publishers will take, at least with the titles that were already released or prepared for release. With the straight-up ero games, like nukige or games with very drastic themes, they'll start making their way to Steam more often and go straight to the adult-only category. But with titles that might actually earn additional sales by offering all-ages option and having extra visibility to non-porn-oriented players, like most moege, I don't see a reason for publishers not to make the 18+ content optional. As long as they don't abuse the system (ex. Sekai holding 18+ for a large ransom), there's really no downsides to having more options.
  15. Everyone should be. What Melty Quest's devs did is a bit of a Russian roulette, but at least it's a very obvious hRPG - something no one bought for anything else than porn, so they're only risking backlash from Valve if they find their content too drastic or partially back down from opening to porn. In the meantime, they have the first uncensored eroge in Steam and tons of publicity. For MangaGamer, they have much more varied catalogue and much more to lose. They can't risk just blankly updating their games to eroge versions and are in no way in a hurry. I'm glad that they're taking it slow, trusting in Valve to act consistently and in the best interest of publishers is like signing your own death sentence.