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Everything posted by lunaterra

  1. Hair - Brown, Curly, Long, No Bangs Eyes - Blue Body - Freckles, Left Handed, Pale, Tall, Young-Adult Clothes - Glasses, Jeans, Sports Shoes, T-Shirt Items - Gaming Console, Handbag, Mobile Phone Personality - Absentminded, Atheist, Curious, Eccentric, Emotional, Girls' Love Fan, Idealist, Moody, Romantic, Sensitive, Shy, Sleepyhead, Timid, Tomboy Role - American, Asexual, E-Friend, Gamer, German, Poor, Unemployed, Writer, Younger Sister Engages in - Coming Out, Computering, Daydreaming, Medication, Online Chatting, Reading, Sarcasm Subject of - Anemia, Clinical Depression, Debt, Disappointment, Grief Engages in (Sexual) - Not Sexually Involved Subject of (Sexual) - Not Sexually Involved
  2. No kidding. Cybird is considered the best of the F2P otome mobage companies (Ikemen Sengoku is particularly popular for whatever reason), but honestly, their practices are basically the same as Solmare's--the text just reads better. I used to play a few of those games. Spent some money on them, too. Midnight Cinderella and Destined to Love from Cybird and The Niflheim from NTT Solmare were my main ones, though there were a few others I played. Eventually I realized that I was opening the apps every five hours on the dot to do princess lessons or whatever...and for what? Drips of stories that weren't very good in the first place. I wasn't having fun, it had just become a routine. Plus, as the apps get older, events become harder and harder to complete, basically encouraging people who didn't spend or who only spend a little to temporarily become whales so they can get the same ranking they're used to having. I'm not a fan. I haven't given up F2P entirely. I enjoyed several Mystic Messenger routes (hence why my flairs in both r/otomegames and r/visualnovels are Jaehee...) and I have a soft spot for Voltage USA's Lovestruck stories even though I don't like the "paid choices" mechanic (the way they do it is the least bad I've seen, though--but I miss when they were pay-per-route...). In general, though, F2P is basically a race to the bottom when it comes to providing the least amount of content for the most amount of money. ETA: This thread from r/otomegames might be an interesting read: "To those who spent money on otome games: do you have buyer's remorse or are you happy with your purchases?" ETA2: I wrote a really long comment about otome mobage monetization on the r/otomegames post about this...post.
  3. Editing is a thankless job. Most VN writers think they don't need an editor or copy editor/proofreader. Even if they do realize they need an additional pair of eyes, occasionally I see "editors" with such a poor grasp of English that their input makes the text worse. Oh, and sometimes people decide to just throw out your changes for no reason but keep your name on the final product. That's fun. Usually people send me either a Google doc with their script in it or they send me their .rpa file directly (so it's a good idea to have basic knowledge/understanding of Ren'Py syntax so you don't accidentally break your client's game). Other game writers use Excel or another spreadsheet tool to write scripts. Once, someone I worked with simply sent me the WIP build of their game and had me note which lines needed to be changed...never again. For general editing, I'd recommend checking out stuff linked by the EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association) and SfEP (Society for Editors and Proofreaders) Twitter accounts.
  4. >not playing the game 200 trillion times smh at this lazy QA
  5. If there's been a drop in Steam sales for VNs, I think it's most likely a side effect of Valve's algorithm changes benefiting already-popular/AAA games and being detrimental to indie and niche games rather than anything to do with the VN scene itself. While the article focuses on Western indie games, I think it's applicable to "non-indie" VNs too--they're still very niche products that don't sell enough for a sales-based recommendation system to benefit them.
  6. You would probably be interested in Necrobarista when it comes out.
  7. Sekai Project is selling games on Discord now too: https://discordapp.com/store/skus/555830991168733204/heart-of-the-woods https://discordapp.com/store/skus/555812072969994260/a-magical-high-school-girl But I have to wonder, how many people actually buy games on Discord? I own exactly one game on there (King of the Hat), and that's only because of a free promotion. The fact that Discord seems to be trying to kill its own store (unless you already have a direct link to the game, you can only find games by going to the Server Discovery section and finding a relevant verified server...but Sol Press' server isn't verified, so I don't know how that works for them?) doesn't help. Normally I'd say that any exposure helps, but I'd be surprised if they got any sales at all from Discord, tbh.
  8. Originally posted on Pixels, Polygons, Prose. Another year, another NaNo. For the uninitiated, NaNoRenO (short for...nothing at all; it's a reference to NaNoWriMo) is a month-long visual novel game jam which has occurred each March since 2005. I chose not to participate myself this year, but like each year since I've gotten into visual novels, I've been looking forward to the entrants—some pretty amazing games have come out of NaNos of the past. I couldn't go through every single entry, but I've provided an overview of several of the completed games (no demos, sorry! I couldn't go through all 90 entries in just two weeks!). There might be some minor spoilers ahead. Title: Contract Demon Developer: NomnomNami Original release date: March 30, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 25 minutes Contract Demon is a kinetic novel set in the same universe as the Treat series, Syrup and the Ultimate Sweet, and First Kiss at a Spooky Soiree, featuring demon Kamilla having to deal with the affections of (and her affections towards) the angel who keeps summoning her. Nami's stuff is always a treat to enjoy (pun not intended), and this is no exception. Contract Demon is equal parts cute, funny, and romantic, and well worth the time it takes to read it. Title: A HERO AND A GARDEN Developer: npckc Original release date: March 29, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 2 hours (before an update which made the gameplay take less time, so it'll likely be less now) A HERO AND A GARDEN is a cute VN/clicker hybrid about a wannabe hero who destroyed a town of monsters while trying to rescue a princess who (unbeknownst to him) didn't want to be rescued. As penance, the "evil witch" who lives in the town has cursed him and forced him to harvest berries for the townspeople. The clicker mechanic is very simple, but the VN as a whole is a heartwarming experience, with the protagonist learning about the town and the monsters who live in it, and realizing that what he thought the world was like isn't really what the world is like at all. Title: After the END Developer: Stomach God Original release date: March 28, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac Availability: itch.io (free) Approximate time for completion: 30 minutes After the END takes place a decade after the start of a zombie apocalypse which killed or turned nearly every person in the world; protagonist BB believes they are the only person left alive and spends their time exploring the wasteland. The current town they're in has 12 houses to explore, but there's only enough time to explore 8; you're all but guaranteed to die a few times before managing to get the good ending. I'm not a huge fan of zombie apocalypse stories, but After the END manages its setting fairly well despite some technical issues (the "skip read text" function also skips unread text) and a few text errors. Title: Cooked with Love Developer: STARDUST★SODA Original release date: March 31, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 30 minutes College student Perry (nameable) finds themself in a dilemma after they finally ask their crush Lily out—their wallet goes missing the night they planned to take her out to a fancy restaurant! They come up with the idea of a home-cooked meal instead, but Perry has never cooked before, and there's not a whole lot for them to work with. Luckily, Perry's roommate Brooks is there to provide emotional support (not during the date. That would just be weird). A fun, short VN with a crafting minigame and a great sense of humor, Cooking with Love is extremely polished for a jam game, featuring animations and simple customization (name entry, short/long hair, pants/skirt, he/she/they pronouns). If it weren't for its short length, I wouldn't be surprised to see something like this as a commercial game. One of the highlights of the game is trying out different combinations of food to see what "dishes" you get; I didn't think you could turn all that into...those. Also, I think I have a crush on Lily too. Oops. Title: Seven Seasonings Developer: Sleepy Agents Original release date: March 30, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 30 minutes A surreal VN with a unique aesthetic and an interesting soundtrack. The game makes use of an inventory system, randomized stats, map movement, and a simple trading mechanic; I'm not entirely sure how (or if) they affect the story. Seven Seasonings is one of those stories where I'm not quite certain what happened or what any of it meant, but it provides an interesting topic to think about. Title: One Last Salty Kiss Developer: fullmontis Original release date: March 31, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 50 minutes A kinetic novel about a newly-single man who finds an unconscious woman on the beach one night; what results is an emotional vignette about life, death, and the roles our memories play in our well-being. I felt the whole thing moved too fast; I'm not a fan of stories where the couple goes from zero to True Love in the space of two days. Title: Charles 2.0 Developer: Team Conwolf Original release date: March 31, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 40 minutes Charles 2.0 has what's probably the best logline of the jam: You're the President, but you have no memories. Crap. Short, sweet, and to the point. This isn't an amnesia story; you're playing as a clone of Charles Denton, President of the United States, and must gather enough information about "yourself" and the country to bluff your way through a press conference without arousing any suspicion. Nobody can know that you're a clone, not even Charles' husband Lorenzo or assistant/polyamorous boyfriend Jonas. The result is a story that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout and is one of my favorites of the jam. Title: Enc and the Flying Machine Developer: TangledVirus Original release date: March 30, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 20 minutes Enc and the Flying Machine tells the story of a mushroom girl tasked to write about machines. While the setting is interesting, I found the story hard to follow at times, with the occasional confusing wording. Besides that, though, it's a lighthearted story about friendship and love, and hopefully some polish on the text can help bring that out more. Title: RE:BURN Developer: Jane Titor Original release date: April 1, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 25 minutes Closer to interactive fiction than a traditional visual novel, RE:BURN finds you in the shoes of Charisse LaFlamme, newly-minted part-time editor for an academic journal. One of your jobs is to delete all the old emails that have been accumulated over the past few months. However, things soon start to get really weird. The game was written by one of the writers of DemiDato, one of the projects I'm working on—but trust me, they're two very different games. RE:BURN is something closer to horror; it does a good job at unsettling you just enough to make you wonder if you're really making the right decisions. Title: this was for you. Developer: Watercress Original release date: April 1, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 50 minutes this was for you. is one of the more technically-advanced entries of the jam, featuring lots of animations, voice acting, and general polish. Our nameable protagonist is grieving the loss of their best friend, Ji-min, whom they only knew through a VR world. While it works for its duration, it ends abruptly, without a satisfying conclusion, leaving me in a weird limbo where I don't really know if I can recommend it or not. Title: Robot Daycare Developer: Kigyo Original release date: March 31, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free) Approximate time for completion: 1 hour 40 minutes One of the longer non-gameplay entries in the jam, Robot Daycare follows a trio of college students as they create and raise a robot child for an assignment. How the story goes from there is based on a handful of choices—not exactly revolutionary for visual novels, but the two paths are very different, with the good path being a story about friendship and trust and the bad path being a straight-up horror story. (Some of the descriptions in the horror path are...eurgh. No wonder there's an option to disable gory text.) Both paths are good, but in different ways, obviously. Title: REDD War Developer: Good Tales Original release date: March 31, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android Availability: itch.io (free/PWYW) Approximate time for completion: 1 hour Hm, so this is a story about murder being legal for 12 hours... No, that doesn't remind me of anything at all. Parallels with famous movie series aside, I just couldn't get into this one. A high school student gets caught up in a REDD War, where Earth-occupying murderous aliens are legally allowed to murder any human they want for 12 hours (whereas humans are bound by normal laws and cannot kill REDD except in self-defense). Ultimately, the "killer aliens" trope doesn't do anything for me, and I spent most of the story being vaguely uncomfortable (in a bad way). Watching two of the bloodthirsty REDD call the timid REDD a pussy over and over is just annoying (and yes, I know that the other two REDD are supposed to be unlikable, but they're not the fun kind of unlikable that makes hating them enjoyable). I also thought it was strange that it includes a warning for violence after the cold open where some aliens murder a guy in cold blood. Title: Alice in Stardom Developer: Crystal Game Works Original release date: April 1, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux, Android Availability: itch.io, Steam (free) Approximate time for completion: 1 hour 40 minutes The best part of Alice in Stardom is the writing during the performances themselves (aside from the pointless minigame); everything else is hit-or-miss. I had a hard time getting into the entire concept thanks to my distaste for idols, made stranger by the decision to set the story in what appears to be the USA in 2019, where the idol culture Alice in Stardom depicts really doesn't exist (source: I live in the USA in 2019). I'm a bit confused by the minigame. I failed it the first few times since the game doesn't explain what you're supposed to do (click on the lyrics in the order in which they appear). It doesn't really add anything except making going for your second/third route take a couple minutes longer. Additionally, the "romance" is limited to about three lines (total, across all three routes, although the end of Taylor's route can be interpreted as romantic subtext). There's nothing wrong with a story about friendship or friendship-that-could-lead-to-romance—but I think it makes the "lesbian" and "yuri" tags on itch more than a bit misleading. Title: Mnemonic Devices Developer: Minyan Original release date: April 2, 2019 Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux Availability: itch.io (free) Approximate time for completion: 1 hour 30 minutes I'm generally not a huge fan of the amnesia trope, but Mnemonic Devices has one of the more interesting takes on it that I've seen: the (customizable) protagonist (default name Quinn) eventually finds out that they are actually an extremely advanced android assassin, whose current mission is to kill corrupt hot-shot lawyer Caesar Rivera—who also happens to be Quinn's husband. (They had to get close to him to gather information on him, you see.) The person who breaks the news to you is Quinn's partner Alto, who does a really bad job of hiding how madly in love with them he is. The game itself, however, does a really good job at balancing both routes to make them equally satisfying, although I personally preferred Alto's route. There's a lot of moral ambiguity regarding whether or not to kill Caesar; the game doesn't really say that either is more or less right than the other, though they lead to different endings depending on which route you're on.
  9. I'd like to see less of a divide between EVNs and JVNs. The thing is, I can understand why someone would have a preference for one or the other--the JVNs that get translated into English tend to have higher production values but also tend to be more expensive as a result; EVNs are more accessible (to English speakers) but have a much wider spectrum of quality (since, by and large, we don't get the worst JVNs). JVNs also tend to be longer than EVNs, which can be either a good thing or a bad thing depending on your preference. But I think that dismissing a VN solely because of the language it was originally written in is just plain silly.
  10. Ah, sorry! I put a spoiler warning in the article itself but forgot to put one here. Thanks for the comment. I wouldn't really recommend this game unless you get it for free like I did (or maybe for extremely cheap). It's not terrible, but it definitely wore out its welcome for me.
  11. Disclaimer: I received this game for free from the publisher for a Steam curator page I run. For privacy reasons, I can’t say what that page is. I’ve been cautiously optimistic about this game since the demo was released. On the one hand, the premise seems interesting, the demo was enjoyable enough, and it has some nice art. On the other hand, I’ve disliked just about everything else I’ve played by Reine Works so far. Blossoms Bloom Brightest bored me. I hated all but one of the characters in The Seven Districts of Sin‘s demo. I generally don’t like stories that have homophobia in fantasy settings, even if the story is itself anti-homophobia, so that made the demo for The Wilting Amaranth leave a bad taste in my mouth. The demo for Our Lovely Escape was okay, but didn’t really inspire excitement in me for the full game. But I’m not sure I’d call any of the stuff I played bad. There’s clearly been effort put into them. Maybe they’re just not to my taste. So, despite my previous experiences, I was willing to give Reflections ~Dreams and Reality~ a chance. There’s some very good art; the backgrounds in particular (by DarkChibiShadow, who’s also a visual novel dev in their own right; I highly recommend Tomai) are stunning. Case in point: Reina’s bedroom. In a rarity, there are two different sets of sprites in the game, and it’s possible to switch between them at any time; Set A (the default) matches the main CGs, while Set B matches the chibi CGs. I personally find Set B to be much more expressive and fit better with the backgrounds, despite the CG incongruity. (Also, everyone’s taller in Set B for some reason.) The game makes use of partial voice acting in the form of “grunts,” short phrases, and the like. I can’t say I’m a huge fan; I’d prefer either full voice acting or none at all. But I don’t dislike it enough to turn off the VA completely, which is good, because there’s no way to turn off the VA without also turning off the other sound effects (which are disproportionately loud compared to the voices; watch out if you’re wearing headphones). Main characters (in order of introduction): Reina: The protagonist. She is known as the “Magic Mirror” because of her magical power to show people their true selves. However, said power takes an extreme physical and mental toll on her, and after having her power continually exploited in her childhood, she ran away to escape it. Solmaris: The protagonist’s best (and only) friend, a werecat whom Reina nursed to health after she found him injured as a child. Leo: An unfailingly-polite giant-slayer (as opposed to a giant slayer; he’s pretty much average for a human). Wynn: The son of the chief of a werewolf tribe. He’s the only LI to have three endings (good, bad, special) instead of two (good and bad). Ronah: The flirty, haughty queen of the frozen kingdom of Eisheim. Cara: A princess of an undersea kingdom. She’s an optimist who wants to abolish the concept of royalty in favor of democracy. She’s a little bit naïve (okay, a lot naïve). Thiria: A half-human dragonkin who’s self-conscious of how small her dragon form is and wants nothing more than to be able to live in human society. Sho: A mage with the power of exchange; he can grant people’s wishes for a price. He’s kind of a massive jerk. Blanc: The only son and heir of the Descartes family who owned Reina when she was a child, he is determined to protect her from his family. He doesn’t appear until the second common route. Peony: An extremely eccentric woman who’s convinced that Reina is a fortune teller. She also doesn’t appear until the second common route. Whew, that’s a lot of characters. A problem games with lots of love interests can have is that they sacrifice content for variety; rather than taking a few LIs and fleshing them out a lot, they take a lot of LIs and only flesh them out a little, making the whole experience less satisfying. Does Reflections suffer from this problem too? Read the full post on Pixels, Polygons, Prose! [Major Spoiler Alert]
  12. I don’t like coffee. I don’t like being around cats. Hustle Cat is a game about working in a cat café that specializes in coffee. What could go wrong? …not a whole lot, it turns out. Part of the fun of playing games is being able to pretend you’re a person you’re not—in this case, a person who genuinely enjoys drinking coffee and being around cats. One of the things that Hustle Cat is most famous for is its character creation. Rather than selecting a gender as in most games, Hustle Cat allows you to pick the protagonist’s pronouns (he, she, or they). There’s a minor element of appearance customization, with three skin tones (pale/medium/dark) and two builds (one slightly more feminine, one slightly more masculine—although both are heavily androgynous; the biggest difference between them is their hair length) which can be combined. And unlike many visual novels which allow the protagonist’s appearance to be customized, Hustle Cat actually shows your character in its CGs (and there are quite a few CGs compared to how long the game is). Something I noticed is that, despite (or possibly because of) the pronoun selection, pronouns are rarely used for the protagonist at all, and they’re never explicitly gendered (i.e., if you pick “she/her” pronouns, Avery still isn’t referred to as a girl or woman, just a nerd). I’ve seen some people say that Avery is canonically non-binary because of this, though I haven’t seen anything from the developers confirming it. Regardless, it’s still pretty rare to even have the option of playing a non-binary character in a game. Main characters (in order of introduction) Avery Grey is our extremely relatable protagonist. A recent college graduate, they’re looking for their first job while living in their aunt’s apartment. While going for a walk, they discover a cat café named The Cat’s Paw which just so happens to be hiring. After a strange interview with the café’s proprietor, Graves, Avery becomes its newest employee. Landry is a waiter-slash-unofficial-carpenter at The Cat’s Paw. He’s super friendly and kind. Graves Serling is the eccentric owner of The Cat’s Paw. He clearly is hiding things—a lot of very big things, in fact. Most importantly, the fact that he was in a goth band in the 90s named Xpidercoven. (Okay, that’s not the most important one.) Hayes is the café’s barista; he suffers from a pretty severe case of anxiety. Finley is the super-outgoing social media intern. (By the way, it’s a complete coincidence that I read two visual novels in a row with major characters named Finley…) Mason is the taciturn head (and only) chef of the café. I fell in love with her immediately, and hers is the first route I went through. Reese is the assistant manager. He talks himself up a lot. I hated him almost immediately. The love interests of Hustle Cat: Finley, Mason, Reese, Graves, Hayes, and Landry Read full post at Pixels, Polygons, Prose
  13. I don't like the idea that happy endings are necessarily unrealistic. Like, yeah, bad stuff happens IRL...but so does good stuff. If the writers pull a deus ex machina or something equally trite, then I can understand it--those are definitely unsatisfying, and since they often break the laws of that work's universe, those types of endings often contain weird/horrific implications for everyone else in the setting. But in general, I find well-done happy endings to be the most satisfying. Not everything has to be absolutely perfect, but there has to at least be hope for the future.
  14. Note: This post is an edited version of a comment I originally posted on Reddit’s r/visualnovels. I was lucky enough to win a free key for The Window Box in a giveaway the developer had on Twitter (for every 5 retweets a particular tweet got, a random follower got a free Steam key). I read it in a single sitting, and it’s a hell of an emotional trip. The cast of The Window Box: Sophie, Margot, Elsa, Paige, and Finley First off, I adore the art style. It’s like a mix of anime and art nouveau—colorful and stylized without falling into the uncanny valley. There’s a lot of nice touches, like the Small Talk Slot Machine and Margot and Sophie’s “adult” conversation. Sometimes I wish my conversations could be this organized The story starts off a bit on the slow side—just some college friends hanging out after a few years apart—but things gradually start to get stranger and more unsettling. All five women have their own issues that they deal with over the course of the game. Read the full post at Pixels, Polygons, Prose
  15. The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car official free/PWYW download Description Character Routes The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car follows a slightly unusual format. Rather than choosing a love interest, you pick a protagonist to see the story through. Both protagonists are nameable, but for simplicity's sake, I'll use the default names here. Each protagonist has 3 possible endings, for 6 total endings. These aren't the only ways to obtain these endings, but following this guide will allow you to see all the content in the game. Shelby Ending #1 Ending #2 Ending #3 Dustin Ending #1 Ending #2 Ending #3
  16. 6. Sound of Drop - fall into poison -, ~6 hours. I know that this VN has somewhat of a mixed reception among people, but I enjoyed it for what it was, even if some of the explanations for stuff were a bit silly. 7. Us Lovely Corpses, ~30 minutes, about a witch rescuing her friend from the monster who regularly locks her in her attic. To be honest, even though this is a horror game, I didn't find it that scary. It works well as a drama, though, and the limited palette is interesting. 8. Soundless - A Modern Salem in Remote Area -, 3½ hours, holy shit that was intense. This is a really tough read at points, but in a good way.
  17. These are the free VNs in the poll. Most of them don't have too many votes right now, so if you've got some time to kill, feel free to pick one or two of them and check them out! More votes are always appreciated Halloween Otome: itch.io Lake of Voices: itch.io, Steam Lynne: itch.io, Steam Phenomeno: game, English patch Soundless -A Modern Salem in Remote Area-: itch.io Us Lovely Corpses: itch.io
  18. 5. Bad End, ~2 hours long, about a visual novel that kills players who reach a bad end. It's a bit silly at times, and the translation is clunky, but not the worst way I've spent two hours. 6. We Know the Devil, ~1½ hours long, about three teenagers at a Christian summer camp who are sent to a cabin overnight to fight off the devil. The catch? With each choice, you pick two characters to pair together, and one to be left out. There is a true ending, but that's its own flavor of creepy. I'm impressed by how the writing manages to pull off both "down-to-earth" and "surreal," along with the unique aesthetic.
  19. It is! There's a lot of little details about the setting that make me wish it were longer so that it could go more into the magical girl culture. But as it is, I'm really impressed that it was only made in 2 weeks. It's definitely a unique little VN regardless. - I'm keeping track of the VNs I've been reading for #HorrorGameOct (which will mostly be short, free games) on Twitter, but for the record: Tim's Birthday - VN/point-and-click hybrid, ~1 hour long, about a girl stuck in a time loop where her little brother is brutally murdered at 2:18 PM on his birthday. The main reason this took me an hour is because I missed something obvious in the P&C section. Has a kinda weird moral. The Doll and the Spider - Kinetic novel, ~15 minutes long, about a magical doll who needs to get inside to protect her little girl from the monsters of the witch's hour, and the pet tarantula who takes her there. The font's hard to read and the art isn't that great, but it has an unexpected ending. Painting Your Skin - Kinetic novel, ~20 minutes long, about a sleepover between best friends that gets crashed by monsters. The title of the game doesn't make sense until the very end. White Worm - Kinetic novel, ~15 minutes long, about a normal person with a very abnormal ailment. Creepy as hell, and pretty gross at points, but why didn't the protagonist even consider going to a doctor? The black-and-white-and-red coloring and the hand-drawn aesthetic add to the atmosphere.
  20. Sunrider: Liberation Day - Reads like mediocre fanfiction for a high school anime in a military sci-fi AU...except for the H-scenes, which are just plain terrible. The plot quickly becomes extremely ridiculous, especially in the DLC, and the characters aren't interesting enough to make up for that (read: most of the characters are anime stereotypes). Also, I managed to die twice in a row on one level despite playing on the easiest difficulty. Mahou Show-Jo - A short (~40 minutes) kinetic novel about a retired magical girl. Cool pastel aesthetic, nice music (even if I still don't really understand vaporwave). The ending's pretty abrupt, but since this was a game jam game made in 2 weeks, I can forgive that. I'd love to see a longer, more complete game in this setting.
  21. I'm not huge on horror (especially the type that involves jumpscares), but here are a few free horror EVNs I enjoyed: Black Lake of Voices (you know it's not a happy story when "Death of Hero" and "Death of Heroine" aren't spoilers) Lynne Upon a Darkening Flood Vicarwissen What's Your Name? Not horror but still appropriate for the season: Speed Dating for Ghosts Looking at my backlog, I can try to get through at least some of these: BAD END Cupid The Devil's Gospel Disturbed Entschuldigung The Hungry House Lemures Blue's 2 A.M. May I Take Your Order? The Missing Parts of Maria Gwozdek Nachtigal Phenomeno [redacted] Life The Shadows That Run Alongside Our Car Sound of Drop -fall into poison- Soundless -A Modern Salem in Remote Area- Summer Nightmare, I guess (I don't even remember owning this) Sylvan Disappearance Us Lovely Corpses The Way We All Go We Know the Devil White Worm
  22. The problem with the attack helicopter meme is that the well has been poisoned. It doesn't particularly matter if the original intent was malicious, because so many people have used it in a derogatory way that the derogatory meaning is what most people will think of when they see it. "Traps" are a slightly different but related issue. I'd like to reiterate that I'm not trans, and someone who is would be a better reference for the issue than I would, but if the usage was solely limited to cis male crossdressers, I don't know if it would be that much of an issue. But, again, the well has been poisoned. Many people view trans women as just men in dresses, and refer to characters or even real trans women as "traps." When I know that people use the term in that way, it's hard not to associate even the "benign" usage with the derogatory usage. I'm not sure what Mormons or otherkin have to do with anybody's points. I guess mocking Mormons is kind of an assholish thing to do (it's something I would have done when I first started identifying as an atheist, but wouldn't bother with now--I have better things to do), but it's not like they're an oppressed group anymore. And otherkin...meh. If someone identifies as a deer, I guess it's a bit silly, but why should I care?
  23. The attack helicopter meme was already unfunny a decade ago. The problem with jokes like these is that they're harmful regardless of their intent. It's like stepping on someone's foot and breaking their toe. The fact that you didn't intend to step on their foot doesn't change the fact that you broke their toe. You're still responsible for the hurt you caused that person. And like it or not, emotional hurt is harmful to a person's well-being just like physical hurt is. Maybe not in the same ways, and not always to the same extent, but not everyone can just decide that having their identity mocked and invalidated doesn't affect them--nor do I think that people should have to make that choice. I'm not trans myself, but I am bi, and I've been told (or heard other bi people told) that I'm actually just a closeted lesbian, that I'm just a straight girl looking for attention, that everyone picks a side eventually, so on and so forth. It's exhausting to live in a world where people think that gay and straight are the only possible orientations out there when you're neither, and I don't think that I or any other bi/pan/ace/etc person should be responsible for others' decisions to be assholes. And likewise, if someone makes derogatory jokes about trans and/or non-binary identities (and like it or not, the attack helicopter meme is inherently disrepectful towards trans and non-binary people), people who are hurt by those jokes shouldn't be blamed for that hurt, and people who make those jokes shouldn't expect to say those things without receiving criticism simply because Free Speech. Freedom of speech doesn't mean freedom from consequences. I'm not saying that being bi and being trans are the same thing (although obviously there are bi trans people out there), but in this particular issue they can be similar. I know plenty of trans and non-binary people both online and IRL, some of whom I consider dear friends, so I don't like watching people making fun of their identities. In short, I agree with just about everything @Funyarinpa said. Also, personally, I've never really took anything that complains about "SJWs" seriously, but there have been two incidents which have convinced me that the phrase has no meaning beyond "person I disagree with": a Tumblr post years ago on which I witnessed people sincerely calling a neo-Nazi an SJW for saying "it's okay to be afraid of black people" an argument I had on Reddit a few months ago where the other person called a right-wing group SJWs because their goal is social change
  24. If you like otome games, a Vita is a good investment. The stuff that's out in English is generally well-regarded (especially Code:Realize and Collar x Malice). A Switch may also be a good option for otome gamers, at least in the future. Otomate (the biggest otome game developer) recently shifted their focus away from the Vita and onto the Switch. However, the only English options right now are mobile ports that aren't considered particularly good. (It might be less worth it for developers/publishers, though...we're starting to see previously console-only VNs coming to PC. Amnesia and Hakuoki both have PC ports, Nightshade got a PC port just for the English market and never had its Vita version released outside Japan, Psychedelica of the Black Butterfly will be getting a PC port sometime in the future, and London Detective Mysteria is going to get a simultaneous Vita/PC release.)
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