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  1. Really. This saddens me. I spent the time to do something either you deem it unworthy of your time or just don't care and now I am the villain. But if dismissing me would make you feel better by all right do it. Think of it this way. Suppose I made the stupidest post possible. But since other people are willing to share their expertise at least some of them(including me) walk away from this post knowing more than they click into it. Then my effort is not in vain. And for that I willing to do it again.
  2. I briefly analyse the VN market and invite some discussion on it. The breakthrough title of Yuzusoft, Dracu-Riot! came out in 2012, HDN in 2010, Nekopara in 2014. Meanwhile, minori, elf, KID, sprite and many others have closed down. It has been said the VN market is saturated, it is now a dogfight between existing VN company. Globalisation has complicated the issue since VN faced more competitor and also a larger potential market. Of all products I know, VN is one of the most difficult to advertise. On one side, it is closest to traditional literature as art that should be exempt from the concern of capitalism. On the other hand, it is as commercial as video game and movie, one major miscalculation could lead to bankruptcy (Atari burial is notorious). The duality is such a horrible nightmare only those who work in the field have right to say they know how it feels, which excludes me. If you look at HDN and NKP, you would notice they all have licensed english translation. This helps tremendously in broadening market. It is crucial to remember Japan is the only country that primarily speaks Japanese with a population of about 0.13 billion, about 2% of the population on Earth. Meanwhile, US and UK alone has about 0.38 billion population, and this is excluding the Europe and India. Even conservatively we can say at least 1 billion people on Earth know English. This is about 13% of world population. Even if we assume much smaller percentage of people buy their product, an English translation would still bring in considerable profit. Notice that the script is not a costly investment compared to soundtrack, CG, programming, making op, hiring VA. In the early 2000s, there is no facebook, youtube, twitter, steam and reddit. There are not many, if any, translation of VN. How much they can earn is solely determined by how well received is by the Japan market. This is no longer the case. The world today produces more entertainment than a person can consume so anything that can be substituted is at peril. VN is not as engaging as video game, not as thrilling as movie, not as sophisticated as literature, not as casual as anime. What truly differentiate VN from other medium is the the perspective. In all other medium the story unfold with the audience looking at it but in VN the audience assume the role of the protagonist and participate in it (I know exceptions exist in both sides). Most VN is told in first person and the protagonist is usually not voiced (incidentally, the exceptions are frequently the better VNs, a phenomenon I might investigate another time). First person narrative is most suitable for love story and this is quite the norm in VN. Writer usually compromise the plot a bit to bring the most out of the characters. This is why while there are better VN than Eustia I find its script to be one of the best I have seen, it is a VN that never for a moment I noticed the writer has compromised the plot to build a better character. I discern two approaches in strategy these companies adopted quite successfully. These two approaches are by no means exclusive. The YZS method. VN is not the main income source. it introduces the cutest, most adorable and sexually attractive heroines they can design. They earn money by selling derived products, such as keyboard, pillow, figurine, phone cases. This is spiritually identical to free-to-play game with paid content. You would be surprised how profitable this is in mobile phone games (e.g. granblue fantasy)and MMO. The HDN or NKP method. Broaden potential market by having as many translation as possible. I hate to admit it but even the worst translation (as long as it is not machine-translated)usually bring more benefit than harm. Ideally, have an anime adaptation. This is spiritually identical to Hollywood movie. AD, youtube trailer, it spares no money on advertising as if the whole world must know its existence. I particularly emphasise the importance of a OP. I have read VN with a great plot yet no one ever mentioned it because it lacks popularity due to absence of OP and poor advertising. TL;DR. Translation is almost always welcomed, know your unique advantage, discover alternative income source and be absolute shameless in advertising. It is almost always poor business strategy that leads to downfall in VN company. With all due respect, if a VN with the plot quality of Nekopara could sell so well, you know most buyer really don't care about it. So what can company do if they want to retain some dignity? Make VN that is so unique you can't find anything similar from other company, such as 5pb and Liar-soft. (I wanted to mention KEY but their mastery of VN as a medium is not something that can be learnt and copyed with ease)
  3. Aside from the cultural background of Japan, I add an observation. It is the biological cause. I don't know why but nature ordained female to carry the burden of pregnancy. In days when there is no DNA, no blood type (which is not even effective and decisive at all), the parenthood of a child is ambiguous to say the least. Not even to the potential father, if the mother has several partner, she would find it difficult to attribute her pregnancy. This would not be so severe but in an aristocracy, where knighthood, heritage or other privilege is inherited by birth, promiscuity is almost equivalent to betrayal to an entire family. And I think I need not name examples of brutal assassination. I should really read The Second Sex by Simone Beauvoir. Though I am not sure to what extent her analysis is applicable to non-western society.
  4. I do want to respond yet I am at a loss what to say. It is times like these that makes me wonder if setting up a VNDB page with VNs I read would lent me a little bit more credential. I appreciate some suggestion that would change my mind though.
  5. I have read some VN to form a more critical perspective, and I think this is valid to some extent even in other form of entertainment. I begin with this deliberate exaggeration. Male is sent to hell for thousands of reason: cowardice, cruelty, malicious, murderous. But the female is condemned for only one reason: promiscuity. In VN a female can do almost nothing wrong, because what is considered lewd in real life is cute in VN. What is snub is chaste. What is condescending is tsundere. Even massacre is somewhat alleviated in the name of love. The only exception is betrayal in love, which rarely happens in VN. By betrayal I mean not those forced by threat (i.e. NTR) but voluntarily relinquishing a relationship to start a new one. And lets be fair, the male have no more right to demand the female to be loyal than the female to male. The entire moral burden is shifted to the male, and most frequently the protagonist. This is one of the most universal criticism against VN. The protagonist is criticised as too passive, too weak, too childish more than any other complaint. This I view as an attempt to locate an/the original source of evil or sin, echoing the approach in religion. Largely successful and potent, yet is not the whole story. To conclude, VN has sublimed the female due to vast market audience of male. The remnants are shared by male or in some occasions an external race. I for one welcome a VN that defy this not because I am male, but because staying in impunity would diminish moral worth of female. Though I admit that subtlety would concern almost no one. The breakthrough could be coming from a top quality otome game. A genre of VN that I think lies the biggest unexploited potential.
  6. I am not the only person when I say that I feel uncomfortable near other human. But there are different reasons for that so I will elaborate. In the modern society which each person compete for a better job, a better spouse and in general a better life. One soon find the rest of humanity an obstacle to his happiness. Temporary bond is formed to pursue the same interest as in a company, but once the first opportunity comes there will be more than a dozen of people willingly to stab you in the back as long as they can get away with it. So you have to know who to trust and who not to. To avoid suspicion you have to pretend. Whoever act differently would soon find many enemies and no allies. I find this game of hypocrisy and proud, interest and glory unappealing. I abstain from it as much as possible. This brings me more disdain than I think is justly due. They can live their lives as they want it but just leave me alone. But they just have to insist their life is intrinsically more noble. Even if that is true it would be more prudent to spend time on what they care and not convincing others to follow. So I live day after day as if I am a criminal waiting to be prosecuted. Only the books, VN and a few other hobbies keep my sanity intact. I wonder how long this can last.
  7. Another name left the scene - RIP minori

    I wonder how much this can be traced to business strategy misfit and how much to the general situation of VN market. There are thousands of reasons to mistrust humanity but don't worry this is not the case this time. Minori as a company is like Don Quixote who pursue his idea that is irrational in the viewpoint of business (blocking oversea visit is a prime example and other one, making this op). Whether they are right or wrong is not important anymore because they don't need to make the decision ever again. Personally I think it is for the better they liquidate for two reasons. First, history would forever view them in good image without them desperately struggle to survive. Second, this would send a strong message to all other VN company. --- On a personal level, I just feel the hollowness of existence. We talk about right and wrong, justice and evil but in the end the only objective measure of worth is money.
  8. I somehow stumbled into a site when searching a game. https://freegame-mugen.jp/ To my surprise, I found many indie games whose maker later made a name for themselves. If you check this https://freegame-mugen.jp/total_score_ranking.html セブンスコート, which is also on VNDB https://vndb.org/v14878, is also the developer of Fata morgana no Yakata 洞窟物語, which is the game cave story (also on steam). The game was ported with Nicalis, the developer of The Binding of Isaac. There are also the VN true rememberance, ナルキッソス (Narcissu), シルフェイド見聞録, whose maker is also the maker of 片道勇者 (One Way Heroics, on steam). It seems like a great place to discover hidden gem and talents.
  9. Lack of academic recognition in VN

    Are you considering a career in VN or professorship? To focus on VN in PhD is quite a commitment that I don't think can be explained by hobby and interest alone. That is a choice you only make once in your life similar to marriage. --- I am quite disappointed in the education policy in where I live. I realised the freedom I sought is not to be found in university. I am trully among a despised species in society. Neither useful as an accountant or doctor, nor academic as a scientist.
  10. Academic recognition has been a driving force for talent. Almost all great poet/writer/playwright/film director are expert critic themselves. In where I live VN is about the only culture product you cannot write a thesis on. I have seen someone published an analysis on the storytelling of dark soul or a parallel comparison between anime and fiction. This would have to do with the niche nature of VN. I am rather interested if it is the same elsewhere. One day it would be moaned as a loss to humanity similar to the profession of blacksmith.
  11. New When They Cry game preview

    I noticed the flag in the opening and it is the flag of Hong Kong. The setting also seems to suggest there. Hong Kong is a special place for many years it was a bargain between UK and China. The characters also have traits of Asian countries. I would take the bold guess that the plot is about global politics, either as a continuation of cold war or the conflict between new superpowers (india, China).
  12. What kind of ending structure do you prefer?

    I have the feeling that this question is equivalent to asking whether it is better to write with right or left hand. It depends on the language (some language start from the right) and personal preference hence differ on a person to person basis. Theoretically so long the story is complete I don't mind. Practically even some of the best VNs have terrible side routes. Writers are not so patient as many would think and frequently their work would be judged by the best route, not the average performance.
  13. Pessimism on VN community

    I did not say I cannot read japanese (nor did I say I can). It is precisely that I can read some VN others can't I know how much the world is missing. There is a reason to care about a community even if my interest does not exactly align. --- I guess I can never truly represent any voice of any community. It is interesting to me that everything I say in life or online backfire on me.
  14. Pessimism on VN community

    The feeling that it is going nowhere troubles me. It gives the feeling of watching the sea level rise everyday on some lone isle and wait hopelessly the day it consumes you. Were it a tsunami one could die in glory but passive suicide is depressing. --- I think we are "at the mercy of" anime. If somehow the japanese industry decline, VN would be the first to perish. And there is nothing we can do about it except take over their legacy and write great non-japanese VN. This is the only feasible and optimistic option I can think of.
  15. There is a lower limit of a community below which it cannot sustain itself, and a upper limit above which the opinion is so divided it is practically two or more communities joined together. Empires have fallen and countries were formed because of this. Out of anime, manga, japanese video game and VN, the VN community can be reasonably expected to have the smallest community. While we put up a veil of hospitality, the truth is time and money is limited, if a person bought an anime figurine, he is less likely fund a translation project. You can even say the most similar communities has the fiercest competition. Every community lose some member to another community and gain some daily until equilibrium is reached. At the bottom line, VN community must have enough customers to buy VN so companies even consider translating. Ironically, the smallest community has the highest balance to meet. It is a general opinion that translating VN is more demanding than anime and manga. They can spread the burden on larger community by subscription and AD revenue while VN cannot. I add that while anime generally has a higher production cost but once finished is almost trivial to translate but translating VN is tiresome. VN is the least friendly toward foreign audience. I am rather pessimistic to the future of VN community (at least the western one which depends on translation). We have to drop the idea that popularity of VN would increase the size of VN community and consequently quality and quantity of VN. At least 80% readers would convert to anime or manga fan (to be fair, some of them join us). On the bright side, those who stay are devoted but that mean little to companies. To conclude, VN benefit little from capitalism and its close friend anime, game. And I would rather believe I will set foot on moon one day than government would intervene. Thanks for reading all this pointless babble.