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alpacaman

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alpacaman last won the day on April 12

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About alpacaman

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  1. So I finished the YU-NO remake. My main takeaway is that it was a poor decision to do a shot for shot copy (minus the h-scenes) imo. Not in the sense that the things that they reworked are necessarily bad, although the visuals certainly aren't perfect. I haven't played the original so I have no nostalgia for its artstyle or voice acting. But rather there is a disconnect between its updated packaging and its script and gameplay system which are both barely able to hide their age. For example the pacing, story progression and plot construction are pretty weird from today's standards. They totally made sense when the original came out. The multi-route mystery was a novelty at the time and I imagine employing a point-and-click adventure gameplay mechanics for progression probably made the most sense at the time but in a 2019 release the pacing feels excrutiatingly slow at time when you have to click different places on screen to get lots of tiny pieces of information, especially as most of what you learn doesn't really have an impact on the true route. I think a reworked script that employed a more modern VN-route structure and got rid of some its more dated aspects could have worked wonders for a YU-NO remake and made it worthwhile for both fans of the original and new readers. As for the remake we actually got, just upscaling the original art and adding the QOL features to the gameplay would probably have carried better results imo. The current Umineko discussion has made me kind of want to re-read it next. Originally I planned to wait for Umineko Gold, but that project sadly seems to be dead in the water (pun somewhat intended).
  2. Umineko does have a pretty clear conclusion, both in terms of plot and themes, it just doesn't bother to explain all of its murder mysteries in way that satisfies anyone looking for clear-cut "logical" solutions, which is kind of the point. My theory for why Umineko is more controversial in Japan is that its critique of a certain hyper-rationalist mindset hits a lot closer to home with a larger portion of the consumer base there. Ryukishi07 reacting to a possible need for answers to the howdunnits based on material reality by effectively shrugging and saying "I gave you Battler's and Ange's "truth", if you are not satisfied with that, go figure it out yourself" is a big middle finger to these people (if the inclusion of Erika didn't piss them off enough (and I could go on about how great of a character she is)). Especially since Japanese popular media, or at least the parts I know, tend to package their social commentary in a way that mostly spares out the individual consuming it.
  3. Anyway it's kind of impossible to discuss Umineko in a comprehensive fashion because it's so massive. Even if you edited down all the maniacal laughing, uryuu-ing and over-the-top fight scenes you would stil probably end up with an 80+ hours read where every single 10 hour chapter gives you more food for thought than most actual 80 hour VNs out there. Some time ago I planned on writing a blog post about how the gold from the Golden Land is a metaphor for truth, but I scrapped it after realizing all the introduced concepts I would have had to explain and all the plot points I had half-forgotten I would have had to read up on and I just couldn't decide where to even start.
  4. I kind of have the same criticisms about Clannad as you, except that I found Nagisa somewhat bearable which in turn made the emotional scenes impactful enough for me to still love the game. Also the abusive parent redemption arc might be the anime trope I hate the most. As for my personal reading progress, I recently played Three Fourths Home, a seemingly pretty obscure game from 2015 which sadly isn't on vndb. I get why, as it has continuous gameplay (although very minimalistic; you basically just push down one button) and no sprites. The core of the game is a long telephone call where you pick dialogue choices though so for me at least in spirit it's enough of a VN to mention it here. If you want an impression of what the game experience is like, the developers uploaded a video of the first five in-game minutes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKVvglBBRmk It's only about three hours long even if you count in all the bonus content which includes a soundtrack about 50 minutes long where most of the tracks didn't even make it into the actual game (and which you have to listen to in full to unlock a bonus scene). There also is a collection of short stories and a photography project which gives the experience a mixed media vibe. Also it's very good and you should play it, at least as long as you're not allergic to metaphor. It's not super pretentious or cryptic or anything like that but its elements tie together more thematically than plotwise. After this pleasant surprise I started reading YU-NO (the remake). I still think it's kind of a weird decision to do a shot for shot remake of a VN with only updated art and sound and a few added quality-of-life features. The game still feels somewhat dated, not in a bad way, but the overall pacing as well as the "raunchy" parts still give out rather clear early VN days vibes. As for the VN itself, so far I like it. I already mentioned the pacing which can drag a little in the beginning. I'm nine hours in and the game still hasn't really set up what its central conflict is going to be (or at least why I should care), which feels weird in a mystery game. Other than that it has been a nice read so far.
  5. Of course it's their intention. That's why I called Grisaia cynical, not poorly constructed.
  6. I felt like the things you criticise about the sequels (which I haven't read) are already visible in the original. The girls all being in love with Yuuji and his cum/superpowers healing their mental wounds and so on. That there is no harem route in the original doesn't mean there is ever any doubt that he is the harem master. Grisaia isn't as much a subversion of anime/eroge tropes but rather a darker and edgier iteration. I don't buy that it's supposed to be a parody of certain clich├ęs, as their overexaggeration rarely ever says anything about them. Yumiko trying to kill Yuuji does nothing to expose inherent problems with the "unapproachable heroine" trope or how it's typically handled through way of comedy, it just takes said trope and turns it up to eleven. If anything I'd say Grisaia imo actually takes the whole eroge formula to its cynical conclusion. There are the incapable heroines, only this time they are total emotional wrecks. The self-insert protagonist is the only one capable of solving their problems, only in Grisaia he is a super soldier because because the development team realised that a high proportion of the target audience reads these stories to play out a certain kind of power fantasy and Yuuji embodies this completely.
  7. Finished Necrobarista yesterday which I was mildly hyped for before its release. It looks fantastic, at least as long as your computer has enough power, because the game renders everything as it happens, even the OP. I'm a sucker for VNs that have actual visual scene direction, and in that regard Necrobarista might be one of the best titles out there. As for the story itself, it is kind of a mixed bag, which stems mainly from the game struggling with properly setting up its central conflicts. For example, early on there is this scene where this seemingly bad guy comes into the bar and tells the owner he's come to collect debt. Then the OP starts. It makes the reader think the central conflict will revolve around the main cast trying to resolve this situation. But then this thread gets more or less dropped until the epilogue where it gets solved through a deus-ex-machina and in the meantime the "bad guy" just kind of sticks around as he's friends with one of the main characters. When it comes to world building though, the game really shines, giving you a feel for the world through small anecdotes and vignettes instead of just infodumping all the rules on you. I also liked how the game handled its small-scale character conflicts, which felt genuine for the most part and led to a few very nice emotional scenes. Overall I'd say the game is worth checking out just for its visuals (at least as long as your PC meets the recommended system requirements). And if you're looking for a low-stakes slice-of-life story in an unusual setting, you probably won't be disappointed either.
  8. Yamaguchi Mioko's album Tsukihime from 1983 reminds me a lot of Clannad's soundtrack when it comes to arrangements and overall atmosphere. For me it totally hits the sweet spot of being melancholic and relaxing at the same time:
  9. My personal favourites are probably Tomoya from Clannad, Rintarou from Steins;Gate, Jill from VA-11 HALL-A and Takuji from SubaHibi.
  10. So I finished MYTH a few days ago. It's kind of hard to talk about since it's one of those VNs that don't really lend themselves to being discussed in terms of superficial production values or plot consistency, kind of like SubaHibi or The Silver Case. Personally I think I liked it despite still not being able to pinpoint what it actually wants to tell its audience. I'll probably need to read it again at some point to get a better understanding.
  11. I can't stand childhood abuse plots where the abuser gets a redemption arc, usually a parent. They get bonus hate points when it's about a single parent and when the rationalization is something like "they only wanted the best for their children".
  12. I wish someone wrote this same basic rant about how every single AC/DC song is the same.
  13. At the same time he says cold media are the ones that are higher in audience participation (at least in every explanation I read, e.g. 1 2 3). Hot media are the ones you can passively consume. Or to quote the man himself: The immersion of actual VN reading vs. watching a playthrough in a youtube video is imo a perfect example of why VNs are a cooler medium than a youtube-video. The video dictates the pace and sequence of consumption for the audience, forcing them into a more passive role and making the experience more streamlined. The interaction with the medium becomes more superficial. From what I get, the terms hot and cold refer more to the effect a medium has on a society, not how immersive they are, which is admittedly pretty counterintuitive. Btw I would categorize VNs as somewhat lukewarm.
  14. I actually disagree with VNs being a hot medium. As far as I understand the concept of hot vs. cold media, it refers to density of information a medium provides. Thus hotter media require less "abstraction" on the consumer's part to construct meaning, not even in some metaphorical sense but like "what am looking at / hearing". For example a photograph is a hot medium, as it contains a lot of precise visual information, a sketch a cold one, as it's mostly lines and things are not portrayed in photorealistic detail. So compared to a live-action movie or even an anime visual novels are relatively cold. They are usually drawn in a stylized fashion, with the location of a sprite not even being the same as where the character is supposed to be in the room, only depict movement in a simplified way and the background sound tends to not be that authentic either. VNs are hotter than most manga or novels, but other than that I'd say VNs are closer towards the colder end of visual storytelling media. Which isn't a bad thing in itself.
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