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  1. Like
    Zalor reacted to Clephas in 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. Like
    Zalor reacted to Clephas in 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.
  3. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak in NaNoRenO 2020 Highlights, Pt 2 – Horror (Updated)   
    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. 
  4. Like
    Zalor reacted to Plk_Lesiak in NaNoRenO 2020 Highlights, Pt 2 – Horror (Updated)   
    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. :>
  5. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak in NaNoRenO 2020 Highlights, Pt 2 – Horror (Updated)   
    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. 
  6. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Bolverk in Looking Back On YMK: A Drug That Makes You Dream   
    The sound of a train indiscriminately moving, carrying you through the ride was the perfect metaphor. Its calming and comfortable, but there is a recognition that you aren't in control. It captured the themes of this story so well.
    My high school was close to a subway station, and in some classrooms I could space out and just watch the trains pass by. It often reminded me of this VN, as it just furthered the relevance of the ka-chunk sound to my own HS experience. Just like you it seems, I can really only look at this visual novel with the lens of nostalgia now. I've boarded off the train years ago. Existential anxiety has a different flavor now.
  7. Like
    Zalor reacted to Bolverk in Looking Back On YMK: A Drug That Makes You Dream   
    I can still remember the sound of the train going ka-chunk ka-chunk ka-chunk vividly. That feeling connected to that sound never really disappeared even years later. The reaction to living passively, making your live feel like a never ending boring train ride.
    I still get that feeling from time to time. I think when life feels to calm, easy and repetitive. It feels like I am on the train again. Back in high-school again. ka-chunk ka-chunk. Just different scenery. Mostly, for me the ka-chunk has been replaced with new kinds of existential anxiety as I got older. More manageable anyway, early life was more soul crushing imo. 
    Tried playing the vn again a few months ago. But I couldn't get into it again. Partly because as you said I think. That kind of life is somewhat past us now. Also I'd note. I think that yume miru is a lot better than Catcher in the Rye. Which I read about same time. When I was about 19 years old as well. haha.
  8. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak in Looking Back On YMK: A Drug That Makes You Dream   
    There is actually an ending if you choose to be complacent. Its not considered a good ending, but its not exactly a bad one either. It does do a good job of putting everything into perspective though. So you may appreciate that.
    While I do think YMK is a really good all around VN. I really just wanted to highlight why I subjectively like it so much in this post. Perhaps in the future I might do a more objective and analytical post about it. But I'm not sure.
  9. Like
    Zalor reacted to Emi in Old times Fuwa: mascot attempts   
  10. Thanks
    Zalor got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak in VN Developer Spotlight: Reine Works   
    Great interview. It was quite interesting to read and you asked good questions. I look forward to reading your next interview
  11. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Plk_Lesiak in CUPID (free VN review)   
    Thanks for placing this VN on my radar! Looks very interesting. I like short VNs for not wasting so much time and getting to the point. So I will definitely give it a shot when I'm in the mood for something really dark. I don't know why, but you description of this VN is giving me some slight Saya no Uta vibes. 
  12. Thanks
    Zalor got a reaction from Narcosis in Localization Scene; New Companies: Good or Bad?   
    I'm not a huge fan of Sekai Project or Mangagamer. And if a company comes along and can prove to bring over high quality story based- VNs, is professional, and doesn't constantly make false promises (I'm looking at you Sekai Project), I would fully support them to take over the industry. But NekoNyan seems like the last thing we need. We have enough Moeges, we don't need more. 
  13. Like
    Zalor reacted to VirginSmasher in Localization Scene; New Companies: Good or Bad?   
    This is what I've been saying. All these new companies do is flood the market with games that have the same format with different plots attached and around the same quality of writing. If VNs want to be known as a medium that's got some actual depth to it, licensing more moege isn't the way to show it.
  14. Like
    Zalor reacted to Clephas in My weaboo experience: the latter days   
    As my vet uncle once said... 'The best way to learn a new language is in bed with one of the local girls.'
  15. Like
    Zalor reacted to Narcosis in My VN slump   
    It's not a slump. You're simply changing like we all do. Despite my wilingness to learn japanese and general fondness for vn's, I found myself incapable to play them on a regular basis and I can't really force myself to do so either. I'm kind of still slowly plowing through my backlog (currently on 魔物娘の館 彗星館異形録 ~人魚の章~ ), but it's not really enjoyable when you force yourself to do things, that used to bring joy in the past. Just... I don't know - it's not like my interest in vn's vained or anything, I'd say the opposite, but I simply don't feel like playing all the games I wanted to. Maybe it's because I'm more focused on creating something of my own nowadays. Maybe because I have a decent job that finally allowed me to afford things I could only dream of a couple years ago; that aside, there's life and various obligations to consider as well. Sadly, reading and playing vn's remains time consuming. I'm not the kind of person to waste a couple days worth of time on a silly moege, I might not even enjoy that much.
    At times... we just need a longer break.
  16. Like
    Zalor reacted to Clephas in Poll: my next blog post   
    I'm going to be blunt when I say cultural appropriation is in itself a ridiculous concept for anyone born in the US, where cultural appropriation is in itself our culture.  So please, don't go crazy on that one...
  17. Like
    Zalor reacted to starlessn1ght in I don't care about writing   
    Dude, I will say I disagree with you, but Im very very glad to find someone like you. In my opinion, all elements of a work of fiction must be treated equally. Writing can be just as powerful as art or cause the same amount of damage, if bad, imo. I also watched that video but what opened my mind about the subject was this post. Before reading that, I also thought that story and characters> everything else. But then, I started searching and studying more and I finally realize art, soundtrack, animation, voice acting, etc. can all bring emotions and be intelectually stimulating just like story and characters.
    It makes me sick seeing people saying stuff like: "I dont care about art" because that is not an opinion, that is a lie. People 'think' they dont care about art because they never studied how it is used and thus do not realize its impact. Those people tend to think good art is just being pretty and therefore it is easier to make than a good story. Now even if I disagree that writing is inferior to art or soundtrack, it makes me really glad to see people like you, at least to balance the amount of overrate writing gets from the community.
  18. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from LiquidShu in Deemo: A Genuine *Visual* Novel   
    Thank you! I was introduced to Deemo by a friend of mine who was in my beginner level piano class during my last year of High School. Back then I didn't have a smart phone, but when I did get one during the summer of that year, Deemo was the first app I downloaded. Its truly a beautiful game, and V.K克 is probably my favorite as well. Wings of Piano was the first song I heard from Deemo, and it is still my favorite song. 
  19. Like
    Zalor reacted to Chronopolis in Sayonara wo Oshiete: A VN That Mastered The Use of Atmopshere   
    I love it when the visuals or audio style of the VN complement it or define it's own unique identity (doesn't have to be a unique style). From my experience as well, VN's that utilize the audio and visual aspects draw me in a lot quicker than normal novels. This is even if the base story or depiction is comparable.
    As I found out from Subahibi, Dempa's not really my thing, but maybe I'll come back to this VN. Even though I kinda know what is happening in the VN, somehow getting a hint as how to interpret the (what would normally be) madness makes the VN a more agreeable read. I quite like the observations you made: they're clear and relevant, interesting, and not presuming.
  20. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Palas in The Ultimate Analysis of Katawa Shoujo   
    Palas, this was very well written and a pleasure to read; and like you I am of the group that kept their hands in their pockets. You did something very impressive in this paper, you tackled the question of why this VN so effectively induces the feels in so many people. And trying to answer an emotional response through analytical writing is in my view, one of the hardest tasks. Its the challenge I faced when I wrote my Kanon: Mai and Sayuri analysis. The reason I wrote that in the first place, was because I was confused as to why this apparently simple story, continued to work its magic on me after years. I knew that there had to be significant meaning below the surface if I looked hard enough. But unlike analyzing intellectual questions raised by a story, focusing on its emotional engagement requires a strong poetic understanding. It requires a need to answer the intangible aspects of the story.
    And the reason i find this so impressive, is because in my Kanon piece, I focus only on 1 route and 1 sub route, not on the whole VN. But you tackled the whole of Katawa Shoujo. Not just that, but you offered a very satisfying argument. I think it is spot on why Katawa Shoujo so effectively leaves an emotional impact in so many people regardless of which route(s) they read. And what I noticed, is that the core reason you gave, is the same exact reason that Kanon is so effective. I found the answer in this part you wrote, "It's a spell that only works because all five routes follow the same principle and work under a single logic, which is to include the extraordinary in the ordinary and vice-versa, changing your perceptions of both of them." This is a realization that I never fully reached myself until reading this so thank you. (Interestingly enough, Kanon also has 5 routes).
    I always respected Katawa Shoujo, but now you have gotten me to realize that Katawa Shoujo is essentially the 'Kanon' of OELVNs. Which is an honor I am bestowing as the self proclaimed biggest Kanon fan in the western world ;P.     
  21. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from sanahtlig in Ask sanahtlig: Answers to Common Issues and Concerns in the VN community   
    Instead of reading this I could be learning Japanese...
    But in all honesty, learning to read Japanese is easier than you would think (mostly thanks to ITH and translation aggregator). I've been self studying for a bit over a year and I can finally read untranslated VNs decently well so long as I have those tools aiding me. Now speaking the language is where I truly struggle. Just like how you learn to read by reading, you learn to speak by speaking (and my speaking practice is comparatively much lower). I am convinced that within 1 - 2 years of self studying with an emphasize on reading, you will be able to read untranslated VNs. But if you want to speak and communicate in the language, that's where classes come in handy (and why I'm in a class now). Also, vice-versa. Classes won't really help much with reading, you're better off self studying if you want to read Japanese stuff.  
  22. Like
    Zalor reacted to Funnerific in Ask sanahtlig: Answers to Common Issues and Concerns in the VN community   
    Just because you failed doesn't mean others can't do it. I'm reading untranslated stuff quite well after a year of learning.
  23. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Rose in Data Extraction Thread   
    Kelebek1 is probably the only active member who has never changed his profile from the default avatar.
  24. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Chronopolis in Gurenka Part 2 (End)   
    It's weird how this (of everything you said) is what most interests me about the VN. I like seeing the teacher/mentor archetype in VNs and anime, especially when it's done well, and it seems like you're saying it is. 
    When you say "merely passable" how does that compare to the 'everyday' scenes in the more modern Key titles? If the school scenes are more like the ones in G-Senjou I could probably tolerate it though.
    This kind of strikes home for me. Recently I graduated from HS, and the last couple of weeks with my group of friends was weird. (It was a lot like a VN). Everything was like it always was, but we all knew (but rarely spoke) about the impending graduation. It was like we didn't want to think about that big inevitable change that would end the monotonous cycle we grew accustomed to. So in this sense, I can understand the characters wanting to protect their everyday lives. It stems from a fear of involuntary change (I would guess, as I haven't read the VN). 
  25. Like
    Zalor got a reaction from Mr. Meogii in Fuwa's Lovely Ms. Suikashoujo   
    Wow, thanks for sharing this. I honestly had no idea before this recognition post.  
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