Jump to content

Keep grilling, Fuwanovel,


Recommended Posts

'Cause otherwise your salt will turn Sakura Beach into Sakura Don Juan Pond.

 

I'm here in defense of the Sakura series. 

 

I'm not a positive person. In fact, I'm fairly cynical towards lots of the stuff you guys like. I mean, Clannad, man. And Grisaia. 8-bitfiction hits closer to home than these. Your waifus are all shit too - uh huh, especially that one girl from Majikoi. Oh, and nut chocolate. Who the fuck puts fucking seeds in chocolate?

 

What I also am not, however, is a purist. In the sense that I don't want, or rather I don't demand that things remain pure, nor do I even conjecture what the pure state of something would be. "Huh?" you might murmur, wondering what in the world does the Sakura series, of all things, have to do with purity. What I mean with all this talk is that we try to see the Sakura games in their pure state and this is fundamentally wrong if we want to understand how to make visual novels populetc. etc. etc.

 

In spite of our honourable efforts to prevent people from buying things they didn't know they didn't want, Sakura games keep getting announced, published and bought. To some extent, perhaps. If Steam Spy is a good source, we can say Sakura Fantasy did far worse than its predecessors, much to your glee. However, Sakura Clicker has now more owners than Narcissu and probably half the MMORPGs out there. Winged Cloud's Patreon could probably mantain two small ~serious~ VN studios alive. But no, the world is unfair and we are getting Sakura trash every month instead of the masterpieces we deserve.

 

But compare their fate with Dischan, the fallen angel of OELVNs. Why is it that, even with money on their hands, they couldn't deliver the products they wanted? The answer, I believe, is that they failed because they were developing visual novels. Winged Cloud, on the other hand, develops stuff that just so happens to be visual novels.

 

A travesty, some might say. After all, the quality of their products doesn't honour the sophisticated prose of that untranslated gem only you read or the innovative choice systems of 5pb's games. I want to shed light on other aspects of their products that are actually great traits:

 

1. They aren't part of the visual novel circle.

 

How many reviews have we read that analyze Sakura Spirit's writing or Sakura Fantasy's world-building? Or rather, how many reviews were made with the sole purpose of panning the Sakura series so as to say "hey, look! I have great taste and I must have you know! Go play something worthwhile like <VN #1> or <VN #2> instead!"?

 

But the catch here is that the people who read these reviews agreed with them before reading them. Winged Cloud's audience is not here. It's not on Lemma. It doesn't have a fanbase like the Fate franchise does. Normally, not having a specific cult (so to speak) would be a terrible thing, because fidelity guarantees sales-- but here we have to start analyzing Sakura inside a context and not as a thing of its own. It's on Steam. It's part of the Steam circle, if that's a thing. What this is means is that people who buy Sakura games in general and download Sakura Clicker in particular aren't people who were elsewhere, heard of the game and logged on Steam to buy it. It's people who were already logged on Steam and, for one reason or another, came across the title. This seems silly, but is extremely important - Winged Cloud is taking good advantage of how Steam facilitates building a community around the products therein. Remember that Steam also works as a social network.

 

Sakura Spirit in particular was a game people talked about and this is more important than it being good according to a standard some jerks from a message board called Fuwanovel made up. It's not easy to make games people want to talk over - the ability to generate jokes or impressions that everyone has in the first seconds is not easy to come across. If you scroll down the reviews, they are all basically the same three jokes over and over - "someone gifted me haha" "my mom caught me playing this but totally worth it haha" and "now I have a girl interaction simulator haha". It's not like people don't have access to porn and it's not like people don't know everyone made the same jokes.

 

The jokes, in fact, aren't what made the Sakura games successful - what is to be observed here is how they make people actively pursue being part of a community in which Sakura, not the game as a piece but as a topic for conversation, is at the center. Like, uh, a fire in a luau.

 

There was a time when I mentioned here how visual novels can touch our vulnerabilities and batman - I think it was batman - commented that he wanted to see people trying to make nukige sound like pieces of art that touch our innermost depths. At that time, I told him that why, yes, our sexual preferences and desires are, too, vulnerabilities and that's why sex sells better on single player/viewer experiences than collective experiences. When people talk about Sakura Spirit/Angels/Beach/whatever, even jokingly, they are sharing their awkwardness towards other people or the image of hardcore gamers they want to mantain or something. I may be starting to be way too sociological here and I'm sorry for that because I fucking hate people who say people do this or that because of repressed feelings or subconscious or some shit, but what I want to say is -- Sakura Spirit enables people to talk to each other, socialize and even empathize on the social network aspect of Steam. I don't know whether this is admirable or not, but what matters is that this is what people want and only a game like Sakura Spirit could do that.

 

Actually, I lied. There was another game that could have done  that, but didn't. Which takes us to the next point.

 

2. They're recognizable

 

Depression Quest generated an hecatomb, more for how people reacted to how people reacted to how people reacted to a reaction to something only marginally related to the game itself than for, well, the game itself. However, the discussion was there and Depression Quest achieved some degree of success. However, it didn't have a brand. Sakura does. When we talk about how Sakura x/y/z is to be launched on Steam, we're acknowledging that there is a recurrence and we know what to expect even though the games are completely different. The fact that there is a Sakura Clicker and no one is batting an eye is telling that Sakura is a brand strong enough to carry over game genres with enough essential elements preserved, you like them or not. There's tongue-in-cheek humour, mild lewdness and perhaps similar art. That's it, but this is something Dischan, for example, failed to do and would have failed even if they had launched all of Dysfunctional Systems.

 

Let's be practical. If Zoe Quinn had decided to release another game, what would it be? We have no idea. Every new game by Christine Love is also an unknown. They don't have an identity as clear as Winged Cloud, and that's good for Winged Cloud and for us. Knowing what to wait creates the habit of being on Steam, of anticipating, reading news about stuff, being a part of the market. A market made solely of disconnected masterpieces is bound to fail, and as long as you have a particular interest, it's good to know that there will be a Sakura Whatever. You don't have to build the will to play and buy from scratch every time.

 

I love planetarian. It's in my top 5 visual novels and no untranslated gritty magnum opus will ever take it from there. But I honestly don't think it's unfair that Sakura Angels has three times planetarian's number of owners. What's there to recognize about planetarian? Could you ever have a Yumemi Puyo Puyo Machine? It's such an isolated game in terms of a market and of an experience that it's hard to write even a fanfiction starring her and, I don't know, Wall-E, given how different are the tones in spite of the similar themes. But it's the fact that it's so unique and you'd never expect something like it that makes it so, well, unique and unexpected. It's the paradox that brings us to the third point.

 

3. They're actually being made

 

Steam is the kind of program that opens when you boot your computer and you just stay there, half-waiting for something to happen, half-waiting for nothing weird happen. If you're bored, you're then more likely to look for a new game to play than go do something else. This is the reason why Solitaire for Windows 98 is the most played game of all time. But it's a shitty game, no? Hearts and Minesweeper are so much more dynamic, interesting, challenging-- fuck that.

 

What made Solitaire even more popular than the aforementioned games (FreeCell doesn't count. FreeCell is incomprehensible) is that Solitaire is easier to handle-- you decide when you lost, unlike Minesweeper; every game is different and there isn't a ceiling, unlike Hearts. So it's approachable and you could always return to it instead of doing something else, like, I don't know, going away from your computer and doing something useful with your life. Such is the case of the Sakura games and this is actually a great quality -- the Steam user doesn't have to wait two or three years for a new game with a similar experience. The gaming habt, albeit casual, is formed with these games, not with the games that change their lives. This role is played well by the Sakura series and you do that too, just not with Sakura. Your sanity-check-when-bored habit probably is talking shit of inanimate objects to feel better about your intellect on the internet.

Link to post
Share on other sites
In spite of our honourable efforts to prevent people from buying things they didn't know they didn't want, Sakura games keep getting announced, published and bought. To some extent, perhaps. If Steam Spy is a good source, we can say Sakura Fantasy did far worse than its predecessors, much to your glee. However, Sakura Clicker has now more owners than Narcissu and probably half the MMORPGs out there. Winged Cloud's Patreon could probably mantain two small ~serious~ VN studios alive. But no, the world is unfair and we are getting Sakura trash every month instead of the masterpieces we deserve.
Link to post
Share on other sites

I can agree with all you said, but the games are still shit.

I can analyze it from any angle I can imagine and I'll always arrive at a steaming pile of horse feces.

I don't blame either SP or Winged Cloud for doing these things, they're the clever ones and more power to them for making profit as a business, I'm just sad that this is the level of quality that warrants success and all you really need nowadays is a short, hollow experience to cater to people with tiny attention spans, and I'm not talking about the VN scene exclusively, this crap is popular way outside of that.

I mostly am just disappointed in the fact that this has such a huge market to begin wuth, specifically the Steam community which is generally quite uniformed and not really interested in informing itself in general either, but it shouldn't really surprise me at this point I guess.

I just play my role by not buying this stuff, can't really do much else can I?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it isn't fair to compare totals for owning a game that is free. Also, porn will always sell, especially when it comes to 2D animation. Porn in the 2D world sells far more than actual porn, so it's kind of a given.

 

As for your other points, I am not a person who compares masterpieces when it comes to visual novels, so I can't really say. In my own opinion, English VN players aren't very bright when it comes to the industry. I know that might sound a little pretentious, but what I actually mean is that most English VN players only focus on the translated novels that exist. You think, well yes, right? I actually don't agree with that ideology.

 

See, just because I am only able to read English translated VNs, doesn't mean I only focus on English translated VNs. Not being able to understand something doesn't mean you shouldn't enjoy hearing other people talk about it and gain some interest yourself. I may not be able to read original Japanese novels anytime soon, but I am definitely interested in hearing about them and listening to some of the stories they have to tell. I think that's why I was interested in playing Cocoro@Function! with Mephisto.

 

When it comes to most English VN players however, they only focus on English novels. Since a large number of VN players focus on 1 of 2 things when it comes to the industry, there isn't much room for variation. The 2 things I am talking about are playing nukige or playing masterpieces (in other words, games that most people consider good). In this example, I am talking about the latter. Because most people only talk about the "good games," they will compare every other VN they play with them. Since this is the only thing they can compare it to, you are forced to look at other "bad" games with disgust. People always look at the very 1st things they played/watched when it comes to comparing a medium. In this case, they played Katawa Shoujo or Fate Stay 1st, and therefore anything not up to that expectation is bad in their eyes for the most part.

 

In this case, the Sakura series is all about being a huge cock tease. Since it appeals to males only (because I don't know many lesbian females who enjoy large breasted women running around), there really isn't much in terms of what it has to offer. Going back to my 1st point, Japanese VNs tend to at least focus on story lines that have some sort of depth to them (ignoring nukige in this case). Even Cocoro@Function!, a game that is designed to be about big breasted girls in high school has an overarching story that makes some sense. The Sakura series on the other hand doesn't give a rat's ass about any of that - it's the Sora no Otoshimono of the VN world. Like that anime, people love it, but it isn't something most people want to sing praises of.

 

Good points otherwise. Glad to see someone stand up for the series even though I hate it with a passion.

Link to post
Share on other sites

#2edgyforme :makina: . Jokes aside, I can see your perspective on the matter - but it's not the content that bothers me most with the series, but the level of quality and effort that is "not" put into it.

 

Sakura Spirit enables people to talk to each other, socialize and even empathize on the social network aspect of Steam.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Winged Cloud created a meme.  I don't see why that's deserving of praise.  It disappoints me that the Sakura series is getting so much attention simply because it's accessible.  I don't have a problem with fanservice games or even nukige, but I'd appreciate it if games were successful because they're best-in-class rather than simply because they attract attention.  Also, the impact of the Sakura series on the genre as a whole should be considered.  Is the VN industry better or worse off for the attention the Sakura series has drawn?  I'm not sure, but I suspect that Sakura Spirit has turned away players who might've been interested in other titles, who assumed that because Sakura Spirit was so popular it must be a pretty good game or a superior sort of anime-style text game thingy.

 

Winged Cloud is a meme generator.  But is it generating memes that are beneficial for the industry as a whole?  I think that's what matters to many of us in the end.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I can at least see why they are doing good.

Suddenly out of nowhere, a bunch of "Japanese hentai games" that people "could only find in some random hentai sites" got flooded into Steam. Imagine the excitement it gave to people.

Yeah, a large amount of positive votes on Steam are just trolls, but the majority of them are people who came looking for something to legally fap to. And the Sakura series got exactly just what they needed. Of course, since it's only for fapping purpose, who cares about plot, really?

 

That said, I think that the Sakura series actually have some pretty decent ideas about the story, but they just don't know how to develop it right. Cutting down the volume of fan-service and focus more on story development, they can easily raise the quality of their products. Though I'm not sure whether or not their "fans" will appreciate that, or just us VN players here.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sakura Spirit is like Donald Trump's campaign for US President. It does everything a VN isn't suppose to, and yet it sores in popularity. All the critics and so called intellectuals in the VN community are left scratching their heads thinking why, meanwhile the commoners in the VN scene are eating this shit up. Yup, this is exactly like the Donald Trump phenomenon.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sakura Spirit is like Donald Trump's campaign for US President. It does everything a VN isn't suppose to, and yet it sores in popularity. All the critics and so called intellectuals in the VN community are left scratching their heads thinking why, meanwhile the commoners in the VN scene are eating this shit up. Yup, this is exactly like the Donald Trump phenomenon.  

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sakura Spirit is like Donald Trump's campaign for US President. It does everything a VN isn't suppose to, and yet it sores in popularity. All the critics and so called intellectuals in the VN community are left scratching their heads thinking why, meanwhile the commoners in the VN scene are eating this shit up. Yup, this is exactly like the Donald Trump phenomenon.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not that I hate the Sakura series for what it is, it's that it's popularity cause many people to think this is the standard quality of visual novels and think this stuff is what visual novels are all about. Several idiot youtubers also contributed to this by posting playthroughs of it with thumbnail bait and got lots of views. The popularity has also influenced other people to try make their own low quality VNs and think they can make profit off it. I find this all rather disgusting how everything turned out in the western VN community and is why I stay away from all of it

Link to post
Share on other sites

The boobs is prbly enough reason for many to play it...

While I know there's a big portion that believe this, I find it hard to understand how people who use the internet need this game in particular to get off. I seriously have found hentai flash games more engaging and erotic than this series could ever strive to be, and it just boggles me that this weak fanservice in particular can have such an impact on what I thought were people who are pretty used to the internet and its vast amount of porn, and this is what brings me back to my point about Steam users just not caring about information in the slightest and being prone to such weak fanservice bait such as this.

I just don't get it...

Link to post
Share on other sites

I can definitely see why some people would be interested in cheesecake but not porn, and I'm often disappointed how many adult VNs--even those focused on sexual content--fail to build proper sexual tension.  The buildup is just as important as the release.  I often find a string of fanservice scenes culminating in a sex scene more interesting than a string of sex scenes.

Link to post
Share on other sites

While I know there's a big portion that believe this, I find it hard to understand how people who use the internet need this game in particular to get off. I seriously have found hentai flash games more engaging and erotic than this series could ever strive to be, and it just boggles me that this weak fanservice in particular can have such an impact on what I thought were people who are pretty used to the internet and its vast amount of porn, and this is what brings me back to my point about Steam users just not caring about information in the slightest and being prone to such weak fanservice bait such as this.

I just don't get it...

 

Age and/or accessibilty I'd wager. Or those that don't understand the web well enough to know they can hunt for better free porn? Hard to really believe, but then again, they did pay for this stuff.

 

Or under-18's, that convinced their parents to buy it for them, with the argument "it's not porn".

 

At the end of the day, it really just boils down to "sex sells". Plaster some breasts on your front page/product pic, and bam, instant clickbait.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Shit games aren't shit because they sell and because they have a succesful buisness plan ? No shit m8, Never happened m8.

Shit is shit, and will stay shit, and eventually decompose and make grass grow, because grass learned from shit being shit and tries harder not to be as shitty. (Unless it's on the sideway, but that's another story).

However, I bet they didn't even think about half of what you said;.

 

It's not fair that the Sakura series are more succesful, it's just not surprising. See ? Not fair but not suprising.

It's never fair that bad stuff gets better results than good stuff, it's the opposite of fair. But it makes sense given the conditions, the community and the marketing around the game.

 

And I'm sorry you don't like Clannad, must suck being you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

i am of the opinion that as long as there are people out there who enjoy a game/vn/whatever than the product is good, not everything needs to be a mona lisa or a dragon age, sometimes people want something dumb and sometimes people need something dumb. Plus as stated above it's on steam so people can find out about it easier, they play it and then search for more and discover the wonderful world of vn's, and then they join the dark side, see, easy, you don't even need cookies

Link to post
Share on other sites

i am of the opinion that as long as there are people out there who enjoy a game/vn/whatever than the product is good, not everything needs to be a mona lisa or a dragon age, sometimes people want something dumb and sometimes people need something dumb. Plus as stated above it's on steam so people can find out about it easier, they play it and then search for more and discover the wonderful world of vn's, and then they join the dark side, see, easy, you don't even need cookies

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sex doesn't sell. Not that simply, at least. I hate to be the man with the statistics, but it's what at least the film industry has found out. Here's where we have to analyze context too - games are games, not movies - and this is why it's important not to see the Sakura games purely as the works they are. In the not so distant future where we start making, buying and enjoying games and/or visual novels in some other way, it's clear to me that, if we even remember them, we'll remember how badly written they were or how they failed to build a comprehensible universe.

 

But right now, 2015, being accessible or being easily talked about is indeed a quality. It's not easy, sanah, to make something that generates memes. It's crazy, but it's a complex economy. Maybe they didn't even do it on purpose, but the fact is that not always will you be interested in the best of a determined category (visual novels, in this case). You'll be interested in... what interests you about that product. Sakura completes the range of interests of a lot of people, if only the interest to know what's hot. So, Suzu, I do think many games that simply don't work would have their shortcomings turned into positive aspects for them simply by changing their context. Big Rigs, for example, would have become a fun and interesting collective experience if people could have shared the bugs they found as they played. Perhaps not positive aspects for the game itself - like I said, in its pure state. But it would have been Steam users making good use of Steam, and that's healthy. I believe Sakura falls in this category - not as in "it's so bad it's good", but as in a pastime that is different from the other pastimes people already own, but in the same platform. How is that unfair? Which God of Justice will ever bestow judgement upon the gaming market for not giving money to those who alledgedly deserved it?

 

(And I think "good" and "bad" are far too vague descriptions of anything to be a serious point of discussion. As if we'd ever reach the conclusion of what the "best" VN is. It's an absolute standard we won't ever agree to.)

 

tl;dr: to all who were confused by OP, I'm sorry. I heven't made enough sense lately. The tl;dr of it is, like I said before, assuming a huge chunk of people we don't know are inherently evil, crazy or daft prevents us from seeing why some phenomenons are really happening.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Allow me to sum up most of the replies on this post:

 

"Waaaah! People like something I don't like! Waaaah!"

 

The lack of self awareness here is astonishing. So much talk of how people just like it because it's become a meme, but all your disdain of it is basically a meme at this point. 

 

How is it hurting any of you that people like these games? Live and let live, ladies and gents. Super simple stuff.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe one of the main points of discussion here is how people do not enjoy the game itself, but being part of the group that played the terrible game. They enjoy playing what's popular and whatnot.

Another point is how said people then finish with the idea that VN's in general are no better than Sakura series, and since Sakura is what's popular, that's what they'll play and nothing else.

Why play the allegedly inferior and not as popular VN's?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...