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Why are visual novels becoming popular in the West?


DarkZedge
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So a youtuber that I sometimes watch (The Animeman) uploaded a video talking about why visual novels have been getting more and more popular over these past few years, in the past there were nearly no vns on Steam or other online stores and such, so why is it that they've been experiencing such a boost in popularity?.

This is the video in question:

I watched it and thought about sharing it with everyone here on Fuwa to see what you think about it. :sachi:

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Just now, Narcosis said:

They are?

:makina:

Pretty much this.

Indeed there has been a greater influx of VNs being released in the West, but I wouldn't really call that becoming popular since they're just catering to the niche of people that exist here. It's still very hard for VNs to target people in the gaming community because it's such a different format.

As Joey himself said, most of the really popular titles are VN/gameplay hybrids because they combine elements people here are familiar with and thus they're easier to get into, but the actual strictly story based titles only sell okay with a few exceptions like Nekopara or the Sakura games (but let's be honest, we all know the story is not the reason those games sold well).

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Well, I feel like it was more about him talking about whether VNs are indeed games or not, but it was an interesting video either way.

2 minutes ago, Nosebleed said:

As Joey himself said, most of the really popular titles are VN/gameplay hybrids because they combine elements people here are familiar with and thus they're easier to get into, but the actual strictly story based titles only sell okay with a few exceptions like Nekopara or the Sakura games (but let's be honest, we all know the story is not the reason those games sold well).

I totally bought Nekopara because of the story!

Ahh, the story of a young man starting his own bakery, standing on his own feet for the first time in his life! It simply does not get better than that! Oh, such an inspirational tale it was!

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3 minutes ago, Dergonu said:

Ahh, the story of a young man starting his own bakery, standing on his own feet for the first time in his life! It simply does not get better than that! Oh, such an inspirational tale it was!

Enough to bring you to tears wasn't  it? :makina:

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11 minutes ago, Nosebleed said:

As Joey himself said, most of the really popular titles are VN/gameplay hybrids because they combine elements people here are familiar with and thus they're easier to get into, but the actual strictly story based titles only sell okay with a few exceptions like Nekopara or the Sakura games (but let's be honest, we all know the story is not the reason those games sold well).

C'mon Nosebleed, we can all agree that the majority of the people bought Nekopara because of its deep and complex plot, amiright?

http://i.imgur.com/hKLSh3g.gif

 

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2 minutes ago, Aizen-Sama said:

C'mon Nosebleed, we can all agree that the majority of the people bought Nekopara because of its deep and complex plot, amiright?

http://i.imgur.com/hKLSh3g.gif

 

 

6 minutes ago, Dergonu said:

I totally bought Nekopara because of the story!

Ahh, the story of a young man starting his own bakery, standing on his own feet for the first time in his life! It simply does not get better than that! Oh, such an inspirational tale it was!

KD177Cr.jpg

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12 minutes ago, Nosebleed said:

but the actual strictly story based titles only sell okay with a few exceptions like Nekopara or the Sakura games (but let's be honest, we all know the story is not the reason those games sold well).

Well it's not like all the games that sell well in Japan have a good story either.

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That guy should get the facts straight first before trying to educate others.

The ammount of bullshit in that video is mindblowing.

3 minutes ago, Nosebleed said:

Granted, the market in Japan isn't doing great either, visual novels are pretty niche there too.

Oh, come on. There's no need to hide the fact visual novels are niche in Japan as well. They always were and will always be; doesn't matter it's basically more than 70% of games they produce, because they are all tailored towards a very specific audience and no one tries to break out of the mold.

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41 minutes ago, Eclipsed said:

They are becoming popular in the West because people in the West are playing them and enjoying them and then trying to get other people in the West to play them and enjoy them

With the hopes that one day VNs will be universally popular all over the World, to infinity and Buzz Lightyear

Popularity is a double-edged sword, to be honest. Yes, the medium as a whole does have alot of good things to offer but on the other hand, precisely because its niche, It can offer what it currently does. Take a look at Western gaming in general, and alot of the titles that get ported over from Japan. Many of those said titles go through a "localization" process, which at best can be labeled "Liberal", and at worst is outright censorship. Yes, i do want to see VNs more widely accepted, but at the same time, i'd rather it stay niche if it means there is less of a need and a possiblity for PC culture to come in and attempt to ruin the medium.

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@FontSize72LOL Maybe this is not introduction thread, but welcome to Fuwanovel and hope you enjoy your stay here. And as for your opinion, it's quite interesting one although I think as long as you could understand any of the story, it didn't matter if it's could bring us more translated VN, but I also acknowledge your point in regard of the people that want VN to stay niche. So, I think I'm in more favor to translation or in your word localization (Only slightly though I guess).

As for the video, guess it was interesting video, and I think the most interesting one would be that in regard of VN should be treated as the game, and he said that it was still in debate (Because of that, there were some amateur VN reviewer that give low score to VN because of no gameplay thing). I think that I agree that compared to several years ago, now VN was quite easily found on Steam nowadays (Although I just knew Steam recently though), which mean it was more accessible compared to the past. Oh, and about the speaker himself, I'd remember that I like to watch his LP to Moogy VN 'Best Eroge Ever'. Here's the video below, and I think it was quite funny LP.

I think that's all I could said in regard of this topic, and I'm sorry if I couldn't express my opinion well here.

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Strictly speaking, Visual Novels aren't so much becoming popular as getting closer to mainstream media in the eyes of readers and gamers, rather than just being the smallest portion of the otaku market.  This is mostly because of the release in recent years of a disproportionately large number of non-ero VNs, which lowered the hurdle for playing them for a lot of people.

However, on the other side of things, that also means that VNs will never be much more popular than they are now...

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I still feel like it's a very niche market in the west, and will stay that way unless some of the better VN's (Grisaia, G-Senjou, Clannad) take the spotlight from things like the Sakura games, Nekopara, and Hatoful Boyfriend. A lot of people are just completely put off by them and think of VN's as joke games. That being said, I don't think they will ever not be niche in the west. 

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1 hour ago, littleshogun said:

@FontSize72LOL Maybe this is not introduction thread, but welcome to Fuwanovel and hope you enjoy your stay here. And as for your opinion, it's quite interesting one although I think as long as you could understand any of the story, it didn't matter if it's could bring us more translated VN, but I also acknowledge your point in regard of the people that want VN to stay niche. So, I think I'm in more favor to translation or in your word localization (Only slightly though I guess).

As for the video, guess it was interesting video, and I think the most interesting one would be that in regard of VN should be treated as the game, and he said that it was still in debate (Because of that, there were some amateur VN reviewer that give low score to VN because of no gameplay thing). I think that I agree that compared to several years ago, now VN was quite easily found on Steam nowadays (Although I just knew Steam recently though), which mean it was more accessible compared to the past. Oh, and about the speaker himself, I'd remember that I like to watch his LP to Moogy VN 'Best Eroge Ever'. Here's the video below, and I think it was quite funny LP.

I think that's all I could said in regard of this topic, and I'm sorry if I couldn't express my opinion well here.

@littleshogun First of all, Thank you! To be honest, I've been lurking Fuwanovel for quite some time, but never really thought to make a forum account until now lol.

I'm definitely not against VNs being popular, It would be pretty good if VNs got more credit than they do. When i used Localization, I was refering to non-VN Japanese games. VNs (generally) get much better treatment translation wise, and thankfully so considering what the medium is. I was just merely pointing out that as there are alot of great things about VNs, VNs also have a "Darker" side to them. As the medium gets more popularized, you'll be exposing more and more people to things that might not sit well with the "mainstream", and those opinions might eventually have ramifications towards the medium as a whole. I mean, pressure from the west actually took an eroge off the market in Japan before: RapeLay . I'm not sure of your opinion on Nukige, but they are just as much apart of VN culture as Light-hearted Moeges, and Plot based VNs. There are argubably "worse" Nukige available on the market today. There are people out there that sincerely believe that people cannot distinguish between fiction and reality and will try to censor or outright ban anything they're not comfortable with.

Anyway, good ol' Best Eroge Ever. Its a good chuckle, and don't worry. I'm not exactly sure I've expressed my opinion well, either. 

I guess a TL;DR would be this: I would like people to be exposed to the positive side of VNs, but at the same time, I'd rather the so-called "Darker" side of VNs stay niche, and untouched by heavy-handed PC culture.

 

39 minutes ago, Mugi said:

I still feel like it's a very niche market in the west, and will stay that way unless some of the better VN's (Grisaia, G-Senjou, Clannad) take the spotlight from things like the Sakura games, Nekopara, and Hatoful Boyfriend. A lot of people are just completely put off by them and think of VN's as joke games. That being said, I don't think they will ever not be niche in the west. 

I think alot of people have an aversion towards OELVNs because alot of them try to be distinctly "Japanese" without an extensive knowledge of what japanese actually is, so it becomes a third-hand regurgitation of the same tropes you see in other VNs/anime. There are some Parody OELVNs that are pretty funny, there are also VNs that try to be more distinctly western, and thats fine. Thats not to say there aren't any OELVNs that actually get it right from time to time and do a decent job of it, but that seems pretty rare to be honest.


~Disclaimer: I barely ever read OELVNs, probably the only few that i've actually read were Katawa Shoujo (Back in 2012), and one of the Sakura games. Incidently Katawa Shoujo is the reason i even got into the medium~

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28 minutes ago, solidbatman said:

They are because of Fuwanovel. DOES NO ONE READ THE DAMN MOTTO

The motto is too small :makina:

Perhaps shorter VNs like those mentioned above have contributed to the popularity of VNs in the West. After all, not everybody has the time or initial interest to invest into something like Clannad or Grisaia.

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12 minutes ago, FontSize72LOL said:

VNs (generally) get much better treatment translation wise, and thankfully so considering what the medium is.

Hmm. That's an interesting claim, and I don't think I agree with it. In my book, VN translations are almost universally pretty bad. There are a handful of good ones out there (notably koestl's work on Grisaia and Gahkthun, and apparently Gare and Conjueror's Tokyo Babel though I haven't played that yet), but they're very rare.

There are probably more very good translations of Tales games alone than there are of... well... all VN translations, ever. And even if you look at things proportionally, I think in general more mainstream Japanese game translations (like translations of most JRPGs, for instance) get overall substantially better translations than VNs do. Outright mistakes are more rare, and they generally seem to put a sight more effort into capturing the spirit and tone of the original, especially around paying attention to individual character quirks. From what I read, most VN translators seem to be borderline unaware of such things.

Now, don't get me wrong. I think it was koestl who I saw complaining about inaccuracies in the Disgaea 5 translation on Twitter, a couple months back. His complaints were totally valid - one such example, some inaccuracies in skill descriptions, were even a real problem for me in playing the game at times. So I know it's not all sunshine and roses in JRPG translations, either. But I do think, on the average, quality there is higher than it is for VNs, and I kind of bet the pay reflects that. And overall, Disgaea 5 was actually a pretty enjoyable experience because the translators still did a good job of capturing the unique character quirks and tone.

Incidentally, if you want to see a quality translation of a mainstream JRPG, I think Tales of Zestiria's looks pretty great. I flipped over to Japanese voices recently (some of the English voice acting was really bad...) and was astounded at how different the dialogue was. I love that they have the liberty to make the sweeping changes they need to, since they have an English dub track - the Japanese voices and English subtitles are really far apart at times, and the English script benefits a lot from that. It's a tough sell to do that in a VN translation, since so many of the readers are listening closely to the voices and understanding a fair bit of it, and that can really tie your hands.

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