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InvertMouse

How to handle perspective shifts in VNs (shameless Last Birdling mention)

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Man, I am already cringing :vinty:. Some of you recently gave me permission to post about my projects more often, so I am going to do it. I will do everything I can to write quality content rather than just going me me me.

As advised, I have posted a blog entry on how to handle perspective shifts in VNs, using The Last Birdling as an example:

I want to use this chance to ask if anyone got examples of VNs that handle perspective shifts in unique ways (visual or word wise)? Many VNs are written in first person, which can make readers stumble during viewpoint changes. I know in An Octave Higher, the game shows the new POV character standing alone on a black background first. Mind sending me some more examples?

I want to use this opportunity to say The Last Birdling has been approved for publication on Steam as of a few hours ago. Really thankful for the votes guys.

Thank you so much ^_^!

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I hate perpective changes when we have a first person character, although only when frequent. The worst case for me was a book series with 12 - gasp! - books and they only started to shift in the middle of the series. Taking it to VNs, Kindred Spirits on the Roof did it perfectly. It was designed to work with its changes, it was there from the beggining, and most characters actually improved the story by having their POV shown.

Another great instance is the Infinity series - Ever 17 was the best, even - where all the story was connected to the character's point of view.

Umineko (Ryukishi in general) has a terrible shift, as you NEVER know when it will happen, and it seems more lazy than relevant.

If you are doing a first person narrator, I really recommend you to stick to it and use it the best you can. Sometimes, not having a character describing its fall (your image) could be better without shifting if the author is good.

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Posted (edited)

Remember11 is INCREDIBLE about this. It basically takes place in two different settings at once, and there are two protagonists- the driving force of the story being that THEY KEEP SWITCHING BODIES. Essentially it's a huge perspective shift, and even besides that the game incorporates two routes- one for each protagonist. Let's say that you did something you obviously shouldn't have as Satoru in Satoru's body, and died on the third day. If you start to play the Kokoro route right after, you die on the third day without warning when you shift perspectives- because Satoru died in that body on the third day!

Definitely play R11 if you want to read a VN about shifts in perspective.

Ever17, also of the Infinity series, plays with perspective as well. Two routes are from one perspective while two of them are from another perspective.

I also agree that The House In Fata Morgana frames its story beautifully, but it isn't necessarily a perspective shift per se. Check it out anyway, 

999 employs perspective in a fucking LEGENDARY way but I can't explain more.

Edited by Funyarinpa

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Some VNs use perspective change really effectively to enhance the experience, even when using the first-person (though the distinction between first-person and third-person in Japanese is far less distinct than it is in English).  Light and Akatsuki Works, in particular, tend to use this to give vital perspectives at key moments of the story.  However, some games spend too much time in alternate perspectives (Nora to Oujo to Noraneko Heart), and the results can be... unpleasant.

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6 minutes ago, Clephas said:

Some VNs use perspective change really effectively to enhance the experience, even when using the first-person (though the distinction between first-person and third-person in Japanese is far less distinct than it is in English). 

Could you explain a little how it works, please?

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Posted (edited)

26 minutes ago, Silvz said:

Could you explain a little how it works, please?

To put it simply... in about 70% of the story narration I've read in Japanese, there is no distinction made between first and third person.  A lot of  this seems to be because the philosophies that drove the development of our linguistic bases are distinct and come from two differing vectors (incidentally, the biggest reason why experienced tls will often say 'Japanese doesn't translate into English') that don't always intersect (think of the languages as two formless blobs that are attached at some points but not at others).  Generally, when they teach you Japanese, the deliberately do so in a first-person manner, because that is how one converses with others.  However, in Japanese narration and story-writing, the language can be taken as being third or first-person most of the time, and there might be only a single sentence in an entire scene or chapter that defines which it is (meaning that there are times when you are required to grasp the scene as a whole to understand which form it is taking).  Ironically, the times when it is most likely to take on a distinct first-person perspective are when the 'alternate perspectives' come into play, since many writers deliberately alter their styles subtly to give an impression of really looking through another person's eyes. 

Edit: At least part of the basis for my statement lies in the fact that I've come across scenes in the past where statements that seemed to be in first person were also mixed up with clearly third-person wording.  At the time, I thought this was some kind of mistake (this was fairly early on), but as I read on, I realized that it was just a part of the style.  While a writer might choose to define an entire scene as first-person, he might switch back between the first and third person repeatedly in a single scene, making it confusing if you are still translating Japanese into English in your head while reading.

Edit2: Perhaps the only Japanese VN I've ever run across done almost entirely in third-person is Noraneko Heart. 

Edited by Clephas
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4 hours ago, Clephas said:

To put it simply... in about 70% of the story narration I've read in Japanese, there is no distinction made between first and third person.  A lot of  this seems to be because the philosophies that drove the development of our linguistic bases are distinct and come from two differing vectors (incidentally, the biggest reason why experienced tls will often say 'Japanese doesn't translate into English') that don't always intersect (think of the languages as two formless blobs that are attached at some points but not at others).  Generally, when they teach you Japanese, the deliberately do so in a first-person manner, because that is how one converses with others.  However, in Japanese narration and story-writing, the language can be taken as being third or first-person most of the time, and there might be only a single sentence in an entire scene or chapter that defines which it is (meaning that there are times when you are required to grasp the scene as a whole to understand which form it is taking).  Ironically, the times when it is most likely to take on a distinct first-person perspective are when the 'alternate perspectives' come into play, since many writers deliberately alter their styles subtly to give an impression of really looking through another person's eyes. 

Edit: At least part of the basis for my statement lies in the fact that I've come across scenes in the past where statements that seemed to be in first person were also mixed up with clearly third-person wording.  At the time, I thought this was some kind of mistake (this was fairly early on), but as I read on, I realized that it was just a part of the style.  While a writer might choose to define an entire scene as first-person, he might switch back between the first and third person repeatedly in a single scene, making it confusing if you are still translating Japanese into English in your head while reading.

Edit2: Perhaps the only Japanese VN I've ever run across done almost entirely in third-person is Noraneko Heart. 

I see. Maybe that explains what I complained about Ryukishi's style.

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8 hours ago, Silvz said:

I see. Maybe that explains what I complained about Ryukishi's style.

No, Ryukishi really is annoying and incompetent. 

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