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Plk_Lesiak

Starting a blog about western VNs and VN developers? [EVN Chronicles "Megathread"]

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Hey there lovely people,

I've mentioned in my introduction thread that I'm a bit of a graphomaniac - I most likely spend unreasonable amounts of time writing reviews on Crunchyroll and Steam, writing those might be a hobby of mine just as much as watching/reading the stuff I write about. Before I registered on Fuwa, an owner of a certain obscure otaku website noticed my "talent" and invited me to write articles for him - while I quickly realized that it was pretty much a waste of time and only delivered a few texts, that experience gave me a few ideas on content I could create for the benefit of my favourite western VNs and their authors. While looking for an outlet that would be interested in my writing, I actually found this community and later decided to get involved (regardless on whether it could help me with sharing my compulsive creativity).

Now while I rightfully gave up on the idea that anyone would want something of mine published on the Fuwa frontpage, there's still this nice little blog functionality available here. I could use it to produce two kinds of content I had in mind earlier: 1. Reviews of Western VNs that were not caught by FuwaReviews team or any blog included in the Reviews portal (possibly even polemic reviews when I'm done with "undiscovered" stuff). 2. Interviews with notable western developers about their games and all things VN-related (should be doable, considering that they're often one-person studios or tiny indie teams desperate for positive exposure).

I know that western VNs don't receive much attention/aren't highly regarded here and we're a fairly small community anyway. So the question is: would anyone here be interested in reading the crap I've described above (if you want to know what my writing looks like, you can check the Steam link next to my profile picture or my Crunchyroll account - obviously the blog would have longer, more detailed entries).

I will appreciate all honest feedback, I won't be doing much about it in the coming two-three weeks anyway because of RL commitments, but I would love to see whether there's any demand for what I had in mind or should I just crawl to a shady corner and not bother anyone with my weirdness. ;p

Cheers!

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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10 hours ago, TheCrimsonFucker said:

Hmm I don't have much interest in western VN-s, maybe because I never encountered anything good, but it doesn't mean I'm not open for the idea. I would gladly check out what you write if you start this. Why not try doing it for a few months and decide after that if you want to continue or not?

Thank you, I will probably do exactly that in the end, but as I can't start now anyways I though it wouldn't hurt to probe the ground. I should have a lot of fun writing this stuff just "for myself" but if I annoy people with it rather than deliver interesting information it would still miss the point. Especially if I ask a developer to exchange long e-mails or talk with me for an hour to produce content no one wants to read, that would be a bit unfair on my part. :)

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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6 hours ago, Akshay said:

Good Luck!

After Doki Doki, my respect for western VN's has shot up, and I only found it through recommendation. I think I'd be interested in reading about them.

Just avoid the Sakura stuff.....

Haha, thanks and I'm definitely avoiding Sakura games, less because of their infamy and more because of that sex-doll aesthetic that puts me off completely. I've heard that Sakura Dungeon was actually somewhat decent, but it's a dungeon crawler with VN elements, so I'm not ever sure if it counts. So yeah, definitely not what I want to write about. :D

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I'm interested in this, EVNs have always interested me. I think the problem I have with EVN reviews as primarily a JVN reader is trust in their opinions. Basically, my impression is that the EVN community has generally low standards. I mean, lower than mine. That's kinda terrible. This could of course just be differences in preference, but when I see something as badly constructed as say Taarradhin get 8's, I can't shake the feeling that something has to be wrong.

----

I'm not sure why you gave up on getting EVN coverage on the fuwa mainpage. We used to do some of this in the past; the issue is in finding qualified people willing to spend the effort (and I will admit to not spending much time looking for them). The Fuwa Reviews team is also looking for more reviewers for EVNs as far as I know, so that road's not closed off either (PM @Decay about that, maybe?). If you want to run an independent blog, I can also offer to republish anything I like enough - you can contact me using whatever method you prefer if you're interested in that.

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3 hours ago, Zakamutt said:

I'm interested in this, EVNs have always interested me. I think the problem I have with EVN reviews as primarily a JVN reader is trust in their opinions. Basically, my impression is that the EVN community has generally low standards. I mean, lower than mine. That's kinda terrible. This could of course just be differences in preference, but when I see something as badly constructed as say Taarradhin get 8's, I can't shake the feeling that something has to be wrong.

----

I'm not sure why you gave up on getting EVN coverage on the fuwa mainpage. We used to do some of this in the past; the issue is in finding qualified people willing to spend the effort (and I will admit to not spending much time looking for them). The Fuwa Reviews team is also looking for more reviewers for EVNs as far as I know, so that road's not closed off either (PM @Decay about that, maybe?). If you want to run an independent blog, I can also offer to republish anything I like enough - you can contact me using whatever method you prefer if you're interested in that.

Well, it's not that I really gave up, but I realized that trying to become a frontpage contributor with how relatively little experience I have with NVs leads to exactly the problem you mentioned - I'm still pretty much an outsider here and probably have a different perspective than most people on Fuwa. I'm much more comfortable with presenting this content on my own accord - if someone finds it worth reposting to the main site, obviously that would be awesome - I don't think the internal blog formula would prevent that, especially if I follow the FuwaReviews format with reviews and keep appropriate quality with other texts.

Different perspective can be an asset of course, but once I realized how the community here works it became clear to me that I should rather prove that I can create valuable content first. I don't really have an ambition to start a external blog, I have a feeling that if I can do something for western VNs it's exactly here, among people that actually care about the medium. A small, but selected audience might be an audience that truly matters in the end.

And well, initially I actually wrote to Tay and FuwaReviews about this through e-mail, after I decided to ditch the OtakuDiary site briefly mentioned earlier, circa two months ago. I never got any responce. But I think that's good because it gave me the time to think things through and channel my graphomania towards a more reasonable goal - we'll see where it leads me, I'm pretty sure I'll have fun doing it anyways. :] 

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Ah, that makes sense. My personal settings for new posts also show new blog entries, so I'll see them myself unless my usual behaviour changes radically in the future.

As for the mail to fuwareviews more specifically, that was kind of broken until like, a week or so ago and didn't really reach the people it should have (one of the reasons I tagged Decay in here). Apparently setting that stuff up is complicated or something. Not sure about the mail to Tay specifically though. In general expecting Tay to give a timely answer to anything is a bit risky because he's a very busy man, rip.

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4 minutes ago, Zakamutt said:

Ah, that makes sense. My personal settings for new posts also show new blog entries, so I'll see them myself unless my usual behaviour changes radically in the future.

As for the mail to fuwareviews more specifically, that was kind of broken until like, a week or so ago and didn't really reach the people it should have (one of the reasons I tagged Decay in here). Apparently setting that stuff up is complicated or something. Not sure about the mail to Tay specifically though. In general expecting Tay to give a timely answer to anything is a bit risky because he's a very busy man, rip.

Oh well, the e-mail adress not working would probably explains a few things. With Tay himself, I've figured out that much since registering on forums. Although I was never in a hurry, so I was less concerned with "timely" answer and more with receiving any feedback at all, from anyone. ;p

As we're on the topic of feedback, tyvm for yours. Probably as soon as I'm done with all the annoying university deadlines plaguing me right now, I'll start setting things up. 

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I don't know what in the actual f**** is happening to the Members' Lounge right now, but I still have an announcement of sorts. I've written first two reviews for the blog, so next Friday, 1st of December, I'll start posting stuff. I'll do it on weekly basis (always on Fridays) whenever I have enough material and once every two weeks whenever I'm hopelessly busy or out of ideas. Actually, writing those two pieces consumed two full evenings from me somehow, I need some time to actually read VNs too. :P

Also, as I go with strictly spoiler-free approach, my blog could've been named "Plk_Lesiak's Obnoxiously Vague Reviews", but in the end I've went with even more questionable "Pride of the West". Actual content coming soonTM.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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Hey hey hey!

So, the first entry on my blog, dedicated to Analogue: A Hate Story is now live:

I hope you'll all enjoy it (or hate it - strong emotion is always better than indifference ;p). I have two more reviews ready and scheduled for release, on 8th and 15th of December - they will be about titles that are much more fresh, but not completely new either. At this pace, I might never write my PhD, but I should be able to keep up the weekly schedule around here. :D

I'm also probably going to spam this thread every friday or so with announcements, until someone tells me to stop. ;p Considering my time constrains, reviews are going to be the main thing in the coming weeks, but I'm hoping for some interviews to show up in January and February.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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How are my favourite guys (and gals)?

Today I have for you a certain free-to-play treat that way too few people know about and even fewer appreciate to the extent it deserves. maybe my little review will encourage you to give it a chance. :)

For the coming weeks I have reviews of a certain lovely yuri VN and of a mobile-exclusive VN ready and scheduled.

For the last week of december I'm planning to dissect mercilessly certain freshly-released western title that was spawned by a successful kickstarter campaign and turned out, more or less, as a stinking pile of.... Bad stuff. It will be one of a few texts I have planned, showing how you can turn an interesting premise and a lot of genuine effort into something borderline-unreadable.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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yeah sounds like a great idea, especially if you have the experience to execute it. It was actually western VN that got me started as before then I wasn't a big fan of Japanese media (oh how things change) but I think that western VN are crucial to the growth of the whole genre as it can bring in whole new audience demographics and the interest/funding that they bring. The first visual novel I took real interest in was 80 days (https://vndb.org/v20013) which may be much more like a game than most VN but that made it so accessible. Not to mention the writing, art and gameplay were all brilliant. Even western VN in the more usual style like the onesyou've covered do wonders for making visual novels more accessible. Loads of people talk on here about how much VN are growing and I think western VN are a significant factor in that trend. So in short, YES! KEEP DOING IT! 

 

Also I just like having articles to read :D

Edited by B.C.Royal

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Good evening Ladies & Gentlemen!

Today I'm bringing you something less of a classic, but a game that's once more pretty important for me personally - it was the first fully-fledged yuri VN I've read and it's still close enough to my heart that I'm using it for my backgrounds here and on Steam. Hope you'll enjoy reading about it!

When it goes to future, as I've mentioned last week, there are two more reviews coming in December - of a mobile VN I find very intriguing and a mystery/romance VN I find absolutely atrocious to the point I felt like expressing my displeasure to the whole world (or at least to a couple of people willing to read my complaining). ;)

For the January though, I'm proclaiming it Western Otome Month, and I'll be bringing to you 4-5 reviews of notable free-to-play, western otome and otome-hybrid VNs, some of which are claimed to be among the best visual novels ever produced outside of Japan. I hope that even those less interested in the genre will be willing to follow me on this journey into the world of sappy romance and disturbingly beautiful bachelors. I'm pretty sure we'll discover some very interesting things there. ^^

EDIT: As all my plans for near future are already presented here, I won't be spamming with any posts next week, I hope you'll follow my blog without a reminder. ;)

---------------------------------------

One more thing, if you want to play an good western VN without paying much, Ace Academy is currently on -75% sale on Steam. It's one of the very few good OELVNs which successfully replicate the typical JP school drama formula (although here it's a college/mecha pilot school) with multiple romance routes and full voice acting. :)

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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Hello there once more!

As I hate you all and want you to get bankrupt we're still in the Christmas sale season on Steam, I've decided to reschedule my upcoming reviews and offer you all a quick look at what I perceive as most attractive discounts on western VNs available on the platform at this moment. Until 4th of January, you still have time to give in to temptation and spend the rest of your money that you desperately tried to protect during this season of predatory consumerism. ;p

For this reason and some other, unrelated events, I postpone my Otome Month till February. In January, I will offer you two reviews of horrible VNs (that I find notable by the virtue of representing some important issues plaguing western VN scene), a review of certain nice free Steam title and another top list, this time connected to my favorite OELVN event - Yuri Game Jam.

I hope you'll have fun reading and that you'll find at least some of the recommendations interesting. :) There should be more posts coming every Friday, at least for the next few months, until I get burned out so much that I'll have to slow down in some ways. ;)

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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Hello Ladies & Gentlemen!

So, yesterday I've published a review of a very disappointing VN - I'm always a bit wary about giving time and publicity to bad games, when you can give the spotlight to good ones that desperately need it, but I think there's some value in dissecting failed projects and talking about why they couldn't deliver, often despite the author's honest attempts. Obviously, bad games that are just lazy aren't that interesting, but bad games that tried hard and failed are often fascinating to me. Also, it seems that my review discouraged at least two people from buying the title in question, so it's already worth it. ;) Either way, I hope you'll have fun reading it!

In other news, as my activities on the blog focuses mostly around Steam, I thought it would be a logical extension to create a Curator Page connected to it. I don't expect anything out of it, but it's something I can expand while writing the blog in a somewhat seamless way, so I have few reasons not to do it. Obviously, if anyone wants to follow my recommendations there (or join the group linked to it), I will be very thankful. :)

Have a great week everyone!

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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3 hours ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

I'm always a bit wary about giving time and publicity to bad games

I don't think you should. Because the fact is, they are out there and if you want to look at the EVN scene as a whole you absolute have to tackle the failures as well as the successes. Even more so, I think, and it's a dirty job. Depending on what you want to do, this may or may not be something you want to consider - either you want to work for players who are seeking good VNs or for the developers who are seeking ways to make their games better and how to insert themselves in the industry.

Either way, good luck! I'll be following you.

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3 hours ago, Palas said:

I don't think you should. Because the fact is, they are out there and if you want to look at the EVN scene as a whole you absolute have to tackle the failures as well as the successes. Even more so, I think, and it's a dirty job. Depending on what you want to do, this may or may not be something you want to consider - either you want to work for players who are seeking good VNs or for the developers who are seeking ways to make their games better and how to insert themselves in the industry.

Either way, good luck! I'll be following you.

Thank you. :)

What I write here, apart from serving my own fun and my own vanity, is definitely targeted towards the VN audience. I have very superficial knowledge about video game development and I'm also a pretty poor author, when it goes to creative writing, so the advice I could offer to developers is pretty limited.

With the amount of time and energy I can spent here, I feel it's appropriate to tackle bad games only when I have something important to tell about them - here it was the pitfalls of common writing mistakes, next week it will be predatory mobile game mechanics. My real focus, for the foreseeable future, is exploring OELVNs and presenting valuable ones to people here, as many hardcore VN fans simply avoid them. As I've discovered the whole genre and got hooked on it through Western stuff, I want to make people aware that the VN world doesn't end in JP anymore. ;)

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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Hello again, my Dear Readers!

Today, I present you another review of an enjoyable freebie and the last post in the long streak of rather random reviews and top lists I was spewing since the start of my blog. From the next week, I have two themed "events" planned. First, in the coming month and the first week of March, I will offer you reviews of five free, quality Otome and Otome-hybrid OELVNs - among those, some of the highest rated western visual novels to date. After that, for at least another month and a half, I will focus exclusively on yuri games - for that occasion, apart from reviews, I'm already preparing my first "developer spotlight" post, which includes an interview with a certain yuri VN author. I hope I'll be able to provide more of that kind of content in the future, but I don't want to rush it either, making sure that I know that author's work and background well-enough before I approach them, so I can make the interview meaningful and the time I ask from them worth it.

For now, I'll hope you'll enjoy this week's review and until next friday!

 

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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Hello there Lovely, Lovely People of Fuwa!

Today I've published a review of a game that I'm not sure I fully recommend playing, but which was very interesting to go through and shows a lot of promise when it goes to the development team behind it. It's also another freebie, so I encourage you to check out the article, to find out whether you might find it interesting enough to invest some time (and no money) into it.

I also have a few announcements: surprisingly, my comically unpopulated Steam curator page received its first review request and a free copy of The Seven Districts of Sin: The Tail Makes the Fox, a quite overlooked, but interesting-looking comedy/romance VN. If it's good enough, I will try to publish a review of it as soon as I'm done with the Otome Month thingy. If not, I will make a short "bonus post" about it and publish it outside of the typical Friday schedule.

In less optimistic news, I really wanted to review Cinderella Phenomenon for the otome event, but I've realized that there's no way I'll find the 30+ hours to go through it all and review it properly in the coming weeks, so I'm sadly postponing it indefinitely. Writing about it would make especially little sense soon after a great review of it was published by @Mr Poltroon on his blog, if you haven't seen it yet, do it now. In its place, a will write a post about a rather tiny, but quite interesting and unusual VN, that is worth looking at for completely different reasons than CP, but should be a lot of fun to write (and hopefully read) about nonetheless. :) For now, I hope you'll enjoy this week's post! Next week there's supposed to be another large Steam sale coming, so I'll try to provide another list of juicy OELVN discounts. ;)

PS Also, while definitely no one cares about it, I've corrected the final score on my Sepia Tears review to 3,5. I've realized that game deserves more credit for the things it does right and also doesn't really belong with other VNs I've given that rating to.

Have a great week everyone!

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7 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

You need to advertise it a bit more. I never heard of it before. :)

Well, I'm doing that now I guess? ;) I don't really put much attention to it now, it's a side thing that I can very easily manage alongside the blog, I was going to push it a bit more when I had more recommendations ready. I mentioned the lack of followers mostly to point out how surprising receiving that review copy was. :]

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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On 2/9/2018 at 10:30 AM, Plk_Lesiak said:

Well, I'm doing that now I guess? ;) I don't really put much attention to it now, it's a side thing that I can very easily manage alongside the blog, I was going to push it a bit more when I had more recommendations ready. I mentioned the lack of followers mostly to point out how surprising receiving that review copy was. :]

If you have a twitter for your curator page, I would gladly follow you.

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10 minutes ago, Kuroi_Usagi said:

If you have a twitter for your curator page, I would gladly follow you.

Not right now and as I've said, I don't really want to devote much time to it at this point. I don't think there's an easy way to automate tweets about new recommendations, so it would be another chore and ATM updating the blog regularly is demanding enough by itself. :)

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