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Was there a Golden Age of Visual Novels? Will there be a Golden Age?


Happiness+
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Was there a time  when Visual Novels of any origin was at their peak of awesomeness? 

Will there be a time when VNs are now mainstream because of the Golden Age? 

Edited by Happiness+
Capitalized “Golden Age” because I am weird and I miswrote “Peek”
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Peak, peek, and piqued

I think that's too subjective to determine. When it comes to video games, for example, there are people that would say the 90s-early 2000s were the golden age of RPGs with their isometric views and complex gameplay. At the same time, others say they are complete dogshit and the modern vision of RPGs like Skyrim are much better.

With visual novels specifically I don't think there's any "golden age", especially because technology does not affect VNs very much. Just like with RPGs, some people will idolise older VNs and claim newer stuff is brainless, and some people will prefer the modern art-focused moeges (unless their name is VirginSmasher). Nobody is right, nobody is correct.

For the record, my personal opinion is that all visual novels have been trash thus far.

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2009 was the crazy year

  • Oretsuba
  • Baldr Sky 1 and 2
  • Muramasa
  • Dies Irae
  • Hoshimeme
  • Majikoi
  • Mashifoni
  • Natsunagi
  • Tenshin Ranman

Though if talking about pure sales numbers, 2009 had half of what was sold in 2003 and we have currently (in 2017) reached back up to where the sales were in 2009 after it being all downhill from there.

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A golden age of EROGE's?

It was a very long time ago. It was the year 2014, when they released NEKOPARA and a lot of well known youtuber started to read it. Ofc it was a marketing strategy. 

But at this moment the world knew it, that Eroge's... *cough* I mean Visual Novel's ofc and Nekogirls are great.

That's why you don't praise the sun but rather praise the Nekogirls. Some mens found finally their waifu and dumped their girlfriends. 

Spoiler

39c06c7546947cecc1a379bf6f9cd7884010c8ec

......

Spoiler

Just kidding....

63e.gif

 

Edited by -soraa
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32 minutes ago, -soraa said:

 

  Reveal hidden contents

Just kidding....

63e.gif

 

Can you tell me where the second gif is from?

 

EDIT: And sorry for the Off-Topic question. As for the main topic I don't feel qualifed enough to provide an actaully answer, but I heard the earlier 2000's thrown around before in this context.

Edited by Formlose Gestalt
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2000's, I guess? If you look through the highest rated and the most popular VNs on vndb, most came out during this time period (it's not like it means much though, but it's a good enough way to show what people actually like).

As for the future, there are too many unknowns to talk about it seriously. The eroge industry seems to be on decline right now, from what people say, so they may as well die out in the near future.

I'd personally love if the VN developers tried to give a bit more variety to what they produce. Like I'm literally sick of all these typical eroge tropes that appear in almost every single title! And the typical route structure greatly constrains what plots are possible. But, well, I doubt that anything is going to change with this, at least, not in Japanese VNs.

Edited by Dreamysyu
This looks better
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I feel that we've been in the golden age in terms of the Western part of the industry for, say, the latter half of 2016 and onwards. 

That said, it's at its peak because many of the genre's cornerstone releases are only being translated now. Shortly, it'll come to the point where there won't be any masterpieces left to readily translate and that's probably when the Western fanbase is going to start following Japanese releases more closely to assess the Western segment's performance (in terms of keeping up with JPN releases). 

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Not exactly on topic, but if I've learnt something about "golden ages", be in literature, cinematography, videogames, even life itself ffs... is that people tend to idealize the past and consider the current state to be on decline. Most often that not it's just a biased perception. Not to say that it's not possible to talk of some golden age in some way, but experience tells me to not pay much heed to those doomsayers that babble about how brilliant the past was and how bleak a future awaits us. 

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1 hour ago, Dreamysyu said:

The eroge industry seems to be on decline right now, from what people say, so they may as well die out in the near future. I'd personally love if the VN developers tried to give a bit more variety to what they produce. Like I'm literally sick of all these typical eroge tropes that appear in almost every single title! And the typical route structure greatly constrains what plots are possible.

 

This makes me happy, because Eroge is overrated anyway. When I say I am reading a visual novel, the response should be similar to when I say I am reading a novel or a manga. 

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1 hour ago, Happiness+ said:

This makes me happy, because Eroge is overrated anyway. When I say I am reading a visual novel, the response should be similar to when I say I am reading a novel or a manga. 

Hmmm, "should" is a strange word here, because every person who reads VNs does it for different things. Many people who read VNs actually like sex-scenes and expect them. I personally don't mind them, as long as they actually don't seem completely out of place in the story (which basically happens in almost every plot-focused VN). What I actually want, on the other hand, is variety. I mean, if we have a typical eroge, it always means that a) we are going to have a story with a 1st person narrative; b) the protagonist is male and surrounded by a large group of attractive females. It's already a great constraint on the story! I mean, even VNs like Ever17 that don't have h-scenes still follow the same eroge formula, which is kind of frustrating.

And, you know, there actually are quite a lot of doujin authors who don't care about these constraints at all and create quite good titles. Fata Morgana is a great example of a VN that literally has nothing of an eroge in it. I'd say, it's way more influenced by western literature than anything else. Umineko is another good example. On the other hand, as long as the budget of a work increases, the originality often drops. Which is actually pretty understandable: the developers need to make sure that all the extra money they added to the production comes back. And the experience shows quite well that people like sex, and the developers who try to experiment with going all-ages may fail. So, imo, expecting major changes in the Japanese VN industry right now is hopeless.

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22 minutes ago, Dreamysyu said:

Hmmm, "should" is a strange word here, because every person who reads VNs does it for different things. Many people who read VNs actually like sex-scenes and expect them. I personally don't mind them, as long as they actually don't seem completely out of place in the story (which basically happens in almost every plot-focused VN). What I actually want, on the other hand, is variety. I mean, if we have a typical eroge, it always means that a) we are going to have a story with a 1st person narrative; b) the protagonist is male and surrounded by a large group of attractive females. It's already a great constraint on the story! I mean, even VNs like Ever17 that don't have h-scenes still follow the same eroge formula, which is kind of frustrating.

And, you know, there actually are quite a lot of doujin authors who don't care about these constraints at all and create quite good titles. Fata Morgana is a great example of a VN that literally has nothing of an eroge in it. I'd say, it's way more influenced by western literature than anything else. Umineko is another good example. On the other hand, as long as the budget of a work increases, the originality often drops. Which is actually pretty understandable: the developers need to make sure that all the extra money they added to the production comes back. And the experience shows quite well that people like sex, and the developers who try to experiment with going all-ages may fail. So, imo, expecting major changes in the Japanese VN industry right now is hopeless.

 

Think of it this way, if I am reading Fifty Shades of Grey then you can make the same assumptions as if I were to read nukige for instance, but what I want is that VNs are generally looked in the same kind of way you would look at traditional novels. When people look at Ever17, they should be looking at it like how one would look at a classic from literature, because it is a classic of literature. While it’s good that most normies have zero clue of what a Visual Novel is, some might even assume Watchmen or Maus to be a visual novel. The problem lies is when it does become mainstream, I fear that the backlash against VNs would be a lot more pronounced than what is today. 

 

BTW, is the JVN industry hopeless? How so? I feel that you’re exaggerating :sachi: 

Edited by Happiness+
Grammar is hard.
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Obviously the golden age is when a major event happens and I would say it's when the Musumaker translation patch is released. It started in 2008 and is still ongoing. The tale of the translation project itself has turned into an epic tale of its own. My personal involvement has nothing to do with this statement :P

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6 hours ago, Happiness+ said:

What did you mean by “pure moege” and there is a difference between a moege and a nakige. What are the boundaries?

In earlier SOL VNs (those I just termed moege), there was a tendency for heroine/protagonist character development to be minimal.  Most of the time, the (rather lazy) writers would use a gobi (an ending like uguu or nyaa) and/or a few obvious moe character traits to define the character from the beginning, and they never really swerved from that original character definition, even after the formation of a lovers' relationship. 

'Nakige' began as a sub-genre of moege (primarily under the aegis of Key) where rather obvious situations were used to create cheap catharsis with the promise of a 'happy ending' (or the equivalent of) in the aftermath.  As time went on, nakige gradually became distinct from the parent genre, as less moe-focused companies began to produce games that qualified.  The key point of a nakige vs an utsuge, incidentally, is that in a nakige the point is to provide catharsis with a happy result, whereas utsuge provides catharsis but doesn't guarantee a happy result (utsuge started appearing about the same time as nakige but had almost no overlap with moege). 

Charage are an evolution of the original moege genre that retains the moe elements while also going more in-depth with character development (more involved and often showing traits that aren't necessarily designed to create a moe result).  Since these turned out to be more popular than their predecessors, 'pure moege' eventually just... vanished (save for a few occasional reboots by companies producing low-budget games).  Depending on the year, anywhere from 60% to 80% of the non-nukige VNs produced in a year will be charage since 2008. 

If you want examples of nakige... Kin'iro Loveriche and Komorebi no Nostalgica are both (relatively speaking) recent examples of this.  For an example of a charage, Noble Works, Princess Evangile, or Wagamama High Spec are recent (localized) examples.  Note that 'drama' in a charage path is generally mild, resolved quickly, and leaves little in the way of negative after-effects.  For an example of 'pure' moege, To Heart 2 or the original translated version of Shuffle (before the extensive rewriting seen in Essence + version) would be decent examples. 

Edit: Understand, in a broader sense, most non-nukige VNs can be considered 'moege' in the original sense, because most otaku media uses the moe concept in its artwork and character designs.  As such, 'moege' as it is currently used, is just an umbrella term for VNs with such elements.  A 'pure' moege is one where there is little else but such content.

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I'm gonna say that the golden age of VNs was from 2007-2012. That's when it looks like the most quality releases were coming out. For the West, the golden age is still ongoing from early 2016 to right now in comparison to Japan, where it's probably in its worst state in terms of releases and variety in years.

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