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General Discussion Theres a Clannad of AIR-headed Kanon fodder being shot by the Little Busters After Tomoyo on a Planet-arian.

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  #1  
Old 2008-07-22, 12:07
Wererat42
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Default Why are KEY games more popular than others?

A realization hit me recently; why are games written and developed by KEY have so much more following than any other bishoujo game when they all follow the same basic structure? Is it that KEY is more or less the innovators and everyone else is the imitator? Is it superior writing? Atmosphere? Character design?

In my opinion the answer is the emotional involvement. They've used the same basic, yet effective strategy of opening a story with lighthearted comedy and puppy love in the first half only to hit you with a freight train of Greek drama-level tragedy in the second half. It is very hard to go though one of these stories and not at the very least get watery eyes.

I'd like to hear what others think about this.
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  #2  
Old 2008-07-22, 12:15
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I dunno.. to be honest, I haven't really noticed KEY games having that much more following than others. Although currently Little Busters! EX seems to be attracting more attention than anything else that's supposed to be released in two days, there's nothing else that notable there.

I don't think KEY really have that much more of a following than any of the other eroge heavyweights - TYPE-MOON, Nitroplus, Alicesoft, Giga etc, nor have I really noticed them having an unusual amount of attention of late. Where are you talking about, by the way? 2ch?
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  #3  
Old 2008-07-22, 13:19
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According to past sale figures, Key was beaten by elf, ALICESOFT, Leaf and even C'sWare when they released "Kanon", nearly equalled by Leaf (and a minor title to beat!) when they released "Air", beaten by TYPE-MOOn when they released "CLANNAD", and beaten by TYPE-MOON, Leaf and August when they released "Tomoya After". Their highest sales ("Air" and "CLANNAD") were in the 100,000 but Kisaku" and TH2XR reaches that while F/sn and F/ha exploded this figure.
So, "so much more following than any other bishoujo game"? Uh? I'd join Asceai in how I don't think they have "that much more of a following than any of the other eroge heavyweights".
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Old 2008-07-22, 14:25
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Because nobody else has Shiori.
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  #5  
Old 2008-07-22, 16:00
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In the english side of the market Key has a larger following for probably several reasons: First, Kanon I think was the first major game to have anyone working to translate it into english. Heck, that's how this forum got started anyways: Haeleth created it and people talked about the hacking/translation of Kanon. Now it's expanded to include many other fan-translators who've started their own work on other games and more. So from this realization you can tell: To the english community, Kanon is essentially our roots, our first step into the genre to begin with.

Secondly, We all know how popular Fred's Megatokyo is, and just as long ago, he expressed his interest both in-comic and out-of-comic in regards to the visual novels by key, which I think was likely the first real waving spread to the American audience.

So I don't think KEY has a bigger english following due to anything the company itself has done, but because a few devoted fans to said company took the effort to talk about it and work on it when no one this side of the ocean knew what they were or gave a care. So to the english world I'd very easily say Key, particularly Kanon and Air is our Roots into the Visual Novel world. Just like the fan following for certain classic, genre defining and genre changing anime still have a large following even today.

I do however think this is going to start changing very soon with people like Mirror-Moon and other groups bringing out many other games of this genre into english for the new generations to start with. That's how it is in Japan: Key is but another company in a sea of companies doing the exact same thing, so the companies that put out more: Leaf, Alicesoft, etc, sell more and get more recognition. The biggest thing with Key is they never stop printing their old games: You can still pick up Kanon, Air, as well as Clannad and Little Busters. Which makes them different from the rest who generally stop printing the game after a few years.
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Old 2008-07-22, 17:58
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Konban wa minna!

My two cents:

I think alot of Key's popularity comes also with the fact that there are some who say that you are not a true otaku until you've experienced Kanon. They're just the product of becoming a forerunner in a niche market which draws attention from the mainstream. Same deal as TYPE-MOON.

Another 'key' aspect in their popularity comes from the fact that they produce a VERY high quality product. Crisp graphics, engaging stories, music that draws you in, etc. With their stories being more inline with "love overcoming despair" which is a tried and true formula (look at any dramatic romance "chick flick" :P), there is more of an emotional bond with the characters. A more recent example of this working for another company would be the ef series by minori (or at least in the anime since I haven't played the game... yet ^^;).

I think the final tip of the hat to Key comes from the fact that they are kinda like the Squaresoft/Square-Enix of visual novel companies, willing to push the envelope. (from what I've seen at least, feel free to disagree with me.) Few products, but big impacts. ;)

Okay.. so that was maybe more like three cents than two... *hurriedly scratches out two and replaces it with three*

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  #7  
Old 2008-07-22, 20:05
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRaiKetchum View Post
I think alot of Key's popularity comes also with the fact that there are some who say that you are not a true otaku until you've experienced Kanon.
I guess I'd sorta agree, but I'd also lump Tsukihime, White Album, To Heart et. al in with Kanon. =P
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  #8  
Old 2008-07-22, 20:34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Asceai
I dunno.. to be honest, I haven't really noticed KEY games having that much more following than others. Although currently Little Busters! EX seems to be attracting more attention than anything else that's supposed to be released in two days, there's nothing else that notable there.

I don't think KEY really have that much more of a following than any of the other eroge heavyweights - TYPE-MOON, Nitroplus, Alicesoft, Giga etc, nor have I really noticed them having an unusual amount of attention of late. Where are you talking about, by the way? 2ch?
Really? I didn't realize that.

I agree that TYPE-MOON has some great following, especially after Fate/Stay Night. But the others... Nitroplus I only know from Jingai Makyo; Alicesoft through the Rance seires, and Giga... never heard of it.

I don't know about 2ch. All I ever see there nowadays is Strike Witches.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kouryuu
To the english community, Kanon is essentially our roots, our first step into the genre to begin with.
Yes, I'm probably biased as a English-speaker whose first taste of bishoujo games came though ONE and CLANNAD, but I'm sure that a lot of the genre-defining aspects for story and character came from KEY works, such as the light-hearted first half and the dramatic second half.

[quote=JRaiKetchum]they are kinda like the Squaresoft/Square-Enix of visual novel companies, willing to push the envelope.[quote]

Ah, I couldn't have put it better myself. Look at every RPG after the first few Final Fantasies. No one was willing to break the formula and be the one to create something new and revolutionary. So what we get is a bunch of stock characters with every imaginable hairstyle and hair color. And every time one of there comes out I can mutter 'I see the ending' not unlike Katsuragi Keima.

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A more recent example of this working for another company would be the ef series by minori
Oh, yeah. Very unmanly tears were shed after I saw that. I just hope I can understand it after I start my studying abroad this Fall.
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Old 2008-07-22, 21:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wererat42 View Post
But the others... Nitroplus I only know from Jingai Makyo; Alicesoft through the Rance seires, and Giga... never heard of it.
Giga, formerly Technical Group Laboratory (TGL) (who has come back to release the all-ages versions of Giga's games) ... I've really only seen two series as their hits: Variable Geo series of fighting games which aren't VN's (except for VG:Rebirth) and the games released by Team Baldrhead (Baldr Force, Baldr Bullet, Duel Savior, etc.)

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Old 2008-07-22, 21:17
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Yeah, but their franchises are BIG hits. Baldrhead, Parfait, that sort of thing.

Same as age, really; you don't have to have a wide range to be successful. Look at TYPE-MOON!
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  #11  
Old 2008-07-22, 22:12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JRaiKetchum View Post
I think the final tip of the hat to Key comes from the fact that they are kinda like the Squaresoft/Square-Enix of visual novel companies, willing to push the envelope. (from what I've seen at least, feel free to disagree with me.) Few products, but big impacts. ;)
I would say that Alicesoft would fit that analogy better.
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  #12  
Old 2008-07-22, 22:27
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Key is primarily popular in the English world because it among the first top tier games that made it here "first" with all it's animation adaptations. There's plenty of top tier eroge brands/houses, but if you asked a random person in the English fandom to name a few, you'd be lucky if you got Key, and Leaf.

It simply has the largest group of people who are willing to shout loudly that they know it and love Key. Most of it is simple 'me too'ism. Meanwhile us fans of other groups mostly don't feel the urge to shout loudly about this or that brand, because we know all we'd get is a "who?".

If top tier game like Muvluv, Moshiraba, or even ef were animated and launched here before Key's stuff. History would probably be different just by first mover advantage alone.
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Old 2008-07-22, 23:04
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That's really hard to say, because Kanon and AIR were pretty huge even if we ignore the English community for a second. Yes, I would agree that the first move in anime adaptions might be (no, DEFINITELY) a reason for their popularity, but I'm pretty sure that applies in Japan and other places as well, and not just US or wherever alone. If other companies made a move first in getting a certain series into the US, there will of course be more diversity, but some fact will still remain unchanged.
I mean, why else would the song Tori no Uta be the Japanese otaku's national anthem (or so my host brother says)?

Quite frankly, I'm not too crazy about KEY, since I don't really like their style of story telling (having played Kanon and part of AIR up to this point), and I don't care much about their anime adaptions.

Last edited by ChronoEX; 2008-07-22 at 23:22.
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Old 2008-07-22, 23:16
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V.G.series WAS popular --> but only in the old days.

And there's that big family of GIGA PB, nekonekosoft is one of them.
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Old 2008-07-22, 23:31
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Quote:
Giga, formerly Technical Group Laboratory (TGL)
They're still TGL. Many companies use different brands to differentiate between adult and non-adult releases (and/or different product lines).

As of now, they don't do much all-ages development, so we rarely see the TGL label.

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Nitroplus I only know from Jingai Makyo
NitroPlus had a huge hit in Demonbane. However, they've definitely lost sales steam, despite having one of the best track records in terms of player reception.

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Yeah, but their franchises are BIG hits. Baldrhead, Parfait, that sort of thing.
Sorta. While they lack any power hit (in terms of PC-NEWS numbers, we're talking about a peak of maybe 25,000 units for the most successful releases), they release many solid hits.

Quote:
And there's that big family of GIGA PB, nekonekosoft is one of them.
You're referring to distribution not ownership, right? In Japan, not many publishers distribute their own games, so everything gets left to a small handful of companies. GIGA is one of them.
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