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  #1  
Old 2008-08-09, 11:32
dorkatlarge
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Default Seanbaby rants about dating sims (Interwebs says "huh?")

In the September 08 issue of EGM, a magazine geared toward serious action gamers (aka "not geared towards casual fans or niche fans"), there's a new piece from mostly-profane humorist Seanbaby. He's discussed a variety of topics in previous issues, from licensed games to Atari 2600 porn. This particular issue is his take on H games and dating sims. Not sure if the content is on his blog -- which is NSFW -- but it's near the back of the magazine.

I know better than to take Seanbaby's discussions seriously. But it got me thinking. I sense that only a dedicated insiders know that dating simulations can have thoughtful stories and sometimes interesting gameplay. Outside this forum and a few others like it, I feel that only a few people on "teh intarwebs" know that there's something besides raunch and Newgrounds fan-made games out there. Not many individuals have experienced fan translations. A tiny number of people know about all-ages ren'ai games, BL games, or otome games.

So I guess the point I'm getting to is asking the following questions...

- "Do you 'evangelize' your favorite VNs and games? Or do you keep them to yourselves?" (As for me, I occasionally discuss a few personal favorite games in relevant forums.)

- "Have you ever been confronted by hostile individuals who have been convinced that all dating sims are raunchy, mindless porn?" (Back when I used Livejournal, I tried convincing someone who'd only read Something Awful that this wasn't true. It took a while, as well as discussing the shoujo-esque games which I knew at the time.)

- "Would you want your fandom to become more mainstream? If so, what steps would you take?" (My answer: I wouldn't be opposed to a few simulations and RPGs which reached out to a wider audience. After playing Summer Session from Hanako Games, I thought, "that's a step in a good direction." I'd welcome more pure love games which reached out to mainstream fanboys and fangirls. Likewise, I'd be glad to see something like Dream Generation. Even though the one English FAQ for that game didn't describe it in glowing terms, I thought it had some neat ideas.)
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Old 2008-08-09, 12:42
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The scans were posted on 4chan a few days ago. I saved them so here they are, courtesy of Anonymous.







I hope I'm allowed to post these, otherwise I apologize in advance.
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  #3  
Old 2008-08-09, 13:13
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The mainstreaming topic comes up every so often, and as usual there's a bunch of views on it.

For my part, I think the chances of what we do here as being 'mainstream' is nigh impossible. We will forever be a niche community within the tiny niche that is 'anime stuff'. Despite that, I would love my favorite stories to be shared with as wide an audience as possible, and mainstreaming is one of the ways of accomplishing that.

Mainstreaming has plenty of downsides. If 1 in 1000 people are the 'stupid, annoying, and loud' type of people, the more mainstream things get, the more of these people we pick up. Look at some of the loud and irritating individuals that are in the anime world. It's inevitable.

I leave the evangelizing to other people. There are people who bridge communities, and have the energy to evangelize and fix stubborn people's misconceptions. I don't even look at animesuki, or the MT forums, among a bunch of other more popular/mainstream-y places, so I don't come in contact with this sort of nonsense. All the better, since my temper isn't the greatest.

Instead I've always been more interested in building the community internally. We have a tiny canon of material right now, and no amount of shouting or screaming by evangelists will prove effective if they don't have things to point to and go "Try this, it's nothing like what you think it is".

It's not a mistake that most 'dating sim' comments always point to crappy smut games. They're the most prominent and easiest to find. If we want to differentiate ourselves from that, we need to build something to show the world first.
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  #4  
Old 2008-08-09, 23:01
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Quote:
- "Do you 'evangelize' your favorite VNs and games? Or do you keep them to yourselves?" (As for me, I occasionally discuss a few personal favorite games in relevant forums.)
Nope. I only discuss these things in dedicated forums where everyone's already playing (or is interested in) the game.

Quote:
- "Have you ever been confronted by hostile individuals who have been convinced that all dating sims are raunchy, mindless porn?" (Back when I used Livejournal, I tried convincing someone who'd only read Something Awful that this wasn't true. It took a while, as well as discussing the shoujo-esque games which I knew at the time.)
Because of where I post, I've never been confronted by detractors. However, the negative perception of bishoujo games is certainly prevalent.

Quote:
- "Would you want your fandom to become more mainstream?
More mainstream could mean more English releases. In that sense, I'd be happy if more people got into these things, especially within the lucrative console market.

However, I care little about what people play or don't play (i.e. if they love MMORPGs, that's great. I'd urge them to play responsibly and have a great time. However, I feel no inclination to join in, no matter how recommended the games are. Similarly, the same goes for my enjoyment of bishoujo games. If others aren't interested, so what?). I don't need public approval/recognition/legitimization of my tastes; only the fact that I enjoy these games counts.

Quote:
I know better than to take Seanbaby's discussions seriously. But it got me thinking. I sense that only a dedicated insiders know that dating simulations can have thoughtful stories and sometimes interesting gameplay.
On the contrary, I think he raises some notable points.

The argument that these games are about tentacles and mindless sex might be easily countered. However, there's no escaping the sexism/objectification angle given the sociopolitical climate in the west. Some of the cutest, most emotional stories would even fall victim to that criticism, and it isn't unwarranted if we stick by prevailing views on feminism and political correctness. You'd need a balanced and toned down product (away with moe, submissive, and lolicon portrayals, reduce overt character sexualization, make something balanced for both sexes. We're in trouble the instant a game emphasizes the "capture" or sensual display of highly appealing, often exaggerated girls) to evade the issue, which is how some American producers have responded. Look at Sprung and Brooktown High, for instance.

As I posted above, I don't think fans should care about what the critics say.
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  #5  
Old 2008-08-10, 00:29
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How to sell VNs to Americans? Very, very simple. Stop calling them games. Fuck cultural differences, Westerners just have a different idea of what a game should be and what it should involve. Mainstream gamers would not enjoy sitting in front of a computer for hours clicking their mouse to make text advance. And from a text-adventure viewpoint there are rarely enough decision branches to make you feel like you're having a genuine effect on the story.

It would be best to pitch them for what they are: visual novels. Not dating simulations. This isn't freaking Tokimeki Memorial we're talking about here. You're dealing with flags, not statistics! Explain to people that these a basically novels with varying degrees of erotic content and multiple endings.

On a more absurd note, make a move to license OEL VN's. It provides the audience who don't eat and breath anime with stories they may be more inclined to relate to. Also it gives the creators more incentive to continue producing and hopefully improve the quality beyond doujinshi-stage. But sell them for no more than 20-30 dollars and use something like Steam to prevent rampant piracy.

It might work for an established company that did more than VNs; the consumer base is already there and has interest in anime and manga style. The natural progression is to move on VNs (that might be how it goes for anime otaku in Japan) I know I got interested in the source material after I saw some anime based on eroge and heard people talking on forums about how they wished the studio had done a different route)

Just my two cents in there.
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  #6  
Old 2008-08-10, 00:56
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorkatlarge View Post
- "Do you 'evangelize' your favorite VNs and games? Or do you keep them to yourselves?" (As for me, I occasionally discuss a few personal favorite games in relevant forums.)
I discuss them. A lot. In completely irrelevant places, among coworkers, on other message boards and IRC channels not related to visual novels or even anime/manga/japanese stuff.

I've managed to get a decent number of people trying the things, mostly due to the efforts of the fan-translation community (especially with narcissu and true remembrance).

Quote:
- "Have you ever been confronted by hostile individuals who have been convinced that all dating sims are raunchy, mindless porn?" (Back when I used Livejournal, I tried convincing someone who'd only read Something Awful that this wasn't true. It took a while, as well as discussing the shoujo-esque games which I knew at the time.)
Of course. I think everyone in this fandom has. It's usually quite possible to convince these people that that's not true (if they're worth convincing at all).

Quote:
- "Would you want your fandom to become more mainstream? If so, what steps would you take?" (My answer: I wouldn't be opposed to a few simulations and RPGs which reached out to a wider audience. After playing Summer Session from Hanako Games, I thought, "that's a step in a good direction." I'd welcome more pure love games which reached out to mainstream fanboys and fangirls. Likewise, I'd be glad to see something like Dream Generation. Even though the one English FAQ for that game didn't describe it in glowing terms, I thought it had some neat ideas.)
I would be fine with that. Among other things, it would mean more translated titles. All the same, I'm also fine with the genre remaining niche. How popular it is doesn't have any bearing on how much I enjoy my visual novels.

What steps would I take? Well, I think the way JAST/GC/PP is going now is fine. The process wouldn't be quick no matter what.
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  #7  
Old 2008-08-10, 04:47
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http://www.macworld.com/article/1346...?lsrc=rss_main

I'll note that Summer Session, an OELVN dating sim (OELDS?), did just get reviewed by MacWorld. It's pretty hard to get respectability when dealing with an NC-17 rated game, but apart from that, if you promote it through things like indie game channels, it will get noticed.
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Old 2008-08-10, 06:18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dorkatlarge View Post
"Do you 'evangelize' your favorite VNs and games? Or do you keep them to yourselves?"
Evangelize? Not quite. Highly recccomend and promote? Very yes. I talk about them all the time, and just as I've managed to suck a lot of my friends into the anime scene, I've found myself just as capable of drawing people into the visual novel scene. Quite frankly I find it's easy enough to do with just about anyone, provided you know how they work, think, and what attracts their attention. Like one friend likes action/suspense--I toss him one of Nasu's works. Another goes for strategy RPGs like Disgea and Growlanser--I toss him Utaware. However it's still very true that without such source material to place in front of them, it would be impossible to convert them. Either way, I tend to avoid promoting them around people I know have a heavy dissuasion to them, at least until I break the ice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dorkatlarge View Post
"Have you ever been confronted by hostile individuals who have been convinced that all dating sims are raunchy, mindless porn?"
Absolutely. In my case, this moment was hilarious. Said person who loathed porn games was a big fan of the Tsukihime and Fate\Stay Night anime. The look on her face when I held up the original games in front of her was absolutely priceless. Needless to say she gave them a shot in the end. But that's how I usually approach such people who "loathe" "porn" games. I find a good quality anime that I'm confident they'll enjoy, if not love, then after they've grown to like what they just saw, I either pull out the game itself or pull up the website and show them that the story they just couldn't get enough not only had more, but was an H-game to boot. <_< I may take too much pleasure in breaking people who dennounce them this way...but it's still very much worth it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dorkatlarge View Post
"Would you want your fandom to become more mainstream? If so, what steps would you take??"
Increase in available source material (English Translation) and probably just continue what I'm doing. The only reason I'd really want it mainstream is so I can get a hold of them easier. but I don't care if it's not mainstream. Most of my motivation for spreading them is to increase the amount of people I can talk to about them and clear up nasty misconceptions and false biases people have. Still, I've found I'm good at getting these games more popular and well known at least among the people who become my friends. As proof, I ended up getting one of the friends I made while in Japan to pull an all-nighter trying to finish Fate/Stay Night when he wasn't even very interested in anime to begin with. <_< To top it off, the following night when we all went drinking as the farewell party for us study abroad students, he got drunk and spent the entire night calling me "Master"... and spouting off things like セーバーは俺のものだ! as he had completely fallen victim to Saber and Rin's moe.
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Old 2008-08-10, 13:54
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I hit the forum site to see if there was any new news, and noticed the topmost post was the announcement of the translation release of "The Gang Rape Club."

If anyone is really puzzled as to why this genre hasn't gotten mainstream acceptance, or why most western gamers insist that the genre is just porn games, they're obviously not thinking about it hard enough.

Last edited by GreatSaintLouis; 2008-08-10 at 13:57.
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Old 2008-08-10, 14:33
KaioShin KaioShin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreatSaintLouis View Post
I hit the forum site to see if there was any new news, and noticed the topmost post was the announcement of the translation release of "The Gang Rape Club."

If anyone is really puzzled as to why this genre hasn't gotten mainstream acceptance, or why most western gamers insist that the genre is just porn games, they're obviously not thinking about it hard enough.
Closing your eyes and wishing the reality, that 90% of all VNs are just porn games, to go away won't change the facts.

It's not really surprising, but the genre is often over-glorified here... Most translators can still pick the really good games out of hundreds if not thousands to chose from, and that might give people who only know the tiny fraction of translated games a wrong picture.
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  #11  
Old 2008-08-10, 14:58
GreatSaintLouis GreatSaintLouis is offline
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The problem is, everyone thinks strictly of the commercial titles when they think of the genre. You start moving into shorter doujin works, and not only are they much more literary in their writing (as they don't have to pander to the shallow masses with the same tired highschool settings), but you'll find the safe-to-porn ratio is much higher. I realize in the commercial titles that finding games where the story is so good you can gloss over the porny parts is difficult, and finding porn-free titles is even harder, but as some of you well know it's much less difficult (though by no means easy) to explain the ero scenes in something like Fate as an artifact of the market, rather than defending something like, say, Do You Like Horny Bunnies? or other tripe like that.

If mainstream acceptance--or even a little less stigmatization--is what the VN community desires, I think it's going to have to work to distance itself from the outright porny titles to establish any sort of credibility. Again, I realize that the ero aspect is inescapable in the genre, but I think a good amount of headway can be made if we start admitting that not all VN games are created equally; there are many that are excellent and their individual issues can be overlooked, and there are many more that are just faptastic cheesecake.
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Old 2008-08-10, 15:54
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I don't think 90% of VNs released are porn games at all. I do track releases, and honestly, I don't think even a MAJORITY of released VNs are porn games. They may not all be good, but they're certainly far from sexromps.

In any case, even if it was 90%, who cares? So many visual novels are released that there's a ridiculous number of quality titles coming out all the time. It's simply not possible for anyone to keep up with them.
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Old 2008-08-10, 17:15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kouryuu View Post
To top it off, the following night when we all went drinking as the farewell party for us study abroad students, he got drunk and spent the entire night calling me "Master"... and spouting off things like セーバーは俺のものだ! as he had completely fallen victim to Saber and Rin's moe.
Is that a bad thing ? =P

I would love to have at least one real friend who would do this.
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Old 2008-08-10, 21:50
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Originally Posted by kouryuu View Post
. I find a good quality anime that I'm confident they'll enjoy, if not love, then after they've grown to like what they just saw, I either pull out the game itself or pull up the website and show them that the story they just couldn't get enough not only had more, but was an H-game to boot. <_< I may take too much pleasure in breaking people who dennounce them this way...but it's still very much worth it.
I did this to my mother actually XD. She is a very casual anime fan but likes some shows. I got her hooked on Air and one day had this conversation:
Mom: How old is Misuzu supposed to be anyhow?
Me : 18
Mom : Why do you say she's 18?
Me: The original game had sex scenes, so for the sake of legality, shes 18.
Mom : .... wait what??

She also played Planetarian soon after that and loved it...

As for Seanbaby, I have read his work before and generally like his humor. This article is no exception :)
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  #15  
Old 2008-08-14, 05:52
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Asceai said, "I don't think 90% of VNs released are porn games at all." That's a wise thought, but I think it's also kind of a secret among fans. I suspect that your average anime con-goer might not know that.

There's two common criticisms with any piece of "low art." One is "I don't like the content." In other words, when a person doesn't like the story/themes of the art, or thinks they're unacceptable. Another criticism is "I don't like the form of media." In other words, when a person doesn't like the way the art is presented or packaged. I've often felt that some people dislike ren'ai games for both reasons. I get the impression that there are fans who dislike love stories which lack external conflict. Likewise, I sense that only a few English-speaking fans like a game which is up to ninety five percent text, and which may not have puzzles or strategy.

A demotivator (which shouldn't be taken seriously, but which seems to reveal how other people think): http://i19.photobucket.com/albums/b1...tor6816153.jpg

Last edited by dorkatlarge; 2008-08-14 at 05:53. Reason: Problems with HTML
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