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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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  #46  
Old 2007-01-04, 13:58
EwanG
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As with any storytelling medium, there's potential for a lot of diversity. However, the market shows no sign of maturing to that level.
For movies, this is what drove the original "Independent" movement. That there were stories that when a budget of $X million was involved, could not be told profitably - at least in the eyes of most of the folks with the purses.

I think (and again, I'm biased) that part of the development of the amateur VN community is a desire by some of us to do the stories that are a bit out there.

I highly doubt (though my pocketbook would love if I were proved wrong) that any of the game studios in Japan or the US would take on a story like the one I'm currently developing. Whereas I suspect if I were willing to add some more adult scenes and a bit more length, my previous title could get at least a looksee.

Of course, like the "Independent" movement in film, it can be hoped that at some point there will be a recognition of the viability of alternative genres, and then you will see more commercially palatable (if somewhat watered down) versions of those different genres made available within the mainstream.

Again, YMMV, FWIW, etc. :-)
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  #47  
Old 2007-01-04, 21:03
Phineas Lucis
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Does it? Much in contrast to anime, the stories told in visual novels do not appear to me to be very diverse in nature. Romance obviously, mystery in Tsukihime, horror in Higurashi, adventure in RPGish titles, perhaps even comedy in kanoso, but I cannot think of too many other mainstream categories. Anime has slice of life, magic, detectives, sports, martial arts, war, mecha...

All I can say is time. The medium and genre (the visual novel can be considered the Japanese genre of the ADV) are both young.


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I agree. The current audience/demographic for visual novels is so narrow that there isn't a lot of variety.

As with any storytelling medium, there's potential for a lot of diversity. However, the market shows no sign of maturing to that level.

As a long-time gamer, I disagree. However, we all have our own tastes and reasons for playing games.

Story-driven games are fun. However, that kind of design detracts from experiences revolving around a complex game system (where learning and mastering various layers of the system is the reward - compare this with chess or a table top wargame) or games in which team competition is the goal (i.e. Unreal Tournament - you can compare that to a sports match you watch on TV. No additional story is needed or even wanted).

Storytelling meshes well with some types of interactive experiences. However, it doesn't work with everything.
I have to concede on your point, as it is true; storyline is everything. I suppose I am also working on the bais of purpose-drive play. Co-op play, outside of the cybercafe, is not always available (it's not as if everyone owns broadband, and can support extensive multi-player). And, again, I'd note the examples of Bobby Fischer, or, ehck, any agmer who skips every story when he replays a game like C&C or Starcraft, and skips all the FMVs and briefings. When one 'masters' something, one , ina sense, closes out, as he no longer excercises something new. Sure, it may be kathartic to do repitive and fun gameplay, but there are also other, more healthy avenues. Rather, the game system should always be challenged, and if not, a story that can engage the mind where the system cannot.
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  #48  
Old 2007-01-04, 22:46
cyanoacry cyanoacry is offline
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I play visual novels/ren'ai games/whatever's out there because it's fun. If it's a story like Planetarian, it's fun to lose yourself and take on another character for a while. If I'm reading through something like Narcissu, I'm experiencing the sorrow and loss (and occasional small joys) that the characters do. Much better than my boring old life, anyway.

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Is it really not a medium issue ? Sure, while I admit that it is definitely an issue on the messages, the medium does play a role to some extent. In fact, I'd say it is an issue that involves medium AND message.
In the end, it matters on execution. Find a genius and he will make any system work to its benefits, to cover its drawbacks, and to achieve the same stunning results. Message and format play a much lesser role than the creator's ingenuity to get his point across.
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  #49  
Old 2007-01-04, 22:55
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Talbain Talbain is offline
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Quite honestly, it's just philosophy for me. I don't particularly like reading, nor do I really care for most game content, but I'm very interested in philosophy and culture. Thereby, to learn either, you must read, or watch, or speak, or do. In other words, it's better than spending your time playing some MMO which is essentially a game that's played by creating a shell with no depth.
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  #50  
Old 2007-01-04, 23:30
Phineas Lucis
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In the end, it matters on execution. Find a genius and he will make any system work to its benefits, to cover its drawbacks, and to achieve the same stunning results. Message and format play a much lesser role than the creator's ingenuity to get his point across.
Exactly ! I'd be inclined to add that it'd also be the creator's uniqueness, be it the style or identity he seeks to convey, that will also play a key role.

The only question now is when. Of course, there is the possibility it may never happen for this genre, yet...

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Quite honestly, it's just philosophy for me. I don't particularly like reading, nor do I really care for most game content, but I'm very interested in philosophy and culture. Thereby, to learn either, you must read, or watch, or speak, or do. In other words, it's better than spending your time playing some MMO which is essentially a game that's played by creating a shell with no depth.
...it could happen.

Just to expand on Talbain's point, the Japanese culture is a unique culture. Aside from the VNs, the Japanese are also responsible for the pachinko (which is exclusive to them), the goshapon machines (which can be found in numerous other Asian countries), and they partly influenced the postmodern movement as we know it (anyone remember Yoko Ono ?) Not to mention how they rework RPG and other game systems.
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  #51  
Old 2007-01-05, 11:29
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As a medium, the visual novel has an inherent disadvantage when it comes to having that philosophical depth you are talking about. Unlike a book where one can take anywhere, read under any conditions, underline, highlight, etc. etc., a visual novel isn't nearly as accessible when it comes to taking the text and analyzing it in depth. A simple test would be, can it be a material fit for a classroom? The answer would be a resounding no. First of all, the technical and logistical requirements of giving everyone a computer is a rather difficult obstacle, but more importantly, unlike a book, you can not just bring examples from the text by saying, well on page X so and so says this[...].

You mentioned earlier about talking about nietzche over xenosaga vs. over zarathrustra not being a likely thing. Not only would the professor probably not have played xenosaga, but you just wouldn't be able to have a very in depth intellectual conversation due to the fact that you can't analyze the text at a scholarly level.

About this medium vs. message issue, I believe that medium is a component of message. The visuals in an ADV are just as much as part of the message as the text itself. That is why a painting can have a message with no accompanying text except for its possible title. The medium merely allows the creator to share his vision in the way that he believes it should be received.
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  #52  
Old 2007-01-05, 15:32
ono ono is offline
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As a medium, the visual novel has an inherent disadvantage when it comes to having that philosophical depth you are talking about. Unlike a book where one can take anywhere, read under any conditions, underline, highlight, etc. etc., a visual novel isn't nearly as accessible when it comes to taking the text and analyzing it in depth. A simple test would be, can it be a material fit for a classroom? The answer would be a resounding no. First of all, the technical and logistical requirements of giving everyone a computer is a rather difficult obstacle, but more importantly, unlike a book, you can not just bring examples from the text by saying, well on page X so and so says this[...].
Allow me to disagree here. In fact, the visual novel allows for far easier accessibility than many other established mediums - even in its modern limited state. Is it easy to highlight a scene in a stage play (not in the script - in the play as it's played)? Is it easy to take a TV anywhere you want to watch movies in any given situation? It does not prevent them from being topics of at least critical discussions, if not phylosophical analysis.

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You mentioned earlier about talking about nietzche over xenosaga vs. over zarathrustra not being a likely thing. Not only would the professor probably not have played xenosaga, but you just wouldn't be able to have a very in depth intellectual conversation due to the fact that you can't analyze the text at a scholarly level.
Again, you CAN analyze visual novels, if you really like. Nothing prevents people from transcribing them by hand putting sketches of in-game scenes along with the text, adding scores of in-game music on a separate sheet of paper, and producing thus a "visual novel" in a very conservative form that can be attacked with any scientific methods and tools (starting with crosscut paper shredder). It's just that nobody would do that - because the messages given by modern visual novels just don't get that much attention.

Why they don't get that attention is another question. I see two sides to it: on one hand, visual novels are not mainstream enough. In the example above, you probably would be able to get some quotes about recent movies or something like that out of a professor, if you set proper mood, and it's pretty much as likely that he's not heard not only of Xenosaga, but of the whole VN genre. On the other hand, messages of modern visual novels are (let's face it) simply not deep and not original enough to be taken through thorough examination. That doesn't mean that this medium is inferior to others, of course - it's just its place in the modern (sub-)culture.


As for the thread topic - everybody finds something of his or her own in visual novels. For me, it's mostly two things: first is the unusual culture of their creators (speaking about Japanese visual novels here, of course), which sometimes shows unexpected sides of common things and happenings. And the second is the decision points system of many of them: it's much easier for me associate myself with the story when I'm given at least an illusion that the character follows what I'd do rather than some predefined scenario. For example, this means that in case of getting a "bad end" I can't put the whole blame on the silly creator, and can't help feeling that it all happened because of "my decisions" - bringing me much closer to the game character.

It also makes me wonder if a game can be done that will by stating certain problems determine what kind of plot development will influence player the most (using socionics or whatever psychological subscience out there), and then follow that path to maximize the impact of the story. Something similar is used in many games, but what I wonder is if it can be consistently applied to make VNs that fit tastes of many different players.

But all in all, it still boils down to the story and its execution, and (in my opinion) there's enough VNs out there with really good stories, making them more than worthy to spend time on.
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  #53  
Old 2007-01-05, 19:20
chocorush
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Allow me to disagree here. In fact, the visual novel allows for far easier accessibility than many other established mediums - even in its modern limited state. Is it easy to highlight a scene in a stage play (not in the script - in the play as it's played)? Is it easy to take a TV anywhere you want to watch movies in any given situation? It does not prevent them from being topics of at least critical discussions, if not phylosophical analysis.
But when we analyze a play, we look at the script. And i'm not saying that a visual novel isn't capable of discussed and analyzed. I just said that a book is a more convenient medium (and note how i made that comparison specifically to books in the first place). Picking apart your visual novel by transcribing every aspect to some written medium isn't exactly the most efficient or convenient way to look analyze something, nor is it the way that the author wanted you to read the substance.

That says nothing about whether or not visual novels are fun to read or whether or not there is anything intellectually noteworthy to be gained. I read books all the time without analyzing and picking apart each significant section. But i think that it is stretching it a little to say that the visual novel is a superior medium to books.

Also, while there are some interesting philosophical concepts in games, visual novels, and movies like the Matrix, these examples hardly have enough substance for any really interesting and in-depth philosophical discussion.
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  #54  
Old 2007-01-06, 00:39
cyanoacry cyanoacry is offline
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I'm not too keen on the idea of the genre as a private interest, and I'm saying this out of a possibiltiy that, aside from the pulp medium, the future of fiction may indeed become interactive.
So you don't actually like them yourself? Sorry for the criticism, but to ramble on about visual novels as a genre and the 'future of fiction' is rather hypocritical if you yourself have no love for them. Their popularity will be determined by the creators themselves, so emphasizing it as such a bright end seems like a potshot in the dark to me.
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