Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

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Was KS your first real VN?

yes and I haven't gotten into other VNs
127
20%
Yes and I have read other VNs since then
193
30%
No I have read other VN before I discovered KS
319
50%
 
Total votes: 639

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Bara
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Bara » Thu Jun 03, 2010 1:54 pm

neumanproductions wrote:
Bara wrote: Then again maybe the final release of KS will trigger the Apocalypse... :mrgreen:
So you're saying my prediction of a 2012 release date might be correct.
Nah, really they already finished it months ago; burned it to CD and buried it in a time capsule that will be opened in 20 years. Just to mess with us, of course... :mrgreen:

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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Csihar » Thu Jun 03, 2010 2:26 pm

Bara wrote:Maybe KS will have the effect of making some commercial production companies raise the bar on quality for their stories and the tech they use in producing them. Or at least get the consumers asking themselves why they are paying so much for not such great stuff in return.
I don't know if KS will have that kind of effect directly, but it seems like VNs have been getting at least slightly more popular lately, and if that trend continues I'm sure the quality of new ones will start to rise - at least eventually. Think about how generic and limited, say, rock and roll was back in the '50s when it was still a niche genre. A lot of it still sucks (and a lot of the older stuff had its merits), but at least now people know how to use more than the same four-chord blues progression for every song.
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Bara » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:38 pm

Csihar wrote:
Bara wrote:Maybe KS will have the effect of making some commercial production companies raise the bar on quality for their stories and the tech they use in producing them. Or at least get the consumers asking themselves why they are paying so much for not such great stuff in return.
I don't know if KS will have that kind of effect directly, but it seems like VNs have been getting at least slightly more popular lately, and if that trend continues I'm sure the quality of new ones will start to rise - at least eventually. Think about how generic and limited, say, rock and roll was back in the '50s when it was still a niche genre. A lot of it still sucks (and a lot of the older stuff had its merits), but at least now people know how to use more than the same four-chord blues progression for every song.
I confess to being cynical and believing in Sturgeon's Theorem which states that, "90% of everything is crap!". The silver lining to that is that you can appreciate the 10% you find a bit more when you find it. KS is included in the 10% of the good stuff category. :wink:

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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by neumanproductions » Thu Jun 03, 2010 4:53 pm

Csihar wrote:Think about how generic and limited, say, rock and roll was back in the '50s when it was still a niche genre. A lot of it still sucks (and a lot of the older stuff had its merits), but at least now people know how to use more than the same four-chord blues progression for every song.
Now, your forgetting that we have developed the tech to only need 5 colored button to play music :mrgreen:
So we have really gotten less complex.
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by DovK » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:33 pm

neumanproductions wrote:
Csihar wrote:Think about how generic and limited, say, rock and roll was back in the '50s when it was still a niche genre. A lot of it still sucks (and a lot of the older stuff had its merits), but at least now people know how to use more than the same four-chord blues progression for every song.
Now, your forgetting that we have developed the tech to only need 5 colored button to play music :mrgreen:
So we have really gotten less complex.
I'm using an Xbox controller as both a mouse and a chorded keyboard input right now. You want complexity-reduction? That's 108 keys, three buttons, a wheel and a raster input reduced to two analog sticks, two triggers, and fourteen buttons counting the stick-clickers and D-pad. Not half-bad if I do say so myself. Takes until the ass-end of forever goes by to type anything though. However, I'm so lazy that my keyboard and mouse, five feet away, seem like a greater investment of time to go fetch.

Back on topic, though, I played Act 1 just a few days after release, and I've never played any VNs before or since. I can see myself doing it eventually, though.

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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Aura » Thu Jun 03, 2010 6:36 pm

Bara wrote:More of a condemnation of the commercial producers who are content to sell products that are badly made with next to no attempt to, as you and THM said, push the technology. Even worse those commercial products which don't even try to reach the level of writing an engaging and entertaining story; instead, relying on an injection molded piece of formula about as unique as a plastic water bottle for the story line.
It's because they need to make a living, and there is a demand for the style they make. It's not made any easier by the fact that VNs are a niche of a niche market. Anime industry is in the same boat, they need shounen for little boys and moe otaku fodder for the big boys to survive, because those are easily capitalised on through merchandising. Nobody wants to step up, because nobody can step up. The budget for a true next-gen VN would be huge compared to what your average nukige is made with. And nobody would buy it. Anime/VN/whatever fans just are that terrible, just like the parallel in western entertainment industry. The popular stuff, the moneymakers, are bad in the objective sense, or the eyes of a critic. Ukrainan art movies don't make big bucks. Michael Bay does. (bad analogue in the sense that the budgets there really are more proportional to profits, but you get the point)

At most you can make semi-fringe stuff, something that goes slightly outside of the comfort zone, but not so far as to alienate the otaku who wants his moe escapism. Sometimes I wonder if I (and most of the other KS devs) are too harsh about our views of the state of the medium, I mean sure everything has flaws, but surely there also is quality that makes it worth the experience. Then I play something like Sharin no Kuni and frown for two weeks straight.
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Bara » Thu Jun 03, 2010 8:29 pm

Aura wrote:
Bara wrote:More of a condemnation of the commercial producers who are content to sell products that are badly made with next to no attempt to, as you and THM said, push the technology. Even worse those commercial products which don't even try to reach the level of writing an engaging and entertaining story; instead, relying on an injection molded piece of formula about as unique as a plastic water bottle for the story line.
It's because they need to make a living, and there is a demand for the style they make. It's not made any easier by the fact that VNs are a niche of a niche market. Anime industry is in the same boat, they need shounen for little boys and moe otaku fodder for the big boys to survive, because those are easily capitalised on through merchandising. Nobody wants to step up, because nobody can step up. The budget for a true next-gen VN would be huge compared to what your average nukige is made with. And nobody would buy it. Anime/VN/whatever fans just are that terrible, just like the parallel in western entertainment industry. The popular stuff, the moneymakers, are bad in the objective sense, or the eyes of a critic. Ukrainan art movies don't make big bucks. Michael Bay does. (bad analogue in the sense that the budgets there really are more proportional to profits, but you get the point)

At most you can make semi-fringe stuff, something that goes slightly outside of the comfort zone, but not so far as to alienate the otaku who wants his moe escapism. Sometimes I wonder if I (and most of the other KS devs) are too harsh about our views of the state of the medium, I mean sure everything has flaws, but surely there also is quality that makes it worth the experience. Then I play something like Sharin no Kuni and frown for two weeks straight.
So then does anyone have any insight as to where the commercial scene might go to break out of their "niche ghetto"? Where are their attempts to expand, grow and diversify their fan base? (Both in Japanese and in foreign languages) I wonder exactly how much of the thought that they must not risk angering their established fans is from fiscal/business reasons as opposed to fear of "rocking the boat"? I think if there really was a desire to look at leaving their comfortable confines and experiment, they would be doing it despite any temporary obstacles.
I bet KS alone has peaked the curiosity of enough folks to buy at least 100 legal copies of various commercial VN's. Admittedly a miniscule drop in the bucket for any sort of publisher, but the most precious drop. These would be an untapped audience who never heard that your product existed before. Don't marketing wonks cream their shorts at that? :wink:

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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Aura » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:00 am

Bara wrote:So then does anyone have any insight as to where the commercial scene might go to break out of their "niche ghetto"?
That's like asking where the fetish porn movie industry scene can go to break out of their niche ghetto. The medium is so tightly coupled with porn, or at least juvenile romance fantasy that "breaking out" doesn't seem very likely.
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Csihar » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:36 am

Aura wrote: That's like asking where the fetish porn movie industry scene can go to break out of their niche ghetto. The medium is so tightly coupled with porn, or at least juvenile romance fantasy that "breaking out" doesn't seem very likely.
Well, I hear that Phoenix Wright thing is pretty popular, so that's a start at least.
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by delta » Fri Jun 04, 2010 4:15 am

That's not really the same though. People have been saying "Heavily story based games like Mass Effect or Phoenix Wright or Metal Gear Solid are popular, that totally means that VNs are mainstream viable", but I feel that they are missing the very important point that what makes these popular is also what makes them not VNs.
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by TheHivemind » Fri Jun 04, 2010 10:43 am

Phoenix Wright doesn't work as a VN because it has bits where you collect evidence and bits where you have so many chances to spot the flaws in someone's logic. You're getting a story, but you're getting it through a game, not through what my dissertation adviser referred to (accurately, I might add) as a glorified powerpoint presentation. PW is good because it is a game (you solve mysteries! You investigate the crime scene for clues!) and not a VN--really, PW fits more easily into the adventure game genre.

There are a few more esoteric VNs out there, ones that do not have choices and merely rely on the concept of a reader/player rather than a player/reader, but the quality of writing is nothing to write home about, and attempts to place a little more emphasis on the player side of things jar the experience so harshly that immersion and investment in the story is broken. VNs are dead in the water because there's no audience for the experimental stuff beyond bored academics, and to add to the odds against the people doing the experimentation don't have the resources to do their experiments well.

No win situation.

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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Xybaro » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:49 pm

I'm probably going to sound stupid asking this, but....

What's the difference between an eroge and a visual novel?

I've been kinda wondering about that... :?
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Aura » Fri Jun 04, 2010 1:55 pm

Visual novel is a medium of fiction, eroge is just a term for games with porn. There are games that are both (KS), games that are just VNs (narcissu) and games that are have porn but are not VNs (Illusion games). In practice "eroge" usually refers to VNs and dating sims with porn though.
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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Bara » Fri Jun 04, 2010 2:19 pm

Well I'll grant the collective opinions of Aura, Delta and THM carry about 100 times the weight of experience and research than my opinions do. The one common thread of complaint I have seen from you all about VN's is that the writing of most of them sucks ass to the point of making them unplayable. After all, someone in the IRC channel pointed out that subjecting yourself to 10+ hours of bad writing is PAINFUL.
Doesn't this indicates the main cause of the lack of growth of VN's, both fan created and commercial, is writing that pollutes the room? Instead of worrying about improving background art or animating sprites by adding boob jiggles (ok, I'm a guy, boob jiggles are good, dur hurr!) the best way to improve your general run of VN would be to write a decent story. Not a literary classic but something decent enough to be published in a magazine or some such format. You could call it the "Writing Quality Over Quantity" plan. If a commercial VN company could surrender the hard and fast word count and allow some more ambiguous quality measurements to decide if the writing is good enough for their projects that might make the product actually playable for more that hard-core fans.

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Re: Is katawa Shoujo the gateway drug of visual novels?

Post by Aura » Fri Jun 04, 2010 3:14 pm

In many cases I feel that the writer is at least trying, but (at least to me) often the injection of anime tropes, its generic character archetypes, and unnecessarily inflating the story to ridiculous lenghts makes otherwise possibly a decent read completely insufferable.

Here's the shopping list for the next-gen visual novel:
1) writer who is mostly, if not completely separate from the anime/manga subculture.
2) story structure that takes advantage of the nature of VNs in a way that is incorporated in the story itself (a la ever17)
3) full CG presentation and inventive direction, not even Minori's or Littlewitch's top of the line stuff is enough (and they do some very good looking games, relatively). Art style something else than the current plastic moe-moe trend.

There was a project to adapt the scifi short story Dandelion Girl into a VN last year. DG was written 1961 and is an acclaimed story, one of the more famous short stories ever written. So okay, technically this would be at least on the way to something like what I'm envisioning here right? However, the people who adapted it tampered with the script, adding animeisms, references and shit, all but wrecking the sublime original (in my opinion). Add the animesque character art and yeah... you get the idea. It basically underlines why I think the current state of visual novel as a medium is "fubar".
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