Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

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BlackWaltzTheThird
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by BlackWaltzTheThird » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:33 am

I want to say first that I cbf'd reading all the posts, stopped on page 3. Anyway, if I were to read this I would prefer to see a few things done; the first of which is a change of the title. To call it "Mentaru Shoujo" seeks to associate the VN with KS, and whether intentional or not, this adds a certain amount of baggage to your VN. In the first case, it appears to say that it is made by or affiliated with KS, which all in all it is not, as I understand it. In the second case, that affiliation could be manipulated to attract readers and attention, but at the cost of a high expectation of the quality of the product. I applauded the quality of KS and in order for you to have a successful product you would need to top that; no easy task, in my mind. I forget where but I read a title idea was "Cross Channel", I definitely like this title.

I'm not 100% on this next one, but having read the arguments of a previous poster I would like to see the setting be somewhere outside of a school. A rehab centre was one suggestion, or some charity thingy, or a psych ward was mentioned (but I'm not too keen on that one... hospitals + eroge... not a good mix). Either way, it has to be an uncliched setting in which a number of mentally affected people could plausibly gather. Hmm a thought just occurred to me, incorporating parts of the rehab and charity ideas. As part of a recovery thing for the rehab, the characters must attend activities at say homeless shelters and what not, and it's through these activities that they meet... I dunno it made more sense in my head.

My last and most important request is for the character development. There are several key points here. DO NOT make the characters stereotyped or cliched or in any way similar to another media character (ESPECIALLY KS); they must be as unique as possible. DO write to make the readers care about these characters, but NOT by playing the "oh it's so said, they suffer from ____" card; you have to move beyond the issue of their respective conditions, like KS did. DO NOT have any silly over dramatic endings, say for example the aforementioned depressed girl killing herself. By all means have that threat but DO NOT do it. Also, please don't have any characters who have a "learning disability" to put it lightly. They must have fully functioning minds, if a little broken.

I think that's it for now. If I think of anything else I'll post again. Cheers, 'Waltz'.
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scopedknife
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by scopedknife » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:38 am

Having just read through the whole thread up to now in one go I have thoughts.
First off, the concept as a whole thoroughly intrigues me, and so long as the delivery is as tactful, tasteful, unique and artistically brilliant as the spiritual predecessor from which the project draws I believe it could be similarly gamechanging and stereotype-breaking. That said, it is essential in this instance not to draw from the inspiration too much, as such an effort would render its own originality and message almost entirely empty and pointless. If this piece is ever fully realised and produced I will most likely not hesitate to play it, and if done well I could very well wholeheartedly enjoy it and, like much good art, use it as a medium through which to learn about myself. Interactive media is currently on a precipice of opportunity in modern society, and with the whole 'video games as art' argument raging, projects like this that take on the challenge of contravertial subject matter are an integral part of the future and development of the VG and VN medium and in building its credibility as a medium that can be taken seriously. You owe it to your trade to do this well, or not to do it at all.
As for the content itself (in terms of setting, themes, characters and their 'disabilities' etc), I like the idea of a European setting as opposed to the Japanese setting of KS. This is partially because it sets itself apart from KS, partially because it's a setting not often used in this medium, partially because Vienna is a well placed location considering the theme, and partially because it's closer to home to me as a Brit. However, I would be wary of using Vienna as a specific location, as (I believe) it detracts an element of imagination and mystery from the game's setting, and restricts you to specific locations and landmarks. I would also personally avoid a Catholic school as a setting, as this may alienate a non-Christian portion of potential audience (looking at the extremely open-minded potential audience this piece is likely to be aimed at, who will quite possibly be non-religious like myself, this could be not-great lol). At the very least, don't make the fact that the location is a Catholic school any sort of recurring theme or plot point. Especially if you're planning to include H scenarios in your piece - a recipe for plotholes to be sure. This conveniently leads me on to my next point: concerning H scenarios. Obviously covering themes of mental disability is a very delicate matter, and many people on this thread have voiced their opinions on the state of heroines' mental health vs rape scenarios etc, and while I'm very much pro exploring difficult themes and concepts so as to evoke emotional and mental response (how artistic of me ¬¬) I think this is a matter that needs to be dealt with under due scrutiny and with tact. It may well be prevalent not to focus this game necessarily as an eroge or H-game, and (assuming your structure will follow separate character paths/routes in a similar style to KS (which you seem to be drawing lots of inspiration from re: setting, character design (in some aspects)) only include H-scenarios as natural plot elements in character routes where they would arise naturally anyway. In terms of structure and focus, I personally feel that diverging from the structure of KS more would help better define your project and keep it from being considered a tasteless clone (as will your eventual final title haha). Perhaps a structure in which a heroine's path doesn't effectively cut you off from the other characters might be a good idea, and a focus on the development of the protagonist and his disability, with a developed character and a method of working his disability naturally into the narrative. The idea of schizophrenia I think I heard thrown around - this is a good device, so long as another voice being present is a subtly applied effect, and seems like a natural part of the protagonist's thought process for the audience to naturally get their head around as the story progresses. I would personally recommend avoiding the use of amnesia, as this is an all-too-often poorly used excuse for not giving a character to the protagonist in an attempt to offer a half-assed blank slate for the audience. I'd like to see an approach similar to that of KS, in which the protagonist isn't completely lifeless, and has ambitions and frustrations, and doesn't just blindly follow after girls like it was the sole reason he was brought into the world (even if that was the reason for the creation of the character in the first place). In my opinion, characterisation is very important, and will lend itself to the deep experience I get the feeling you're trying to achieve. The kind of open-minded audience you'll attract with this piece will probably not object to reading this like a 1st person novel with their own choices. As such, development of the character's disability could be an element worked into the decision making process, with choices pushing the character's mental state further down different paths, depending on which characters he's interacting with and which choices he's making.
As you might have guessed if you're still bothering to read my drivel, I have plenty more opinions to lend on the topic, and if anyone is interested in hearing more, please get in contact. I'd have liked to have maybe had a minor role in the project, but it seems all the positions for music, editing and writing are now all filled. Anyways, there's my two cetns/pence for you, but as mentioned I have much more conceptual money to throw at an ambitious project such as this. I look forward to watching it either build into something beautiful, or build into something awful or fail (the latter two as a learning experience), and I wish you all the best of luck. Make us proud.

S_K
"Do something you can't, just because you can." - In other words, troll life.

themocaw
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by themocaw » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:41 pm

Re: Schizophrenia: Just remember that Schizophrenia isn't actually "another voice," as in it's not a hallucination. A better way to think of it is. . . you know how everyone has that internal monologue going? Imagine that except your internal monologue is nuts. Where a "normal" person's internal monologue might go, "Ow, I bit a piece of gravel in my oatmeal: stupid lazy factory workers didn't sort it out properly," a paranoid schizphrenic's might go, "Ow, I bit a piece of gravel in my oatmeal: who put it there?" VNs being largely first-person storytelling, this could be an interesting way to portray something like that from the inside.

If you want some examples of VNs that use this motif well: almost anything by Nitro+ (esp. Chaos:Head and Saya no Uta). Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni also comes to mind.

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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by Smoky » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:18 pm

I would just like to say that I come here at the end of my day to read all of the new posts in this thread and I do take some suggestions to heart more than others.

First off, Mentaru Shoujo is a working title. We've discussed on what it should be many times, it simply hasn't become resolved at this point in time. Many people in our group have many different ideas and we are working on one that everyone enjoys.

Secondly, we are treating this game very seriously. As such, whenever something is suggested, it is taken just as seriously. We look at all issues a character may have for even the smallest illness.

Third, a lot of people seem to have issues concerning mental disability and H-scenes. All I will say about them is that we are taking them with the utmost caution, there was even some talk about not having them in some routes, but I'll leave that unanswered for now.

Fourthly, our characters. Their creators and writers feel strongly with who and what they made, and needless to say, they care about them quite a bit. Clothes, accessories, opinions and nearly everything a real person thinks about, we've placed it into them.

scopedknife, and anyone else for that matter, you are more than welcome to join our forums and post how you feel. We are always welcome to more posts.
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by Guest » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:34 pm

Smoky wrote:scopedknife, and anyone else for that matter, you are more than welcome to join our forums and post how you feel. We are always welcome to more posts.
Quick query - my browser's telling me it can't find the web address linked in the top post of the topic... is the server down at the moment or something?

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scopedknife
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by scopedknife » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:36 pm

Guest wrote:
Smoky wrote:scopedknife, and anyone else for that matter, you are more than welcome to join our forums and post how you feel. We are always welcome to more posts.
Quick query - my browser's telling me it can't find the web address linked in the top post of the topic... is the server down at the moment or something?
And for the record, that post was me. My browser just decided to log me out ¬¬"
"Do something you can't, just because you can." - In other words, troll life.

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Harlequin13
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by Harlequin13 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:44 pm

scopedknife wrote:
Guest wrote:
Smoky wrote:scopedknife, and anyone else for that matter, you are more than welcome to join our forums and post how you feel. We are always welcome to more posts.
Quick query - my browser's telling me it can't find the web address linked in the top post of the topic... is the server down at the moment or something?
And for the record, that post was me. My browser just decided to log me out ¬¬"
It works for me.

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scopedknife
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by scopedknife » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:06 pm

Harlequin13 wrote:It works for me.
Tried troubleshooting and changing settings, but no luck... it doesn't work in any of my browsers, despite the fact that I'm obviously connected to the internet... disaster D:
"Do something you can't, just because you can." - In other words, troll life.

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Harlequin13
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by Harlequin13 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:47 pm

scopedknife wrote:
Harlequin13 wrote:It works for me.
Tried troubleshooting and changing settings, but no luck... it doesn't work in any of my browsers, despite the fact that I'm obviously connected to the internet... disaster D:

That's pretty strange...

http://mentarushoujo.forumotions.com/

Going to that one right?

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scopedknife
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by scopedknife » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:28 pm

Harlequin13 wrote:
scopedknife wrote:
Harlequin13 wrote:It works for me.
Tried troubleshooting and changing settings, but no luck... it doesn't work in any of my browsers, despite the fact that I'm obviously connected to the internet... disaster D:

That's pretty strange...

http://mentarushoujo.forumotions.com/

Going to that one right?
That is indeed the one I'm trying to go to... I'm confused :S Alas this is hardly the place to discuss it... if you have any troubleshooting suggestions (that goes to anybody more educated in this area than me) then please message me. I'd like to be able to contribute to the forum and have my say on this project. I'm becoming rather interested in it :3
"Do something you can't, just because you can." - In other words, troll life.

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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by Anubis » Thu Feb 02, 2012 11:21 pm

One of the things I liked about Katawa Shoujo was that they dealt with the physical disabilities in a fairly realistic way, and most importantly, the girl's personality was not overshadowed by her disability.

This would have been really difficult to do with mental disabilities - mental disabilities do overshadow and often even subsume the personality of the individual. As such, it's too easy for the mental disabilities to turn into "cute quirks" rather than get portrayed in a realistic manner, since portraying them realistically would make the game much, much darker than Katawa Shoujo.

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encrypted12345
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by encrypted12345 » Fri Feb 03, 2012 2:23 am

Hmm.. every aspect of my common sense screams that this is a bad idea, but I've learned that common sense is often based on false assumptions, so I'll observe and give commentary for now. Since you guys seem so insistent into bringing this VN into existence, I'll try to assist as much as possible to make this thing actually good. Just a few things I want to bring up for now.

1. Please, oh please DO NOT over-exploit the mental disabilities to extract tears from the audience. It's inevitable that it'll be part of it, but don't over do it. Too many VNs involving emotionally disturbed people do this, and I don't want to see this VN fall into this trap of lazy writing.

2. What made Katawa Shoujo special was its characters that were heavily well-developed. Fleshing the characters out and making them relatable should come before making an epic plot. Again, many high tier VNs sacrifice characterization for plot, but Katawa Shoujo refuses to and is awesome for it. The amount of empathy I felt for the Katawa Shoujo characters made the (admittedly mundane) plots all the more heart-wrenching or heart warming.

3. Rape is a very cheap plot device. Please don't use it. That said, even cheap and cliched plot devices can be used well, so if you pull out that card, play it well.

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imperial.standard
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by imperial.standard » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:16 pm

encrypted12345 wrote: 1. Please, oh please DO NOT over-exploit the mental disabilities to extract tears from the audience. It's inevitable that it'll be part of it, but don't over do it. Too many VNs involving emotionally disturbed people do this, and I don't want to see this VN fall into this trap of lazy writing.
well.
Thanks for the advice and yes, we are avoiding this. The bigger question that we pose on while we are writing the characters and the plotlines is...where do their disability end and where do their REAL personality start?
encrypted12345 wrote: 2. What made Katawa Shoujo special was its characters that were heavily well-developed. Fleshing the characters out and making them relatable should come before making an epic plot. Again, many high tier VNs sacrifice characterization for plot, but Katawa Shoujo refuses to and is awesome for it. The amount of empathy I felt for the Katawa Shoujo characters made the (admittedly mundane) plots all the more heart-wrenching or heart warming.
Which is why we took our time in writing the characters now. We have a full board of med brothers and veterans of schools with similar specialization (mental affliction) to advice us on the realism of the story.
encrypted12345 wrote: 3. Rape is a very cheap plot device. Please don't use it. That said, even cheap and cliched plot devices can be used well, so if you pull out that card, play it well.
well noted!

Now, watch us closely - we may surprise you in the coming few days. :)
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imperial.standard
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Re: Would you play a "mental disability" VN similar to KS?

Post by imperial.standard » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:15 am

Happy Valentine, folks! May you and your waifus always attain a happy ending!

Also, a major Thank you to the KS DEV team for their great work and the inspiration they have given us... we would hope to attain at least a similar level of achievement! :wink:

We are now officially an independent project
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"With words like these, we DON'T CURE patients, we make them INCURABLE"

Saint Peter Canisius, S.J., on polemical attacks against John Calvin & Melanchton

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