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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by G3n0c1de » Tue Mar 01, 2011 2:53 am

Ellume wrote:The way I understand Sympathy is taking on the feelings that another has. You sympathize and feel what they do. I've understood empathy as the acknowledgement of another's feelings without taking them on oneself, like being a companion that understands or watches the emotional experience of the other. I usually say bond when implying an emotional connection to someone or some thing.
Actually, yeah. The word "intellectual" in the empathy definition gives it away. You can see and acknowledge the the emotions of others, but from an objective standpoint.
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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by Ampersandissimo » Tue Mar 01, 2011 4:28 am

Ellume wrote:It's interesting to me how you think censorship while I thought edit or change. I do agree that censorship will in many cases not improve quality or better communicate a message, but I do think it could be used to bring the work to a larger audience. Since value, quality, worth, etc are feelings inspired in a player it would be likely that some do believe that the censorship increased the quality or better communicated the message, especially if brought to an audience that wouldn't otherwise view it.
It's just a point of description. If the changes come from the outside, and modify the original intent of the text, then to me that's censorship. If the decision comes from the inside, and strengthens the author's intended message, then it's editing. Assigning value judgements to the end result is subjective, but you could say that the argument that you're bringing the message to a wider audience doesn't hold water, since you're no longer bringing them the same message.
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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by Aura » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:33 am

G3n0c1de wrote:The keyword here is that the sex scenes will be done 'tastefully.'
Caesius wrote:
If we had some visual indication of how "explicit" the game is, or even if it would be hardcore or soft core, then I think it would cause a lot less controversy.
There will be uncensored penises going into uncensored vaginas, if that's what you're asking.
Actually this is something I want to clarify. While it's true that we do try to be tasteful, it's also true that one person's "tasteful" is not going to be so for someone else. There are sex scenes in KS that cross the line for me, as there are four other writers and six different artists working on them. Everyone has their own image of what a "good sex scene" is, and in 4LS everyone is equal to inject their point of view into the game, as it is.

As for the "hardcoreness", definitely more in the softcore end of the spectrum, more so than Caesius seems to expect.
bowen13 wrote:But I think the community should take a good, honest look at itself and ask, "Do these stories really need sex?" As the post said, sex can ruin an otherwise enjoyable story, and the VN industry won't grow until it gets past this, in my opinion.
As Ellume said, the thing VNs don't need is porn. The presence of sex itself in any storytelling medium is value-neutral except for people with really extreme opinions and I suppose young audiences. What matters is how you portray it.
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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by ContinualNaba » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:56 am

So long as the H scenes are relevant and well written, I couldn't care less. I got into this thing in the beginning for the promising story and characters, not that one errant panty flash.

And, in all things considering, sex and budding sexuality is just as important, if not more so, to people within the character's ages and to those reading the novel. It would be really, really fucking weird if either side of a high-school pair didn't actually attempt something, as opposed to some prude implied girl-a-has-slightly-more-connection-to-boy/girl/Hideaki-b-than-may-be-absolutely-platonic Shoujo story. If it deals with the nostalgia of such troubling times and the inventiveness required to properly handle these instances as and when the plot requests them, more power to you.

Most of the H in the world wouldn't be enough to get my little soldier out on lookout, though, so maybe I'm not the one to give an opinion on this.
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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by scott1and » Tue Mar 01, 2011 1:18 pm

Porn has never been a big part in my life although I will admit that every now and then, like everyone else, it will catch my interest. Due to this when I heard about Katawa Shoujo from an anime streaming site I thought I'd give it a try as the story sounded good and it was free. I downloaded the game despite knowing full well there would no sexual content in the demo, and even though I did that, due to the connection I've now got with individual characters I am looking forward to the H-scene as they will be integral to the story rather than being simply cripple porn.

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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by kourousx » Tue Mar 01, 2011 7:53 pm

As Ellume said, the thing VNs don't need is porn. The presence of sex itself in any storytelling medium is value-neutral except for people with really extreme opinions and I suppose young audiences. What matters is how you portray it.

The WHAT versus the HOW. Couldn't agree more. Indeed, if you took a one sentence blurb about KS itself (It's a an eroge set in a Japanese high school and all the main female characters are disabled) you might roll your eyes or run screaming for the hills. Yet, here we are, years later, waiting eagerly for the results. The What seems ridiculous, overdone, or potentially offensive taken alone at face value. It's HOW 4LS realized the concept that makes it worthwhile.
I was looking at Katawa Shoujo as if it was a VN with the intention to create appreciation, acceptance, and respect in the player for those with disabilities.

Ellume, regarding intention, it can get in the way. Have you read both Tolkien and C.S Lewis? Both men were committed Christians and this influence shows up in both their works. Tolkien, in the preface to LOTR claimed to dislike allegory because it showed "the purposed domination of the author", whereas applicability "resides in the freedom of the reader". In other words, Mordor was NOT Germany or Russia. Sauron was not Stalin or Hitler.

C.S Lewis, by way of contrast, hit the Christian symbolism explicitly in the Narnia series. There are parts where I felt like saying, "OK, Aslan is Jesus, I get it already!" His intention to proselytize got in the way of the storytelling. 4LS may have had no INTENTION to positively portray disabilities and the disabled, but it comes out anyway because of HOW they told the stories. By not "underlining" these issues, they have done a better job creating appreciation acceptance and respect for those with disabilities. More effective for being understated.

Thanks Ellume, for kicking off this discussion and to all the repliers.

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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by HeMeido » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:25 pm

Since it looks like nobody brought it up, it's worth mentioning that Hisao has a heart condition. Sex could kill him, his medication will make it difficult for him to get an erection and he can't take viagra. It's an extremely important part of how he'll adapt to his illness.

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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by Shyamalan » Tue Mar 01, 2011 9:40 pm

In my opinion, a big factor in classifying sex scenes in VNs as "porn" has to do with length. Aura made a blog post some time ago in which he stated that any typical VN will use many more words in a scene than a novel would for the same scene. I agree with this, and I really feel it is most apparent in sex scenes. For me it really seems as though developers put greater importance in sex scenes, particularly because they always have original CGs.
Now, as for portraying sex as a part of a relationship, I agree that it would seem strange for there to be no mention of it at all, especially since the participants are usually teenagers. However, mentioning sex while not showing it explicitly is something that I believe would work just fine in some stories. Some people are interested in seeing how characters might act during sex, as a facet of their personalities, and I can say that I am definitely interested in this in KS. However, in much of the VNs I've played, this doesn't really come through in any meaningful way. As I've played more and more VNs, when sex scenes come up I tend to be more bored than anything else as I click through them. They seem formulaic to me, as though the text could be switched between games with only the characters' names changed and it wouldn't really make a difference. This stands out especially in games with more than one sex scene in one path. Of course, usually those games are actually meant to be porn, but not always.
Anyways, I'll finish by saying that I don't have any problem with sex itself in VNs, and I have played some that use it quite well as part of the story. I've also played some that I feel would be improved by cutting some or all of the adult content. Basically, it all depends on how it is used, and reading through this thread it seems that most people share this opinion.


Re: Misunderstanding

Post by saffysparkles » Thu Mar 03, 2011 8:10 pm

It all depends on what perspective you look at it. Being an eroge, of course you'd expect sex scenes, but you can improve the integrity of the VN by doing something interesting and unexpected or getting the reader to actually feel emotion about the act. Then again, people will go through the plotlines just to fap :/, but I doubt they'll have no attachment to the characters. So as long as you actually made the reader believe that they went through the hundreds of thousands of words and got something out of it other than fapping, whether its emotional reaction or even looking at things a different way, I'd think of it as an artistic success.


Re: Misunderstanding

Post by Guest » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:07 am

I think the low brow vs high brow thing is sort of ridiculous. New perspectives and that sort of thing are cool, but my ultimate goal is to be entertained. I want to read/watch/see something interesting. If it moves me emotionally, it's done it's job. And really, I don't trust most works to do more than that. I think if you want something thoughtful to better yourself, then maybe read some non-fiction. A nice science textbook might be the best way to go. I'd start with physics and mathematics and work my way from there. After all, we're just BSing, aren't we? Personally, I don't want someone dictating personal truths to me, or even interpersonal truths without an appropriate degree and research data to back it up.

So, what I want is entertainment. And of course, your mileage may vary as to what constitutes entertainment. For example, I like porn. I think some porn is really interesting, you know, not just for masturbation. Of course I like it for masturbation too, but I think it's actually a decent medium for storytelling. Think of all the emotions wrapped up in sex. Adeptly playing and twisting those emotions is something that a surprising number of works are able to do. Of course sex has been stigmatized for a lot of people, and even those who are fairly open to it might not enjoy some of its more extreme representations. Nevertheless, to say that something isn't good because it doesn't fit a certain mold is just a way to rationalize arbitrary standards.

I think the subject of what's fit for kids is sort of funny. In our modern society there's a lot of censorship and effort to protect children from obscene imagery. One of the few things that society doesn't bother with much (comparatively speaking, at any rate) is books. I read a ton when I was a kid, and I thought it was hilarious that the books I was reading (a lot of fantasy and sci-fi from the 70s) were filled with all the things that were censored in other mediums. People cussed, had sex, and took drugs. I remember one of the series I read was The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant. I was 12 at the time. It'd take more of a synopsis than I'd like to give to explain why this is such a mindfuck of a novel for a 12 year old, but suffice to say that one of major events early on is that the protagonist rapes a young girl. I read it over and over again, thinking, "Did this really happen?" A recurring theme was then dealing with the aftermath.

Well, that's more of an anecdote about my experiences with a largely uncensored medium as a child than a real point. If I were to make a point, it'd be to look around you. The world we live in is only superficially censored. If you're perceptive enough, you'll be sure to find plenty of penises and vaginas that aren't covered in mosaics, along with much more pitiable stuff we do an awfully good job of covering up for adults and children alike. Is it really a good idea to try to conform to these illusions? Considering some of KS's subject matter, I'd say it takes a bit of a stance on this. If many people can't accept even that much openness...

But I've gotten way off track. What I should be saying is that I think KS should be judged at face value, by its own merits, and not by arbitrary standards or expectations. Do you like it? Then it's good. Don't like it? It's bad. Leave the deep analysis to the literature majors. Leave the moralizing to the moralists.

Anyway, this isn't directed at anyone in particular, it's just a rant vaguely dealing with some of the things brought up in the thread.

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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by Palas » Sun Mar 13, 2011 2:24 pm

I... didn't read all the replies, I must admit, But I'm going to show my point of view anyway. I'm quite sure someone has already stated what I'm going to state here, but still.

Yes, sex is probably the most delicate issue to deal with - not in a game, not in a movie. It's about life, or at least our western culture. It's extremely hard not to portray sex as something low, dirty, non-emotional and to be avoided by the sane. But, then again, it's a most powerful tool in storytelling and, if used correctly, can blow the readers out of their minds.

Think about a hidden, subjective (yet overwhelming) message behind the h-scenes - So disabled people have sex, too. They have desires. They, too, went through puberty. They are made of flesh and impulses just the way we, "normal" people, are. What I'm saying sure looks like prejudice, but hey! Don't tell me it isn't hard to realize this in our day-by-day experience. The best way to make people understand that we are all equals is to make them see through the very depths of instinctive desire, common to all of us. If every path in KS ended with a romantic, plastic kiss, then the story would feel entirely alien to our world and there would be no moral at all. Sex is important if you want to teach people something in this matter, and even though it was kind of unintentional herein, it still works.

Of course there are limits. I'm sure ALL the devs have handled this properly, though, as it's been 4 years of development. I mean, it's impossible for them (or it would be for me) not to get emotionally involved with the stories they are writing, and therefore take care with these scenes and situations. If it wasn't so, it wouldn't be a VN. It would be a page of random images in Gelbooru or whatever.

EDIT: I'll just use the topic to ask something. So I have a friend with arrythmia and he told me that sex can actually be dangerous for him. His condition is similar to Hisao's (something to do with a deformed muscle) and then I suppose a h-scene could kill him (even playing the Peeping Tom might as well). May I know just how you've worked this out?
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Re: Misunderstanding

Post by Suriko » Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:08 pm

Palas wrote:EDIT: I'll just use the topic to ask something. So I have a friend with arrythmia and he told me that sex can actually be dangerous for him. His condition is similar to Hisao's (something to do with a deformed muscle) and then I suppose a h-scene could kill him (even playing the Peeping Tom might as well). May I know just how you've worked this out?
No comment on this until the game's released, sorry.

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