Blog Post: What Even Is?

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Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Hamadyne » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:43 pm

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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby ILY » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:53 pm

*Discusses*

I've always considered them as novels, but what people call it isn't the important part. What they get out of it is the thing that really matters. :>

Also, that gif and the bonus art made my face very happy.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Shiidaji » Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:56 pm

Seeing how Analouge: A Hate Story differs from 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors makes me think a lot about my studies

Yeeesss

I've always considered VNs to be their own genre, with the ones with gameplay elements straying from the pick-a-path formula simply dipping into the other types of game genres.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Waytfm » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:13 pm

I've always considered most VN's to be novels, much in the same way a CYOA would. Some of the examples you listed would fall under the umbrella of 'games', but I still think the majority of VN's are novels.

Maybe, to be more accurate, I might refer to them in the same category as Comics or Manga for the most part, especially with stuff in the style of Katawa Shoujo or Saya no Uta.

As I think about it though, they still don't really fit into that category as well, with the presence of music, and the more novelized writing style that is required of VN's. I think, it might be better to simply think of them as Visual Novels, without trying to label them as games, or novels, or anything. They don't really fit into any of those categories. They are really a genre unto themselves, I think.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby scopedknife » Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:52 pm

Waytfm wrote:I think, it might be better to simply think of them as Visual Novels, without trying to label them as games, or novels, or anything. They don't really fit into any of those categories. They are really a genre unto themselves, I think.


Agreed. Many share the interactive element from games and similar media, but they also share longform written narrative as found in common literature. Music and visuals are present in film as well as games. Since they fit all over the spectrum, perhaps it's best to simply use 'Visual Novel'.

On this point, does one say they 'play' a VN or 'read' a VN? I've taken to saying read, but I don't know if there's a correct answer...

EDIT: Socradyne <3

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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby jarek56 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:43 pm

scopedknife wrote:
Waytfm wrote:I think, it might be better to simply think of them as Visual Novels, without trying to label them as games, or novels, or anything. They don't really fit into any of those categories. They are really a genre unto themselves, I think.


Agreed. Many share the interactive element from games and similar media, but they also share longform written narrative as found in common literature. Music and visuals are present in film as well as games. Since they fit all over the spectrum, perhaps it's best to simply use 'Visual Novel'.

On this point, does one say they 'play' a VN or 'read' a VN? I've taken to saying read, but I don't know if there's a correct answer...

EDIT: Socradyne <3

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EwaFkPMdlY

I strongly agree with these statements. Honestly, VNs are so unique, in many ways, from any full game or true novel, that in a way, they can tell stories that niether party could. VNs keep the elements of literature and perspective intact with little difficulty, but let you see the story in such a way that books simply can't by natural limitations. Could perhaps a comparison be made to a television program with interactive segments, such as for KS?

On the same end, many games can, in my experience, lose their emotional impact with the more significant focus on gameplay. It's not bad, by any means, but simply a natural limitation of the medium. You might have a harder time understanding the surprisingly deep and thought-provoking implications of a particular character's actions when said character is actively trying to throttle you, and you are forced to mash the X button so as not to see the DAMN LOADING SCRE- (Ahem) to not simply be forced out of the game. More importantly, it's very easy to lose oneself in a good game's gameplaying aspects. I have this problem with games like Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri, whose absolutely brilliant gameplay makes it very hard to soak in it's amazing background info, story, and unspoken points.

I'd rather not categorize them, frankly. Visual Novels are...visual novels. I deem them video games in my mind, and thus "play" them, simply because I install them on my laptop and use similar, if very simplified, controls to interact with them. That doesn't change their nature or impact, it is simply an aspect of their curiously enjoyable nature.


Oh and before I forget, Hamadyne, YOU FUCKING ROCK.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Waytfm » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:58 pm

jarek56 wrote:Oh and before I forget, Hamadyne, YOU FUCKING ROCK.


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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby jarek56 » Sat Aug 25, 2012 11:03 pm

Waytfm wrote:
jarek56 wrote:Oh and before I forget, Hamadyne, YOU FUCKING ROCK.


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What a fucking rock.

...That too! :lol:
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Brasse » Sun Aug 26, 2012 11:27 am

Christ almighty jarek, why are you being so unpleasant and rude? >:C
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby jarek56 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 12:59 pm

Brasse wrote:Christ almighty jarek, why are you being so unpleasant and rude? >:C

Because deep down, beneath my irritable and rude exterior, lies the honey sweet soul of a true tsundere who has a major crush on Hamadyne, and simply can not express it any other way than by being mean to him and express myself through socially questionable means.

B-b-b-baka! Hamadyne's a...A BIG DUMMY!
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Mr Immortal » Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:19 pm

I'm liking these weekly snippets of devness. Nice to learn new things about the game, even if it isn't story related :mrgreen:

And I always thought of VN being part of their own genre, reason one being because they are neither a game nor a novel, as Hamadyne pointed out, and reason two because TvTropes has a separate section for them.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby ILY » Sun Aug 26, 2012 5:20 pm

All hail tvtropes
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby jarek56 » Sun Aug 26, 2012 8:07 pm

Mr Immortal wrote:I'm liking these weekly snippets of devness. Nice to learn new things about the game, even if it isn't story related :mrgreen:

And I always thought of VN being part of their own genre, reason one being because they are neither a game nor a novel, as Hamadyne pointed out, and reason two because TvTropes has a separate section for them.

PRAISE THE TROPES!
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby whiic » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:05 am

"What Even Is?" - What is this I don't even

I would like to think that visual novels exist on a spectrum. This spectrum has increasing amounts of gameplay elements until you reach the line between the medium of Visual Novels and full fledged games.


Simply stating a medium as "game" or "novel" (which being mutually exclusive) is a bad thing. It's like dividing politics into "left" and "right" without shades of gray brown in between. But even in politic, a spectrum cannot define alignment of a party or person because there are several axis in reality. In D&D they used 3x3 table from lawful-good to chaotic-evil, both axis being independent of the other. In politic the same is called Nolan Chart. Nolan Chart is good for representing two independent attributes graphically by drawing a dot into inside the square. Basically it's about two continuous spectrums in one graphical representation. Both axis in this 2-dimentional table can be considered 1-dimensional because they are independent variables.

However, 1-dimensional spectum isn't always adequate to describe some things. Thus also Nolan's Chart has it's limitations since it consist of two 1-dimensional variables. I would, instead of a using 1-dimensional spectrum or 2 1-dimensional spectrums, plot the nature of a medium into a triangle.

Imagine a triangle which has three corners (duh) and each corner has a conventional medium, such as "a game", "a book" and "a movie". Unlike in Nolan's chart, each of the axis in the triangle is not independent toward the other two because the axis are not perpendicular to each other: if it's more book, then it's less movie and less game, and so on. Now, there was a reason I added "a movie" into the third corner of the triangle. It's because it's very relevant: VN's typically do get a shitstorm out of being "not a game and not a novel" but if we were honest, we'd have to give the same vast majority of modern games which have implemented movie element into them such as cutscenes. Game's aren't Pacman any longer.

A game: fully interactive
A movie: non-interactive, audio-visual, constant play speed
A book (incl. an e-book): non-interactive, text, reader controlled speed

I would argue that many mainly non-interactive VNs indeed are not games but go toward a movie experience with the exception of giving the reader the ability to control the pacing. Voice-acting may or may not be present - presence of voice-acting shifting it toward a movie and away from a book since book is defined as non-auditory and non-visual. If there's branching then toward a game and away from movie and book (since both are defined as non-interactive). You could also make a checklist to rank characteristics of a VN.

In favor of movie (rank 0-5 for each):
voice-acting
cut-scenes
numerous sprites for wide range of emotions
music
etc

In favor of book (rank 0-5 for each):
lots of text
inner dialogues
narration
reader controls pacing
etc

in favor of game (rank 0-5 for each):
branching
minigames
map travelling
scheduling
handling items/money
etc

TL;DR - I criticize the use of spectrums without acknowledging their short-comings - namely that a typical spectrum is 1-dimensional and doesn't accept that the thing evaluated might be something completely different from either of the two extreme and even from anything in between. They oversimplify things.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Waytfm » Tue Aug 28, 2012 3:37 am

The inclusion of movie is interesting. It's not something I'd thought of.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Hamadyne » Tue Aug 28, 2012 7:14 am

Waytfm wrote:The inclusion of movie is interesting. It's not something I'd thought of.


Indeed, that was an interesting point that was brought up.

While movies can certainly be included, I felt that the focus of the post was geared towards VNs and the inclusion of game elements in some titles of the medium. What elements change a VN into a full-fledged game? Why is this so? What are the differences between Persona 3 (a game with VN elements) and Ace Attorney (a VN with game elements)? Where can you draw the hard line between the two mediums? It's all a very confusing gray area that many struggle with. As I suggested, it would be wise to see which elements of a 'game' are included (such as more player freedom, for example) in a VN in order to determine how 'close' it is to becoming an actual game.

I will, however, concede that whiic's triangle spectrum is certainly a more accurate representation when movies are included in the discussion. It was something that I didn't consider in my initial thoughts.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby whiic » Wed Aug 29, 2012 1:03 am

Interesting, maybe, but probably still not very useful, mainly theoretical / nitpicking / asberger. The only reason I got the idea to point out the "problem" is because I've thought about the problem in defining a political spectrum which as subject of more meaning that dissecting nature of VNs and where pointing out a third option outside the line between option A and option B is critical.

When it comes to political spectrum, people do tend to view politics through different ways of grouping ideas:
A) Left or right, either or. Some people view everything either as "nazi" or "communist". There's only black and white.
B) A gliding scale from left to right, also with a middle. Most people view politics through this modeling. The problem is: if Stalin was left, and modern lefties are left, then there would be no difference in the shade of gray they belong to. Such an axis could only be used to either display social values or economic values. While Stalin and lefties are "left" on economic values, you could argue that Stalin was "right-wing" on humanitarian values. (But Ron Paul and other hardcore libertarians (economic far-right) would by the same logic be lefties...)
C) To solve the problem of B) some use Nolan chart that plots economic liberties on one axis, and social liberties on other, basically dividing political extremes (the four corners of political spectrum) to libertarianism (both liberties), modern left (social liberties but with a communist state), modern right (religious authoritarism with economic liberties) and something equivalent to Soviet Russia or North Korea - rather than just "left" and "right".

Now, these types of spectrum are common although C) is pretty much only used by intellectuals (such as libertarians who wish to not be equated to Christian totalitarianism just because both are called "right" by the plebeian masses). I still considered the 2-dimensional chart of two axis (of 1-dimensional, continuous nature) to be insufficient so this triangle spectrum is one of my "own" stuff. The reason behind it is because many questions in modern politics don't have two different stances but three. Take for example the question of racism. There's basically three opinions:
the Nazi way: kill all em niggers hurdurr.
the Libertarian way: don't kill em but you don't have to hire them if you don't like them. Work contract is based on agreement between two people on both side's consent.
the Left way: you have to hire him because he's a member of Enriching race and you have to meet a race quota.

The same goes with gay marriage:
the Christian/Muslim/Nazi way: no way
the Libertarian way: yes way. State has to accept marriage of gays but the church can decide not to perform the wedding ceremony
the Left way: screw freedom of religion. Every religion has to be pro-gay.

Basically most questions have three options: right-wing fascism, freedom and left-wing fascism.

Anyway, that pretty much the origin why I've started to think many things as triangles. I also remember I-WAR (a space exploration and combat simulator with Newtonian physics modeling) had a triangular dial between diverting power between engines, shields and weaponry. The player was allowed to dial any compromise between the three by placing the dot inside the triangle (not necessarily on any of the corners or sides of the triangle).

(And no, I'm not hardcore libertarian even though I sound like one, occasionally. Especially in the economic issues I belong to the middle. And as a disclaimer: I would hate to live in America and have to make a choice between the two evils. So, no, this is not a spam in favor of either candidate.)
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby gekiganwing » Sat Sep 08, 2012 6:48 pm

It's a bit difficult to say exactly where visual novels begin and end. The definition on Wikipedia is fairly concise and coherent. I'd say that they should be defined as stories told through a computer or a similar device.

Right now, I'm not really concerned as to whether they qualify as electronic games. It's all just entertainment, no matter what label you use. Though I do believe that correct terms should be used. Especially if you're selling your content. If a piece of software is a story with occasional choices, then it should not be marketed as a dating sim. (The people at J-List make this mistake all the time.) If the software has genuine simulation game mechanics, and if the characters' relationships can be correctly described as dating, then and only then is the term appropriate.

--personal tangent--

Pretty much every video game that I grew up with featured complex gameplay that demanded constant player response. Yeah, even the games that my peers considered boring (such as Nobunaga's Ambition, Shadowgate, and the first few Dragon Warrior / Quest games). Around the mid-90s, I found an article in Nintendo Power that referenced an untranslated horror game that was probably a VN. Just a couple years later, I noticed some references to the first Sakura Wars game in GamePro magazine.

My first experience with VNs was Three Sisters Story, which I found for a bargain price in late 2001. It was made a few years before To Heart and Kanon became hits in Japan, so it's a bit different from the "story with illustrations, and sometimes choices" style that's common today. To borrow a term from the VNDB, it's an interactive adventure game. Basically, a compromise between interactive fiction and graphic adventure game, and usually less challenging than both.

Not long after that, I got the opportunity to play True Love 95. It's one of the few games in English that can be accurately calling a dating simulation, as it has genuine simulation gameplay (including stats and schedule management). Even if not all the relevant characters are dating each other, at least that's an accurate term for the relationships between the characters. It's similar to, but shorter and a bit easier than the main Tokimeki Memorial games. It's a bit of a stretch to call it a visual novel, but I'll grant that it's similar.

I think that visual novel concepts can be fused with other types of games. It seems to fuse well with role playing games that have quite a bit of narrative. It might be difficult to combine VNs with video games about action, sports, or puzzles... but I think it's possible.

Furthermore, I think that VNs can be fused with prose fiction and comics. To be more specific, gamebooks are quite similar to VNs. They have been presented in paper format for years, but they could certainly be presented in electronic formats. If so, then the only significant difference between a VN and a gamebook would be whether it has illustrations.
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby whiic » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:50 am

gekiganwing wrote:I'd say that they should be defined as stories told through a computer or a similar device.

By that definition, e-books, even ones without a single still image, or scanned versions of regular books would become "visual novels" when exported to .PDF (or some proprietary e-book format).

I refuse to accept my Porsche workshop manual as "visual novel".
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Re: Blog Post: What Even Is?

Postby Smokey » Wed Sep 19, 2012 3:21 am

whiic wrote:I refuse to accept my Porsche workshop manual as "visual novel".

How was the good ending sex?
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