What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

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Barzini
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What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#1 Post by Barzini » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:39 am

How to start this topic...

I've often played visual novels sent to my inbox by various indie developers or start-ups but the thing is... I get really annoyed when sex is put there for the sake of it being there. I understand that sex sells but if it does not contribute to the story, in all due honesty, I'd rather it not be there.

Next, is when the visual novel has no transitions from scene to scene. For example, the protagonist is in a classroom and WHAM, he ends up in the toilet. No fade from side etc. It just makes me feel that the game is abrupt.

Spelling and grammar errors - I feel that it is fine if there is a couple of mistakes but... Some just seem as if no one has proofread it.

There is also the issue of inconsistency with art - One character looks anime-ish while another seems... Off (I can't put this into words)

So, what are your biggest turn offs?
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#2 Post by Tempus » Thu Jan 29, 2015 3:32 am

More than anything it would have to be buying into the assumptions of what a visual novel is rather than making something meaningful. That annoys me more than all the typos, graphical inconsistencies, and cohesion-lacking plots ever will. Many developers adopt the conventions of the medium without first asking themselves whether it is right for their work. This is backwards. The art style, text delivery (if there's text at all—yes that's an option!), story form (there's a world outside the western three act structure; the idea that conflict must be present in all stories is ridiculous), and so on should be chosen—consciously—to reflect, emphasise, and compliment the work, not unknowingly assumed because that's just how it's always been done.

Execution is important, and execution gets better by iterating within the confines of convention. But execution is only part of the equation; the mantra of "execution is everything" is idiotic. Nothing is everything. There's a lot of well-executed garbage out there that achieves exactly what it set out to. What makes it garbage is its unquestioning, incurious ethos, not its graphical or editorial flaws.
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#3 Post by Godline » Thu Jan 29, 2015 5:39 am

Cliches! Cliches in an ironic, funny, making for of themselves way are good, but when it's something that's been done 2342534 billion times I get bored. Only naturally. And I don't see the point in someone making it. There have been a few V.Ns posted that I'm like... 'yes, but WHY did you bother?' but I don't actually say that because clearly that would be rude! ;) But there are certain ones (no naming names) that seem to really have nothing original to offer.

I like V.Ns that may break the forth wall a little, or that make me think.

I do not like inane dribble about a protagonist who has guys/girls draping themselves all over them MERELY because they are the protagonist.

Spelling and grammar errors - No, just no. Minor ones, fine. I even remember catching a typo in Harry Potter. But major ones... no.

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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#4 Post by gekiganwing » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:31 am

Do I care what happens to the characters and their world? If my answer is No, then I will probably stop reading. I consider this to be true for both slice of life and plot driven stories.
Godline wrote:Cliches! Cliches in an ironic, funny, making for of themselves way are good, but when it's something that's been done 2342534 billion times I get bored.
I won't call a story element a cliche unless I have definitely seen it in at least two other specific works of fiction. Then I ask myself questions such as, "Have I seen these devices used in relatively famous stories?" and "Is the writer making a point by referencing other stories?" The way I figure it, things which I might consider to be cliche are probably brand new to someone else. And plot elements which other people think are boring might be fascinating to me.

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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#5 Post by Barzini » Thu Jan 29, 2015 7:35 am

Tempus wrote:More than anything it would have to be buying into the assumptions of what a visual novel is rather than making something meaningful. That annoys me more than all the typos, graphical inconsistencies, and cohesion-lacking plots ever will. Many developers adopt the conventions of the medium without first asking themselves whether it is right for their work. This is backwards. The art style, text delivery (if there's text at all—yes that's an option!), story form (there's a world outside the western three act structure; the idea that conflict must be present in all stories is ridiculous), and so on should be chosen—consciously—to reflect, emphasise, and compliment the work, not unknowingly assumed because that's just how it's always been done.

Execution is important, and execution gets better by iterating within the confines of convention. But execution is only part of the equation; the mantra of "execution is everything" is idiotic. Nothing is everything. There's a lot of well-executed garbage out there that achieves exactly what it set out to. What makes it garbage is its unquestioning, incurious ethos, not its graphical or editorial flaws.
Agreed! Cohesion! Cohesion! /screams;
Godline wrote:Cliches! Cliches in an ironic, funny, making for of themselves way are good, but when it's something that's been done 2342534 billion times I get bored. Only naturally. And I don't see the point in someone making it. There have been a few V.Ns posted that I'm like... 'yes, but WHY did you bother?' but I don't actually say that because clearly that would be rude! ;) But there are certain ones (no naming names) that seem to really have nothing original to offer.

I like V.Ns that may break the forth wall a little, or that make me think.

I do not like inane dribble about a protagonist who has guys/girls draping themselves all over them MERELY because they are the protagonist.

Spelling and grammar errors - No, just no. Minor ones, fine. I even remember catching a typo in Harry Potter. But major ones... no.
I close an eye when I see a minor spelling error, but I cannot take it when you spell even the character's name wrong...
gekiganwing wrote:Do I care what happens to the characters and their world? If my answer is No, then I will probably stop reading. I consider this to be true for both slice of life and plot driven stories.
Godline wrote:Cliches! Cliches in an ironic, funny, making for of themselves way are good, but when it's something that's been done 2342534 billion times I get bored.
I won't call a story element a cliche unless I have definitely seen it in at least two other specific works of fiction. Then I ask myself questions such as, "Have I seen these devices used in relatively famous stories?" and "Is the writer making a point by referencing other stories?" The way I figure it, things which I might consider to be cliche are probably brand new to someone else. And plot elements which other people think are boring might be fascinating to me.
This is true - There's been so many stories written already that it is hard to be original. I think what can be original, however, is the style of writing of the writer and how he tells the story. It is hard for writers to all have the same style.
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#6 Post by Laniessa » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:09 am

One thing that makes me so mad: fanservice.
Like, it's such a staple of the genre, but ugh. No. Nude girls for no reason? Worse, ugh.

I don't mind typos so much, but it might make me take the story less seriously. Just a little side effect.

I generally dislike harems, pretentiousness, and inconsistent art styles.

Cliches are alright - they can be fun, comfortable.

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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#7 Post by Ernestalice15 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:01 am

Hmm... Mary Sue? I stop playing the game when in the prologue I've already noticed that the protagonist is somehow felt like a Mary Sue.

Cliche... Depending on many things. If it's interesting enough after reading some scenes, then I'll continue no matter how cliche it is. There are two cliche stories right now that I like, because of their beautifully constructed story and good character development.

Typo... I don't really mind it, as long as I can understand the story. I'll just giggle over it.

Harem, sex, or such... As long as it gives fun factor and related to the story, why not. But I do hate too much fanservice for nothing. When the overall story is R18, then having some sex scenes are no problem. But when at the beginning, the overall story is just felt like for kids or teens under 18, adding sex scenes and making it R18 later on, just for the sake of fanservice and popularity, will ruin the overall objective of that story in my eyes. I'll just skip the rest.
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#8 Post by Mad Harlequin » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:04 am

The things that bother me most:

Gratuitous sex and violence. (I've seen too many stories ruined by senseless pandering . . . )

Sloppy writing. (Though I am cursed with the ability to constantly detect typos, I can forgive minor slip-ups. To err is human, after all. But when something turns into a mess, either mechanically or thematically, etc., I get genuinely upset. My feelings then range from disappointed to downright angry, depending on the nature of the problem(s). The first several drafts of a work shouldn't see the light of day, if you ask me.)
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#9 Post by Tempus » Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:09 am

Barzini wrote:Agreed! Cohesion! Cohesion! /screams;
Ah, maybe my wording wasn't ideal. I'm less concerned about cohesion than design decisions being made unconsciously. My overarching point is that if people aren't aware of the decisions they're making the decision still gets made. If someone makes a decision and they're unaware they've done so its dictated by circumstance rather than by the creator.

That's pretty abstract so here's a concrete example: I place a textbox in my visual novel at the bottom of the screen. That sounds straightforward but there's several (likely unconscious) choices hidden in that action. It assumes I need text. That it should be in a textbox. That this box should be at the bottom of the screen. By not actually asking myself whether questions like "what is a visual novel?", "what does my concept need to be most faithfully realised?", and so on, I let circumstance answer these questions for me. Circumstance is often (but not always) the status quo. I used text because the status quo says that's what a visual novel is. It's in a textbox and that box is at the bottom of the screen for the same reason. None of this happens on a conscious level—it's unconsciously assumed. Unconscious design is what I take issue with, not lack of cohesion per se. (Indeed, you can imagine lack of cohesion being consciously used as a design choice, something already well-explored in other media.)
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#10 Post by SundownKid » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:00 am

First would probably be bad artwork, because it's easy to see at a glance. "Bad" is a loaded term, but I will say that I don't think most professional visual novels or video games have objectively bad art. A work doesn't have to live up to those standards but it should at least have consistency and correct proportions, etc. Second, if the art is good, is poor writing or grammar/spelling problems (those are inexcusable if you are putting out a visual novel or novel for release - there are plenty of people who can proofread things). Third, if those are both good, then whether it's set in a high school or not (if it is, I give it a pass). If it has good art, good writing and isn't in a high school, then I consider giving it a play.

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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#11 Post by Kate » Thu Jan 29, 2015 12:00 pm

Grammar errors if they are minor are OK if infrequent. However, if you frequently make "typo" misspellings rather than actually misspelling complicated words, I'm going to roll my eyes. (I cut some slack to translated/non-English VN's, like Voltage, because, well, Japanese doesn't translate perfectly with articles and such in grammar, so I expect some weirdness with phrasing.) It all comes down to editing your work and taking some pride in releasing a well-done creation. But, that doesn't excuse other things like switching tense frequently. Make up your mind if you're using "I go.. he frowns... she says..." vs. "I said... it happened.... I thought...." I've seen so many visual novels not understand this. Thoughts are an exception, but dang, please figure out if we're in the moment or if it is past tense!

My pet peeve is when a VN uses trite, too-simple, predictable, or bizarre plots. If I know from the fifth minute reading what is going to happen, or most of it is the mc being a dippy klutz constantly in peril while somehow looking "cute" doing it (gag!) *coughVOLTAGEcough*, I'm tempted to not read any farther into the plot. Also, when you have a story that involves just genuinely weird, abrupt, or bizarre plot twists that do not have anything to do with the plot. (Like sudden ninjas or REALLY random drama with no logical cause or resolution.) I've only seen a handful with these on lemmasoft; mainly, and sadly, it's the commercial ones that fail my expectations. But, are expectations with plot different with foreign creations??? Food for thought...

Also, if you have a little "in app purchase" or little mini shopping games that make no sense with your novel (Looking at you, GREE!) I am done. It's one thing with a bakery vn or such, or logical inventory items, but another with a spy plot or something and you "decorate your bedroom"- mandatory to move on and unlock the story??

This is just my opinion. Overall, a VN is a brilliant way of taking a step beyond what a simple novel or just an action game could do by combining the two. I love VN's. :)
*I know, Voltage and Gree are...not the most creative examples of VN's. They are fun to read because they're so cheesy, with such "easy" and repeatable feels with typical character types and satisfying end romances. Well, everyone likes some kind of junk food... ;)
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#12 Post by RotGtIE » Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:18 pm

Technical errors and poor quality top the list, by far. You game shouldn't have bugs, your writing shouldn't have misspellings or grammatical errors, your art shouldn't have anatomy errors, and your music shouldn't skip or loop awkwardly. Oh, and I suppose your voice acting shouldn't sound like you roped your reluctant children into it.

A disconnect between what kind of character I think is sympathetic or relatable and what the author thinks is either of those things can kill it, too. No amount of heartstring-pulling backstory is going to cause me to forgive a character who goes around bullying and seriously attempting to murder characters whom I like, and it's insulting to me when I detect that the author is trying to sway me that way. I'm a pretty easygoing guy. It's not difficult to stay off of my bad side. But one thing that really gets under my skin is when someone gets on my bad side and then acts like they think they're on my good side. It is just as grating in fiction as it is in real life. I just don't care about your personal problems if you're a huge asshole; you're already clearly supporting yourself by taking out your problems on everyone else around you, so you don't need my sympathy.

Taking up the bronze is being lazy and referring to something in a really vague way rather than getting into the details. You see this a lot when "smart" characters are portrayed solving some nonspecific math problem or tutoring a "dumb" or "average" character on some nonspecific academic subject. It's just blatant telling instead of showing to omit details like these, even if the specific problem that your braniac can handle isn't the point of the scene in question. You know what else isn't the point of the scene? The window on the opposite side of the room. That doesn't mean that it doesn't still have to be there. There's no need to be lazy and vague these days when you can do five minutes of internet research to figure out what you need to know to put just enough detail in your story to satisfy your audience.

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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#13 Post by ketskari » Thu Jan 29, 2015 4:13 pm

Unless typos affect readability, I am pretty forgiving.

However, I notice crutches, such as when characters frequently perform the same action between lines of dialogue ("she tilted her head" then another character does the same, then another...). If these actions are also unrealistic, I can find it incredibly aggravating. I read one story in which, every four to six paragraphs or so, a character groaned out loud (usually in response to their own thoughts). For the whole book. Even when the characters were happy, they found their sixth paragraph excuse, as if life were one big homework assignment. I think I finished it just to see if they'd continue on to the end. (They did.)

And in a VN, I can't really skim-read, so I think deliberate word choice is even more important than in a novel. (This really comes down to editing, imo.)

As far as art, I'll forgive structural problems (perspective, anatomy) over yellowed photo backgrounds and MS Paint lines. Good color design and sense of atmosphere also tend to be factors--if those are consistent, the occasional anatomy error bothers me much less.
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#14 Post by Katy133 » Thu Jan 29, 2015 6:50 pm

I'll make up a list:

- Typos: There are so many free programs that detect spelling and grammar errors. A lot of typos can also be detected with a read-through by the writer or by another person. So if I notice a lot of typos, it's a sign that the developer/writer didn't care.

- Lack of creativity: If the visual novel is drawn in an anime-type style, is a slice-of-life story, and is set in a school in Japan, then it's very hard for that VN to stand out. Because there are already so many VNs with those aspects.

- Lack of research: If you set a VN in Japan, then learn about the customs in Japan. Same with any place or subject. If you set a VN in the UK, then don't have the protagonist phone "911". If the protagonist has agoraphobia, then research agoraphobia. That's why writers say "write what you know".

- Angsty characters: "I can't remember the last time I've laughed like this." - Many VNs I've read in the past.

I love snarky characters, and I love grumpy characters. They have the best dialogue. But angsty characters are generally dull at best and annoying at worst. An angsty character is a badly-written depressed character. Depressed characters are so hard to write properly that I'd only recommend trying to write one if you really know what you're doing (one of the few examples of a likeable depressed character I can think of is Susan Ashworth from The Cat Lady game, and the writer clearly has done their research on the subject matter that the game explores). Remember: There is a difference between grumpy and angsty, as I wrote in this article.
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Re: What turns you off in a Visual Novel? Mistakes etc.

#15 Post by Barzini » Fri Jan 30, 2015 10:59 am

Does anyone get bothered by the "Third Arm" ?

e.g "He then reached out his hand to pat her head, offering her a glass of water and sharpening his pencil."

Or something similar ^ Its a pretty bad example.
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