Who runs VN Review sites?

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Barzini
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Who runs VN Review sites?

#1 Post by Barzini » Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:13 am

Just curious, out of everyone in the forum, who does reviews on visual novels? It does not have to be OELVN only - Japanese VN reviews are A-OKAY as well! I was thinking about creating a group of people who run VN Review sites so that everyone can come together and pull the collective power of our... Uh... Keyboard together to help reach out to more people.
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#2 Post by Morhighan » Sun Mar 22, 2015 3:28 pm

I run ADVaNCE, a VN review site. Hopefully this helps your quest. :)

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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#3 Post by thebackup » Mon Mar 23, 2015 10:19 pm

Not sure if he has an account here but there's also VNs Now!.
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#4 Post by Green Glasses Girl » Mon Mar 23, 2015 11:54 pm

I'd like to see more VN reviewers since I imagine there are some interested in playing and reviewing VNs rather than making them. I watch YT channels on VN reviews, but I'd like to know where to read snippets too.
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#5 Post by kitsubasa » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:07 am

I've been considering doing EVN reviews, since I now have a degree in Media Studies and having some sort of use for my qualifications would be nice, but I'm kind of wary of potential backlash if I try to juggle being a creator and being a reviewer (potentially burning bridges with other devs if I have unpopular opinions on their games, etc). I agree there's an absence of text-based critics in this field (ADVaNCE and VNs Now being the only two I know of, aside from some defunct sites and columns), which is a real shame, but whether or not it should be creators trying to fill that void... is probably something up for debate.

It might be a bit off-topic; but what're peoples feelings on people pulling double-duty as creators and critics? Too risky, or something the community would try to be accepting of?
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#6 Post by Mad Harlequin » Tue Mar 24, 2015 1:37 am

kitsubasa wrote:It might be a bit off-topic; but what're people's feelings on people pulling double-duty as creators and critics? Too risky, or something the community would try to be accepting of?
I've actually been considering doing reviews somewhere, even if it's just on a blog. I haven't thought about backlash much. I'm nobody important, so I figure there's not much point in worrying about wanting to create and critique. Based on what I've observed so far, it would take a lot to really upset most folks---you have to have a pretty thick skin and a ton of courage to put your work out in the open anyway.

I imagine that having name recognition would probably change things at least a little, which is understandable.
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#7 Post by Cith » Tue Mar 24, 2015 2:00 am

I'd make sure your analysis is watertight (or as watertight as you can make it,) and try and make the best games you possibly can. Also be aware that the internet is a childish and hostile place.

Even published authors cop a lot of flak when they publicly criticise another's work, so once again it's something to be aware of.
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#8 Post by Kinjo » Tue Mar 24, 2015 4:28 am

kitsubasa wrote:I've been considering doing EVN reviews, since I now have a degree in Media Studies and having some sort of use for my qualifications would be nice, but I'm kind of wary of potential backlash if I try to juggle being a creator and being a reviewer (potentially burning bridges with other devs if I have unpopular opinions on their games, etc). I agree there's an absence of text-based critics in this field (ADVaNCE and VNs Now being the only two I know of, aside from some defunct sites and columns), which is a real shame, but whether or not it should be creators trying to fill that void... is probably something up for debate.

It might be a bit off-topic; but what're peoples feelings on people pulling double-duty as creators and critics? Too risky, or something the community would try to be accepting of?
Yeah I had thought of this as well. I love giving my opinion on things (I guess we all do to an extent) and I want to see these kinds of games improve and tell people what they can do better. But then I don't know if people would take that as a bad thing. VN's Now in particular is rather harsh about what they say (most of the games on their site have incredibly low scores) and I don't want to scare anyone away from making more games just because I was able to find flaws in it and point them out. After all, you can find flaws in anything if you look hard enough for them.

I'd try to do my best to give an honest "review" of the game -- that is rather than a critique I would just be listing my thoughts as I played it, both compliments and criticisms, in the nicest way possible. Of course I'm also busy with a million other things so I don't have much time to spare to actually play games unless someone suggests them to me. I do think that developers probably should be sharing their opinions with each other though because otherwise nobody will be communicating and we'd be losing a lot of valuable feedback.

Still it's really risky to be reviewing someone else's game because you might not like it and they may take that the wrong way. And then there's the bias of giving good reviews to devs that you are friends with simply because you are friends (ethics in games journalism!) and I find that really dishonest. As long as devs can be mature about other people having different opinions then I think freedom of expression is the most important thing here, so that anyone is able to say whether or not they liked a game, and why.

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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#9 Post by Barzini » Sun Mar 29, 2015 7:41 am

I think creators will be a lot open than that - We shouldn't try to silence critics but use these criticisms to improve our product. A lack of OELVN review sites actually fail to help us get more out there.
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#10 Post by trooper6 » Sun Mar 29, 2015 9:04 am

I don't know. I don't find many creators here to be thick skinned. For example, I don't think of VNsNow as harsh, just honest and not sugar-coated. But many people think he is too harsh. Which points to our community not actually being thick-skinned and not actually wanting honest critique. I think being a reviewer and a creator is really tricky with how small this community is--and how young it is as well.

You could, of course, review under a pseudonym.
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#11 Post by Shoko » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:18 pm

Yeah, wouldn't it be best to just use a different username and post reviews without having to hold back? Even better would be a place like hummingbird.me for VNs, where analysis of VNs could have it's own place apart from creators (Vndb kind of fits that criteria, but it's more of a database IMO).

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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#12 Post by Hazel-Bun » Sun Mar 29, 2015 10:42 pm

I think that would be very... tricky. Being a creator already comes with a lot of responsibility, and I know I for one would side eye any creator, especially a noticeable one, reviewing a friend. I barely look at VNsNow and ADVaNCE(this more so because it's newer), because one quick sweep of the completed forum section or twitter shows me what I want to play and what I don't. Plus, being that the community is small, I assume both reviewers are more favorable to their friends and see that reflected in the scoring (more so on VNsNow though). Not to say they aren't great games but, I know we have very different tastes and opinions. He is also particularly public about things he's bias against, so I don't even touch those reviews (say otome, most romance games, etc. and so on).

But, I'd say do you you know? If you think you can juggle your own projects and run a review site, all the best :) To the OP's point, reviewing and critically assessing the community's work as a whole helps it grow. I think there's much to be said though about the divide between hobbyist and professionals, and don't like when they're lumped together. I don't want lemma to become an elitist place, and I know I for one as a young teenager wouldn't have joined if it took that route. Not saying having more reviewers would mean that but, it would create an atmosphere of cliquishness if established devs were also the main reviewers imo. Also, I agree it takes a lot of courage to put out things on the internet, given the anonymity factor. If someone was just interested in playing, or maybe reviving the group play forum, I think that would be interesting as well~ Also, The Buzz does a good podcast, though it's more dev related than anything else. It does, however, feature a great episode on critiquing!
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#13 Post by Thirteen » Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:04 pm

I feel like it's be trick business to give honest critiques and reviews, since a lot of people are sensitive about their work.
I know for sure I'd be less than pleased with a honest critique, because I'd only want nice things said about my VN considering the time an effort a solo project is.
That being said I also recognize that that mentality brings nothing fruitful to the creative process, though other may not be as candid with themselves. Critiquers are just important as creators. They live in a harmonious relationship and feed off of each other. A good honest critique can do wonders for someone looking to improve, just as a great game can give a reviewer a chance to say "look this is what was done correctly. I think this community can do to put out higher quality stuff."

I say go for putting out honest review, but be prepared for people talking bad about you for you honesty.

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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#14 Post by trooper6 » Mon Mar 30, 2015 2:00 am

Thirteen wrote: I say go for putting out honest review, but be prepared for people talking bad about you for you honesty.
And this is the problem with being a creator as well as a critic. Creators need people to play their games...to give them time and/or money. If you review things honestly...then you will upset people. And then people will be less likely to support your work.

I think critique is really, really important. And I mean deep analysis. But doing so as a creator...it is liable to jeopardize your fan base.
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Re: Who runs VN Review sites?

#15 Post by LPRe » Tue Mar 31, 2015 2:50 am

It might be a bit off-topic; but what're people's feelings on people pulling double-duty as creators and critics? Too risky, or something the community would try to be accepting of?
I think it's actually fairly sensible for creators to be critics as well -- it means that you can understand it both as a creator and a consumer, so you can be relatively more understanding in general. I think a creator perspective helps with understanding could/would haves(not saying 'this this and this would have been way better' when those things are clearly out of the reach of the creator/s for whatever reason), you can put yourself in the shoes of a different person easier and not give super harsh feedback.

That being said, consumer mindset first, creator mindset second, when it comes to critiques, imo.
I'd try to do my best to give an honest "review" of the game -- that is rather than a critique I would just be listing my thoughts as I played it, both compliments and criticisms [...] And then there's the bias of giving good reviews to devs that you are friends with simply because you are friends
I know I for one would side eye any creator, especially a noticeable one, reviewing a friend
I'm not a professional by any means, and I don't really go onto many VN review sites often(or any review sites for that matter) but whenever I want to write a review of something, I want to write it because I care about it or at least the impact of it, if it has if any, and I want other people to know and make their own judgments on it. Because of those two things, I really try to write reviews in a way where what I'm reviewing gets the most out of it, while still trying to keep everyone else into account. A 'carrot and stick' method for critique is the best way for it to really make an impact, as far as I understand. Good thing-bad thing-ok thing sandwich or the like -- people respond well to positives, and I think it makes them more receptive to things that are considered negative, instead of getting really hurt or trying to brush it off when there's just negative critique. And all that while being honest about it -- if you lie or try too hard to be harsh or soft, it really doesn't benefit anyone. Honesty that has sympathy or empathy while still being honesty isn't a bad thing. If it's someone's first VN and it's clear they worked really hard but didn't have some resources or experience or the like, I'm not going to judge it like they're a veteran VN maker, that's just not fair and doesn't do much, I'm not about treating everything from the same standpoint. There's a lot of things in the pot to consider.

IMO, if a friend wants a review, then it's in both your best interests to work hard at eliminating personal bias, and just judging what they're giving you to judge. I don't think it's fair if someone asks for a review and you give them something full of nice things just because you're their friend, that doesn't give anything useful or constructive, and it's not fair to the product either. I do always ask first how honest a friend wants me to be, if I'm just telling them my opinion one-on-one and not posting it on a blog or whatever, in that case, the tone of the review sort of shifts a bit from detached to more discussion-like, and I do try to tailor it to their personality, but. If it's an easy access post to the whole web, then honesty is how it's going to go, friends or not, I'm going to treat it the same way I would treat it if it came from someone I didn't know with a similar level of experience as my friend(though, I would probably promo it a bit more in the end).

I'm not actually very good at taking critique myself, but I try to be pretty respectful about it and gain something nonetheless. It's just common sense that not everyone is going to like what I did, and that people are going to dislike some things that I liked and all that. There's not much to be done there but accept it and figure out what parts of the review I'm really lacking in vs. what parts are more just personal preferences, given that pretty much every review I've ever read about anything has had some things that sound more like personal preference compliments/complaints than anything else.
Sorry this is so long winded, I just couldn't figure out a good way to put everything I was thinking.

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