What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#16 Post by furesshu » Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:05 pm

1. Do you prefer if the setting is in Japan or the West (America, Italy, UK, etc.)
This doesn't really matter to me, as long as the developer(s) know what they're doing. (That is, they understand the social norms and cultures of the country and time period that they are writing about.) Like others, I'm not too fond of the typical Japanese high school setting because they're so plentiful, and I'm an adult that has already surpassed that point in my life, but if the plot is compelling enough, I'll bite. I'm completely fine with stories that take place in entirely fictional worlds, as well.

2. Do you prefer a Western art style, traditional anime art style, or a combination in between?
There are a lot of different art styles within these two categories, so I can't really say. For example, "Clannad" and "Ken ga Kimi" are both Japanese works, but I'd pick the latter over the former in a heartbeat. Likewise, western comics alone can range from simple and "cutsey" to hyperrealistic, in which case I'd go for the cartoon-ish one.

3. Do you prefer if the characters have normal names or do you not care (as long as they aren't TOO out there)?
If the game is set in a real country, then I like when the characters have names in that language (or the language that matches their ethnicity, if they're foreign or live somewhere like America that's racially diverse). If it's fantasy or sci-fi, then I'm completely fine with names that are uncommon or completely made up on the spot. It's nice when the meaning of a character's name foreshadows their personality or involvement in the story, but that's another can of worms.

4. Do you prefer if the main character is a set character with their own traits or do you prefer if they're a customizable (male/female, select race, select hair/eye color, etc.) blank-slate character?
I prefer main characters with their own personalities, backgrounds, motivations, aspirations, etc. because I'm a fan of stories that are heavily character-driven. Since I'm the type that couldn't care less if the world worsens as the plot progresses so long as the protagonist achieves their goal(s), I need someone that knows what they want (even if it takes half of the visual novel for them to figure out what that is).

However, blank-slate characters can be fun if they're done well enough. That is, rather than focusing on appearance (though I do like being able to play as a girl), the game lets you decide what happens or what is said often enough that the story warps because of it, therefore increasing replay value. Although it's an RPG rather than a visual novel, Dragon Age II comes to mind since the dialogue options that you select determine Hawke's personality, how the other characters view Hawke (friend? rival?), if people die, how certain issues are resolved, etc.

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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#17 Post by Donmai » Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:42 pm

It's funny how these "What do you prefer" threads usually turn into "What do I most hate" threads.
(Not directed at furesshu, who made a very nice set of comments).
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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#18 Post by puppetbomb » Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:25 pm

1. What if they write the characters much like how the anime industry writes their characters? (i.e. a blend of Western and Eastern traits)
I can suspend my disbelief much more if the stories are written in a fantasy setting. That said, I think it would be incredibly difficult for someone who has only lived in one culture their entire life to be able to erase their cultural upbringing in their writing.

There's a webcomic about San Francisco, and from what I can see, they've either done a ton of research or they've lived in SF. However there are things characters will do that make it super obvious to me, an American, that this was written by someone who did not grow up in the US.

But honestly, it doesn't bother me that much. I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not.

The problem I have, going back to Disney's Mulan, is that people FROM CHINA/OF CHINESE DECENT say "hey, this isn't something that would happen in our culture or in our history" and the other people go "but she's DIFFERENT so she should act DIFFERENT (ie: white)" No. NO. STFU AND LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEIR SHIT ಠ益ಠ

2. Mind if I ask if there is a reason why you have a preference?
It is very much a preference, so it's hard to explain. I think my reasons are mainly because I grew up with my family trying to be "white" in a predominantly white neighborhood. I have pretty complicated feelings about my heritage, but I always find myself drawn to the art, history and people of East Asia.

3. But... Frank is my best character!
LOL XDD I'll put in a caveat that I believe that any idea can work. It just depends on what's around it.

It's like reading a comic set in US where but all the students wear sailor uniforms, the main cast has names like Kikyo, Harumi and Masumi while side characters have names like Bob and Anne. There are many examples I've seen where this is a bad idea, and because there have been so many, people are taught not to do this. Very much like how in one of my classes, the teacher tells everyone to never mix with black paint.

But that doesn't mean you can't, or that it will never work ^^

On the topic of 3D models:
The more recent Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton games use 3D models that look really good. Granted it's full team of artists, but it's an example of 3D working well for a VN platform.

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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#19 Post by trooper6 » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:01 pm

Donmai wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:42 pm
It's funny how these "What do you prefer" threads usually turn into "What do I most hate" threads.
(Not directed at furesshu, who made a very nice set of comments).
That seems to be because many people’s responses are, “I don’t have a preference. I like most things done well. The only thing I don’t prefer is this thing here.”

Do you think it would be better if people responded:

1) I only like VNs set in high schools
2) I only like 2D shiny boob anime style
3) I only like fake fantasy names based off of Finnish
4) I only like blank slate main characters

Or, if they like most things except for one or two things, not respond to posts asking for preferences?
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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#20 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:13 pm

ArcialIntegra wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:43 pm
1) It makes sense. You want the depiction to be accurate for better immersion. What if the setting is chosen as a high school setting, but only for context of the events going on? For instance, we had the anime Erased where the school was used more as a medium to give context for what was going on. Do you oppose or approve of this? (If you haven't seen the anime, I recommend looking into it. I found it highly enjoyable even if the supposed twist came across as obvious to me.)
My main problem with the high school settings is how over-done it is, and the fact it seems to have become a "default" setting for a lot of stories. My point about preferring the creator set the story in a setting they are familiar with personally wasn't for accuracy necessarily, but for variety. Stories set in Japanese high schools were amazing to me when I first encountered them because they were so DIFFERENT.

Visual novel creators come from all over the world, and all of them live in cities and attend / or attended schools that are culturally different. Show me a setting YOU KNOW personally, and the nuance will shine through. There is also a reality in a LOT of writing set in schools - and that is what is depicted in pop culture and media for school settings is often 15-20 years behind the curve of what is ACTUALLY happening in schools, because the writers are pulling from their own experiences. The movie 21 Jump Street pointed this out humorously, with one character acting like a stereotypical 1980s high school student and being entirely out of place.

So when non-Japanese creators copy what they know of Japanese high schools they are copying information that was decades outdated when it came out, and is going to be even more outdated by the time their version of it is released.

Another strike against the high school setting in general for me is that, as an adult, I now recognize how inconsequential a lot of the drama in high school was. Like, utterly pointless and without any future impact. So the stories rarely have stakes involved that keep me interested. I did get enjoyment from the ReLIFE anime just because it had an adult that went back to high school and he recognizes how ridiculous a lot of his worries in high school were.

I'm not opposed to high school as a setting by itself. It can be done well. And it's sometimes unavoidable to handle it in some fashion if your characters are teens and your story is set in the modern world. Just ... have something unique to say.

And, in reference to the anime Erased, I had literally just pulled it up in Crunchyroll before seeing your post. So I'm about to start watching it. :lol:
Donmai wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:42 pm
It's funny how these "What do you prefer" threads usually turn into "What do I most hate" threads.
(Not directed at furesshu, who made a very nice set of comments).
It's natural that happens. As evidenced by the responses, a lot of people don't have a 'dream' set of conditions for a visual novel they'll love - they just know it when they see it. But most people DO have a set of conditions that will make them actively avoid a visual novel. Since the purpose of a thread like this is usually a creator wanting to look for what direction to focus their efforts, people want to be helpful, so they'll list what they want the creator to avoid.

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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#21 Post by sasquatchii » Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:16 am

Ooh, this looks fun! I've liked reading everyone's responses so far. I feel like I agree with many of you who've already responded & raised some good points.

1. Do you prefer if the setting is in Japan or the West (America, Italy, UK, etc.)?
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:I'd PREFER not to see generic Japanese high school setting unless the creator IS Japanese and attended one, and something unique is done with it.
I gotta agree with LateWhiteRabbit. The VN market is so over-saturated with generic Japanese high school / Japanese setting type games. Now, I don't mean to poo poo these types of games. I visited Japan this September and had a blast! I totally understand the charm, appeal, and allure of these types of games. And, I don't mind at all that other people create and play these types of games, either. But if I see a Japanese High School VN it's usually a turn off unless there is something special about the game that differentiates it from the rest.

Edit to add: I'm also an old lady (27!!!) so I am WAY past high school age. Sometimes I watch shows or read stories about kids in highschools and have a hard time relating. Although it must be nice to live in a world where your biggest worries are getting good grades / worrying about whether or not that special someone likes you.

2. Do you prefer a Western art style, traditional anime art style, or a combination in between?

Again, to my previous point, there is a TON of anime style art in visual novels out there. I don't personally have a problem with anime art styles, but after a while it all seems to turn into one big anime jumble where the games start to look very similar. It gets a little bland after you've played your fair share of VNs. So anything not inspired by anime is like a breath of fresh air and more appealing to me.

3. Do you prefer if the characters have normal names or do you not care (as long as they aren't TOO out there)?
I don't care either way as long as the names fit within the story and the setting. I have noticed that if the characters have japanese or unusual names it does make it harder for me to remember them later on (but maybe that's just me xD).

4. Do you prefer if the main character is a set character with their own traits or do you prefer if they're a customizable (male/female, select race, select hair/eye color, etc.) blank-slate character?
I have played games that have done both well and really enjoyed both. I think both have pros & cons, but can both be fun. There are a ton of visual novels that I can name that have done set characters really well, but one of my favorite games, the Fallout series, lets players start with a completely blank slate. Fallout 3 & 4 both give a lot of freedom as to what you can do when interacting with the other characters in the game. You can be a saint that tries his best to do good in a corrupt take no prisoners type of world. You can also be completely evil, like kicking puppies and laughing afterwards evil. You can also just straddle the line between good and bad and be more neutral if you want. This type of blank slate was one of the most immersive and intense experiences I've ever had playing a video game. I was completely sucked in, and really excited to play more, because I felt like I was learning a lot about myself while I was playing. And those are definitely a few pro's of having more 'blank slate' types of characters, I think.
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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#22 Post by ArcialIntegra » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:48 am

Imperf3kt wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 4:40 pm
Odd that DDLC is coming up a lot recently. A workmate of mine (who knows nothing of Ren'Py) recommended it to me yesterday saying he had an 'unofficial Android version'

Back to the topic od 3D art style, it can be done well and when it is, it really is.

I'm mostly okay with 3D in VNs, but I almost puke every time I see a photorealistic Daz or Poser model. Sorry to those who like that, but its not for me.
Your workmate has good taste. lol
I'd love to hear a few of your recommendations on that front, then. :)
That's my response to most 3D art style VNs... But, I may be biased. lol
furesshu wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 5:05 pm
1. Do you prefer if the setting is in Japan or the West (America, Italy, UK, etc.)
This doesn't really matter to me, as long as the developer(s) know what they're doing. (That is, they understand the social norms and cultures of the country and time period that they are writing about.) Like others, I'm not too fond of the typical Japanese high school setting because they're so plentiful, and I'm an adult that has already surpassed that point in my life, but if the plot is compelling enough, I'll bite. I'm completely fine with stories that take place in entirely fictional worlds, as well.

2. Do you prefer a Western art style, traditional anime art style, or a combination in between?
There are a lot of different art styles within these two categories, so I can't really say. For example, "Clannad" and "Ken ga Kimi" are both Japanese works, but I'd pick the latter over the former in a heartbeat. Likewise, western comics alone can range from simple and "cutsey" to hyperrealistic, in which case I'd go for the cartoon-ish one.

3. Do you prefer if the characters have normal names or do you not care (as long as they aren't TOO out there)?
If the game is set in a real country, then I like when the characters have names in that language (or the language that matches their ethnicity, if they're foreign or live somewhere like America that's racially diverse). If it's fantasy or sci-fi, then I'm completely fine with names that are uncommon or completely made up on the spot. It's nice when the meaning of a character's name foreshadows their personality or involvement in the story, but that's another can of worms.

4. Do you prefer if the main character is a set character with their own traits or do you prefer if they're a customizable (male/female, select race, select hair/eye color, etc.) blank-slate character?
I prefer main characters with their own personalities, backgrounds, motivations, aspirations, etc. because I'm a fan of stories that are heavily character-driven. Since I'm the type that couldn't care less if the world worsens as the plot progresses so long as the protagonist achieves their goal(s), I need someone that knows what they want (even if it takes half of the visual novel for them to figure out what that is).

However, blank-slate characters can be fun if they're done well enough. That is, rather than focusing on appearance (though I do like being able to play as a girl), the game lets you decide what happens or what is said often enough that the story warps because of it, therefore increasing replay value. Although it's an RPG rather than a visual novel, Dragon Age II comes to mind since the dialogue options that you select determine Hawke's personality, how the other characters view Hawke (friend? rival?), if people die, how certain issues are resolved, etc.
1. Fair enough.
2. This was the kind of answer I was hoping to find. I was waiting for somebody to mention Avatar or Panty & Stocking as a joke or something to show how varied those categories are. Because of this comment on your part, I like you. (Not in the romantic way... b-baka...)
3. I agree. Deeper meaning to names can be nice. It's a shame VNs that use Western names don't make greater use of that.
4. While I personally don't like characters who take forever to figure out what they're doing, that's just me. I can get why someone might like that though.
Donmai wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:42 pm
It's funny how these "What do you prefer" threads usually turn into "What do I most hate" threads.
(Not directed at furesshu, who made a very nice set of comments).
Eh, I think everybody has raised good points. If it's overdone to death, it's a sign we don't need more for a while, hence why people have a preference against it. Even when I disagree, I can see where everyone is coming from.
puppetbomb wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:25 pm
1. What if they write the characters much like how the anime industry writes their characters? (i.e. a blend of Western and Eastern traits)
I can suspend my disbelief much more if the stories are written in a fantasy setting. That said, I think it would be incredibly difficult for someone who has only lived in one culture their entire life to be able to erase their cultural upbringing in their writing.

There's a webcomic about San Francisco, and from what I can see, they've either done a ton of research or they've lived in SF. However there are things characters will do that make it super obvious to me, an American, that this was written by someone who did not grow up in the US.

But honestly, it doesn't bother me that much. I'm willing to give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not.

The problem I have, going back to Disney's Mulan, is that people FROM CHINA/OF CHINESE DECENT say "hey, this isn't something that would happen in our culture or in our history" and the other people go "but she's DIFFERENT so she should act DIFFERENT (ie: white)" No. NO. STFU AND LISTEN TO PEOPLE WHO KNOW THEIR SHIT ಠ益ಠ

2. Mind if I ask if there is a reason why you have a preference?
It is very much a preference, so it's hard to explain. I think my reasons are mainly because I grew up with my family trying to be "white" in a predominantly white neighborhood. I have pretty complicated feelings about my heritage, but I always find myself drawn to the art, history and people of East Asia.

3. But... Frank is my best character!
LOL XDD I'll put in a caveat that I believe that any idea can work. It just depends on what's around it.

It's like reading a comic set in US where but all the students wear sailor uniforms, the main cast has names like Kikyo, Harumi and Masumi while side characters have names like Bob and Anne. There are many examples I've seen where this is a bad idea, and because there have been so many, people are taught not to do this. Very much like how in one of my classes, the teacher tells everyone to never mix with black paint.

But that doesn't mean you can't, or that it will never work ^^

On the topic of 3D models:
The more recent Phoenix Wright and Professor Layton games use 3D models that look really good. Granted it's full team of artists, but it's an example of 3D working well for a VN platform.
1. "I think it would be incredibly difficult for someone who has only lived in one culture their entire life to be able to erase their cultural upbringing in their writing." I'm sure the hard part is adopting another culture more than erasing the one you have. (Take it from me: I'm as uncultured as you can get. :P )
As for that webcomic, mind sharing the name? I'm sure more than just I would be interested in checking it out.
Mulan: Which parts were the issue?
2. I am the same way with my heritage, so I understand the feeling.
3. I agree, any idea can work, but you should definitely make it easier on yourself when possible. A fantasy character named "Frank" is going to raise some red flags... but maybe that's the idea.
Ugh... just reading that example made me cringe... Good job, because I think that was your point.
4. I'll check them out, but I don't have high expectations. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Phoenix Wright succeeded. It's Phoenix Wright after all...
trooper6 wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:01 pm
Donmai wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:42 pm
It's funny how these "What do you prefer" threads usually turn into "What do I most hate" threads.
(Not directed at furesshu, who made a very nice set of comments).
That seems to be because many people’s responses are, “I don’t have a preference. I like most things done well. The only thing I don’t prefer is this thing here.”

Do you think it would be better if people responded:

1) I only like VNs set in high schools
2) I only like 2D shiny boob anime style
3) I only like fake fantasy names based off of Finnish
4) I only like blank slate main characters

Or, if they like most things except for one or two things, not respond to posts asking for preferences?
I will acknowledge those kind of answers are boring, but detailed explanations for "it depends" trump all else. Mhm! (i.e. when one thing works and when it doesn't. For example, high school settings devoid of any unique characteristics don't work, but 7 Billion Needles did.)
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 11:13 pm
ArcialIntegra wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:43 pm
1) It makes sense. You want the depiction to be accurate for better immersion. What if the setting is chosen as a high school setting, but only for context of the events going on? For instance, we had the anime Erased where the school was used more as a medium to give context for what was going on. Do you oppose or approve of this? (If you haven't seen the anime, I recommend looking into it. I found it highly enjoyable even if the supposed twist came across as obvious to me.)
My main problem with the high school settings is how over-done it is, and the fact it seems to have become a "default" setting for a lot of stories. My point about preferring the creator set the story in a setting they are familiar with personally wasn't for accuracy necessarily, but for variety. Stories set in Japanese high schools were amazing to me when I first encountered them because they were so DIFFERENT.

Visual novel creators come from all over the world, and all of them live in cities and attend / or attended schools that are culturally different. Show me a setting YOU KNOW personally, and the nuance will shine through. There is also a reality in a LOT of writing set in schools - and that is what is depicted in pop culture and media for school settings is often 15-20 years behind the curve of what is ACTUALLY happening in schools, because the writers are pulling from their own experiences. The movie 21 Jump Street pointed this out humorously, with one character acting like a stereotypical 1980s high school student and being entirely out of place.

So when non-Japanese creators copy what they know of Japanese high schools they are copying information that was decades outdated when it came out, and is going to be even more outdated by the time their version of it is released.

Another strike against the high school setting in general for me is that, as an adult, I now recognize how inconsequential a lot of the drama in high school was. Like, utterly pointless and without any future impact. So the stories rarely have stakes involved that keep me interested. I did get enjoyment from the ReLIFE anime just because it had an adult that went back to high school and he recognizes how ridiculous a lot of his worries in high school were.

I'm not opposed to high school as a setting by itself. It can be done well. And it's sometimes unavoidable to handle it in some fashion if your characters are teens and your story is set in the modern world. Just ... have something unique to say.

And, in reference to the anime Erased, I had literally just pulled it up in Crunchyroll before seeing your post. So I'm about to start watching it. :lol:
Donmai wrote:
Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:42 pm
It's funny how these "What do you prefer" threads usually turn into "What do I most hate" threads.
(Not directed at furesshu, who made a very nice set of comments).
It's natural that happens. As evidenced by the responses, a lot of people don't have a 'dream' set of conditions for a visual novel they'll love - they just know it when they see it. But most people DO have a set of conditions that will make them actively avoid a visual novel. Since the purpose of a thread like this is usually a creator wanting to look for what direction to focus their efforts, people want to be helpful, so they'll list what they want the creator to avoid.
I completely see where you're coming from. It's better to use the information you have as that's going to be more modern information that what you absorb from most media.
I actually don't remember my high school experience... at all. I remember names and teachers. A couple brief moments from classes... but that's about it.
Do you recommend ReLIFE?
How serendipitous! Are you enjoying Erased?
I find it great how the responses on this have been, to be honest.
sasquatchii wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:16 am
Ooh, this looks fun! I've liked reading everyone's responses so far. I feel like I agree with many of you who've already responded & raised some good points.

1. Do you prefer if the setting is in Japan or the West (America, Italy, UK, etc.)?
LateWhiteRabbit wrote:I'd PREFER not to see generic Japanese high school setting unless the creator IS Japanese and attended one, and something unique is done with it.
I gotta agree with LateWhiteRabbit. The VN market is so over-saturated with generic Japanese high school / Japanese setting type games. Now, I don't mean to poo poo these types of games. I visited Japan this September and had a blast! I totally understand the charm, appeal, and allure of these types of games. And, I don't mind at all that other people create and play these types of games, either. But if I see a Japanese High School VN it's usually a turn off unless there is something special about the game that differentiates it from the rest.

Edit to add: I'm also an old lady (27!!!) so I am WAY past high school age. Sometimes I watch shows or read stories about kids in highschools and have a hard time relating. Although it must be nice to live in a world where your biggest worries are getting good grades / worrying about whether or not that special someone likes you.

2. Do you prefer a Western art style, traditional anime art style, or a combination in between?

Again, to my previous point, there is a TON of anime style art in visual novels out there. I don't personally have a problem with anime art styles, but after a while it all seems to turn into one big anime jumble where the games start to look very similar. It gets a little bland after you've played your fair share of VNs. So anything not inspired by anime is like a breath of fresh air and more appealing to me.

3. Do you prefer if the characters have normal names or do you not care (as long as they aren't TOO out there)?
I don't care either way as long as the names fit within the story and the setting. I have noticed that if the characters have japanese or unusual names it does make it harder for me to remember them later on (but maybe that's just me xD).

4. Do you prefer if the main character is a set character with their own traits or do you prefer if they're a customizable (male/female, select race, select hair/eye color, etc.) blank-slate character?
I have played games that have done both well and really enjoyed both. I think both have pros & cons, but can both be fun. There are a ton of visual novels that I can name that have done set characters really well, but one of my favorite games, the Fallout series, lets players start with a completely blank slate. Fallout 3 & 4 both give a lot of freedom as to what you can do when interacting with the other characters in the game. You can be a saint that tries his best to do good in a corrupt take no prisoners type of world. You can also be completely evil, like kicking puppies and laughing afterwards evil. You can also just straddle the line between good and bad and be more neutral if you want. This type of blank slate was one of the most immersive and intense experiences I've ever had playing a video game. I was completely sucked in, and really excited to play more, because I felt like I was learning a lot about myself while I was playing. And those are definitely a few pro's of having more 'blank slate' types of characters, I think.
0. I've had a lot of fun discussing this with people so far as well. It's been so interesting seeing where everybody stands... Huh... Now that I think of it, I haven't given answers on this... Have I? Seeing the point of this was more meant to be a way for people to put their thoughts out there... Should I answer too?
1. I can understand that. Not being able to relate would be a huge issue. Add onto that how common the setting is and how it often has no reason beyond "because anime", it makes sense that people would be tired of it and all the other tropes that would immediately ensue.
2. Personally, I find it more interesting to see what people create when they don't limit themselves to a set aesthetic. That was part of Undertale's appeal to me seeing as some of the sprites were clearly VERY different from everything else. As long as it doesn't feel out of place, that's what's important. I like art ranging from Ren and Stimpy to *insert A-1 series here*... As long as it looks good and fits. If a game or show's art style changes based on the mood presented, I like that even more.
3. I have the same issue... except for me, it's if a name has more than 4 letters regardless of the culture. (Not even a joke.) I never claimed to be bright, okay?
4. I love that answer. Thank you!

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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#23 Post by puffinlady » Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:59 am

1. Do you prefer if the setting is in Japan or the West (America, Italy, UK, etc.)

So long as the setting works, I'm fine with anything. Even better if it helps push the theme or tone in some way. I'm totally desensitized to the tired old Japanese high school setting, so I don't really mind that either. Though it gets bonus points if there's a cool uniform design like Rewrite's Kazamatsuri High uniforms or Subarashiki Hibi's Kita High uniforms.

2. Do you prefer a Western art style, traditional anime art style, or a combination in between?

I tend to gravitate towards traditional anime art styles, especially ultra-moe art like Karory, Koge-Donbo*, or Noizi Ito, and I also enjoy combination art so long as it leans a little bit more on the anime side. More Western art tends to be a turn-off for me.

But there are certainly times where it fits with the tone of the work. For instance, I can't imagine Fata Morgana without the painterly Western style, nor can I imagine A Near Dawn without its clearly Western, cartoony style. Fata Morgana makes it feel as if you are really walking through history in the form of old paintings, while A Near Dawn feels like a nostalgic an homage to old Western point-and-click games (especially the colors!).

3. Do you prefer if the characters have normal names or do you not care (as long as they aren't TOO out there)?

I like it when characters have meaningful names or names that just seem to roll off the tongue. A combination of both is excellent. If a name is too bland, I'm likely not going to remember the character unless their personality or design is memorable enough to make up for it.

4. Do you prefer if the main character is a set character with their own traits or do you prefer if they're a customizable (male/female, select race, select hair/eye color, etc.) blank-slate character?

I much prefer when a VN protagonist has their own personality and history. That way, I can cheer them on just as much as the other major characters. It's weird, but I feel like I'm standing beside them and helping them out on their journey. It leaves me a lot more satisfied when I finish a VN.

The only times I like ultra-customizable blank slate MCs is when it's clearly just meant to be a nice, indulgent, light-hearted game, like Dream Daddy. Otherwise, those types of MCs work much better in other types of adventure games, like MMOs and open world adventures.
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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#24 Post by sasquatchii » Thu Nov 16, 2017 8:47 am

ArcialIntegra wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:48 am
0. I've had a lot of fun discussing this with people so far as well. It's been so interesting seeing where everybody stands... Huh... Now that I think of it, I haven't given answers on this... Have I? Seeing the point of this was more meant to be a way for people to put their thoughts out there... Should I answer too?
You should totally respond to your own thread and give answers to these questions if you want to! It's been very interesting reading everyone's responses and seeing how other people think and feel about these questions :)
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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#25 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Nov 16, 2017 9:08 am

ArcialIntegra wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:48 am
Do you recommend ReLIFE?
How serendipitous! Are you enjoying Erased?
Yeah, I would recommend ReLIFE. It sort of starts with the same basic premise of Erased, actually. The protagonist is about to turn 30 and is regretting his choices and actions that led him to what feels like an empty and dead-end existence. He is then offered a chance to take a pill that will make him physically 17 years old again and be enrolled in high school. The difference between ReLIFE and Erased is that the protagonist is not going back in time, just getting a restart in the present. Lots of fun observations of an adult dealing with non-so-important teen drama, and he makes it a point not to get involved romantically with any of the high school girls, because he and the show both recognize how messed up that would be when he has the advantages of experience and being twice their age mentally. It isn't a comedy, but it definitely has a lighter tone than what I've seen of Erased so far.

I've only seen the first three episodes of Erased so far, but it's great. I'm a sucker for time travel stories, and since I was about the same age as the kids in the show in 1988, it is bringing up a lot of memories of that time in my own life.
ArcialIntegra wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:48 am
I actually don't remember my high school experience... at all. I remember names and teachers. A couple brief moments from classes... but that's about it.
I remember a lot about my high school experience, but then, I went to a small school. My graduating class only had 42 people in it, and 39 of us had attended school together since kindergarten. Everyone knew everyone. (It was like the Cheers theme song - Where everybody knows your name!)The town we grew up in had no stoplights and only two stop signs!

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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#26 Post by puppetbomb » Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:10 am

ArcialIntegra wrote:
Thu Nov 16, 2017 1:48 am
1. "I think it would be incredibly difficult for someone who has only lived in one culture their entire life to be able to erase their cultural upbringing in their writing." I'm sure the hard part is adopting another culture more than erasing the one you have. (Take it from me: I'm as uncultured as you can get. :P )
As for that webcomic, mind sharing the name? I'm sure more than just I would be interested in checking it out.
Mulan: Which parts were the issue?
[...]
4. I'll check them out, but I don't have high expectations. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if Phoenix Wright succeeded. It's Phoenix Wright after all...
1) The Mulan issue was the scene where she hugged the emperor (WTF. SO MUCH WTF). It was in the behind-the-scenes and staff audio commentaries where I found out the "BUT SHE'S DIFFERENT AND THAT MAKES IT OK" was a thing that actually happened =_=

What I mean by "being difficult to erase your culture" is though is... well, here's an example:
The comic I'm reading (sorry, I don't have an English link) a guy avoids his girlfriend by sleeping over at his Tae Kwon Do master's house. When he sleeps over, they sleep in the same bed even though there's a couch in the living room. Both are heterosexual men. The situation is a "let's make a misunderstanding so the main character thinks they're gay" trope.

If this series was written by someone who was raised in the US, it would be bad writing. It's a thing that would either not happen or is socially unacceptable/shameful for hetero men. HOWEVER IN KOREA, men are share beds and sheets without thinking twice. It's a detail that's hard to spot for the author, but glaringly obvious for those know.

4) Professor Layton was the game that was crossed over with Phoenix Wright llD Also a big budget game, difficult for an indie/bootstrap company to follow.

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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#27 Post by sasquatchii » Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:15 am

puppetbomb wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:10 am
1) The Mulan issue was the scene where she hugged the emperor (WTF. SO MUCH WTF). It was in the behind-the-scenes and staff audio commentaries where I found out the "BUT SHE'S DIFFERENT AND THAT MAKES IT OK" was a thing that actually happened =_=
That is really interesting, and I never thought about Mulan in that way. But to play devil's advocate, a lot of things in Mulan never could have actually happened. Such as your family's ancestors waking up and sending a tiny dragon to help you. Or being able to keep your identity hidden for so long as a woman in the imperial army (OK, not completely impossible, but it seems really difficult). Most movies and stories have a lot of things that could never happen, or are extremely unlikely to ever happen in them. That's why they're works of fiction.

I think your point is more that what Disney did was a bastardization of Chinese Culture. And given that it's Disney, I'm not surprised at all. Mulan was released in 1998, though - so I'm hopeful that as time goes on Disney will do this less and less when making movies about other countries and cultures. I feel like America as a whole (and I'm speaking very broadly here) has definitely come a long way since then in terms of being able to respect and appreciate other cultures, though we still have quite a ways to go.
puppetbomb wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 6:10 am
When he sleeps over, they sleep in the same bed even though there's a couch in the living room. Both are heterosexual men. The situation is a "let's make a misunderstanding so the main character thinks they're gay" trope.

If this series was written by someone who was raised in the US, it would be bad writing. It's a thing that would either not happen or is socially unacceptable/shameful for hetero men. HOWEVER IN KOREA, men are share beds and sheets without thinking twice. It's a detail that's hard to spot for the author, but glaringly obvious for those know.
This is something that has always blown my mind about American culture, and I was born and raised in America. I have gone to conventions with a bunch of friends, and often stayed in a single hotel room with many people to save money. There's always guys that would rather sleep on the floor rather than share a bed with another dude (leaving a huge king sized bed to one person).

When pressed, guys will just shrug and say they'd rather not sleep together, and feel more comfortable sleeping on the floor than in bed with another man. Which is just SO WEIRD. Like, I will sleep in the same bed with another girl (as a woman) and think nothing of it. If I were single I would also do the same with (platonic) male friends and not feel weird about it, but I wouldn't now because I have a boyfriend.
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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#28 Post by puppetbomb » Fri Nov 17, 2017 7:01 pm

sasquatchii wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:15 am
That is really interesting, and I never thought about Mulan in that way. But to play devil's advocate, a lot of things in Mulan never could have actually happened. [...] Most movies and stories have a lot of things that could never happen, or are extremely unlikely to ever happen in them. That's why they're works of fiction.
I have no problem with fantastical elements, but breaking character/the world is not an element of fantasy, but a technique or bad writing.

Mulan is self-aware, understands the concepts of honor, punishment, death penalties and whatnot and hugs the emperor? After trying so hard to earn honor for her family she risks get herself killed and dishonoring her family? A woman hugging a man in public? An older man? The Emperor? It's so out of character in the context of country and culture that it's a case of Supreme Bad Writing.
sasquatchii wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:15 am
I think your point is more that what Disney did was a bastardization of Chinese Culture. And given that it's Disney, I'm not surprised at all. Mulan was released in 1998, though - so I'm hopeful that as time goes on Disney will do this less and less when making movies about other countries and cultures. I feel like America as a whole (and I'm speaking very broadly here) has definitely come a long way since then in terms of being able to respect and appreciate other cultures, though we still have quite a ways to go.
Yeah that was mainly my point :3
sasquatchii wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:15 am
When pressed, guys will just shrug and say they'd rather not sleep together, and feel more comfortable sleeping on the floor than in bed with another man. Which is just SO WEIRD.
If desperate for space, there's also an "over under" rule: If someone sleeps under the blanket, the person next to them will sleep on top. Alternate with remaining people until all spaces are full.

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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#29 Post by Imperf3kt » Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:21 am

Before you guys go any further on this bandwagon, I suggest you read a little history:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hua_Mulan

The Disney Adaptation was based on the Chinese novel, which was based on real world events.
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Re: What Do YOU Prefer When Playing a VN?

#30 Post by M.Knight » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:53 am

1. Do you prefer if the setting is in Japan or the West (America, Italy, UK, etc.)
Anything but a Japanese high school or a setting that feels artifical compared to the characters and writing (i.e. a VN set in Japan but with characters that are obviously more Western in their behaviour and culture).

2. Do you prefer a Western art style, traditional anime art style, or a combination in between?
Something in between is preferable as both an extreme Western or a heavily anime style can be a turn-off. However, I have far more tolerance for anime styles than western ones.

3. Do you prefer if the characters have normal names or do you not care (as long as they aren't TOO out there)?
Easy to remember names that don't sound out of place given the setting is good enough for me.

4. Do you prefer if the main character is a set character with their own traits or do you prefer if they're a customizable (male/female, select race, select hair/eye color, etc.) blank-slate character?
A main character with a strong personnality of his own will always be preferable to a customizable one that may or may not fit the story you want to tell. Sometimes, the main character can even be the strongest driving force of your VN and the game cannot be as impactful if the MC was a blank state that can be whatever you want. This is especially apparent if the story involves the MC a lot and makes him face challenges that are related to who he is. Chaos;Head, one of my favorite VNs, is the example that comes to mind and if Takumi wasn't the mess he is, the game wouldn't have been so memorable.

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