School set VNs too redundant?

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Snowflower
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School set VNs too redundant?

#1 Post by Snowflower » Wed Apr 13, 2011 10:41 pm

What do you think?
Many of the VNs are set in high schools. If I try to make one, some will definitely think "Another school set VN?"

What is your opinion? What do you think I should do to make my school set VN different from others?
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#2 Post by Sapphi » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:13 pm

I think (from reading a lot of posts here on what people are tired of in VNs) most people here are definitely sick of school-set visual novels.

I would say I'm vaguely tolerant of them because I have not played a great deal of visual novels, so I haven't been as overdosed on school stories as a lot of people here. But, let's see, how you could make it unique? Well, I see that you live in CA, so I can assume you are familiar with the American school system. That could be a start. Most JVNs are obviously set in Japanese school systems, but a lot of EVNs are, too. That gets old after awhile (even though I love the uniforms, lol). Why not portray a school setting that you are familiar with? I mean, I went to a school with goths, skaters, kids that bathed themselves in Axe in the hallways, the "preps", American-style school food, etc... Hm, that sounds more interesting to me already! What about a strict Catholic school? Or a (Western-style) boarding school (in another time period)!

I think some people might feel a little less sick of "school-set" VNs if there was more variety to them than the common (vague) Japanese-style setting.
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#3 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:42 pm

Definitely sick of the school settings for VNs.

It is hard for them to offer anything new, and yes, as Sapphi said, most people endless ape Japanese schools, even if they have no personal experience with them.

And most of the time there is no reason for the school setting. The story and characters could be translated to any other setting just fine. Why not a summer camp? Why not a space ship? Why not a village in the rainforest? Why not a cruise ship? Or why not an INTERESTING school for a change - a delinquent reform school, a military academy, or, like Sapphi suggested, an American school full of different cliques and clothes? But really, if you can avoid schools all together . . . please do.

Personally, I'm tired of seeing VNs set in Japan or with Japanese characters when the VN maker is NOT Japanese, nor living in Japan. Most people just repeat the same stereotypes or information or cliches about Japanese schools they have picked up from anime or OTHER visual novels. That isn't good. It's just the literary equivalent of incest. There are schools in every country where the students wear uniforms if you are attached to having uniforms. Why not set it in a school like you actually went to? If there is no important reason the story MUST take place in Japan - DON'T set it in Japan. If your story is about Samurai, or the changes in the Meiji period, set it in Japan. If your story would work equally well set where you live - set it there. That way, you can make the details come alive.

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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#4 Post by Snowflower » Wed Apr 13, 2011 11:50 pm

Well, I'm Korean. I wanted to make like a VN set in school... kind of, but it's more like morphing them into their career path...
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#5 Post by pondrthis » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:18 am

The draft I've started working on is partially set in an American community college... I went straight to a four-year personally, but I know some CC graduates.

Is that different enough? :P

EDIT: But it's not a romance or dating sim or anything... the characters are just CC students.

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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#6 Post by LVUER » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:07 am

It depends on your story. If you tell a story about teenagers, then it would be strange it happens in office or in the middle of jungle. Really, although there are already so much highschool VN, I doubt people will instantly think "Oh, it's just another highschool VN" the instant they see your game...
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#7 Post by LateWhiteRabbit » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:22 am

Snowflower wrote:Well, I'm Korean. I wanted to make like a VN set in school... kind of, but it's more like morphing them into their career path...
Well, I don't know how different Korean schools are from Japanese schools, but that could be an interesting divergence from the normal school setting in VNs. Show us players and readers from places like the US or Europe or South America the unique details and aspects of Korean school life. If nothing else, it would be authentic, and that's a good start.

"Write what you know," as they say.

Myself, I went to a small American High School in "the South", with less than 300 students total, and only 45 in my class. Our high school was in a small town that only had ONE stop-sign. 43 out of the 45 of us had been classmates since we were five years old. I guess different "cliques" are a staple of American schools, because even as small as the school was, we still had them - the jocks, the cheerleaders, the preps, the goths, the gear-heads and the nerds. Of course, the cliques weren't especially EFFECTIVE, since everyone knew everyone else from childhood and could name parents and pets and embarrassing situations from years back for anyone. So though we had cliques, they mingled quite freely and got along well. It helps when the town is so small it only has one hang-out spot. Different tables in the cafeteria and different tables at the same soda shop were the only differences in our cliques! :lol:

If you want to set your VN in a school, bring in unique details from your own past. Just as I could write a very effective and evocative story set in small town America, you could write a very effective story set in a Korean school.

@LVUER
Why would it be strange to see teenagers in a jungle? Lots of teenagers grow up in jungles. Some Alaskan teens grow up on glaciers. Anywhere people live, teenagers grow up there. Sure, you couldn't tell the same story of worrying over exams and other school cliches, but teenagers have the same coming of age problems wherever they happen to live - the circumstances are just different. You could even set a VN on a movie or TV set - lots of child actors and teens who act go to school together with special tutors on set between filming. Think of all the possibilities!

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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#8 Post by Suikama » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:25 am

It's not what you do, but how you do it .3.

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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#9 Post by SilverxBlue » Thu Apr 14, 2011 1:25 am

I was actually planning to have my game set in a school in America but due to some various suggestions I decided to have it set in Japan. Now I feel bad as I read posts on this thread. But, I don't use cliches picked up from other VNs though, I actually ask my friend who studied in Japan for 8 years.
Anyway, I totally agree with LVUER it really depends on how you write your story.
LVUER wrote:If you tell a story about teenagers, then it would be strange it happens in office or in the middle of jungle.
For some reason this one made me laugh, dunno why, maybe I'm just weird.
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#10 Post by salis » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:05 am

A high school setting is a very common theme, but it’s popular for a lot of good reasons. High school is easy to relate to, especially for coming of age problems, is perfect for a cast of teenage characters to meet and interact on a daily basis, and is often the only place where you can have young girls in cute sailor uniforms and it works. (You know this is why we love them!) Common themes, stereotypes, and clichés can work to your advantage! It just depends on how you use them.

A few ways of getting creative with such a theme is if you set it in a different world and have your characters studying a creative subject, say, as an example, a high school in heaven where angels learn how to watch over humans. Or if you’d rather stay on earth with the typical high school scene, focus more on the characters, the cliques, the clubs and so forth since the setting is something we're already familiar with. In that case, it’s always more interesting what the students do outside of class than in.

But just go with what you feel is best for the story you want to tell. I personally love high school VNs the most, but I'm sure I’ll be looking forward to playing your VN no matter what you decide to do.
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#11 Post by LVUER » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:40 am

LateWhiteRabbit wrote:@LVUER
Why would it be strange to see teenagers in a jungle? Lots of teenagers grow up in jungles. Some Alaskan teens grow up on glaciers. Anywhere people live, teenagers grow up there. Sure, you couldn't tell the same story of worrying over exams and other school cliches, but teenagers have the same coming of age problems wherever they happen to live - the circumstances are just different. You could even set a VN on a movie or TV set - lots of child actors and teens who act go to school together with special tutors on set between filming. Think of all the possibilities!
When I say jungle, I mean in the middle of no where, perhaps in the middle of thickest and wildest tropical jungle. Human wouldn't be able to survive out there. But you are right, think all the possibilities, it's more fun that way ^_^ ("Me Tarzan, You Jane?")
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#12 Post by Snowflower » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:01 am

salis wrote: I personally love high school VNs the most, but I'm sure I’ll be looking forward to playing your VN no matter what you decide to do.

Me too! That's why I wanted to create one, but I don't want to be.... unoriginal
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#13 Post by Alera » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:27 am

The school theme is really easy to relate to- as Sal mentioned, since we all are, or have been trough it. So it's easy to get a sense of realism.

I'm not against school-set VN's, sure they are maybe...overused, but that is what lots of people like? But not that much for me. XD

See...I don't really like going to school, to have to 'study' there, deal with stupid people,mean teachers, all the exams,stress, drama and so on- why would I torture myself with playing games about school too???? I prefer something different, I'm the kind of person that wants to run away from reality. =A=

That's just my *weird* logic.

But it really depends on your story.Think- is the school actually important or it's just a place for your characters to meet? If you want them to study something- does it have to be in school? It could be some sort of course too. Lots of students take extra-courses outside of school. (Me included.) It's similar but it's still a different setting. It's something you usually go to because you want (except if you have mean parents or you have no other way to prepare for your exams.) and there is a higher chance of meeting people with similar interests.

There are a lot of possibilities, teenagers don't just go to school, that's not their whole life, pffff- not at all!!!
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#14 Post by James » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:41 am

What is your opinion? What do you think I should do to make my school set VN different from others?
It kind of make sense for teenagers to be in a school for a modern day setting. What I think it's a little redundant is high school romances cliches, not the school itself that causes people to think "not another one".

If you're intent on making teenage love story but are sick of school, try changing the time setting. Medieval age, Roman era, Feudal Japan, Colonial America. If none of the historical times appeal to you can always try fantasy, although magical one like Harry Potter seems unoriginal now days also.

You can try also try to avoid high school and collage and try elementary school with an adult mind set. I personally would love to see a Code:Name Kids Next Door type of VN with humor that can be appreciated by kids and adults (super tree houses with secret bases and plot to overthrow the terrorism of adults).
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Re: School set VNs too redundant?

#15 Post by pondrthis » Thu Apr 14, 2011 3:52 am

James wrote:If you're intent on making teenage love story but are sick of school, try changing the time setting. Medieval age, Roman era, Feudal Japan, Colonial America. If none of the historical times appeal to you can always try fantasy, although magical one like Harry Potter seems unoriginal now days also.

I always say the opposite. If you're intent on making a fantasy plot, at least change the setting from medieval fantasy with elves and whatnot to modern-day fantasy. Apparently we agree that Harry Potter seems unoriginal now, though. Don't get me wrong, I love it, it's just not the only way to do modern fantasy.

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