Al|together games released.

Discuss visual novels and story-based games that didn't originate on this forum.
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PyTom
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#31 Post by PyTom » Mon Oct 17, 2005 11:07 pm

Lemma, that's cheating! At least put it in spoiler tags or something.

It's not that hard to find the omake from the files in the installation directory. Heck, it's way easier than finding the hidden bonus in Gakuen Redux, so it's good to give mikey a taste of his own medicine.

(I will admit I cheated a bit, and use nsaout instead of playing the game a second time. BTW, there's a few bugs in nsaout on Linux.)
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#32 Post by mikey » Tue Oct 18, 2005 10:57 am

Hmmm, I'll be a sport as well then (didn't read smallprint), and I'll try to figure things out. Nevertheless, the final game!... here's my thoughts

ioCE
====
Of all the works where people die, I have to say this is by far the best. It has a very good point, a very nice presentation and overall, it's very very well rounded. I had no clue what would happen and it took me quite some time to figure out what was going on - but it didn't spoil the experience at all. I would even go as far as to say it's the best of all the melancholic Christmas stories that I have seen/read. See all of them have something that ioCE has, but every now and then they seemed to just use the snow and Christmas to their advantage, not relying on the story itself to do the trick. ioCE was different. Nothing feels cheap, nothing feels included just for the sake of being included, it's an excellent piece, a Christmas story without the Christmas stereotypes.

---

And that was it, I've played them all. My personal favorite will have to be ioCE, I don't even know why. It's not *better* than others, it objectively isn't the best-looking, it doesn't have the most emotional story, but that's the thing - I have no idea why I like it, but I like it nevertheless.

So, things are back to normal after this, huh... :cry:

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#33 Post by Blue Lemma » Tue Oct 18, 2005 5:19 pm

PyTom wrote:Lemma, that's cheating! At least put it in spoiler tags or something.
What?! I made it in the teeny tiny little font... That coupled with the "Hidden Extras for Resonance:" before it marked that it was a spoiler, at least to me... :(

Lemma: :cry:

Aw, now you made Lemma-chan cry! :(

:P

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#34 Post by mikey » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:47 am

Hmmm, perhaps he has the text size formatting switched off somehow, so he can see all the text normally?

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#35 Post by Blue Lemma » Wed Oct 19, 2005 10:34 am

Now I'm curious - are there special spoiler tags on this board? I don't see a button for them, but I know PyTom likes to do things behind the scenes :D

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#36 Post by PyTom » Wed Oct 19, 2005 11:43 am

Yeah, I added [ spoiler ] and [ /spoiler ] tags a while back, which make things into spoilers.
Just like this!
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#37 Post by ShiraiJunichi » Wed Oct 19, 2005 1:11 pm

I've wondered for the longest time how in the world people did that...

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#38 Post by Watercolorheart » Tue Oct 25, 2005 6:29 pm

mikey wrote:BCS>> About Kira, I think I missed the point with it. Can you explain it to me somehow? I mean I only saw the older man and the girl, a missing cat (and another cat that looked the same), they made love and the fish died. I struggled really because I have no idea what that meant - was she a real vampire? The only combination I saw in it was that the key elements were: snow + cat = were white, and fish + blood = were red. All I could decipher. :(
Yeah, I gathered that she was a
vampire. I mean, why else would she have died when the sunlight hit her?

Otherwise, she was just upset that the guy's cat ate her fish, and was having a funeral for it. Or something. She also appeared to have "stolen" the guy's cat, because he found it's collar in her desk drawer.
I thought it was a good game because of the level of diction, the atmosphere (the part where he meets her in the park - wonderful), but that's just me ...

I mean, there's really no replay value ...

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#39 Post by mikey » Tue Oct 25, 2005 7:19 pm

^_^ it seems I thought more than it was in fact. I followed the discussion on Haeleth's forum and it looks like it's that simple. I mean I absolutely got the vampire and sunlight thing, since it was more or less explicitly stated, but I thought there was I don't know, *something* that was big and hidden beneath the surface. It remains a bit confusing, nevertheless.

Somehow, it reminds me of Evangelion and this typically Japanese storytelling. No hard feelings Misa ^_^, but the story of Eva was in fact very simple, as was the big secret behind it (the human modification program thing). However, the way it was presented, together with the religious hints was so nebulous that it made you actually believe it is a grand story. It may be a letdown, but I guess that if you change the viewpoint, it can be a plus on the Japanese side. They have a different way of telling you - and they can tell the simplest of things in the most complicated of ways.

Of course, I understand when people disagree with this.

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#40 Post by Watercolorheart » Wed Oct 26, 2005 8:55 am

Yeah. Man, I finally got the omake for Midsummer's Resonance and got all excited when it was pointed out that the "SHHIIIIIING" sound played again at the end of the game ... and became disappointed when "God's" response was "No clue ..." ... ARGH.

I almost thought about making a sequel to the game, but that would probably ruin the first one ...

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#41 Post by mikey » Tue Dec 06, 2005 5:53 pm

There is another al|together release on the insani page. From the descriptions it looks to be the same concept as the previous games, although I didn't see character art.

Anyway, this got me thinking just a bit. I mean maybe I've looked at this the wrong way, always having my anime glasses on. It seems to me more and more that the pure visual novel that de-emphasizes pretty anime ladies and often uses sketch-like images (illustrations) is in fact an e-book.

Treating it like a game will disappoint me, and it seems that expecting bishoujo (and being disappointed when there aren't any) just isn't the key. If the Insani translations do represent a fair portion of the scene, then it seems to me that the doujin circles aren't necessarily all-out manga game-makers (as I somehow am/was inclined to think), but artists in a more general sense.

Looking back at my time, I kind of wish we would have game-ish engines to do these things. I remember we did stories where we left out a page (for the "clear screen" effect that games have now) and we recorded a soundtrack on a cassette so one could listen to it while reading - it got complicated when the music was to change and we were forced to estimate how long the reader would take to read a certain segment - then put stop marks to tell the reader to wait for a music change.

That's actually not very different from these visual novels, and I know we felt quite limited in what we could do - if we had the engines back then... it would be like a dream come true.

Anyway, I'm getting old, that's my real point ^_^


Still, I have to say I look for anime/manga graphics nowadays. It makes the stories special. It's not that I won't give the pure VNs a try, but there are lots of talented writers and illustrators who will write and put together an abundance of great e-book works. I do understand that many e-books or pure VNs may in fact be much better stories than a game-VN that emphasizes the manga style, but somehow that doesn't bother me.

I like to try all the new fan releases because I'm really excited about them, and I want to know about them. But frankly, I am not really as much excited about this new release now as I was about the Outsets demo, or Abigail to name some recent examples.

The reason is, to me, most of the al|together games inevitably boil down to e-books. This is not in a bad way, it's just that I feel I don't want this experience. E-books really are not my thing. I want something special, the gamey feeling, even at the cost of having a "worse" story.

It's not because I can't appreciate a written text-based story, but because I have great respect for people who actually are able to put a thing as complicated as a ren'ai game with anime graphics together and this abilty is more to me than being able to write a great story.

I am almost sure people will disagree and it's not to start a fight. It's just that I looked back on Plain Song and all the text-only titles (even Narcissu) and tried to find out just why they never really made me feel quite the same as a simple fan game, even though they might have been clearly superior in their stories.

And I found my answer. Even Narcissu is not that special as an English e-book as Kykuit (for example) is special as an English ren'ai game.

Hmmm, I'm actually taking quite long to bring myself to click the Submit button... anyway, here it goes... :? :?

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#42 Post by PyTom » Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:39 pm

Random thoughts in response to this:

I think character graphics really help, as opposed to not having them. Character graphics help to make a being that was once an abstraction more concrete, at least up to a point.

I think there's a reason why drawn, and somewhat abstract characters are preferred over, say, photorealistic characters. Scott McCloud talks about it in Understanding Comics, and DenBeste talks about that on Chizumatic ( http://www.denbeste.nu/Chizumatic/ the 20051203 post, which may fall off the bottom of the front page soon.) Basically, the more abstract a character is, the more we are likely to identify and/or like them, as they don't have the flaws of actual people.

That being said, I'm not sure if it makes sense to be limited to a simple anime style. Manga-style worked in several games, and I think the quasi-manga style of some of the OEL manga-like works (such as the Scott Pilgrim series) could also work. So could something closer to traditional comics. (Which were what inspired MW, at least story-wise.) I'd love to see a game done in the pinup-art style, but I'm not sure if there's anyone who does that style anymore. (For an example, see my favorite propaganda poster here.)

I think the difference between a game with choices and a novel without is player buy-in. When I choose the outcome of the game, then I to some extent take responsibility for that outcome. Compare this to a KN or a movie, for which I am mostly along for a ride.
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#43 Post by mikey » Mon Dec 12, 2005 6:40 pm

I have played/read the stories of "I Too..." now.

I won't argue with them being called visual novels, but if I had to describe them to someone, I'd say they are shortstories in e-book form. It's poetry/literature in an alternative presentation. They are nothing less, yet also nothing more. The literary fan circles are flooded with this level of storytelling on a daily basis, at least that's what I can say from my experience. It doesn't feel all too at home here as a result of this.

I kind of talked about this in what I posted earlier, but this one has really convinced me. The response to this title is very lukewarm at best (see MT, or Haeleth's forums), there's no real discussion about it, which I think is because it is what it is. I think this title would get much more interested (and appreciating) people from the ranks of e-book readers rather than b-game (VN, DS, RA, etc) players.

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