The argument against Generic Games

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The argument against Generic Games

#1 Post by Hijiri » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:40 pm

(To prevent further derailment of the NaNo thread, I'll adress a point here)
Anarchy wrote:Regarding the anti-otome hate:

First of all, I can totally understand preferring works targeted towards a certain demographic, or written in a particular genre/genres, but I think it's silly to stereotype an entire demographic or genre, especially when you've obviously not experienced a lot of works in that particular genre. It's like people who've just watched a bit of Naruto or Bleach or Dragonball and they just hate on anime/manga and think that it's all about characters with huge eyes and spiky hair and that it's all for kids - which, while that is true of some anime/manga, is definitely not an accurate representation of the medium as a whole.

If you hate bland, immature, cliched games, why don't you hate on bland, immature, cliched games in general, instead of bland, immature, cliched games from a certain genre? Doesn't make sense to me.

Secondly, I don't understand how somebody can hate otome games for being bland and cliche, and not hate bishoujo games and dating games in general, BxB, GxG, whatever. It's like... is it's a romance, and the protagonist is female, the story will tend to be horrible, bland, and cliche, but as soon as the protagonist is male, that romance story automatically gets a much better chance of being good? If you hated dating-sim-esque VNs in general, I could understand it a bit better, but hating on GxB games specifically while giving BxG, GxG, and BxB games a free pass, even though the basic structure is exactly the same? Incomprehensible.
There's no point in complaning about something that's practicly non-existent on this forum. The argument is against cliched games and how they tend to overshadow the efforts of others, it just happens to be that almost all those games are Otome games. The two of us who have been speaking against this have stated this, but everyone is going "You're talking bad about Otome, you just hate it because it's a game for girls!"

To make a point: imagine you're someone who could fill the Louve with all the damns you don't give about a protagonist's gender or who they pursue (Or who they don't, which is few and far in between) but are a lover of great stories. Now, pick any game and take away all the visuals, all the music, and all the bias you may have for it and just leave the text of the game alone. Done? Ok, does that game read like something a respectable authour would pen? If you manage to do that and see that your opinion has changed at least slightly about it, congratulations! You have seen it through the eyes of a lit lover. Characterization, plot, an actual story; these are all things needed in a visual novel. Art can only get you so far, but a great story can get you even farther.
Last edited by Hijiri on Wed Apr 04, 2012 12:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#2 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:47 pm

Our point was that you should address the specific behaviour you dislike, not link it to an entire demographical genre ;)

Like what Anarchy said, if you don't want people to see it as 'anti-otome', don't mention otome, just mention the specific things you dislike, because they can be found in every genre.

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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#3 Post by clua » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:50 pm

Editing this because what I said was useless.

But I think if might be better to crit directly to the developer, instead of making this kind threads.
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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#4 Post by Anarchy » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:52 pm

First of all, I've seen plenty of cliched, badly-written games on these forums that aren't otome games. Not going to mention specific titles because that would be rude.

Not sure how the second point's relevant to this discussion. I think we can all pretty much agree that great stories, characters, etc., are important for visual novels.

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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#5 Post by CheeryMoya » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:54 pm

For the record, this is what I'm against:
My rule of thumb: Go generic, I expect Super High Quality Writing to make up for lack of twist. Go off the beaten road, I'll cut you some slack for experimenting. LSF seems to be in an age of xenophobia where originality is ignored most of the time, and that saddens me to no end.
Anarchy wrote:Not sure how the second point's relevant to this discussion. I think we can all pretty much agree that great stories, characters, etc., are important for visual novels.
Yes, but most of the time the visual aspect of the Visual Novel is the part that seems to more important overall. IMO, art should be the hook, writing is the substance.

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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#6 Post by Hijiri » Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:57 pm

Anarchy wrote:First of all, I've seen plenty of cliched, badly written games on these forums that aren't otome games. Not going to mention specific titles because that would be rude.

Not sure how the second point's relevant to this discussion. I think we can all pretty much agree that great stories, characters, etc., are important for visual novels.
But have you seen any of those released in the same amout otomes are released in?

It is relevant, since a lot of people simply like a game for the pretty art and their generic personalities. They could care less about the story so long as they get what they want.
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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#7 Post by Anarchy » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:03 pm

It is relevant, since a lot of people simply like a game for the pretty art and their generic personalities. They could care less about the story so long as they get what they want.
Again, that's something that happens with visual novel fans - and gamers - in general, not just otome games.

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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#8 Post by Hijiri » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:04 pm

Anarchy wrote:
It is relevant, since a lot of people simply like a game for the pretty art and their generic personalities. They could care less about the story so long as they get what they want.
Again, that's something that happens with visual novel fans - and gamers - in general, not just otome games.
Why do you think I didn't mention a specific genre? I know it happens in others, that's the reason I said like I did.

Just in canse no one is reading the introduction:
The argument is against cliched games and how they tend to overshadow the efforts of others, it just happens to be that almost all those games are Otome games.
You can't exactly point at something that has little, if any, games available to test.
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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#9 Post by Anarchy » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:16 pm

So argue against cliched, badly written games, instead of focusing just on otome. Like I said earlier, there are plenty of non-otome games on these forums that are cliched. By making your argument against otome specifically, you are stereotyping most otome as cliched, while I think that the percentage of cliched otome games aren't really that much higher than cliched bishoujo or BL or yuri or horror or mystery or fantasy games, for example.

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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#10 Post by Crocosquirrel » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:20 pm

Anarchy wrote:First of all, I've seen plenty of cliched, badly-written games on these forums that aren't otome games. Not going to mention specific titles because that would be rude.
Actually, please do. Some of us would like to know. Not that I'm against Otome games in general either-- I've played several good ones, professional and not.

A large cross-section of what I see on Lemmasoft isn't particularly good, and that could be for any number of reasons. My first attempt remains incomplete, in fact, because writing for VNs is entirely different from writing for novels, which is where I started my writing career.

Personally, I'd rather see a well-written VN with no art at all than a lot of pretty art and a crap story. It takes awhile to build one's own style, and I get that, but people need to be looking at what they can do to improve their skills and those of others.

What irks me around here is that there are certain types of games that tend to get more attention than others (a lot of which are subsequently abandoned), and the writing is frequently very poor. There was one I stumbled over several weeks back that made me want to drop the writer into Mrs McDaniel's 3rd grade classroom so he could start again. When I suggested that his game needed work, I was torn limb from limb by a very enthusiastic sock and her little friend if horribly illiterate.

That game was a galge.

His next one irked me yet more, and the one after that drove he to climbing the walls. It was... Ugly. I see games that have minimal artistic merit, and even worse writing, in some places now with 10+ pages, and better written(and drawn) works go nearly undiscovered. It's a travesty.

I'm running a bit behind right now, but I make it a habit to download and at least at wander through every free VN that winds up on these Forums, and for the most part, they're Fail in the writing department. Worse, a large part of those have subjectively poor art as well. But somehow, they still get a minimum of three pages of gushy comments.

A lot of these games are free. It costs you nothing to give them a shake, and comment, even just to tell them you looked. It goes a long way to propping up flagging morale for these people.
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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#11 Post by Hijiri » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:22 pm

Anarchy wrote:So argue against cliched, badly written games, instead of focusing just on otome. Like I said earlier, there are plenty of non-otome games on these forums that are cliched. By making your argument against otome specifically, you are stereotyping most otome as cliched, while I think that the percentage of cliched otome games aren't really that much higher than cliched bishoujo or BL or yuri or horror or mystery or fantasy games, for example.
I am, like I stated. I have only mentioned it once in the intro and that's it. Other than that I have used neutral terms (notice how I just say "games" and I don't specificly state something?) That you're seeing it as an attack against otome games is your problem.
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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#12 Post by Auro-Cyanide » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:23 pm

Hijiri wrote:
Anarchy wrote:
It is relevant, since a lot of people simply like a game for the pretty art and their generic personalities. They could care less about the story so long as they get what they want.
Again, that's something that happens with visual novel fans - and gamers - in general, not just otome games.
Why do you think I didn't mention a specific genre? I know it happens in others, that's the reason I said like I did.

Just in canse no one is reading the introduction:
The argument is against cliched games and how they tend to overshadow the efforts of others, it just happens to be that almost all those games are Otome games.
You can't exactly point at something that has little, if any, games available to test.
How does amount effect how something is cliche? You guys were the one's who specifically decided to point at otome, which is why people stood up for it because genre does not dictate quality. To mention a specific genre just because you have something against the amount produced does not factually back up your statement. It just makes you look biased and no-one will listen to your point.

To be on topic, things a generally don't like to see in dating games:
-Blank and weak protagonists. I like to see that there is a reason for people to fall in love with them.
-Lack of overarching plot. I like my games with story.
-Over-relience on tropes. I like all my characters to be 3D.

I can apply that to all dating genres. For otome:
-Heroine is uninteresting and yet guys fall for her. She is weak willed and doesn't have a lot going for her.
-The whole point of the game is to get some guy to like you. Self value is based on the fact you are dating(belong to/own) someone.
-You have your prince type, the jock type, the emo type etc.

BxG:
-Hero is uninterseting and yet girls fall for him. He is shallow, interested in looks and hasn't got much going for him.
-The whole point of the game is to get some girl to like you/sleep with you. Self value is based on your ability to conquer.
-You have the mean girl, the bubbly girl, the shy girl etc.

One thing I do notice that is different is a general lack of rivals in BxG. That is interesting.
But apart from that I see plenty of parallels.

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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#13 Post by gekiganwing » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:32 pm

I like a variety of stories, including plot-driven "gen," BxG, GxB, and GxG. I like freeware games, indie games, and commercial games. Any of these can be excellent. Any of these can be low quality.

Keep in mind that Sturgeon's Law affects everything. It holds true in every media form, genre, and style. It is still relevant no matter where a product was made, how it was made, or why it was made.

Having said that... what factors might make a romance game/VN "generic"? What elements can drag a story down?

* Important characters who adhere to an archetype or a stereotype. In other words, they never become anything more than what they initially seem to be, and they never become a more complex character.

* A superficial setting. Whether due to lack of research or lack of effort, the setting does not have enough detail. Assuming the story is meant to be taken seriously, the setting should be believable.

* Not enough conflict. Even in a slice of life story, if the characters get what they want with little to no effort, a story can seem shallow.

* Unoriginal premise. If the characters/relationships/plot/setting are too familiar, that may turn off a lot of fans.

* The gameplay (where applicable) is too easy. If a player would need to make an effort in order to lose, then the gameplay might not be adequate.

And what factors might make a romance game/VN exceptional? That's also a good question... I'll start with the opposites of what's listed above.

* Complex characters who transcend their archetype or stereotype.

* A well-researched, detailed, plausible setting.

* Enough conflict. The characters have to work in order to achieve their goals.

* A premise which is sufficiently original. It's true that there are only so many stories, and it's impossible to be _completely_ original. As much as humanly possible, avoid making a knockoff of another story. Likewise, make an effort to mix and match your ideas, and consider how you can change and improve your genre/style.

* Make gameplay which is neither frustrating nor simple. Challenge your players to think, experiment, plan, etc.

Disclaimer: These lists are quite subjective, and they're certainly not comprehensive. Just making a checklist will not necessarily help a person create excellent writing and/or gameplay. It takes time, practice, and persistence.

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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#14 Post by Anarchy » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:37 pm

A large cross-section of what I see on Lemmasoft isn't particularly good, and that could be for any number of reasons. My first attempt remains incomplete, in fact, because writing for VNs is entirely different from writing for novels, which is where I started my writing career.
LSF is a forum with a large percentage of hobbyist/part-time/amateur game developers, after all. And a lot of creators are quite young too as well, aren't they? Under these conditions, we can't expect every VN here to be a Saya No Uta, or an Umineko Naku No Koro Ni, or a Dangan Ronpa. Like we don't expect FictionPress.net to produce great literature.

That's what I've been saying when I say that I see a lot of games here that just aren't that well-written, regardless of genre. (Of course, there are many, many more that are absolutely stunning and bring me to my knees in awe due to the writing and/or art.) Perhaps it's simply because this forum has a higher percentage of female users, that otome games tend to be produced more on these forums. So if you just look at the forum like this, and you see a lot of rather derivative games because of the fact that many of the creators tend to be young and inexperienced, and out of those derivative games, there are a lot of otome, you might be tempted to conclude that otome itself tends to be derivative. In fact, now that I think about it, I would argue that it has more to do with forum demographics, than anything innately to do with the genre itself. After all, if you look outside this forum, you see shit VNs produced in virtually every genre.

Disclaimer: There are also a lot of incredibly skilled creators on this board who are producing great/original/well-executed work despite this being a part-time hobby, so you have my respect completely.
I am, like I stated. I have only mentioned it once in the intro and that's it. Other than that I have used neutral terms (notice how I just say "games" and I don't specificly state something?) That you're seeing it as an attack against otome games is your problem.
You'll have to forgive me for assuming that, given your previous statements attacking otome, but I'm glad that you've changed/clarified your stance.

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Re: The argument against Generic Dating Games

#15 Post by Dollywitch » Tue Apr 03, 2012 9:40 pm

I can see the argument here. As a musician, it's frustrating to see certain acts gain popularity when I know many that have a lot more depth to them never get a chance to reach the masses.

With almost any creative effort, most of the output will be fairly generic. It can be aggravating to find your work swamped under all this, but I'm not sure what the solution is.

I don't know about making "an argument" against a certain type of game. That seems kind of wrong somehow. I can see that perhaps certain types of games are more likely to fall back on common tropes and a lack of originality, and maybe we're overexposed to certain genres.

But again I don't know if just registering your distaste will do an awful lot. It's a good starting point, maybe.

Someone made a good point that a lot of the users here are relatively young and inexperienced. I wouldn't blame anyone for making a shit, relatively uninspired first game too harshly. Good ideas are hard to come up with, and harder still to frame within an entertaining context. A lot of "originality" in terms of the genres discussed comes with complex plot dynamics and character backgrounds - not something you can set out doing right away. If people continually release bland games, and refuse to develop their creativity, then that's quite unfortunate.

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