Thursday, September 10, 2009

Opinion: Visual Novels

So since I started my project on Ren'Py, I've been introduced to another facet of the game creating community. Visual Novels.

My intention for the engine was something different than what it's usually used for...I think. I have seen a life sim created on this engine so I know it's possible. Visual Novels are a genre not very popular in the Western World. I used to wonder why...and now I get it.

Originally when I heard "visual novel" I imagined something a bit like "Hotel Dusk" where it was very interactive. Or even a choose your own adventure. However, I downloaded someone's free visual novel to check it out. I kept clicking (and not reading) wondering WTF I would get to make a choice. It was then that it dawned on me that perhaps I don't get to really MAKE a choice. OR it took a LOT longer before the player could make one.

And it was boring as hell. I could NOT believe how this was popular. Something on a computer or game system is interactive...there's no argument. The Visual Novel (VN) has an INTERFACE which suggests HUMAN INTERACTION. The only interaction I got was clicking to "turn the page" in a sense. Boring. SO BORING.

Now the community surrounding this engine are mostly making anime based games. Which is fine. And also why I'm going to use NOT anime art in my games. (I think it'd be hilarious if I threw in some 8-bit characters. XD) And there are a few things about anime the style that I like but many things that turn me off.

1) Everyone thinks it's easy to draw anime style - And there's very NICE looking anime style and very amateur looking anime style.

2) People write using anime/fanfic logic - which is bullshit. I call it. Anime has a tendency to not follow a pattern of sense.

3) The "weird Japan themes" - I wrote about this before in another blog post. Japan has some very...unusual fetishes. These are of course echoed in the themes of visual novels.

Sounds like I'm really talking down VN. It's true I think it could have lots of potential but I get frustrated when people call it a "game". Either that or the really "long" VNs really need to work on "pacing" that is giving the user a chance for input fairly early on so they know that there IS interaction. Many of the VNs I also played did have a LOT of choices to pick from making it feel more interactive and not having a lot of down time between choices. Or keeping the images interesting otherwise.

And that's really all I can say on the subject for now. I am le tired. :P

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