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Are "Ironic" Western Visual Novels hurting the VN Genre?

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
18,190
Completely understand where you two are coming. The change is just a personal one as I don't want it to seem like the site has it out for some random twitter user. As it could be misconstrued as such.
I had actually considered this point, and think maybe you should also remove the Atlus tweet as well. Given their audience and reach, and how contentious this subject might be, I could see them getting a lot of (negative) attention because of where they work.
 

Polk

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
767
I have to say I expected more than one example of ironic western VN on the OP
 

Rosebud

Member
Apr 16, 2018
5,155
Speaking of 'niche genre', casual gamers actually love playing F2P western VNs on mobile. Episode, for example, has 50M+ installs. Choices has 10M+ installs. Even Ubisoft has their own take with 1M+ installs. Do they have high quality stories or CG backgrounds compared to the Steins or Higurashis? Most definitely not. But apparently a lot of people love playing them.

Edit: I just browsed throught the edited top tweet; I'm sure the 'guardians of genre' wouldn't consider those games as 'real VNs.'
I never heard of those, will download.

Edit: oh they are date games, these are pretty common on mobile.
 

Rosebud

Member
Apr 16, 2018
5,155
I mean christ, browsing the Steam visual novel tag just absolutely blasts you in the face with a bunch of sexualized crap pandering to the lowest common denominator. "fan service" and lolis as far as the eye can see. A couple of jokey Western VNs don't even rate in comparison. The entire genre is tainted and you have to wade through an absolute river of shit to find the actual "good" ones, and even those are usually filled with embarrassing stuff you kind of have to ignore.

So no. Colonel Sander Is My Waifu or whatever is cynical and an obvious attempt by a Brand to be hip and cool, but it's not ruining the nonexistent sanctity of the VN genre.
It's impossible to find good shit on visual novel Steam tag, I tried and failed lol. This is the genre you need a recommendation.
 
OP
OP
Jawmuncher

Jawmuncher

Crisis Dino
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
12,803
Ibis Island
I had actually considered this point, and think maybe you should also remove the Atlus tweet as well. Given their audience and reach, and how contentious this subject might be, I could see them getting a lot of (negative) attention because of where they work.
You'll have to let me know if you're being sarcastic or not lol. As I would be in favor of just removing the tweets and linking to the twitter search on the matter.
 

Radeo

Banned
Apr 26, 2019
1,305
I think the KFC game is just a special case of fucked up lmao

Don't personally like the ironic VNs but nothing wrong with them existing, obviously someone likes them.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,644
At the very least, they’re usually not particularly clever or interesting, and I’d hope people wouldn’t let them inform their opinions of the VN genre as a whole, which can be pretty freaking wonderful. There are a lot of titles doing things you just can’t get in any other game, oftentimes targeting audiences who aren’t typically catered to. Frankly, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many women and queer people have gravitated towards VNs as a genre, both as players and as creators. Yeah, there’s a lot of gross shit out there and it sucks, but that’s very far from all that the genre has to offer.

And come on at people picking on that twitter user for her avatar choice. We can recognize the issues with certain trends in Japanese games and also accept that these pieces of media can still resonate with us for any number of reasons in spite of those very trends.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
18,190
You'll have to let me know if you're being sarcastic or not lol. As I would be in favor of just removing the tweets and linking to the twitter search on the matter.
I'm being serious. I suspect most probably would find it a bad example, but that DocSuess topic a while back, the amount of piling on and personal insults coming his way? I honestly don't think it's a very good thing to post people's tweets or blogs or whatever on this (or other) boards without their permission anymore. I once accidentally did that to an indie dev on this board, and had to request the topic be closed because it inadvertently painted a target on their back.

As evident by the people already saying that your examples aren't enough or whatever, for some people, no amount of evidence will be enough, but I think most on this board could take you at your word that there is a lot of chatter going on without needing to explicitly see it. Especially since you summarized the conversation going on twitter otherwise.
 

Jonovision

Member
Oct 30, 2017
49
I feel like this has been a thing since the newgrounds days of flash dating sims, though playing trash like that might be a gateway into better stuff.

For a long while I assumed all Visual novels were dating sims like Seasons of the Sakura or Tokimeki Check In until I played Tsukihime and it changed my entire perspective on the genre, then i went down the rabbit hole of the big visual novels that were being fan translated and since the only ones worth spending the time to be fan translated at the time were usually the best of the genre It was a good sampler.

If this gets even a handful of people to try out a Higurashi or Little Busters it's ok by me.
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
18,190
Yo Jawmuncher , I think you should add this tweet as a counterpoint to that first tweet.

This is why I commented earlier that I found the sega/atlus tweet calling this "gross" to be particularly awful. Sometimes people have to do low-prestige jobs to keep the lights on. It happens. Calling contract labor "gross" paints their entire company in a bad light, in a way they probably don't deserve.
 

Dee Dee

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,459
Speaking of 'niche genre', casual gamers actually love playing F2P western VNs on mobile. Episode, for example, has 50M+ installs. Choices has 10M+ installs. Even Ubisoft has their own take with 1M+ installs. Do they have high quality stories or CG backgrounds compared to the Steins or Higurashis? Most definitely not. But apparently a lot of people love playing them.

Edit: I just browsed throught the edited top tweet; I'm sure the 'guardians of genre' wouldn't consider those games as 'real VNs.'
I am one of these people!
There's a French (I think?) otome series called "Is it love?" with various scenarios, that is VERY successful on phones too.
It's mostly the availability and the obvious catering to a target group that isn't used to being catered too (and really enjoys it!).
Those phone VNs are basically in the tradition of those pulpy smut novels they used to have in book stores (when books stores were still a thing), with bare chested pirates on them, blonde mane flowing in the wind... They are good, trashy fun (some more so than others), and they borderline on parody in a weird selfaware touch more often than not.

(Funnily enough, KFC actually made a parody of those books before as well:


Apparently the book is pretty fun, so I'm looking forward to the game as well.)

I don't think those books ever held anyone back from reading "serious" books too, in the same vein that those trashy Otome wouldn't hold anyone back from trying some better ones if that was what they looked for. I think "Choices" isn't half bad for example.
The fact that people draw this harsh line between them and "good VNs" might be more of a turn off for people enjoying them, then the games being trashy. "No, this is a serious game, you wouldn't like it, because you only like trashy, fun stuff."

The actual issue that people have seems to be that there's no real discussion about the "good" stuff in media, since the wacky stuff will always generate more clicks. Even the discussion of well done Romance Sims like Dream Daddy led people into it with "look at this weird premise!!"
My humble opinions: It's not disrespecting a genre that basically thrives on weird premises, at least when you look at Otome. People come for the silly and stay for the heart warming. If this game manages to pull any of that off, similar to how Katawa Shoujo ended up subverting people's expectations or how Hatoful Boyfriend ended up being an intricately constructed tale of the apocalypse, then I hope you all eat tasty Kentucky Fried Crow.
(I don't think it will, but similarly, I don't think it affects the public perception of the genre any more than those other games did.)
 

Eridani

Member
Oct 25, 2017
687
Personally, here's a list of what actually ruined the genre for me:
  • Awful translations that make a lot of them a complete chore to read.
  • An over-reliance on awful anime tropes.
  • The obvious issues with sexualization.
  • The fact that the genre is absolutely flooded with absolute garbage, to the point where trying to pick out good VNs from that pile of trash is impossible.
  • The fact that recommendations from VN fans don't even help with the above. I tried a bunch of stuff that I've seen hailed as the pinnacle of the VN genre and I found most to range from either merely ok to completely awful.
From that perspective, I don't really see anything wrong with ironic memey VNs like this. They won't really do anything to raise my opinion of the genre but it's pretty much impossible for them to lower it. It will probably be legitimately better than at least 90% of VNs on steam anyway, judging from what comes up when I look up the genre there.
 
OP
OP
Jawmuncher

Jawmuncher

Crisis Dino
Moderator
Oct 25, 2017
12,803
Ibis Island
I'm being serious. I suspect most probably would find it a bad example, but that DocSuess topic a while back, the amount of piling on and personal insults coming his way? I honestly don't think it's a very good thing to post people's tweets or blogs or whatever on this (or other) boards without their permission anymore. I once accidentally did that to an indie dev on this board, and had to request the topic be closed because it inadvertently painted a target on their back.

As evident by the people already saying that your examples aren't enough or whatever, for some people, no amount of evidence will be enough, but I think most on this board could take you at your word that there is a lot of chatter going on without needing to explicitly see it. Especially since you summarized the conversation going on twitter otherwise.
good point
Yo Jawmuncher , I think you should add this tweet as a counterpoint to that first tweet.


added this game to the OP
 

Pellaidh

Member
Oct 26, 2017
918
If anything, this makes me feel kind of sorry for the devs. Their last VN was seemingly pretty well received and exactly the kind of thing these Twitter posters seem to work.

But now that they actually get funding to make something that will get them some money, they're being called gross, murderers of the VN genre, or people who've never even read a VN before (despite you know, being actual VN devs).

OK, the game probably isn't going to be amazing, but it's very likely going to be better than 99% of the genre simply by the virtue of not sexualizing children.

And maybe I'm just reading the wrong news sites, but I'm not really seeing this get any more attention from journalists than other western VNs. At most it gets a single article about it being announced.
 

Admiral Woofington

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
9,825
The market is niche as all hell and already flooded with sexualized stuff. The western devs who are making serious attempts at it, like the dream daddy devs or pixelfade studios, aren't releasing so many games they get lost in the sea. And the Japanese devs making them you need to be highly selective because of obvious reasons.

I think the market can handle both the ironic stuff focusing on wacky comedy such as dating pigeons/birds and the occasional weird one like this one plus the more serious endeavors. There's little reason for this indignant gatekeeping unless you absolutely NEED to be taken seriously for your taste in visual novel games by your peers.

And if anything these silly titles aren't detracting from the random hits that appear here and there. Doki Doki Literature Club was a huge success for the studio as advertisement for any future work of theirs.
 

Kyuuji

Member
Nov 8, 2017
6,888
If anything it's been the only one that I've been interested to at least try. Their reputation was already in the gutter.
 

Yata

Member
Feb 1, 2019
566
Spain
I understand why people who are very into Visual Novels are angry only the dumb stuff gets attention, it is frustrating.

With that said, this is kind of the norm for media in general? I cannot see this as anything else than just blatant elitism, who says joke stuff can't be cool too? Joke stuff can even be greatly written, and there is a variety of examples out there.

I love visual novels, though I will admit I barely scratched the surface, so I am sorry if I am overgeneralizing, but this argument seems even more strange when we take into account the VN genre was already full of the most generic slice of life harems and there was almost no good reputation to speak of in the first place.

Just not seeing at all why people make such a big deal out of this.
 

Aucool

Member
Oct 28, 2017
231
Italy
Yeah, people don’t take VNs seriously because of parody games, not because most of them are essentially loli porn.
 

Eumi

Member
Nov 3, 2017
3,074
If anything it’s really helping. It’s shifting the perception away from, you know, all the porn and pedo shit.
 

seroun

Member
Oct 25, 2018
432
What hurts the VN genre is the fact that people perceive it as a only-sexual, sexualization of minors/pedo genre. Which is, unfortunately (and I love many VNs) not that far from reality.
 

caff!!!

Member
Oct 29, 2017
1,452
The glut of Japanese VNs and like can be blamed on it being cheap to make/translate and had never died in Japan when point and click adventures took the storytelling and added more game to it in the USA combined with leading computer hardware of the era having very good graphics compared to IBM.

As to the genre, it exists between “Why not more gameplay” general works and erotica that will turn profits
 
Oct 27, 2017
5,337
Yeah, people don’t take VNs seriously because of parody games, not because most of them are essentially loli porn.
Pretty much. I could never buy a vn without extensive planning because I don't want to end up on some secret service warning lists.

I'm far more likely to buy something like hatoful because it's extremely likely to not be, you know, OK disgusting with sexualisation of minors. (It's helpful that hatoful was great anyway).

There's way worse things damaging the public opinion of VNs than a KFC themed one.
 

ShyMel

Member
Oct 31, 2017
2,049
The shift from PCs and consoles to mobile devices is what is hurting the VN market. Parody VNs are not moving the audience away. It is the mobile options that let you play for free/only a couple bucks versus paying up front for a full VN causing a shift. Piracy plays a part too, not Colonel Sanders.
 

LazyLain

Banned
Jan 17, 2019
1,412
Nah, I think the attention they draw to the genre is more positive than it is negative.

I get being upset that the KFC thing’s gonna get waaaaay more attention than a “real” VN, but that’s just a natural consequence of the fact that there’s way more people who like chicken/KFC than there are people who like VNs. It’s not robbing attention from real VNs, and if anything it creates an opportunity for people to be introduced to VNs.
 

Chocobo Blade

Member
Oct 29, 2017
1,230
Honestly VNs themselves are what's hurting the VN genre's reputation. If a parody like this ends up being actually funny, it can only help it. VN fans love to act like the good serious VNs are the only true representation of the genre but it doen't take a genius to see how flooded it is with pedobait waifu trash. Hell, even many of the widely recommended "real" VNs can often have creepy shit that deters people from playing them much more than an ironic parody ever will.
 

Ryuman

Member
Nov 1, 2017
242
I think it contributes to an overall perception people have of VN's. I don't really consider it gatekeeping to criticise low-quality joke games. Even if this particular game has more heart than expected it's still a straight-up KFC ad lol.
There's a difference between having humorous/absurd elements in a VN versus having the whole game be the joke.
 

Winterreise

Member
Feb 28, 2018
1,568
What if the game turns out to actually be really good, and ends up furthering the genre and bringing attention to other possibly good visual novels?

Weird Al isn't diminishing the songs he parodies. Come on now.
 

scare_crow

Member
Oct 28, 2017
2,882
Did you feel the same kind of righteous concern when Sneak King came out? How did the “stealth gaming community” possibly recover from that one?!
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,644
Did you feel the same kind of righteous concern when Sneak King came out? How did the “stealth gaming community” possibly recover from that one?!
to be fair, I think stealth games are really comparable to visual novels in any way, least of all in how many of these ironic games are produced for each of the genres.
 

DNAbro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
7,246
It’s the absolute worst part of the announcement. The stupid gate keeping from people who supposedly like VN is tiring. Let people make what they want, it isn’t hurting the genre. It doesn’t matter if it’s “ironic”, sometimes those are enjoyable too if you aren’t a stick in the mud.
 

VariantX

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,618
Columbia, SC
Honestly VNs themselves are what's hurting the VN genre's reputation. If a parody like this ends up being actually funny, it can only help it. VN fans love to act like the good serious VNs are the only true representation of the genre but it doen't take a genius to see how flooded it is with pedobait waifu trash. Hell, even many of the widely recommended "real" VNs can often have creepy shit that deters people from playing them much more than an ironic parody ever will.
Yep, if you think those joke parody VN's are the problem and not the flood of shit like this that's the genre has a rep for then you've missed the plot. Those parody VN's can only help the genre's reputation. The PSVita itself lowkey had a negative perception because of all the games appealing to people who would enjoy shit like that.
 

Ailanthium

Member
Oct 27, 2017
526
Western visual novels have been in an awkward state for some time now, and I actually think that the influx of 'ironic' visual novels has pushed creators to explore more radical ideas. Now you're starting to see more serious efforts to be more inclusive stories beyond "sixteen to twenty-five year old boy meets fourteen to twenty-two year old girl". While games like Dream Daddy were designed to get people talking about them, you can't deny that it's brought the genre into places it hasn't traditionally gone.

... in the west, at least. Japanese visual novels are a whole new bucket of worms. I'm not going to suggest that every visual novel is pedophilic, but many classic, well-regarded visual novels are, to put it lightly, problematic. Steins;Gate is transphobic. Higurashi When They Cry sexualizes children. Yu-No has an unquestioned depiction of incest. Saya no Uta is... uh, Saya no Uta.

The western scene will survive a fried chicken ad or two.
 

adumb

Member
Aug 17, 2019
172
No. 'Loli' crap did that long ago.

I'll take fun and irony over paedophilia any day, but that's just me.
 

Archon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
560
If anything they're making VN's more palatable and "normal" than just being seen as a creepy niche.
 

Gunblade47

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
409
As the others here have said it's way more the creepy pervy and sometimes pedo VNs that are flooding the genre that is causing damage to it. Not the parodies.

In fact I see KFCs attachment to the game as a good initial sign that it won't contain some creepy as hell shit in it. But corporations have been known to jump the shark before.
 

moomoo14

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
441
I actually think it’s the opposite. Usually, when people think of visual novels, they think of eroge stuff, not Ace Attorney or Zero Escape. At least a good deal of my friends do. The ironic stuff can actually get them to try a visual novel.

Frankly, I only care if a VN is well-written, ironic or not. I really enjoyed Hatoful Boyfriend, especially the latter half.
 

Viale

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,700
Anecdotally, the gateway effect that makes narrative sense doesn't actually happen - people who get exposed to DDLC or Hatoful or Ace Attorney don't tend to continue further down the rabbit hole.
Yup, this has been my experience as well. Have friends who have played these three, but haven't even touched other VNs that are a bit deeper into the genre.

Just part of the fact that I hear about games like hatoful or dream daddy and what not tons more than games like fata morgana leads a bit of credence to the possibility of quality vns being overshadowed.
 
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Critch

Member
Dec 10, 2017
688
*Opens Steam* *Looks at 'Visual Novel* Tag* *Counts number of games with images of scantily clad underage-looking girls with the 'sexual content' tag*

But sure, 'Irony' is the problem.
 

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
3,834
The Visual Novel genre has plenty of issues.

Ironic, parody, or otherwise humorous VN's expanding the audience is not one of them. Claiming VN's are hurt by parodies because the genre is niche just proves how desperately it needs things like parodies in order to get people who wouldn't otherwise try them into them.

I quite enjoy the visual novel genre but I can count the number of them I would recommend to a general audience on one hand.
 
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UltraGunner

Member
Oct 25, 2017
10,858
Los Angeles, CA
It sucks how they're the only VNs that get any sort of major attention. We have Ai the Somnium files, Ciconia When They Cry, and Raging Loop coming out this year but unless you read sites that specialize in VNs you wouldn't know that. Hell I didn't even know that Clanaad got released on Switch until I browsed the Nintendo Store.
 

Foot

Member
Mar 10, 2019
1,485
Does this game even have a single sexualized child?! An insult to the genre!