• We are delighted to introduce GiftBot 2.0, the next generation of our popular gifting feature. To celebrate, we'll be giving away some incredible prizes over the coming weeks in one big Giveaway Extravaganza!

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

Oct 25, 2017
11,861
I have seen absolutely zero indication that, like people are trying to claim in this thread, "ironic" visual novels have actually expanded the base for this genre or encouraged people to try more visual novels.
 

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
3,834
I have seen absolutely zero indication that, like people are trying to claim in this thread, "ironic" visual novels have actually expanded the base for this genre or encouraged people to try more visual novels.
The genre needs expansion not to retract into itself and double down on it's problematic elements.
 
Last edited:

Dee Dee

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,459
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 hateful or dream daddy and what not more than games like fata morgana leads a bit of credence to the possibility of quality vns being overshadowed.
That will always be the case. My friends like the Beatles, but they don't care for the Kinks. Some people just don't get as passionate about stuff as yourself.

I started getting into VNs with Ace Attorney just fine, and Fata Morgana is one of my favourite pieces of the medium today, but I understand that investing 24h+ reading something demanding like that is not for everyone.
And it isn't going to be for everyone just because I keep recommending it to people either. Or because KFC doesn't put out joke games.

Also, Dream Daddy and Hatoful Boyfriends are both quality VNs just as much as Fata Morgana - just because something is lighthearted it doesn't mean that it can't be "good".
Not everything has to be an ingenious look into the deep trauma of baring your wounds onto another, we should be praising the entertaining stuff just as much as the more experimental or deep cutting bits - that's how you get people into a medium, not by telling them their taste in things is not appropriate.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,861
Exactly and the genre needs expansion not to retract into itself.
I'm fine with these these types of project, but at the same time if you're going to make a specific claim that actually they help the genre you need to back that up with something provable. In my completely anecdotal experience there's no crossover between these types of projects and "normal" VNs.

Which again is totally fine you can't expect someone to just suddenly cotton onto a genre that they don't know even if they enjoyed a one off title for whatever reason under the sun.
 

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
3,834
I'm fine with these these types of project, but at the same time if you're going to make a specific claim that actually they help the genre you need to back that up with something other than just facts originated from your ass.
You want me to find some longitudinal university study over the impact of ironic visual novels on the genre? Because I guarantee it doesn't exist. All we can look at is the fact that ironic visual novels like DDLC have gone viral, this particular game has sparked an insane amount of discussion on twitter, and that marketing helps get a name out there.
 

Dee Dee

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,459
I'm fine with these these types of project, but at the same time if you're going to make a specific claim that actually they help the genre you need to back that up with something other than just facts originated from your ass.
They help the genre by putting out more games in the genre, is that not a good thing in itself?
I have yet to see anything that makes me believe that this game is an awful representation of a genre that most of the time doesn't take itself too seriously in the first place. (Talking about Romance Sims. Why the VN fans are so upset at this is weird to me.)

Do you truely believe not a single person in the world will play this as their first Romance Sim ever, thereby increasing the number of people playing Romance Sims?
Every game is someone's first.
(I think my first romance sim was Ristorante Amore, which was pretty meta, ... one could say a parody even.)
 

Viale

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,700
That will always be the case. My friends like the Beatles, but they don't care for the Kinks. Some people just don't get as passionate about stuff as yourself.

I started getting into VNs with Ace Attorney just fine, and Fata Morgana is one of my favourite pieces of the medium today, but I understand that investing 24h+ reading something demanding like that is not for everyone.
And it isn't going to be for everyone just because I keep recommending it to people either. Or because KFC doesn't put out joke games.

Also, Dream Daddy and Hatoful Boyfriends are both quality VNs just as much as Fata Morgana - just because something is lighthearted it doesn't mean that it can't be "good".
Not everything has to be an ingenious look into the deep trauma of baring your wounds onto another, we should be praising the entertaining stuff just as much as the more experimental or deep cutting bits - that's how you get people into a medium, not by telling them their taste in things is not appropriate.
I probably should have reworded it. I don't consider those games bad by any means. Just compared to Fata Morgana which I consider generally one of my favorite stories in general, it's just unfortunate personally to hear so little on it comparatively. Like it just feels like these more jokeish games will get more of a presence and push from journalists while you have to delve more into the vn community at least a little bit to hear about games like this.
 

Foot

Member
Mar 10, 2019
1,485
Just like Sir Terry Pratchett killed the entire novel industry, and no movies have been made since Wes Anderson’s Rushmore, so too will these comedy visual novels finally bring down their genre.
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,861
They help the genre by putting out more games in the genre, is that not a good thing in itself?
I have yet to see anything that makes me believe that this game is an awful representation of a genre that most of the time doesn't take itself too seriously in the first place. (Talking about Romance Sims. Why the VN fans are so upset at this is weird to me.)

Do you truely believe not a single person in the world will play this as their first Romance Sim ever, thereby increasing the number of people playing Romance Sims?
Every game is someone's first.
(I think my first romance sim was Ristorante Amore, which was pretty meta, ... one could say a parody even.)
I am arguing that this title will be so dissimilar from what you can see from an average example of the genre that retention will be negligible and I would extend that consideration to most if not all of these "ironic" VNs.
This isn't me attempting to make some sort of argument against their existence this is me making an argument against the argument that they "help the genre".
 

Bit_Reactor

Member
Apr 9, 2019
1,813
I can understand the OP's perspective. Right now VNs are seen as one of two things to an "average" player. Horny games for Anime Girl Simulators or joke games/parodies.

I don't see it as gatekeeping so much as a question as to how the genre could rise above the preconceptions that currently come with it for a majority of audiences. For example I've had a game idea I'd love to make a VN out of but aside from mobile and maybe a limited Steam release there's not really an audience for it because of the notions about the genre to begin with.

As much as there are a few exceptions to the rule (as there always are) it's a pretty good topic to bring up when of all things we're seeing a big FMV game release from the Her Story devs coming out and I'd love to see something with that much love come out for the VN side of things, as I love reading and love VNs and due to their limited scope could provide a lot of writing variance in branching paths and the like.
 

CaviarMeths

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
7,096
Western Canada
If a site that doesn't normally cover VNs decides to cover this KFC game, but still doesn't cover other VNs... then what has changed, really? I don't think this hurts VNs. I think this largely doesn't affect VNs at all. It would be nice for the genre to gain more mainstream recognition, and not just for the weird horny games, but ironic fried chicken games aren't going to help or hinder that effort.
 

Arthands

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,931
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.
The devs have made 2 titles with overall positive reviews. Why do you automatically assume its low quality? Because its published by KFC?
 
Oct 25, 2017
11,861
It's purely anecdotal but I've seen people asking for "DDLC but without the horror" on reddit and forums because they enjoyed those parts.
To be totally honest if there's a bigger groundswell of interest that I'm just missing that's awesome, if we can get more eyes on the genre and have kind of a taste change away from a lot of the more problematic things you see in otherwise good VNs, while also making it a bit more financially viable, I'm 1 million percent down for it.
 

Arthands

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,931
Why not blame those media for not covering those high quality visual novels? it is not KFC's fault if it receives more media attention than any other visual novels.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,100
North Carolina
May 13, 2019
632
To be totally honest if there's a bigger groundswell of interest that I'm just missing that's awesome, if we can get more eyes on the genre and have kind of a taste change away from a lot of the more problematic things you see in otherwise good VNs, while also making it a bit more financially viable, I'm 1 million percent down for it.
Speaking of problematic things, wasn't DDLC lambasted for the way it presented the themes behind the horror stuff?
 

LuigiMario

Member
Oct 28, 2017
602
It's lame humor but the stuff with girls that look like childrens hurts the perception of VN's far more than silly parodies.
 
The only thing KFC VN is hurting is itself. Any top tier VN people want from Japan has gotten a release and many western made or styled VN are able to stand tall enough to avoid being looked down on. Only thing to worry is more fanbase pushing for bad VN than companies making them.
 

Apollo

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
2,644
Woo, another waaaacky ironic Western Visual Novel making fun of those crazy Japanese.

https://mimidoshima.wordpress.com/2019/09/07/why-cant-people-make-cute-vns/

Here's a good article about these ironic VNs and why they are bad for the genre.

Now please stop wasting breath on this dumb chicken game and go support the fantastic Western contributions to the genre like Heart of the Woods, Highway Blossoms, VA-11 Hall-A, etc.
That was a very interesting read, thanks for sharing. The orientalism issue in particular is really relevant I think, as it’s the rooted in a lot of the same thinking that leads people to assume Japan doesn’t care about social issues. We’re just getting a small fraction of Japan’s media exported, but there tend to be a lot of generalizations drawn based on those exports.
 

Scrooge McDuck

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
1,557
first, hatoful boyfriend is beloved because it’s a knowing parody of genre tropes and foibles made by people who clearly know about the genre. the stuff people have gripes with is far more cynical: games like this KFC marketing tie in are far more mocking, as if the idea of a game where you talk to people and read stuff with romantic element sounds is absurd on its face. it’s the same kind of difference between a rap parody like CB4 and people who still think rappers say “for shizzle.” you can tell who is lampooning something they’re familiar with and who is just an outsider leaping on something they think is weird and different.
The actual game might paint a different picture but I honestly can't see how this is far more mocking, and I feel immediately dismissing it as the work of "just an outsider leaping on" is unfair. It's not like this is the developer's first visual novel; Camp W is a fun, lovely little VN with no romantic element.

Woo, another waaaacky ironic Western Visual Novel making fun of those crazy Japanese.
I agree with a lot of things in the link you provided, but do they really apply here? The little I can see from the screenshots don't seem to look down on the medium or intend to criticize it, and if anything it reads more like a cooking parody. Can't it just be an absurd visual novel without being read as "making fun of crazy Japanese"?
 

Syril

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,309
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.
Especially ironic considering Atlus had to rely on contract work themselves in the NES days doing movie tie-in games.
 

Rosebud

Member
Apr 16, 2018
5,155
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.
This VN doesn't have any kind of sex scene, date scene or things like that. Of all works you could use as example lol

But if the style bothers you, look for Umineko (same author) or Fata Morgana.
 

Thuddert

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,889
Netherlands
It does. But you'll get no sympathy here, when people still make fun of games, genres and media they've never interacted with.

But the problem is larger than that since it's coming from a major brand. This is apparently how we do it now and it's disgusting af to me.
 

Rosebud

Member
Apr 16, 2018
5,155
I am reading Higurashi right now. Tons of sex jokes involving all the main characters whose ages are 10 - 15 years old. Take that as you will.
Sex jokes? I can only think in the Coach, and yes he's gross. But still nothing like other VN's on Steam.

I'm reading the Answer Arcs of Umineko, and while I still like Higurashi story more (it may change), I'm happy that he abandoned all that club games stuff that was a chore to read.
 

Heartskips

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,630
It's not really worth discussing this stuff in this site, but yes. These "parody VNs" that get all the attention both take the spotlight of actual serious works, while creating a stereotyped version of what VNs "are" to people that don't even play VNs (hint: not all of them are dating sims or erotic).

It's a lot of parodies done for people who don't read VNs for other people who don't read VNs as well, all assuming they know the tropes of this genre they don't actually have an experience with.

There's a whole thing about these parody VNs also being praised for subverting the genre, even though these subversions were already done before by japanese creators. Game that presents itself as a "dating sim" but has a dark twist? You'll find a ton of them, done like 10 years before these Steam VNs were even a thing. Higurashi itself starts like this. These ironic VNs getting this credit is like if a western turn based RPG was released today and people who never touched Dragon Quest credited it for revolutionizing the genre because it has turn based battles.
 

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
3,834
It's not really worth discussing this stuff in this site, but yes. These "parody VNs" that get all the attention both take the spotlight of actual serious works, while creating a stereotyped version of what VNs "are" to people that don't even play VNs (hint: not all of them are dating sims or erotic).

It's a lot of parodies done for people who don't read VNs for other people who don't read VNs as well, all assuming they know the tropes of this genre they don't actually have an experience with.
Had KFC not made a visual novel what more deserving work would currently be being highlighted? Whose spotlight is being stolen?

Also, even if these parodies create a certain mindset of 'knowing' the genre doesn't that allow people who do 'know' the genre to then push people into it? In my eyes given the current landscape we have 4 existing scenarios.

1. They know of parodies. In this scenario a conversation can be sparked and someone gently recommended something 'good' (I would argue many of the parodies are in fact good). For example, "Oh you thought the horror elements and subversion of DDLC was good try this visual novel that did it better" or "Oh you found the KFC game amusing try Katawa Shoujo it has a similar setup and good humor".

2. They know of what many people on this site associate the genre with. Which does not allow any kind of positive conversation to occur and arguments just end up causing them to dig their heels in.

3. They don't know about it at all and therefore never talk about it and the status quo is maintained.

4. They know about them in a limited scenario and don't need anything other than suggestions.
 

WonderLuigi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,833
Rio de Janeiro (BR)
The avatar is the best illustration of how absurd the premise of this thread is.

"Is this cynical corporate cash-in hurting the sanctity of the genre dominated by sexualized children?"

No it's not, the genre is doing that just fine by itself.
your ignorance on the VN genre is very... western. google otome games. even "otome games switch".

MOST VNS ARE MADE FOR WOMEN. A GOOD FRACTION DON'T EVEN HAVE WOMEN IN THEM.

so honestly just say you're generalizing a whole country and go.
 

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
3,834
your ignorance on the VN genre is very... western. google otome games. even "otome games switch".

MOST VNS ARE MADE FOR WOMEN. A GOOD FRACTION DON'T EVEN HAVE WOMEN IN THEM.

so honestly just say you're generalizing a whole country and go.
Otome games are a very real genre that doesn't have a lot of the problems we associate with male focused VNS. I have even recommended some of them to female friends into anime but where did you get the idea that they are a market majority? Also how do they invalidate the issues with non-otome games?
 

Nora

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,291
your ignorance on the VN genre is very... western. google otome games. even "otome games switch".

MOST VNS ARE MADE FOR WOMEN. A GOOD FRACTION DON'T EVEN HAVE WOMEN IN THEM.

so honestly just say you're generalizing a whole country and go.
a whole country? Where did I say anything about a country? I hope you didn't hurt anything stretching that far, damn, see a doctor

also from my "very western perspective" when I look at VNs on Steam I sure don't see a lot of games that appeal to me, a woman. So, shut up.
 

WonderLuigi

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,833
Rio de Janeiro (BR)
Otome games are a very real genre that doesn't have a lot of the problems we associate with male focused VNS. I have even recommended some of them to female friends into anime but where did you get the idea that they are a market majority? Also how do they invalidate the issues with non-otome games?
They are talking about a VN that is inspired by an otome VN. It's obvious just by looking at it. So coming into a thread to talk about the problems of 1000 year-old dragon lolis when the topic at hand is an otome VN is embarassing, generalizing and just shows how people in this forum are too drunk in Western discourse.

It's like picking apart Bloodborne because of problems in representation of women in JRPGs.

It's not this thread's topic and you're just showing your ignorance on art from a whole country.
 

Funyarinpa

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
8,299
The genre in the West is very different from what it was in 2015. There are more VNs out there deserving of genuine coverage now.

I'll admit I don't like how the mainstream coverage of the genre in the West has been 95% about ironic and cynical parody VNs, but it is also true that the genre is not exactly progressive overall.

That said, there *is* an opportunity to highlight all the great VNs that are getting localized officially after many years of being sustained by a pirate fanbase, and seeing those games never get coverage is what's disappointing to see, here.
 

Dee Dee

Member
Nov 2, 2017
1,459
They are talking about a VN that is inspired by an otome VN. It's obvious just by looking at it. So coming into a thread to talk about the problems of 1000 year-old dragon lolis when the topic at hand is an otome VN is embarassing, generalizing and just shows how people in this forum are too drunk in Western discourse.

It's like picking apart Bloodborne because of problems in representation of women in JRPGs.

It's not this thread's topic and you're just showing your ignorance on art from a whole country.
Sexualizing children is also an issue in Otome games though?



I guess it's okay because he's a 100year old vampire or what was it?

Edit: I mean, are you seriously claiming Otome games are less problematic just because they target women? I can post more Diabolik Lovers screens anytime you want.
 
Last edited:

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
3,834
They are talking about a VN that is inspired by an otome VN. It's obvious just by looking at it. So coming into a thread to talk about the problems of 1000 year-old dragon lolis when the topic at hand is an otome VN is embarassing, generalizing and just shows how people in this forum are too drunk in Western discourse.

It's like picking apart Bloodborne because of problems in representation of women in JRPGs.

It's not this thread's topic and you're just showing your ignorance on art from a whole country.
The topic at hand is whether or not ironic Visual Novels made to parody Visual Novel tropes are harmful to the Western perception of the genre. KFC was just an example of one of them.

Then Western people on this forum said what they know of the genre is pedophilia and that any joke games that don't have that are not an issue in their book.
 

Chocobo Blade

Member
Oct 29, 2017
1,230
This VN doesn't have any kind of sex scene, date scene or things like that. Of all works you could use as example lol
It's exactly why I picked that example. It's a widely acclaimed and often recommended serious VN that just so happens to have prepubescent girls in skimpy clothing as one of the screenshots on its steam page. And it's not unique in that. If stuff like that doesn't bother you then I don't know what to say. But it's what's creating the genre's negative reputation as pervy and creepy, not ironic parodies.
 

Nora

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,291
I won't shut up, but thanks! Very cute response
So you're not gonna address the part where you're misrepresenting VNs to make us all look like baka gaijins who are also racist because we correctly assert that a lot of VNs are gross (what even is this argument?). Never mind the irony if telling a woman that the thing I'm talking about, sexualization of children, is made for me, lol. You missed the point because you were so obsessed with defending your precious pet genre your first instinct was to just insult me. So piss off with your cutesy shit and don't talk to me again. I'll make it easy for you by putting you on ignore.
 

Rosebud

Member
Apr 16, 2018
5,155
It's exactly why I picked that example. It's a widely acclaimed and often recommended serious VN that just so happens to have prepubescent girls in skimpy clothing as one of the screenshots on its steam page. And it's not unique in that. If stuff like that doesn't bother you then I don't know what to say. But it's what's creating the genre's negative reputation as pervy and creepy, not ironic parodies.
I'm a woman, and believe me I loathe loli shit. Some things in Higurashi bothers me, like some costumes in Persona 5, but judging a 80 hours "book" by one screenshot is not the best thing to do.
 

Bomblord

Member
Jan 11, 2018
3,834
I'm a woman, and believe me I loathe loli shit. Some things in Higurashi bothers me, like some costumes in Persona 5, but judging a 80 hours "book" by one screenshot is not the best thing to do.
If that one screenshot depicts a line you won't personally cross then I think it's a completely valid judgement.
 

Dyle

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
8,498
Wisconsin
The ironic subgenre exists because the core VN genre flanderized itself first and made the things the ironic games make fun of a well established genre trait familiar even to people who have never played a VN. I don't think they are damaging the genre but they are certainly not helping either