No, don’t worry, MoeGamer isn’t becoming a clickbait listicle site!
I was approached by the charming and delightful Luminous Mongoose recently about producing a collaborative post on the subject of creepy enemies in Japanese video games. It is spoopy October, after all, and moreover this month’s Cover Game certainly offers plenty in the underpants-soiling department.
So with that in mind, hit the jump for the first part of this list, and check out Lumi’s site Otaku Essays and Analyses for the rest!
Continue reading The Top 5 Creepiest Enemies from Japanese Video Games
Time for a Community tag post! This one looked like a particularly fun one, and after the lovely Irina from I Drink and Watch Anime specifically requested me to do one about games, who was I to refuse?
The original tag came from The Awkward Book Blogger and was based around, as you might expect, books — but it has since expanded to encompass anime and now, thanks to my contribution, games as well.
So let’s jump right in. After the jump. Jumpy jumpy jump.
Continue reading The One-Liner Challenge
The arrival of relatively affordable virtual reality solutions has the potential to allow us to explore narrative and characterisation in all-new ways — and I’m especially excited to see what Japan comes up with.
An oft-cited strength of narrative-centric Japanese interactive entertainment is the sense of “intimacy” it engenders between the player, the protagonist and the core cast. Visual novels in particular are noteworthy for their in-depth explorations of characters and in allowing the player to “ride along” inside the protagonist’s head as they encounter various situations.
So what might virtual reality bring to this kind of experience? It’s an interesting question to ponder, and an exciting prospect to imagine.
Continue reading Virtual Intimacy
The modern world is incredibly concerned with spoilers: the giving away of surprises before you, yourself, have reached that part in the narrative.
But some of the most effective stories out there are pretty up-front about their most surprising elements and still manage to forge a compelling, interesting narrative. D.O.’s Kana Little Sister is a good example of this — we know from the outset that Kana is likely to die at the end of the game, but that doesn’t stop it from being emotionally engaging throughout, and traumatic when the final moments of the story eventually roll around.
Another particularly effective example of this is in Nitroplus’ Saya no Uta (aka The Song of Saya), a horror-themed visual novel composed by Madoka Magica writer Gen Urobuchi.
Continue reading There’s Not Always a Happy Ending
Every time I settle down to play — or even to write about — a visual novel, I’m reminded of how much I love the medium.
I use the word “medium” when referring to visual novels rather than “genre” because in many cases, it’s not entirely accurate to call them “games”, despite the fact that they tend to be festooned in the trappings of video games. Most tend to include some sort of metagame element, be it a simple checklist of endings, a CG gallery with a completion percentage or, in the case of more complex games like the recently localised Steins;Gate, even achievements. Most of them are presented in a distinctly game-like fashion, with console-style main menus that make pleasing noises when you click on them, colourful but clear text boxes with a little spinny thing in the corner that tells you when you’ve reached the end of the current paragraph, and all manner of other things.
And yet they’re not games. Not really. They’re interactive stories — some having no more than one or two meaningful choices over the course of the entire narrative, and some even eschewing the element of choice whatsoever — that make use of multimedia presentation to distinguish themselves from, you know, reading a book. The combination of static background images, static or lightly animated characters, music, voice acting, sound effects and text all combine to create a very distinctive effect — and one that can be a powerful poke to the imagination.
Continue reading Visual Novels and Games: The Same, But Different