Tag Archives: visual novel

The MoeGamer GameCast: Pilot Episode

There are a variety of different game creation packages available these days, allowing even those with no knowledge of coding to put something that looks convincing together.

Visual novels have always been a bit more of a challenge, though, thanks to their strong use of visual art as well as descriptive prose. For those who are like me and… somewhat deficient in the artistic department, visual novel creation packages like TyranoBuilder seem like a good idea, but impractical without the ability to create your own resources.

That is, until you find ways of using other tools in creative ways to put together some convincing-looking graphics. Like using KISS’ Custom Maid 3D 2 to create the basic model for character sprites, touching them up in Paint.Net and then combining them with filtered photographs as backdrops. Which is exactly what I’ve done today with this strictly experimental pilot episode of what I like to call The MoeGamer GameCast: a podcast in visual novel form.

screenshot-2017-02-03-21-47-27

I don’t yet know if this is something that will be practical to do on a regular basis, but… well, we’ll see. In the meantime, feel free to download the pilot episode (featuring somewhat redesigned versions of site mascots Midori and Yumi, created with Custom Maid 3D 2 instead of MangaMaker ComiPo!) and see what you think.

Download here (Windows only; leave a comment if you want to see a Mac version. Click the “Download” button in the top right of the page that opens to download the .zip file, and extract the contents to any folder to play.)

Download browser version (untested!)

From the Archives: Why Do We Play?

A philosophical question for you today, prompted by a thought-provoking discussion I had with a friend the other evening.

It’s a particularly interesting question with regard to visual novels, which are regarded by some as not being “games” in the traditionally-understood sense, but it also applies to the interactive entertainment medium as a whole.

The question is a pretty fundamental one for anyone who chooses to make gaming part of their life, whether it’s as a casual hobby, something they share with friends or their favorite form of entertainment.

It’s this: Why do we play?

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

Continue reading From the Archives: Why Do We Play?

Grisaia: Introduction

Frontwing’s Grisaia series, which kicked off in 2011 with the Japanese release of first installment The Fruit of Grisaia, has come to be regarded as a particular high point for the visual novel medium.

Indeed, back in 2015, the /r/visualnovels subreddit voted The Fruit of Grisaia as number one on its list of top 10 visual novels (later republished on GameFAQs), and the community still holds the game in high regard today, as evidenced by its prominent position on the subreddit’s comprehensive diagram of recommendations.

Grisaia’s high ranking on /r/visualnovels’ list was particularly exciting to enthusiasts of the medium, as growing localisation company Sekai Project had already run a successful Kickstarter campaign to bring the whole series West in the twilight hours of 2014 and the start of 2015, potentially opening it up to a whole new audience that was perhaps less familiar with acquiring Japanese visual novels and patching them with fan translations.

But what makes this series so remarkable? Let’s take a high-level look at it.

Continue reading Grisaia: Introduction

From the Archives: Politics Has Never Been So Moe

It occurred to me while compiling last week’s entry on the subject of “genre” that most of the visual novels I have personally played to date (Editor’s Note: at the time of original writing, 2012) have been rather “serious” affairs, dealing with delicate social and psychological issues, more often than not in a respectful, sensible manner.

So it was with some trepidation that I fired up Alcot’s My Girlfriend is the President, an English language release from JAST (Editor’s Note: sadly, seemingly out of print at the moment) and, to my knowledge, the first explicitly “comedy” VN I have personally encountered. (Editor’s Note: again, in 2012)

The premise of the game is absurd in the inimitable manner that only the Japanese can pull off with any confidence: aliens crash-land on “Nippon” (all country names in the game are bastardisations of their real-life equivalents except, oddly, for France), which wipes out the existing government. Then, wracked with guilt, said aliens decide to rebuild society and brainwash everyone as if nothing had happened.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

Continue reading From the Archives: Politics Has Never Been So Moe

From the Archives: A Question of Genre

How do you describe a piece of interactive entertainment? Chances are the first thing you mention is the way it plays, or the supposed “genre” it is part of.

Final Fantasy is a JRPG; Gears of War is a third-person shooter; Mario games are platformers. And this isn’t only true for mainstream games, either — even the most esoteric indie games tend to be described in terms of their mechanics. Fez is a puzzle-platformer; The Binding of Isaac is a roguelike shooter; Minecraft is an open-world building and survival sim.

While you may then elaborate on that by describing the setting — sci-fi, fantasy, cartoonish crazytown — it’s highly likely that this is not the first thing you mention. Interactive entertainment is pretty much the only artistic medium in which we do this.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

Continue reading From the Archives: A Question of Genre

From the Archives: School Days, Chaos Theory and Emotional Engagement

School Days HQ is a visual novel/interactive movie from STACK and 0verflow, localised by Sekai Project and published by JAST USA.

It’s a remastered remake of an earlier title from 2005, simply called School Days, and is rather notorious for all the wrong reasons — specifically, its violent tragic bad endings, which I won’t spoil here.

This article isn’t going to describe or analyse the overall plot in depth; rather, I’d like to talk about what School Days shows us about the possibilities and challenges a branching narrative offers to content creators, and what other games might be able to learn from the visual novel genre in general in this regard.

This article was originally published on Games Are Evil in August 2012 as part of the site’s regular READ.ME column on visual novels. It has been republished here due to Games Are Evil no longer existing in its original form.

Continue reading From the Archives: School Days, Chaos Theory and Emotional Engagement

Root Letter: Eleven Letters, Eight People, One Truth

Kadokawa Games’ Root Letter, first in their new Kadokawa Games Mystery series, quietly snuck out onto the market at the end of October, just four months after its Japanese release.

The proposed series is set to be a collection of visual novel-cum-adventure game hybrids for PlayStation platforms that feature real-world locations, artwork from Love Plus character designer Mino Taro and a cast of fictional actresses who will play different roles in each game. The plan, presumably, is to create a series of adventures that, while distinct in their own right in terms of story, will have numerous thematic and stylistic similarities throughout that make them feel like “part of a set”.

So far, all we have to judge the series on is its inaugural installment Root Letter, but fortunately it’s a very strong start indeed, eminently worthy of your time if you’ve ever enjoyed the Ace Attorney or Danganronpa games.

Continue reading Root Letter: Eleven Letters, Eight People, One Truth