By Shinryujin 1 Comments
First of all, my gratitude to the Giantbomb guys, where I can find a home for VN and Eroge wikis. I'm done writing about all the characters of Edelweiss, and about to write up the main page. Wanted to talk about the game and VNs in general.
A disclaimer first, I may get facts wrong, so feel free to correct me and I apologize in advance.
My Eroge history
My first eroge was Heart de Roommate, which was recommended by a classmate a good few years ago. It had a wonderful story and a healthy dose of comedy, and I've got to say I loved it. After that I went back to playing RPGs and action games and eroges went out of my mind for a good few years.
Recently I had a sudden urge to look up on eroges again and picked up Amorous Professor Cherry, which I enjoyed though I felt dirty and guilty after that (heh). Cherry's content ratio was the opposite of Heart's, much less story and a lot more sexy time. It really was no joke, the sexy time came at me like water out of a fire truck hose, like the zombies in Left 4 Dead survival mode, like punches in Wing Chun.
Later I picked up Kira Kira. Like Heart did before, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. After that was The Sagara Family, which was the title of my first full wiki contribution, then Edelweiss. Currently playing Snow Sakura, and I'm planning to write up wikis for all the above. I noticed that the aforementioned games have effectively zero content, so those games are basically my territory.
There is one thing all these titles have in common, they're all set in a high school period. Edelweiss deals with Alchemy, not related to Full Metal Alchemist though. The story is very elaborate, a trait which Overdrive's next game KiraKira shares. Those games don't have much in the way of choices though, and it tends to be very clear cut. Choose this or not to get this girl, that's it.
Speaking of which, the characters are very colorful, though I was sad that I couldn't find much to write about Rin and Sakura. Rin is one of my favourite characters in the game, along with Mei and Mizuki.
Mei's story was one of the more heart breaking ones that I've encountered. I literally had a heart ache when I wrote her entry. Mizuki is second to hers, when her dreams were crushed along with her legs. Natsume was the most plot-heavy one, and it was thanks to her that I completed the Tactical Nuke quest. I find Natsume to be adorable too, and her theme is a beautiful music box piece. Ran was the most fun. Finally, Haruka's story was a gigantic wtf. I know that people would be sad on her ending, but I was appalled by the sheer magnitude of Kazushi's hypocrisy. Never mind that she died, screw your head on right Kazushi!
The Visual Novel / Eroge genre
I've tagged the thread which is almost a year old because 1. I find it interesting that someone actually brought it up (heh) and 2. I want to get my 2 cents in but the thread is older than the dinosaurs (in internet age), so I decided to do it here.
First, I would like to use the following terminology:
Eroge: Games that includes explicit content, including a sub-category of Visual Novels. All the titles I mentioned in the first 2 sections fall under here. I heard about some RPG that includes explicit content, but I can't name any title. Apparently you level up, kill monsters, and get laid. :/
I think it's possible to market this genre outside Japan, but the current audience is very very small. To enjoy a VN, you will need to enjoy: anime, adventure / romance story, video games, and Japanese culture. To break this down;
Anime: I heard that the general populace view anime as "just another cartoon", and that cartoon is for children. They group it with Saturday morning cartoons like Mickey Mouse and stuff (or something, I don't know. I don't watch cartoons anymore).
Adventure / romance story: This actually has quite a large audience. Many people like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, so it's really easy. Also, I heard that girls like to read romance novels like *cough*Twilight*cough*. I've watched and read Memoirs of a Geisha and enjoyed it (heh).
Video games: Video games as a whole has an enormous player base. But what we are looking for is players who enjoy Japanese / eastern games. I heard that western and eastern gaming ideology is very different. Seems to me that western gamers like competition, adrenaline, and testosterone, while eastern gamers like adventure, character development, and working together. That's why America gave us Modern Warfare 3 and Battlefield 3, while Japan gave us Final Fantasy and Legend of Zelda. Refer to this. Not to say that western gamers don't like elaborate stories, we got Deus Ex and Fallout.
Japanese culture: Finally, a great hurdle. Includes "moe", "kawaii", bushido, lifestyle, beliefs, and such. I'm not exactly an expert on this.
I would suggest targeting the adventure / romance story crowd, since Visual Novel is basically telling a story with multimedia elements. It's like taking a few steps after e-books. Get a good story, add pictures, music, branching plot, and possibly voice-acting, and you got a functioning Visual Novel.
Of course, marketing Japanese Visual Novels will be another hurdle entirely, since we will need to market anime as well.
These are porn, no ifs or buts about it. The size of the audience who would enjoy anime porn is unknown to me, but seeing the perspective on anime alone would discourage trying to market Eroges. I would hate Eroges to make the front page and have laws enacted against it.
The Current Situation
There is hope though, the Phoenix Wright series is extremely popular, Fate/Stay Night, Tsukihime, and Tears to Tiara has been released as an anime and there are video games, KiraKira was published in an all-ages release title with zero explicit content, and Go! Go! Nippon! is like Overdrive's hello to us. If you guys are truly interested, things can be done. My only comment would be; it would be rather strange, but cool nonetheless.