Visual Novel Review: Go! Go! Nippon!
I'm not what I'd call a "gamer" by any stretch of the imagination. Make no mistake, I do play computer games, sure, but I'm not one of those hardcore creatures who eat and sleep videogames all the time. We have a few of those at work actually, and they're great fun to talk to. They accept me as one of their own, ever since I recognized Vault-Boy on one of their cellphone's lock screen. I haven't been able to talk to them recently though, as the three of them are playing Fallout 4 like they'll die if they don't... and talking about spoilers. As I've managed to avoid all details of the game except those given in the first Official Trailer, their conversations tend to send me screaming from the break room. I have a feeling that I'll get into the game the same way I did Skyrim or Fallout 3 once I obtain a copy, though. But I'm not a heavy-duty gamer. One particular type of game that I've never really gotten into is the Visual Novel, though I've played a few. If you've never played a Visual Novel, understand that it's not a "game" the way, say, Mass Effect or Portal or Pong are
games. Most of the time, you're just reading words on the screen much
the way you read a book. Upon occasion, you have the ability to
influence the course of the story by making a decision ("Go to sleep" or
"Go out and party"; "Invade Russia" or "Invade Britain"... that sort of
thing). For the most part, VNs are distinctly Japanese, and some very good anime series have been made from them. Kanon, for example, was first a VN... I tried to play it, but I got a nasty virus from the copy I obtained. I did manage to play some of Clannad, but never came close to finishing. On the whole, in fact, the few VNs I've played, I've given up on long before I completed the storyline/s. Ironically, the two that I have finished weren't actually Japanese! Katawa Shoujo was made by a volunteer group from all over, and Sakura Spirit by an American company; both were written in English. Which brings us to the subject of this review.
Go! Go! Nippon! (GGN) was released in 2011 by Overdrive, a Japanese company. Unlike pretty much every VN ever, it was developed exclusively for the overseas audience... English speakers, primarily. Shortly after I was disassociated with my position at the Duck U Bookstore, I stumbled across a promo video for GGN on Steam. Amused, I put it in my Steam Wish List for later perusal... and then it went on sale last Thanksgiving. Five dollars later, it was in my library. I enjoyed it, but it was short... five hours got me through the entire thing. Eh, fair enough. I then put it aside and never touched it again. Until recently, that is. Y'see, about a month ago Overdrive released what they called DLC for the game. In reality, it was an almost complete rework of GGN. As it, too, was only a few bucks, I bought it. So what's it all about?
One of the great things about Kickstarter is how it allows Japanese developers and English language localization groups to determine the market demand for visual novels, especially the big ones - the really, really big ones, since Clannad is probably the largest single game (In terms of script.) ever written. A gamer who wants to play visual novels from Japan no longer has to either learn Japanese or hope that the English language publisher does not go out of business - the latter was what happened to Hirameki International, who released the excellent Ever 17 and was planning on bringing over the rest of the Infinity series before they went under. Hirameki also brought over, using a clunky DVD game interface, Hourglass of Summer, which while falling into dating sim/renai game, is an excellent game in its' own right.
Digital releases has also opened-up a number of visual novels that would have never seen the initial hardcopy release in the US. MangaGamer has been so successful with some of their releases that they later had hardcopy runs for those titles. And we have the JAST group of labels that has partnered with NitroPlus to release some of the best known VNs in the US - as well as some notorious ones from other developers (Cough...School Days...Cough.).
So life is getting to be pretty good for people who want to play in English, any VN that is not made by Type-Moon. I will admit to wishing that Sentimental Graffiti had a translation when it was released on PSN, but we can not always get what we want.
Posted by: cxt217 at November 25, 2015 12:32 AM (f5AGK)
Meaning your copy will arrive in a few months. If Steam is the DRM you're talking about, I can live with it. Hell, I've been using Steam for six or seven years now. As far as DRM goes, it's the friendliest such thing ever... but we're not having that conversation here.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 26, 2015 01:17 AM (zAcee)
Pond Central had around seven inches of climate change. The Olde Home Pond, about five miles north, wound up with about 12". My doctor's office is in a town about 15 miles north of them... they got 16".
From the stairway to the parking lot, it didn't look like that much. Came as quite the surprise when I went out to clean off the DuckMobile, lemme tell ya!
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 21, 2015 02:26 PM (zAcee)
Just a little something I picked up via Steam a few weeks ago... well, actually, it's the new extended version of something I picked up on Steam back when I booted from the bookstore. Since it was selling for less than the cost of a couple of Chicago Style hot dogs (hold the peppers and cucumber slices, please!) and fries, I figured what the hell.
In a lot of ways, that's still my reaction, though it's more like "what the hell?!?" now. We'll see when I'm done and get it written up.
Neptunia Rebirth:1 should be a great game on the PC, since it is what the first game might have been if the developer had not run out of budget during development. But it can be an idiotic decision to get it on the PC without getting an USB game controller to play the game, due to the awkward nature of the keyboard controls during fast-reaction/reflex game segments (Which are not the actual battles, strangely enough.).
I like very much that it is available for direct download, via GoG, the same way the first two Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky games are. I despise Steam and the necessity of using it for some games.
Posted by: cxt217 at November 13, 2015 07:02 PM (Xdq+D)
Because if I want to play a game, I do not care how light on system resources it is, I do not want a client running in the background to allow me to run the game.
I do not want the game publisher to force you to update a game whenever they want, if you just want to play a single-player campaign. It would be different for a multi-player match, but almost all the games I play are not designed that way, and I have do not play them that way either.
I do not want to install a game from physical disc and then sit through having the ENTIRE game install get downloaded from Steam before I can play it. That actually happened with both XCOM: Enemy Unknown and Enemy Within. That makes me feel like I am renting the game at full price.
It may be a mild form of DRM, but I do not want DRM that requires a client.
Lastly, there have been other digital download clients that did not force you to run the client whenever you started the game. There is no physical law of the universe that mandates that Steam has to follow Xbox Live as its' operation model.
Posted by: cxt217 at November 13, 2015 09:16 PM (Xdq+D)
I don't mind Steam, but if a game is available on GOG I'll certainly go there first. And the first Neptunia game just happens to be on GOG now.
(Also, not all games on Steam need the Steam client to run, but it's not something they exactly advertise...)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at November 17, 2015 07:17 PM (PiXy!)
The Four Faces Of Kei 'n' YuriIn the comments of the last post, friend Ben asks what anime series I'd like to see get remade due to age or quality. While I didn't type my answer immediately, the second I saw the question I knew how I'd be replying: The Dirty Pair. If not the actual first "girls with guns" series, Dirty Pair was certainly the first to be hugely popular. The adventures of Kei and Yuri have been around for nearly 40 years, and I've been a fan since sometime in the '90s. Light novels, one 26 episode TV series, three movies, two completely different OVA series, and even US comic books cover most of the source material of these great characters. Along the way, only two things have stayed more or less constant with the visual designs: Kei has red hair and Yuri dark hair, and the two are female. Obviously one of the most important aspects of a remake of such a legendary franchise would be the updated character design. With any luck, the production company involved would pay attention to what had come before. With that in mind, let's take a look at the evolution of the best known 3WA Trouble Consultants, shall we?
I still have a mess of the Adam Warren comics in boxes in a closet here. If I remember correctly (always a crapshoot...) my first real experience with Dirty Pair was a bootleg VHS unsubtitled copy of "Nolandia Affair."
Yes, I still have it.
I wouldn't say that any incarnation of The Dirty Pair is the best of its kind, but I will always have a warm place in my heart for these two walking disasters...
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 09, 2015 09:14 AM (rKFiU)
Thanks for posting this. I've been rewatching all the Dirty Pair that Hulu has as a part of my recent subscription there (going ad free and liking it, at least in short bursts. Talked about it a little here.
It wasn't my first anime, there's a close tie between Robotech, Sailor Moon and El Hazard. Robotech and Sailor Moon were on early mornings while I was in middle and high school, but I didn't recognize them as anime per se at the time. El Hazard is the first thing I watched on Laserdiscs with a script sheet somewhere the same year I graduated in '95.
Either way, I love the OVA intro and music still.
Posted by: Tom Tjarks at November 09, 2015 10:26 AM (XbFxF)
The Smith/Warren collaborations are up there with Project Eden as my favorite incarnations, but Warren's solo efforts don't do it for me; his character designs simply aren't attractive. Actually, in general, his art style has gone in a direction I have no interest in.
IIIRC, Sim Hell, while listed as a Warren solo, still had a lot of story input from Toren, which explains why it was better than what came after.
Posted by: J Greely at November 09, 2015 11:37 AM (ZlYZd)
4...his character designs simply aren't attractive.
Ergo, "It's not to everybody's taste." I agree with you, by the way; Toren Smith was almost like control rods in a nuclear plant... remove them, and Warren went crazygonuts with his designs. I think he's an excellent artist, but I have a hard time with what he did to Kei & Yuri in his solo stuff.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 09, 2015 06:29 PM (a12rG)
On his own, Warren seems to draw every woman like an inflatable sex doll, with lips set for Full Suck. Consider this panel from the unpublished Quick & Dirty story he started in 2004. With luck, it will remain unpublished.
Posted by: J Greely at November 09, 2015 09:22 PM (ZlYZd)
Over on his deviantart page, there is a sketch labeled "extra pouty".
Which would be his default level of lips a little while later.
Posted by: Wonderduck at November 09, 2015 09:36 PM (a12rG)
Some of his work on "Empowered" goes even further, to the point where Emp in profile doesn't look quite human, with a barely visible upturned nose and the lips and jaw thrust so far forward she looks like she's in mid-werewolf transformation.
Yeah, he's been going further and further astray. From obsessively busy backgrounds to this compulsion to hang signs on everything. But on the other hand, I just cant resist stuff that mucks around with the Superhero Genre.
Posted by: Mauser at November 10, 2015 06:26 AM (5Ktpu)
..."Project Eden," that's the VHS I have. Not "Nolandia Affair."
Has anyone seen my marbles?
I didn't get past "Sim Hell" in the Warren comics, and from everything I've heard, that was a wise decision on my part. Those lips shown in the above comments aren't so much "pouty" as "balloon-like." Nooooot appealing, Mister Warren.
Posted by: GreyDuck at November 10, 2015 09:06 PM (rKFiU)
I love this series. (except for Flash. that was garbage). I own practically everything English done for this series. The dvds/movies, comics, two novels, comics,and even a few figurines. I found years ago Masi Oka was said he might like to do a live action film for this, but it's not gonna happen.
Sadly, there is one huge episode I do not like; episode 10. I felt they left it open-ending. The girls were trapped in jail, the boy prince and this girl ran off and they faded to black. It was dumb.
Other than that, I'd watch the rest of the series.
Posted by: Rokusho at March 29, 2019 12:25 PM (MfGno)