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Anime Entertainment Games

Anime 'Visual Novel' Game DVDs Debut In West 68

Posted by simoniker
from the teatime-of-the-soul dept.
Thanks to Insert Credit for pointing to a Namako Team story revealing new Japanese 'visual novel' DVDs coming to the West via publisher Hirameki. Insert Credit explains: "Hirameki has been slowly releasing English-language ports of Japanese dating sims in the US. They play basically the same on a PC, DVD player, PS2 or Xbox [using Dragon's Lair style branching narrative], which is the appeal of the format." The new "Summer 2004"-due DVD releases include the wonderfully named Tea Society Of A Witch, as well as Hourglass Summer, apparently "A summer vacation that crosses the boundaries of space and time."
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Anime 'Visual Novel' Game DVDs Debut In West

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  • I'd seen the dating-sim discs at my local store a couple months ago and was astonished-- I never thought any publisher would have the guts to try bringing these over. Of course, now we just need someone to bring over the good ones.

    On the other hand, "Hourglass of Summer" seems to be a really interesting premise. I just wonder how these DVD games handle mid-session interruptions.
    • A few problems...
      The "good ones" usually:
      1. Very popular in Japan and so licensing costs are very high, meaning no US company will risk it.
      2. Include some objectional material such as underage sex.
      3. Many of the "good ones" are those that actually have interesting stories and it's known that in most cases, western customers prefer a straight to the point experience and don't care to get involved with the story.
      4. The games are usually pricy, as other games are.

      Anyways, I hope it'll work out for them and I
      • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

        by foidulus (743482) *
        3. Many of the "good ones" are those that actually have interesting stories and it's known that in most cases, western customers prefer a straight to the point experience and don't care to get involved with the story.
        Yeah, because Shakespeare was Japanese....please
        I love Japan, spent 6 months over there doing R&D and cannot wait to go back, but statements like this just aggrivate me. Have you ever been to Japan? Have you seen the massive amounts of really bizzare dating-sim esque porn?
        Seems to me
        • While you may hate the "Anime is the highest form of art attainable" attitude, there are many who can't stand people such as yourself, who seem to have the singular purpose of bringing up the fact that there is just as much inane BS on Japanese TV as there is on American TV. Here's a news flash, asshole: Those of us who are aware of the fact that there is a lot more out there as far as Anime is concerned aside from what's on CN are aware of this fact.

          Getting back to the original point here, the parent p

          • Maybe if you, oh I dunno, read the post instead of narrowing in on one sentence you would realize that the parent was trying to say that Westerners do not appreciate a good story. I was pointing out that there is a lot of great work in western society too, and that the whole "Westerners don't appreciate a good story" is a bunch of bs. Just as there are a lot of great stories in Japan, but there is also a lot of bs too. It's the same across all socities.
            Please actually respond to the idea of the post ins
            • When I was young, my parents taught me a great many things. One of the ones that I've always taken to heart goes a little bit like this:

              Those who live in a glass house should not throw stones.

              On a similar note, this one always comes to mind as well:

              The pot should not call the kettle black.

              Your parents taught you those too, right?

              • My parents taught me not to call people assholes because they have an idea that disagrees with yours. Maybe you should go look up basic manners before you start lecturing me.
                My parents also told me that when you assume something, you make an ass out of you and me(just like you assumed that the only anime I watched was on cartoon network)
                My parents also instilled pride in who I am and where I come from, and while I should be respectful of other cultures, I should not deny who I am and pretend to be someon
                • My parents taught me all that as well, and it seems to me that while you can repeat their lessons back, you took away no understanding of them. You tore down the parent poster for his opinion, and you have proceded to tear me down for mine. As for my 'adding in random Japanese terms when speaking English', onii-san is not at all random when I used it in that context; There simply isn't an English term equivalent of the meaning. Find someone who translates for a living; Ask them what they do in a transla
                  • We have no national distinction whatsoever, no national identity that is truly separate from any other.

                    You're kidding, right?

                    Just because our nation is an amalgamation of various cultures doesn't mean that we don't have a national identity. We celebrated that national identity a few days ago, remember?

                    Besides, the whole cultural denial that many anime fans put up is defined not only by love for Japan, but hate for America. It's not just "honoring the ideals of other nations," but hating (and feeling s
                    • No, a few days ago we celebrated our birth as a nation, not our national identity. Get your facts straight before you try that angle. This nation is a melting pot of other cultures, not even three centuries old. Compared to just about any other nation on earth, we're still a child of a nation.

                      Insofar as me "hating america", that's just you talking out of you fucking ass. 2 years ago, I made a decision to serve this nation, and I would gladly lay my life down in it's defense. Can you say that too?

                    • As a "Melting Pot", our national identity is "perfection". It's sort of like those crazy robots on Star Trek that would take over other species and keep the good parts of each one.
                  • I am an American. My country is a melting pot of every nation that has ever had it's people immigrate here. We have no national distinction whatsoever, no national identity that is truly separate from any other.

                    I am also an American. And you are clearly insane if you believe what you just wrote.
                    • As I told the other moron who replied, I do believe it, whole heartedly. So tell me, do you have anything better to say than the load of bullshit he shoveled my way?
                    • Dunno how you define "better". But I have made other comments in the thread, so look around for them.

                      And, on reflection, your quote ("We have no national distinction whatsoever, no national identity that is truly separate from any other.") may be true, within America. But it's true within any country. National identity may be decided by the average of the country, or by the view seen from the outside. Seen from outside America, America has a very very strong national identity. The same is probably tr
              • That was possibly the most original and cunning post EVER.
            • Foidulus:

              I agree with what you're saying (I'm an American, been living in Japan almost a decade, and while there are a few good Japanese anime and Japanese movies out there, I don't fool myself into thinking that Japanese value story any more or less than Americans).

              Besides which, I think people are losing track of shifting objects of discussion. The average Japanese dating sim player is probably more interested in the story than the average American porn watcher. But we're comparing apples and orange
          • While you may hate the "Anime is the highest form of art attainable" attitude, there are many who can't stand people such as yourself, who seem to have the singular purpose of bringing up the fact that there is just as much inane BS on Japanese TV as there is on American TV. Here's a news flash, asshole: Those of us who are aware of the fact that there is a lot more out there as far as Anime is concerned aside from what's on CN are aware of this fact.

            You sure about that? From my experience, it's usually
            • I think no less of western culture now than I did 15 years ago, when I was first introduced to Anime. While I do think that a good deal of what's on TV nowadays is crap, That doesn't preclude me from enjoying things of TV that I do like. I watched The Simpsons, when it was still new and funny, back before everything started to seem uninspired and rehashed. I've watched The Family Guy, and enjoyed the hell out of it up to the point when it was canned, and rejoiced at it being brought back by Cartoon Netwo
              • I'm not saying that anime is the "be all, end all", as you both have put it. What I'm saying is that maybe you shouldn't be a complete fucking asshole and force someone to agree with your point of view.

                Please feel free to point out where either of us was trying to force anyone to agree with our point of view.

                As for you point to how it's inferior to literature and cinema, how can you possibly back that up?

                Easily.

                1. Age of the medium. Animation simply hasn't been around as long as literature or cinem
                • Hate to interject, here (okay, no I don't, but I was being polite ;-)

                  Please feel free to point out where either of us was trying to force anyone to agree with our point of view.

                  Okay, I'll bite. How about:

                  Which is why "assholes" like us have to point out that anime isn't the end-all and be-all of storytelling. In fact, anime is currently inferior to literature and cinema for a number of reasons.

                  Generally the reason why people like you can't stand people like him is that people like you can't stand the

                  • Well, I guess you're not "forcing" us to agree with you, but you are making statements that basically say that "What I say is fact, you're wrong, end of story."

                    I said what I did because he said that he agreed with the fact that Japanese TV is no better than American TV, but then called him an asshole because of it. Why would you call someone an asshole for simply saying something that you agree with? The only reason I can come up with is that even though you agree with it, you can't bring yourself to ac
                    • The only reason I can come up with is that even though you agree with it, you can't bring yourself to accept it. Thus I said that he couldn't stand the truth.

                      My apologies, I misunderstood your meaning.

                      That's why I was careful not to use the word "inherently." In fact, I used the word "currently."

                      Hmmm... interesting segue there. My point was that writing is writing despite the final medium. Your point seemed to be that because Anime was somehow new that it would be inferior to other forms of entertainme

                    • BTW, even if everyone somehow suddenly decided to think that books were just for kids, that wouldn't make Homer less of an author. Read what I said again.

                      The problem with the ideas presented here RE books and kids and Homer is that Homer himself is part of the reason books aren't viewed as being "kiddie". Maybe if more of the first animation had been serious epic tales or something similar we would today have a different perception of it. The basic agument behind this is FLAWED.
                    • Syndicated show VS 13 to 26 episode story that ends. It's hard to like a TV show that just keeps going and going and going... well, at least it is for me, anyway. So, yes, I do believe that the average story found in Japanese anime is far better than the average story found in American TV.

                      As much as it kinda sorta pains me to do so, I agree. Anime does not generally have better stories than movies/books, but it does have better than TV, precisely because it (generally) has a fricking ending!

                      Still, we'
                    • American TV is filled with shallow syndicated shows that wrap up a story every 30 minutes to an hour. Japanese TV still has the "Mini Series" both in Anime and regular TV.

                      Of course, it helps to ignore that sort of mentality run amok, as with the interminably-long Dragon Ball Z. People who laud the superiority of serialized shows over episodic shows always seem to forget that that particular work (among others) exists. Then you have Cowboy Bebop, which manages to have a better story than most anime despi
                    • Of course, it helps to ignore that sort of mentality run amok, as with the interminably-long Dragon Ball Z. People who laud the superiority of serialized shows over episodic shows always seem to forget that that particular work (among others) exists.

                      Never said they didn't exist... I just said that American TV was *filled* with them almost to the exclusion of all else. To be honest, I'm not really all that fond of the DragonBall (/Z/GT) series on TV. In fact, shows like Naruto, InuYahsa and a few others

                    • The difference is as I stated above. Syndicated show VS 13 to 26 episode story that ends. It's hard to like a TV show that just keeps going and going and going... well, at least it is for me, anyway. So, yes, I do believe that the average story found in Japanese anime is far better than the average story found in American TV.

                      Yeah it's great when they take 20 episodes to do a plot that any other show could have done in 1 or 2 episodes. Hours of filler certainly is EXCITING!
                    • I'll also throw in one more little tidbit for you. The stuff that gets dubbed is often written by 2-bit writers at the sub companies. They take translations that are usually pretty rough around the edges, then write their own dialog to kind of match. Unfortunately, about half the time it turns out pretty piss poor.

                      OH GOD THEY DIDN'T PHRASE THE SENTENCE EXACTLY AS IT WAS ORIGINALLY!!! ALSO THEY CIT OUT ALL SORTS OF CULTUREAL REFERENCES THAT WOULD MAKE NO SENSE TO ANYONE OUTSIDE OF JAPAN! THEY SHOULD ALL
                    • Pfft... Give me a break. I'm not talking about the piddly crap... I can live with that. I'm talking about stuff that changes the entire meaning of whole scenes. I'm talking about hand-holding crap like Faye screaming Ed's a girl. What's the point of that? The show was a lot more fun when you weren't sure. How seriously could you take the Harry Potter movie if they changed the word "wand" to "wood," eh? Means close to the same thing, right?

                    • Sort of like how they changed Philosopher's Stone to Sorcerer's Stone and no one really gave a flying fuck except the excessively anal.

                      Also a better comparison would if they called them "staffs" or some shit instead of "wands".
                    • If that's all they did, I wouldn't really care. Actually, the Slayer's translations haven't been half bad. Ditto for Mononoke Hime and quite a few others. The problem comes in when they change much, much more than that. Silent Mobious Movie changed the thing that unlocked Katsumi's power from a spell in the form of a song to "The power of my Mother's Love!" Yay! Sure, that's not going to make much of a difference. The story was struggling enough as it was, it didn't need that crap added into the mix
                  • Japanese Animation isn't viewed by Japanese in quite the same way as by Americans.

                    You're right. Japan KNOWS the shit is for kids while America is full of people trying to pretend it's not.
                • 1. Age of the medium. Animation simply hasn't been around as long as literature or cinema. This is a pretty big disadvantage, as anime has had less time to mature. Not even cinema has been around nearly long enough to produce people like Homer or Shakespeare.

                  Since when does 'Age of the medium' have anything to do with anything? Just because The Iliad or the works of Shakespeare have existed for 500 years or more doesn't make them automatically superior. Also, just because that form of media has existed

              • 100 episodes of "plot devolopment" where nothing changes and we don't learn anything signifigant about the characters that then ends unclimactically with some BS gibberish desguised as a "message" is what makes it "inferior to literature and cinima".
            • While there certainly is some truth to what you said, I don't think you're entirely right.

              I, personally, like a show with a decent amount of story in it. Movies are okay, but it's hard to fit a good story in a short, two hour flick. Sometimes, I like to watch something a bit longer.

              American TV doesn't really have this anymore. We used to have the "mini-series," but I haven't seen that in a long time. These days it's all about syndication. This means every "story" gets wrapped up in half to 1 hour i

          • Boy you sure are fucking retarded. I like the part where you assume the only reason he is bashing anime is because the only shows he's seen were on Cartoon Network. CLEARLY HE IS SIMPLY NOT GETTING THE CORRECT EXPERIENCE HERE!!!1!!
        • Is that some sort of counter point to what I said?

          What is I said is "in most cases". Have I ever said that Japanese people aren't like that aswell?
          Take a look on the world, almost everyone is shallow. The minority, which isn't too small and which me and you and most slashdot readers are a part of, do know what's good art, be it Japanese, American or I_don't_care_where art.
          I for example like Anime cuz it's different, in many ways than western TV, making it interesting. Ofcourse I know that a lot of anime re
        • I'm not sure that he denied that Western audiences are at least as intellectual as Japanese ones. I think he may have been trying to imply that it wouldn't be worth the cost and time of translation, exporting, and so forth to give us those games when the market for them (even the potential market, really) is so small. Putting those games out in a Japanese market is less of a risk for several reasons.

          Of course, I take issue with the idea that any dating sim has an "interesting story," but that's another d
          • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward
            Of course, I take issue with the idea that any dating sim has an "interesting story," but that's another debate.

            Even if you limited the discussion to dating sims (which technically describes a much smaller set of games into which none of the Hirameki titles falls), I'm not sure how you can write off an entire genre as never going to have an interesting story.

            But the Hirameki games are what the Japanese call adventures and visual novels (the latter term is the one Western fans prefer, since "adventure gam
            • I based that comment on the fact that people often hold up Kana Little Sister as an example of an "interesting story," which suggests that most of these games are at least as boring. If there are much better examples to give, though, great.

              Rob
      • "2. Include some objectional material such as underage sex."

        Does anyone else here find it particularly funny that despite the amount of "objectionable material" in their media, the actual culture is *significantly* more traditional.

        I mean I get the impression that if any of these things actually happened (for example: *gasp* an unwed couple living together), those involved would be run out of town faster than a Southern Babtist preacher can say "Praise the Lord".

        Admittedly, my analysis of Japanese cultur
        • Re:Interesting (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bugbread (599172)
          I mean I get the impression that if any of these things actually happened (for example: *gasp* an unwed couple living together), those involved would be run out of town faster than a Southern Babtist preacher can say "Praise the Lord".

          Admittedly, my analysis of Japanese culture *may be* rather flawed (seeing as how I've never actually *been* to Japan), and my *entire* analysis is based on the anime I have watched.


          Sorry, but you're right, your analysis seems pretty darn flawed. Nothing at all wrong wit
  • I wonder... (Score:4, Funny)

    by KDR_11k (778916) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @07:43AM (#9640960)
    Is there any dating sim in which you can be eaten by a grue? Or, *shudder* date a grue?
  • The day games become art nobody will tell us it has happened, we will just know it.
    • I don't think datesims about trying to turn games into art, because they're not really games. Yes, I know, you play them on consoles and PCs, and they're interactive so they're technically games, but....

      The audience datesims cater to isn't really one that's focused on video games, but one that's focused on anime and manga. One of the yardsticks for measuring success in this genre is if the game gets turned into some kind of (porn-free, even if the game wasn't) anime production like Comic Party, To Heart,

  • by pocopoco (624442) on Thursday July 08, 2004 @08:43AM (#9641479)

    Sure this company brings them across, but they kill the erotic content if present when they do (I've confirmed this was done to Tea Society, others no doubt as well). The sex scenes and being able to go all the way with exotic/interesting/friendly cuties is pretty much the driving force of this genre. For an example, here's the 18+ only gallery page [frontwing.jp] for the japanese version of the Tea Society game mentioned in the article (they are young for my taste here, but obviously different games for different folks ^^). Other companies/more modern games will also have voice samples you can check out as well.

    So any game Hirameki brings across is going to get any of the sex edited out and the only option for fans who want to play in English is to put up with the neutered version. Yes there are games without this part that do well in Japan, and games that have clean versions that are successful, but there's no denying the core of the industry. Without the sex you're back to the Myst type games and the flood of "interactive multimedia CD-ROMs" that followed them that people once thought were going to be such a big hit, but flopped terribly.

    Anyway, for people who want the full experience, better to stick with the more faithfully brought across games like those available at g-collections [g-collections.com]. Some are all sex and little story (like Do You Like Horny Bunnies, which does the sex very well and animated, btw ^^), but others are quite funny and entertaining like Heart de Roomate and others have touching stories like Kana ~Little Sister~. And none of those three has had the erotic scenes edited out so you can go all the way and experience the full game if you so desire.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Look, computers and the internet exist in kind of a moral vaccuum--human beings are seperated from the shame dispensing institutions that normally holds us to aesthetic, moral, or ethical standards by the omnipresent, warm, accepting glow of our CRTs replacing the harsh, judgmental glare of our peers.

      This can be a beautiful thing--allowing people to explore things about themselves that our near theocratic society would never tolerate.

      But, although normally I'm not such a prude about internet eroticism,

      • Watching interactive animated DVDs for erotic reasons is totally weird!!!

        Maybe a little bit weirder than watching non-interactive live-action DVDs for erotic reasons (and maybe not that weird, depending on what kind of sexual acts you're watching). Yet how many people do that? Society hasn't collapsed yet.

        The only thing I'd find weird is if people watched animated porn exclusively. Most people don't. I know I don't.

        Rob
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I just finished Kana - Little Sister, that game was so depressing I couldn't even get off during the sex scenes. I warn against people playing this game for the sex, but if you want to have a good cry then this is for you.
      • I warn against people playing that game for the sex because of how boring it is. It'll take you forever to get to the few sex scenes in the game, and the story would only interest an anime fan anyway.

        If you want an accurate review of it, read this SA article [somethingawful.com] on Private Nurse, which is basically the same game with the roles reversed. Oh, and this one actually has more sex scenes.

        Rob
    • Sure this company brings them across, but they kill the erotic content if present when they do (I've confirmed this was done to Tea Society, others no doubt as well).

      I dunno who made Eve Burst Error (haven't gotten around to playing it), but that game had the sexual content removed. I hear it was allowed back in in the sequel.

      Rob
  • "A summer vacation that crosses the boundaries of space and time."

    The premise tag is sure to make an anime/manga fan's mind reel with possibilities, and any non-fan think to himself, "How contrived." From TokyoPop's Adult Swim manga commercials with the breathless announcer:

    "The school of the afterlife is about to get its first living exchange student!"

    "In DNAngel," I swear that's the title, "a phantom (pause) will steal your heart! But can you love someone you can't see?"

    "Princess Ai. An angel doom
  • Has anyone found a dvd authoring program that let's you make Dragon Lair style DVDs? Other than 10k$+ solutions like Scenarist?
    • DVD Studio Pro [apple.com] will, it has a bunch of examples and tutorials with it for working with timelines and stuff. You can set the action buttons to whatever you want on a computer or remote controller.
      • Hmm... I've used DVDSP2 and could see doing taht via menus, but not seamless branching in the actual movie. you can have scripts that run at chapter breaks (which cause idle time) but no way to do autoaction (not needint to press enter) buttons. But you say "will" so is this in dvdsp3 or mentioned in upcoming 3.5 or something?

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