Walking simulators and yeah what's with visual novels?

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Cyanide Muffin, Jul 28, 2019.

  1. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

    I don't get it.

    I've played a few and while some are graphically more beautiful then others they all seem to feature somewhat depressing stories and bleak endings. Why are the creators of these so tuned into bleak anything? Are they depression simulators too?

    The ones I have played are

    What Became Of Edith Finch
    Dear Esther
    The Vanishing Of Ethan Carter
    Drizzlepath Glass

    All of these are fun but they seem to have all depressing dark and dank stories. Howcome we can't have one with a fun adventure or story with a happy ending? Would it kill people to write a happy story?

    And what's with visual novels, most of them look like anime with over sexualized characters with nice figures and large breasts, and lots of nudity or depression again? I don't get the appeal, or yes I do get the direct appeal but there's like tons of those things and the two that were gifted to me on steam I haven't even touched. Can someone explain the appeal to me?

    Sorry for sounding like a Debbie downer here.

    SPCTRE Badass Admiral

    Nov 26, 2008
    I'm sorry dude but I really don't feel like responding to that, I don't even know where to start with you sometimes.

    Short answer: You're wrong on several levels at once.
  3. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

    Well at least you replied..... Maybe I am wrong but that was my opinion and everyone's entitled to one of those even if others think it's wrong.
  4. Jax

    Jax Admiral Admiral

    Jun 21, 2003
    Waiting for Entropy
    I really enjoyed Firewatch though it helped having voice actors to engage me with the story because in my experience a lot of these games in the past were text based for any dialogue.
  5. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

    Firewatch is great.

    But I kept hoping he'd at least have met Delilah.
    Jax likes this.
  6. Reverend

    Reverend Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 31, 2002
    I think the often bleak tone of these games stems from the simple fact that they're set in empty worlds where the player character is all alone and wandering through empty rooms and empty landscapes. Remember that the genre started life as a fan made HL-2 mod, where it was basically just a map and a bunch of notes left lying around that tell a story. The lack of people was I assume an artefact of being fan made and the modder embracing the limitations that implies to create something unique at the time (i.e. not just another shooter.)

    I honestly haven't played many myself. Pretty much only 'Gone Home' and I found that short and sweet. Presented well and did a good job of giving the story peaks and valleys, and it ended on a hopeful note instead of the constant downward spiral of depression some seem to favour.

    As for visual novels: I'm pretty sure they're exactly what you described. Cheaply made anime style stories, often bordering on porn. I'm sure there's some gems in there like any genre but for the most part they seems rather insubstantial in both the storytelling and gameplay departments.
  7. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

    Taking your last point that's partly the reason I haven't touched the two VN's I got given much to the chagrin of the gift giver. They just seem like an attempt at a so so story but the main objective is to get the characters into bed and naked. The wallpapers in the game leave nothing to the imagination, which I found a huge turn off..

    I love Gone Home because I made up my own stories for it afterwards but loved the experience and the short game. I redid the game with the commentary on and that was fun seeing how and what decisions went into making it.

    Firewatch would probably be my favourite but was kind of sad he never got to meet Delilah at the end. Dear Esther is another depressing one but the artwork is gorgeous.
  8. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

    Apr 3, 2002
    Let's see, happy endings, happy endings.

    Going back to the classics, the Myst series is (mostly) good with that, though "Revelation" is pretty depressing in the end. Gone Home has been mentioned. Tacoma is also not-nihilistic (I feel like I'm robbing dramatic tension by listing them, though). Firewatch, also, but it's happier if you make the intuitive leap from Ned's example that hiding in the forest flirting on the radio isn't going to solve your problems, and enter the last day ready to go back to real life, and not sadly begging to stay in the woods. Life is Strange's endings are either fairly happy or crippling grim, but which is which depends on your perspective, and you get to choose the trade-off you can live with, so that's nice.
    Cyanide Muffin likes this.
  9. publiusr

    publiusr Vice Admiral Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    It's called Alabama

    I know--I live there.
    nightwind1 and Cyanide Muffin like this.
  10. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

    I didn't mind Life Is Strange. It was full of tropes but it was kind of fun and the art and music won me over.
  11. Owain Taggart

    Owain Taggart Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Nov 30, 2009
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    IMHO, the ultimate walking simulator is Firewatch. There's actually a good chunk of gameplay there beyond simply walking with a good story to boot. They both seem to be an extension to adventure games of the past, but with walking simulators having more in common with the loneliness of first-person adventures like Myst. But I do have to admit to not getting visual novels at all. They seem to be very limited in scope. With Adventure games, at least you had more interaction options and more gameplay to get you to the end of the story. These seem more like a straight line to get you into the story in comparison.

    I'm not sure if I'd really consider Ken Follett's Pillars of the Earth as a visual novel as it's at least more of a hybrid of an adventure game with a lot of interaction options and dialogue options, but more or less following a strong narrative. As an experience, I'd recommend it as it's actually really well done, and based on one of my favourite novels.

    Speaking of this, it leads me to one of my peeves with Telltale. Their games used to be adventure games and were more or less replayable. But then they switched their formula to more of a visual novel formula. I suppose because it was easier to crank them out, but it IMHO made them less appealing to me and had only bought one from this era as a result.
    Jax likes this.
  12. Cyanide Muffin

    Cyanide Muffin All hail Doctor 13 Premium Member

    I think that's what peed me off with Galaxy Girls. It's a VN and the blurb intrigued me a little. A friend gifted it to me on steam but when I got into it I felt disappointed because I knew where all the stories in the game were headed and I quit, and removed the game.