Cleaning up VNDB

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#1 by yorhel
2009-09-05 at 17:15
Pretty much ever since this site exists, there have been several debates (t46, t194, t245 and t235 are a few of them) about what a "visual novel" actually is, and what games should or shouldn't be included on VNDB.

Up until now we have been pretty lenient, and accepted a relatively broad range of games. The "official" guideline has been the following:
A visual novel should be added if the visual novel and/or adventure (VN/ADV) parts play an important part of the game (more than one-third), or the VN/ADV parts have great consequences on the outcome of the game.
If a game is an official fandisk or sidedisk, it should also be added for completeness.

However, this allowed many RPGs and other games that aren't really "visual novels" to be included in the database. To stay true to our initial goal and our name (this site is called a "visual novel database", after all), we have decided to revise the old guidelines. The new guideline is as follows:
A game needs to be using novel narrative for telling its story most of the time to be included in this database. Such as using narration to describe events, thoughts and characters' actions. Most RPG's that only include character dialogues, no matter how long their script is, do not qualify. Also this storytelling needs to be employing one of the known VN presentation methods such as ADV and NVL, text adventures and similar also do not qualify.

This "narration" is basically any text that is part of the story but is not directly spoken by any of the characters. This is an example of such narration, and this (a normal dialog) is not.

There are two major differences with the previous guideline: the most obvious being the measurement - the play time spent on reading the story does not really matter anymore, instead we now look at the style in which the story is told. Another difference is that non-visual novel games that are related to a visual novel in the database (e.g. a fighter game with characters from a visual novel) should not be included in the database anymore.

Because the old guideline was more inclusive than the new version, there are still games in the database that do not qualify anymore. If you find such a database entry, please tell us. (And please explain why it doesn't qualify).
#2 by echomateria
2009-09-05 at 18:41
To be included in this database, a game needs to be using novel narrative to tell most of its story. Such as using narration to describe events, character actions and thoughts.
Keeping this in mind, most RPG's will be disqualified. Because they only include character dialogues, even though some have considerably long scripts and in some cases very impressive stories.
Also this narration needs to be done while employing one of the known Visual Novel presentation methods such as ADV, NVL and their variations. Text adventures and similar do not count.

An edited version of the new guideline based on some feedback and further discussions about it. Mainly aiming to be clearer and easier to understand.
#3 by alden
2009-09-05 at 23:13
At a quick glance, I think these don't meet the new guideline. But I could be wrong, so you should recheck them.

v700 v720 v1330 v681 v1725 v2133 v1386 v742 v884 v885 v886 v1628 v722 v724 v797 v2508 v1511Last modified on 2009-09-06 at 02:45
#4 by fresh
2009-09-05 at 23:20
v437 and v1386
Melty Blood is a keeper, I think, because the earlier versions had a lot of NVL text, even if that was dropped in later incarnations.
#5 by tjm
2009-09-05 at 23:56
Agreed that Melty Blood should stay, for that reason. We could probably drop all the releases after r1268, though, as they don't have the story mode any more (and could reasonably be considered different games because of that).

Edit: I'd also say all the Gyakuten Saiban games should stay; even though they're dialogue-heavy, especially in the courtroom scenes, they do still have a solid narrative-style foundation.Last modified on 2009-09-06 at 00:12
#6 by serialies
2009-09-06 at 01:38
im not entirely sure about this, but i think Shuffle! (v28) is almost entirely in first person narrated ADV format (ie: "she's such a clutz").

which would mean it wouldn't qualify (as it's "spoken" by one of the characters, if only internally)...if I interpret the guidelines, along with your comment of
This "narration" is basically any text that is part of the story but is not directly spoken by any of the characters
correctly.

EDIT: if however, first person narrative is acceptable, than many of the aforementioned games in this thread are also acceptable.

ie for example, phoenix wright may think to himself "this piece of evidence exists in contradiction" or comment ie "it's a beautiful day"

to be honest, narrative not spoken by a "character" is simply third person narrative...which is only a small branch of literative presentation.Last modified on 2009-09-06 at 01:50
#7 by makenshi
2009-09-06 at 16:08
Alden brought up a interesting names in his list. Thus far, none of the rules really dealth with those original dating sim games where you literally similate dates or a bishoujo's life. link is a good example of such. Are these games going or staying? As I recall, the scenes are mostly dialogue based, but it is one of the earliest genre of galge in existence.
#8 by usagi
2009-09-08 at 12:42
I think it was too hasty decision to approve new guideline about narration. Because there are many pure datesim games like link or link without narration at all.. Well, unless pure datesim games are not considered as VN's and therefore should be deleted 0_0
#9 by echomateria
2009-09-08 at 13:05
We haven't removed anything based on the new guideline yet. But with everyone's support and showing us examples of games that fall out or feel borderline, I believe we are getting a clearer picture.

One thing that is decided so far is to remove games that are here only by relation, such as Fate/unlimited codes. With an update there'll be a new feature that will let us list those just like how we list related anime, and all of those who got in the same way will be gone. The plan is to display them like this:

Related anime [DB-NFO-ANN] Fate/Stay Night (TV Series, 2006)

Related game [HP-Wiki-?] Fate/unlimited codes (Fighting Game, 2008)

((planned links for them are the HP:homepage, Wiki:related English Wikipedia entry, ?:third one undecided at this point))

When they are listed this way, all their previous entries from the database will be removed, their pages, releases, etc.

About the dating and breeding sims that do not have any novel like narration, if nothing changes, they'll all be removed. While they are gal games/otome games, this is not the gal games/otome games database. Visual novels and simulations are two separate sub genres of gal games/otome games. Unless we raise the database level one higher to include them all, simulations will be gone.
#10 by makenshi
2009-09-08 at 15:46
Thanks for the clarification. I have often heard that dating sims are often synonymous with visual novels in the English speaking community, so I wasn't sure if that's the case here. My next question is, would dating sims (or any other game for that matter) with brief NVL scenes be considered visual novels under VNDB's new definition? Farland Symphony and Koisuru Oukoku (and Shuffle mentioned above?) are the only two I can think of atm, but I know they are out there.
#11 by usagi
2009-09-09 at 00:19
While they are gal games/otome games, this is not the gal games/otome games database. Visual novels and simulations are two separate sub genres of gal games/otome games.
Yes, I know it. But those two genres are too close, share many common things and often directed to the same people, i.e. people who like VN's will take interest in datesims as well -- for such adamant division.

Unless we raise the database level one higher to include them all, simulations will be gone.

To raise -- it will be much better, because -- do you know any decent english database of datesim games? ) I don't know too ;P Do not waste already earned achievements like unique collection of info about such rare genre, especially since there isn't any considerable abundance of these games -- to put it mildly ) Most of them of ancient age and generally one can say -- that genre practically dead. Therefore there is no sense in abandoning it because no new titles will be added most of the time -- i.e. it is not like rpg's.

About new guideline -- if you do not want completely change it then simply just add exception like datesims -- most of the people know what these game are.Last modified on 2009-09-09 at 00:23
#12 by serialies
2009-09-09 at 02:02
That depends usagi...would you conside Rune factory, Harvest moon, or perhaps even Soul nomads and the world eaters to be dating sims?
#13 by eyeless
2009-09-09 at 03:12
I am agree with usagi. Those genres are too close to forcefully separate them.
And I dont see why should people keep their list of vns separately of datesim list?
#14 by usagi
2009-09-09 at 11:40
would you conside Rune factory, Harvest moon, or perhaps even Soul nomads and the world eaters to be dating sims?

No, these are not datesims. Farm simulation, farm simulation, TJRPG.
#15 by echomateria
2009-09-09 at 13:22
The point is not to include only dating sims but breeding sims as well.

One suggestion (from the irc channel) was to include those games if they were pure sims and not games with sim elements. Like Harvest moon having dating sim elements not being qualified. While Persona 3&4 being dating sims with some RPG elements being qualified.

So the question is if we should include sims (the galge/otomege ones) in the database or not.

Thus making the site more of a galge and otomege database instead of a visual novels database, go go GODB :P
#16 by usagi
2009-09-09 at 17:24
The point is not to include only dating sims but breeding sims as well.
Why breeding sims? AFAIK, those do not related to gal games.

One suggestion (from the irc channel) was to include those games if they were pure sims and not games with sim elements. Like Harvest moon having dating sim elements not being qualified.

I got it now. Do you mean IF there are decent datesim elements (I mean the game more datesim with breeding elements than breeding game with datesim elements) -- it qualifies, otherwise -- not? If so, I agree -- it is thought-out opinion.

While Persona 3&4 being dating sims with some RPG elements being qualified.

))
For me Personas -- more RPG's with datesim elements (pretty decent though) ;P There aren't any endings concerned with any girl and interaction with girls there more like a bonus, it isn't neccesary and not main goal of the game. And why rpg's more preferable than breeding games? Both genres aren't connected to VN's identically.
Generally, I think, it is difficult question -- about personas. They are too borderline games. I suggest to conduct some public polling -- to determine personas destiny and destiny of all similar games. I don't know -- maybe deleting them will be better. Because they already pretty famous among rpg lovers and their high position in popularity rating prevent people to notice more purer VN's )

Thus making the site more of a galge and otomege database instead of a visual novels database, go go GODB :P

For me, gal games -- first of all sex simulations. I mean those like Illusion games or flash games, rape simulators etc. Those surely should not be qualified . But games with decent amount of social interactions, dialogues with girls -- what so bad about them? They much more like VN's. And without sex simulations vndb are not gal games db and never will be. And it is more like nice bonus to vndb (already existing!) than complete overhaul.Last modified on 2009-09-09 at 17:26
#17 by echomateria
2009-09-10 at 19:15
The final version of the guideline, shaped after much argument:

To be included in this database, a game needs to use the novel narrative consistently for telling its story. Examples include describing visuals, events, character actions or thoughts. This storytelling needs to be employing one of the known Visual Novel presentation methods such as ADV, NVL and their variations.

A game that 'feels' like a VN even though it has another function than strickly narrating a story (such as, highly interactive simulation) may qualify if it's either told entirely in ADV/NVL style or has its other gameplay elements clearly subordinated to the textual elements (presented in ADV/NVL style) (ie. action scenes in 3D games cannot be argued to be subordinated to their textual elements as the visuals are clearly the 'point' of the game; The completely optional low-graphic 'dungeons' in Princess Maker games would be).
#18 by echomateria
2009-09-10 at 19:33
Based on this guideline lets talk about what goes and what stays. List of games that are mentioned, grouped by the comments so far:

__Will stay in the the database__
[v508] Aozora Magiccer!!
[v700] Ar Tonelico ~Sekai no Owari de Utai Tsuzukeru Shoujo~
[v2133] Ar Tonelico II ~Sekai ni Hibiku Shoujo Tachi no Metafalica~
[v733] Battle Moon Wars Shirogane
[v107] Gadget Trial
[v158] Kaminari no Senshi Raidi -Haja no Raikou-
[v603] Kaminari no Senshi Raidi 2 ~Jain no Shinden~
[v165] Melty Blood
[v724] Princess Maker
[v722] Princess Maker 2
[v884] Sailor Moon Dating Simulator: Sailor Saturn
[v885] Sailor Moon Dating Simulator: Moon Maid
[v886] Sailor Moon Dating Simulator 3
[v127] Youjuu Senki A.D. 2048

__Will be removed from the database__
[v742] Arcana Heart
[v896] Choushittou Caduceus
[v1871] Caduceus - New Blood
[v2508] Fire Emblem ~Soen no Kiseki~
[v1511] King of Fighters Kyo
[v797] Subarashiki Kono Sekai
[v1725] Yakusoku No Chi Riviera
[v720] Valkyrie Profile

__Will be removed from the database but referred in the related game__
[v1386] Eternal Fighter Zero
[v774] Fate/unlimited codes
[v81] Fate/tiger colosseum

__Still undecided__
[v2503] Ao no 6-gou: Antarctica
[v1387] Azathoth-D -Youto Saisoku Densetsu-
[v1554] Cross Hermit
[v723] Dragon Knight 3 (aka Knights of Xentar)
[v437] Nitro+ Royale -Heroines Duel-
[v681] Persona 3
[v1330] Persona 4
[v1628] Princess Debut
[v1555] Wind Fantasy 5: Battle of the Crimson War

State of this list is by no means final, and it doesn't mean that it is too late to argue that a game should not be listed under any one of these categories here. If you don't agree please say why before its too late.Last modified on 2009-09-12 at 11:35
#19 by phlebas
2009-09-11 at 09:31
v700 and v2133 already qualify based on first article imo, they have long sections no different from your standard VN with ADV dialogue against drawn backgrounds and narration.
v681 and v1330 would qualify based on second article as probably 90% of the game is dialogue in ADV format, though not narrated.
I admit I only have a vague recollection of v722 but I think it would qualify based on second article, as the game is almost entirely text and dialogues are in ADV style (the 'RPG' dungeon part is really tiny, only an option).
#20 by eyeless
2009-09-11 at 09:44
I think v508 shouldn't be in this list, since it is clearly a visual novel, though with some arcade elements.
#21 by echomateria
2009-09-11 at 10:44
Lets take a look at the fighting games on that list.

v165 Melty Blood has a long ADV/NVL storyline, same for v1511 King of Fighters Kyo (since being a VN is the whole point of Kyo, youtube).

But v1386 Eternal Fighter Zero and v774 Fate/unlimited codes on the other hand has only a few scenes which are standard for every fighter these days.

v742 Arcana Heart and v437 Nitro+ Royale -Heroines Duel- are the last two fighters in there and I don't have enough knowledge on them at this moment.
#22 by makenshi
2009-09-11 at 11:27
Eternal Fighter Zero should be removed. It's produced by the same company that made Touhou Scarlet Weather Rhapsody, and neither of them really have anything that can be called a storyline. Princess Maker games should stay since they are mostly dialog driven (aka you spend more time reading than anything else).
I would say remove Valkyrie Profile. There is a storyline, but not anymore than your typical Final Fantasy RPG affair. Only narration comes in form of dialogues and/or facts. Plus, VP2 isn't here (before you say anything this time, narration style is almost identical).
#23 by usagi
2009-09-11 at 12:42
Arcana Heart link -- typical 2D fighter, should be removed
Fire Emblem link -- typical TJRPG, should be removed
link and link -- dungeoun crawlers with minimum text
link and link I think -- heavy gameplay games too)Last modified on 2009-09-11 at 12:43
#24 by winki-tyan
2009-09-11 at 12:58
(copypasted from IRC)

v158 is your typical eroge + tb-strategy + tentacles. v127 is your typical eroge + dungeon crawler. Their stories are classical hentai, short and straight, but done _really_ well. AND, those are _hard_ to play without knowing what you are doing. You'll spend pretty much overall time to complete them without "walkthrough".

Actually, it starts to getting paranoid about what to include and not. The so-called rule "no RPG/sim without epic story" makes me sick. This is the path to dark side and destruction of database... IT'S A TRAP!

You want eroge-only database, but it's nearly impossible, since many games are so vague about what they are...

So, instead of making fuss "hey, let's delete those and those, and even those!", just allow people to add things they want to add. Personally, i couldn't possibly knew about Melty Blood so well if it would not be included into this database. seriously.

Unfortunately, i'm not the owner of this db, and all i can do about this is telling my opinion in public... Even if it's matters nothing...

P.S. The more entries we'll have, the better... ^^Last modified on 2009-09-11 at 13:04
#25 by echomateria
2009-09-11 at 13:16
There is no need to be alarmed, as I notice some of our users do. It is not like we started removing any titles blindly based on a single person's opinions. The whole purpose of this thread's still not being locked is because we want to get more opinions before acting.

My opinion about v158 Kaminari no Senshi Raidi -Haja no Raikou-, v603 Kaminari no Senshi Raidi 2 ~Jain no Shinden~ and v127 Youjuu Senki A.D. 2048 is that they have less than %10 of their playtime spent on telling their story (beside the hentai scenes) and that doesn't qualify them to be here.

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