Continuity in eroge

While playing Hoshizora no memoria, an odd feeling kept on gnawing at the back of my mind. It was only after I read some Da capo that I realized what it was: the lack of continuity from 1 scene to the next. There are 2 types of plot structures in eroge (at least in my mind): event collection and domino after effects. While it is at different levels, I think that both Da capo and Hoshizora no memoria have aspects of the first category.

When I say event collection, the first thing that springs to my mind is Toheart2 (although many, many others follow the same system, such as the aforementioned Da Capo and more recently, Tenshin Ranman). Basically, when the time comes, you choose an option, and a scene appears due to your choice involving the heroine of your choice. The various choices you make in the game won’t affect any single scene, but the number of scenes chosen and when they were chosen are tallied at the end, and you head into the ending of the girl with the most points. Of course, this is a generalization, and there are also instances of bad endings and whatnot. The important thing here, however, is the fact that the scenes themselves do not change. You could have ignored a heroine and still access a scene of hers later on, exactly the same as if you have been seeing her scenes all along.

Now, the reason that I mention all this is because of the 1 fatal flaw in the event collection structure: it is a collection of SEPARATE events, with sometimes very little common scenes in between.  This makes plot somewhat hard to place until you enter a specific heroine’s branch, and it also disrupts the reader’s sense of continuity. Because some events may or may not be triggered, the writers must write based on the assumption that none of the events were triggered for the average scene. It gets so bad in DCPC (especially with all the extra scenes they were trying to squeeze in) that you get the sense it’s actually 2 or 3 separate games that some idiot crammed together by accident, with no flow or rhythm between scenes aside from the most mundane and tasteless commentaries from the protagonist. What’s worse, everything is set in a completely rigid form. Wake up, meet someone in the morning, a short scene of how boring class is, the teacher dismisses the class, eat lunch with someone, repeat the class, except it’s in the afternoon, meet someone in the afternoon, eat dinner, do stuff, set alarm, sleep. By the 7th or 10th description of how the protagonist doesn’t care about class, I was bored enough to come and write out this entire thing. The original Da capo might be better, but the scenes are shuffled and changed, so I can’t exactly compare it directly.

The domino after effects, on the other hand, is the exact opposite. The basic scenes all happen, but they have changes within them due to choices beforehand, sometimes LONG beforehand. Because all scenes are adjusted, and the writers don’t attempt to separate the scenes, the flow is much better. Games with these systems include Fate/stay night, Little busters and ever17 although most games include such a factor. I generally prefer this structure, but Little busters took it to an extreme, with minute changes happening in scenes due to previous choices, including how many paths were cleared beforehand and in what order they were cleared. Much of the things that were changed had little to do with the story, and I can’t help but wonder of that was the writer’s way of padding the script for extra pay…

Of course, I’m not saying that all games must follow these structures, or even that all games with the event collection  is doomed in problems, but I do dislike how it was pulled off in DCPC. This lack of continuity between scenes was also why I dislike some parts in Hoshizora no memoria, although I haven’t read enough to see which type it is. Almost as if it was an event collection scenario (even though that part definitely isn’t), most of the scenes involving Chinami and Mare (especially mare) felt detached from the rest of the narrative. While that is understandable, as the the setting where the protagonist sees these characters are different from the rest, Mare’s scenes has something in it which feels like something out of Fate/HA. The characters has met before, their conversation states that they have met before, but the flow of the scene is distinctly separate from the previous meetings. Even though I can’t point out a plot hole, it still feels like on is THERE, if that makes any sense at all.

On an semi-unrelated note,  I got Kanae’s bad ending on my first try. Of course, the walkthrough I found only told me that I needed to clear Kotori’s route in an update that was weeks later than when I got it. I have no idea whether this particular requirement should be in the collection or domino category though.

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4 thoughts on “Continuity in eroge

  1. Wow, before I came to look at what post may be on here today I mentally thought of Da Capo and voila (actually more like, a split second after.)

    Indeed continuity is an integral thing, but moreso in a more plot/overall scope eroge. Don’t forget games like Ever17 and such were constructed with this format in mind, while Da Capo runs event encounters. I suppose it can throw one off with disjointed events over the long haul but the game wasn’t likely to run with walkthroughs to perfectly segment. That’s like choosing your fate beforehand knowing the end result (target character), instead of making your own choices, and then figuring out how the routes could/should have been.

    I was thinking of clannad in particular, where you have a route formula and a secondary route formula, but you have those extra portions like the baseball event or high variances on gym shed content and such.

    You merely mentioned the flow chart and didn’t even get around to like, character spawning points, introduction pointers, and the like, which could be discussed later. Don’t forget, several eroge can *backtrack* literally by “going to the last choice”. Thus, either the weird repetition or the scenes that don’t vary, don’t surprise me too much. Sometimes you don’t want so much variance that you realize you can’t 100% complete the game because of a few lines.

    Hard to say really. The variance is quite high. The examples you put are straightforward though. Bear in mind, certain event collection ones like the ones you stated also have *an exhorbitantly high number of characters that coexist at the same time* (via high school), implying the way the protagonist’s March – May (or whatever months) adventures can highly differ. Sure the same events thing I agree is a bit odd, but removing it to deplete this possibility is also an oddity I would gather.

    In my experience with DC PC I tried getting Kanae’s bad ending and failed, somehow, meaning I did not get the bad ending. (Or maybe I did, shoot, it’s been a while.)

    On a related (or not) note, how do you think the fandisc equation functions. It’s like, plastered event collection by then, but pre-segmented. (Er nevermind, fandisc is fandisc. And yet, D.C. P.C. is more like an expansion, which some fandiscs do … called afterstories … supposedly)

    • But I do choose my paths with the endings in mind. I’m not a player, not even in a loose sense. I observe a story, and any aspect of game play or what not is completely and utterly wasted on me.

      As for character spawn points… I’ve never really seen one in an eroge, not even in a RPG hybrid, so I have no idea what that is. As for introduction pointers, I don’t really know what you mean either. Unless it’s one of those things from older games where if you mess up on the first choice you’ll never see that chance ever again?

      When I say repetition in Da Capo, I didn’t mean I was seeing the same scene many times during various playthroughs. I have no problem with that. What was there was scenes that were so similar to scenes before it that I might as well be seeing the same scene again. And, unlike the first scenario, there’s no autoskip. I don’t like too much variance either.

      With some of games, the whole idea of expansion and after stories is a bit muddled. Even now, I have no idea if After And Another was a sequel, fandisc, or expansion to H2O (although I don’t mind that I don’t know). With Da capo…

      DC is the original, DC white season is an after story, DC osen is a side story (I think), DCPC is an expansion, DC summer vacation is… something, CD Christmas days is (also?) a side story? the DVD games are either straight ports or expansions, but probably straight ports, Circus land is… something else, DC poker is…another thing, DC after seasons is side stories? I have no idea about Kotori love exp.



      …yeah.

      • Oops the “character spawn points” and “introduction pointers” was just “when a said character shows up.” This just means hm, the lead girl shows up perhaps, 4th, because she came from another planet/world (like a moon princess or something), while in other cases since she’s the first girl (or narrates the beginning), then she appears first. Why this matters to me because it sets the pace and makes disjointed scenes later make sense or not.

        As you know there are several games where integration between characters make sense, while some the integration are so independent that it’s possible for certain characters to have just about no correlation with each other. When you mesh the two cases poorly, it’s like sludge.

        Well based on how you described it of course you’d use a walkthrough to assure story basis.

        Oh, you meant you don’t like how the protag comments about the morning about 6/21 no differently than 6/22. One case is that if it’s literally the same scene you can skip through it, hm now I see.

        Yeah let’s not venture in expansion/sidestory. It’s muddled to describe. I guess it’s … all 3! (Or just called extras.) Point is, with all those additions, it’s somewhat disjointed anyways. (or the base game didn’t cover all grounds).

  2. Pingback: Two mini reviews « Calamitous Intent

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