Category: Novel Games

  • Sakura no Uta – a post mortem

    If I had any regrets regarding this 2 yearlong reading of Sakura no Uta, it would be that I never did get around to finding something to say about Pica Pica. The route is unique because it focuses on what I consider the true action taking place throughout the story, the sacrifice of those that…

  • Art, Joy, and the Eternal Perspective

    This essay is part of an ongoing series on Sakura no Uta. It contains spoilers for the content through The Happy Prince and Other Tales. The transition from What is Mind to the Happy Prince can be outlined in the questions asked by Paul Gaugin and Nagayama Kana, Where do we come from? What are We?…

  • Mind, Body, and the Transcendental Dialectic

    This essay is part of an ongoing series on Sakura no Uta. It contains spoilers for the content through What is Mind?  The transition visual of Mizuna in the cage evokes the ancient Greek concept of “soma sema,” that the body is the prison of the soul. This is a concept closely related to Plato’s…

  • Fool the World

    This essay is part of an ongoing series on Sakura no Uta. It contains spoilers for the content through A Nice Derangement of Epitaphs.  “Red” is the name of a color. When uttered in isolation, there is no additional meaning to be drawn out of the word. But when Kenichiro shouts “Red!” Naoya knows that…

  • Sayonara wo Oshiete ~Comment te Dire Adieu~

    I couldn’t write a review after I read Sayonara wo Oshiete. I didn’t have anything to say. But there might come a time when I do want to say something, so I dragged out my notes and memories to try and piece together the fragments of ideas that the game impetuously scatters into the ether.…

  • Rhapsody in Black

    This essay is part of an ongoing series on Sakura no Uta. It contains spoilers for the content through Zypressen.  To play on the words of Nakahara Chuuya, Zypressen is a fairy tale of two. Black and white, eternal and fleeting, male and female. Up until this point in the game, nowhere has the creator’s…

  • Tsukihime and a review of the Japanese language

    Like many Westerners with this hobby, Tsukihime was my first real experience with novel games. Key and Leaf were more recognizable to a teenager growing up in the 2000’s. Traces of their existence meandered through the internet to the English speaking world, and Kyoto Animation’s seminal anime series imprinted into the minds of many a…

  • Night on the Galactic Railroad

    If you engage in any sort of Japanese media commonly exported to the West, there’s a good chance that you’ve been exposed in some way to the imagery in Miyazawa Kenji’s Night on the Galactic Railroad. Whether through the book, the movie, or the countless scenes inspired by them, the journey of Giovanni and Campanella…

  • Finding a Better Estimate for Visual Novel Ratings

    Over the past month, I’ve been working on a side project that investigated the Bayesian rating system of popular website vndb.net. It is somewhat well known that the Bayesian rating tends to underrate most games. Quite severely. The goal was to see if popular machine learning algorithms could be used to create a better prior…

  • Sumadera, Keeping an Open Mind

    For the handful of people keeping track of this project, the Sumadera route is complete. I think for many readers, Sumadera’s route leaves an especially strong impression, and it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the writing in this route was the only reason I wanted to start this project. Hopefully the words can…