Visual Novels & Mystic Messenger

First off, I need to make an apology to all visual novel/otome games that I’ve ever dissed or made fun of in the past. I’d always believed them to be simple dating sim games made for people to have an animated hubby/waifu in the reality of a game world. However, a few weeks ago I was alerted of the presence of a cellphone app that people were freaking out and talking about called “Mystic Messenger” so naturally I had to try it.

At first I was a little discouraged to hear Mystic Messenger was a visual novel/otome game that was developed by Cheritz (a company known for catering to the female audience). However, upon launching the app I was entirely hooked. This app was cleverly designed to play out in the form of chatrooms and phone calls and is sprinkled with beautifully drawn visual novels. The use of chat rooms and phone calls is particularly clever–utilizing the common functions of the phones that the app is designed for. More importantly, chats show up on your phone like any other text and are spread out throughout the day as if you were truly chatting with the characters. The chats span all hours of the day and each has different characters involved as if the characters were truly logging on whenever they had the chance. Even late night, 3am chats tend to start with “are you up?” as if a friend was test-texting you before waking you up at 3am. More importantly, if you miss a chat in the game, you have until the next one begins to respond. All of these features gives the app a very real feeling.

Furthermore, the characters have  well-rounded personalities. It only takes a few chats to be able to read a chat bubble and know exactly who is talking (even without looking at their profile pics). The characters also have great character growth in their individual routes and each route has a solid story that is engaging and interesting. Plus each route differs in how much information you get for the overall story depending on how involved with the main plot the character whose route your on is. I particularly like that aspect of the game since I’ve now played two route and heard about another from a friend. The differences in each are very interesting and I like hearing more about other characters who weren’t as present in the routes I chose. The frustrating bit is that in order to get a full picture, you need to play all the routes–oh well, at least it’s interesting and well written (even though there are some EXTREMELY cringe worthy lines in there–the writing team behind it seems to be aware though as the characters sometimes call their own lines cringeworthy).

What’s great is that Cheritz and their mastermind of an app has given me a whole new respect for visual novel/otome games. What I believed to be only about “who to date” was instead a discovery of character and plot. Each day, I couldn’t wait for the next days chat to figure out what happened next. It was as good as reading a book–except this way my own choices influenced whether I got a good, normal, or bad ending. Plus, I have to admit, it felt nice to get phone calls from the character who were concerned whether or not I ate or slept. Furthermore, through unlocking two unknown endings, you’ll dive entirely into visual novels with 7 chapters each. These two unknown endings are where the plot gets super interesting and very intense. It was around here that I was really sold on the fact that the game wasn’t just a dating sim–it was a story.

So with new respect for this genre of game, I apologize to it for ever having thought it to be shallow. Perhaps some are, but not all. They are literature all the same. So, even if you think visual novels are a tad cringeworthy, give them a chance. They may surprise you.

Well, that’s all for today. Thanks for reading my mini-review (when did this turn into a game/app review post?!).

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx

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Old friends & Coffee

Over the summer I found that a lot of people I used to know managed to apparate into my life again. It all started with my friend who, out of all things, lives down the street and whom I hadn’t talked to in a while.  Once the best of friends we grew apart and yet connected last January again over coffee. During the summer I saw her a few more times, either dancing or having coffee dates. It was a little awkward but overall nice (a subject we touched on). It was nice because even though we’d both changed and it was a little strange at first, before we knew it it was like no time had passed at all. It was like we were back in the days when we talked about everything and had fun. It was just that we were older and instead of drinking lemonade we were drinking IPA’s.

Aside from her, I bumped into other friends (a few of which also live in the same neighborhood as I and her. How ever did we grow apart?) and the same kind of things happened with them (I bumped into most of them at bars/lounges) and it was both fun and still weird. You see, while we all felt like we were all in the same place in life (nowhere), we also seemed slightly…competitive. As we chatted it was a huge game of who has done more things and who has had the craziest “adult” life yet (can I say adult if we’re only like twenty-two?). The more I spent time with old friends the more it seemed that since we all knew we were in the same rut, it was only a matter of who had the best time getting there. It made me wonder about that scenario you see played out on television where at the high school reunion you go to flaunt off your success. But again, this time it wasn’t so much success as it was how fun things are.

Which of course got me thinking…why were we all out there dancing and drinking and “enjoying our twenties” when all we talked over coffee about was jobs, books, adult life, and the troubles we were having? Well, it wasn’t hard to figure out. You see, we’re all coming back into town after graduating college and the funny thing is none of us did what we set out to. We never got the ring to Mordor, we didn’t find the Horcruxes, we didn’t even get the lantern into the pumpkin in time. That’s not to say we didn’t do anything in college. We all had great times, got our degrees, and acquired mass amount of loans, but none of us are coming back bragging about that amazing job or internship that is lined up for us straight out of college. Most of us can’t even give the amazing love story of meeting their Marshall or Lily during college Most of us can just say, “yeah, well I’m looking for a job to save up to do…[insert goal here]”. Which makes sense. Life isn’t what our high school mindset thought it would be and that’s okay. It never is, and maybe we have to drink our troubles away to forget how everything isn’t working out for us at the moment but that’s okay–well, at least for now. It just needs time and patience and it’ll be fine. It may not be what we expected but it’ll be beautiful anyway. Plus, until then we can always chat over coffee when we run into each other. If there’s one comfort, it’s familiarity in the changing world of life after college. And it’s great to be with familiar people, dancing the night away so we can relax from our worries for just a little bit.

And I guess even as I scour for jobs still and edit my book (last edits I swear! Then to query agents), I have it a bit better than others. After all, I got my best freak friend (That doesn’t sound nearly as endearing as it is) that’s a constant amongst all the other people who come and go like the tide.

Now then, since this is titled “old friends AND coffee” I guess I should mention coffee a bit. Of course, I just mentioned coffee because most of my old friend’s always want to get coffee! I guess that’s because coffee dates are the thing to do in your twenty’s (and beyond). Anyway, here’s some last minute wisdom! When in doubt, ditch the phone talks for a nice heart to heart over coffee. Good company and a soothing drink are sometimes exactly what you need.

That’s all for now. Thanks for sticking with this rant and I hope you’re having a lovely morning/afternoon/evening whenever and wherever you are!

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx

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Nye Beach & Character Names

This past weekend some of my friends and I decided it was time for a coast trip due to one of their birthday’s. Out of all the beach towns we chose to stay at, we chose Newport. I hadn’t been to Newport for at least ten years. When we arrived and walked to the beach, I was amazed that the name of the beach was none other than Nye. Why was I surprised though? Well you see, one of my protagonists is named Nye and I never really knew where I got the name from. I thought up the character back in Elementary school and his name had always been set in stone. So…I suppose that makes sense actually. Most likely I named him after the beach that I had so many happy memories of. It is a little strange though that even as a child I unconsciously chose a Welsh name for a character. I suppose that just means I’ve really always been fascinated with Wales and all things Welsh.

Aside from the strange name revelation, my friends and I had a lovely time. We walked up and down the beach, collected stones, drank some mead, and even went to the Oregon Aquarium (if you’re ever there, the shark tunnel is a must). At the aquarium entrance you take a picture of your group and have the option to purchase it later. We ended up doing this only because our picture was so epic that it made the aquarium staff laugh (anime poses always work). Overall, our days at the beach were a complete success. It was a nice end to the summer and a good getaway from the city. Plus I managed to get quite a few pictures of signage that said “Nye beach”. My fellow author friend and I couldn’t stop making jokes while thinking of my character. As we left the beach we waved to it saying “Bye Nye” (I’m pretty sure we’re the only people who think we’re funny).

In addition there was a stretch of beach that reminded us of my fellow writer friend’s own book (which I’ve read). If you want to check out her author site here it is: https://minaeverse.wordpress.com/welcome-to-verses/

Well, I think that’s about it for now. Does anyone else have any interesting character name origin stories? I’d love to know.

Don’t forget to seek out adventure!

xxx