What is “Project Memoria”?

Project Memoria is not just any other blog, but a blog about a work in progress.

Intro to Visual Arts VN, "Dating Sim"

Intro to Visual Arts VN, "Dating Sim"

It has its roots five years ago (in 2004), when I wanted to create a console-style role-playing game (RPG), with my own original characters. Initially, it started out with appropriating other game’s graphics, and utilizing RPG Maker. Eventually, I got tired of using appropriated graphics; I had an online friend who helped me design original characters. As time passed, I realized how difficult it was to create an RPG. Due to extreme difficulties and personal problems with the artist, the RPG project was scrapped around late 2008.

Process of Art VN, "180 Degrees"

Process of Art VN, "180 Degrees"

During my college career, I took these three interesting classes relevant to my major (Arts and Technology), called Intro to Visual Arts, The Process of Art, and the Capstone Workshop. In the former two classes, there was a final art project where you’re free to do whatever you want. Because I love anime-style artwork, I chose to create visual novels (VNs) as my final project, using appropriated (or “borrowed”) artwork.

In the Capstone Workshop, I decided to expand on VNs and take it further, by creating original artwork with the help of my younger sister, recycling the characters from the scrapped RPG project. I managed to complete it within the allotted time available (a semester, around 3 or 4 months).

Capstone project VN, "Final Week"

Capstone project VN, "Final Week"

Now, I want to challenge myself. I’ve decided to take my capstone project and expand on it, paying attention to detail to the artwork, storyline, and whatnot. Like the Capstone project, my younger sister is assisting with the artwork. Though I don’t have the same production values and goals as professional VN studios, the end goal of this project is hopefully advertising and selling it. I title this VN Memoria.

What is a “visual novel”?

A visual novel is a genre of game that is very popular in Japan. They are defined by their minimalistic gameplay; you are presented with a story with vivid graphics, often in the style of Japanese anime. Interaction is mostly clicking the screen to advance the story. Occasionally you’ll be presented with a screen of choices – and those choices determine one of the many endings you’ll get.

Today’s games are judged on its graphical qualities and innovative gameplay, rather than its storyline. Game developers put much effort into their games emphasizing the latest trends. While not a problem, sometimes the story gets neglected, and there are people out there who play such games just for the story. The VN addresses this issue by placing emphasis on the story first. The graphics come second, thus strengthening of what the story has to say.

VNs are substantially easier to create compared to other genres; when creating an RPG, you have to deal with not only the story, but decide on the game system, character skills, and whatnot. In a VN, you have to just deal with the game’s story and character development, as well as the graphics.

If you don’t like reading screens of text and looking at static images for so long, then the VN is not for you. On the other hand, if you love a great story, juxtaposed with vivid anime-style graphics,  and don’t mind sitting around the screen for so long, then this game genre is for you. Also, due to the nature of most VNs and differences between Eastern and Western cultures, one may consider it to be “sexist” and “objectifying” the female sex. One of the goals of Memoria is not to inferiorize the female sex, but to allow its audiences to appreciate cultural differences.

The majority of VNs can be considered to be bishojo games, aka games featuring attractive anime girls. Attractiveness is very subjective, and the aesthetics in a VN are according to the game’s designers. Characters are not only attractive in their looks, but also in their personalities. The game’s designers play with our sense of “ideal.”

The VN can be considered an art form in its own right.

A more in-depth explanation here: Wikipedia article and here

Why the title “Memoria”?

Aside from the aesthetically-pleasing sounding name (IMO), the word is Latin/Spanish/Italian for “memory.” Memoria, as the game’s called, reflects on various character’s pasts. You take on the role of a male character, who meets several female characters with their pasts influencing the current timeline of the story.

BTW, I am aware of a Japanese visual novel titled Memoria, which is unrelated to this project.

I greatly look forward to you in seeing a work of progress!

– Ryne (project manager)

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