NEWS: Support Visual Novel Reviews on Patreon

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PATREON : https://www.patreon.com/visualnovelreviews

If you have been following my website for a while, then you will have noticed that I often add new additions, upgrades, and aesthetic improvements over time. For example: my biggest change was when I did a complete website overhaul and the server was down for the entire day.

This was due to more funding from my own pocket in order to access more tools to improve the site and increased server capacity for my website to stay up and running. If you regularly visit my website, you will also notice that I did add a patreon section to my side panel a while back—however, I have never formally announced it until today.

The reason is because I personally had reservations about starting one, and I didn’t want people to feel obligated to donate to the website. However, after much deliberation I finally decided to officially make a post about it and why I have decided to use patreon.

WHO AM I?

Hello, I’m Cherry and I’m the writer behind the website Visual Novel Reviews. I initially began this website out of passion to write down my thoughts, opinions, rants or raves on the Visual Novels that I played. I thought it would be a great way to interact with, inform and expand the Visual Novel/Otome Game community. I never would have expected that in less than a year, my website would have grown so much and developed such an amazing following from it.

I cannot thank you enough for the support and it’s the wonderful feedback that I read from my readers that inspires me to keep writing. I read every single comment, and they never fail to make me smile or make my day. It makes me feel like all my hard work is recognised, and I’ve had amazing opportunities to work with companies such as Aksys Games, Idea Factory International, MangaGamer and NISA America with reviewing their new game releases. These companies continually localise games that I have been a fan of since the very beginnings of my endeavors into the genre of Visual Novels.

WHY DO I NEED YOUR HELP?

Unfortunately as much as I would like to devote more time to writing, it really isn’t feasible with the amount of funding and schedule that I currently have. I am currently a fourth-year university student, aspiring to be a clinical psychologist specialising in child psychology. As my masters program has a high GPA requisite and my course is very demanding; I spend four days a week at university and the bulk of my time at home is spent studying. Whatever time I have left over, I am working at university as a tutor.

Currently how I fund my website is through advertisements on my side panels and affiliate links, however this pays for only 30% of my monthly website cost. The other 70% is completely out of my own pocket to keep the website up and running, and to purchase games to review.

WHAT KIND OF WORK DO I DO?

Despite how it looks, behind the scenes a review takes me hours to write. I only want to post quality content for my readers, and I continue to work on them until it is to a standard that I believe people will enjoy reading. My average review count is 5000-8000 words, although some of my reviews such as ‘Black Wolves Saga: Bloody Nightmare‘ totaled 13000 words.

As you can imagine, this takes me anywhere between 10-20hrs to write. This does not include the time spent afterwards proofreading, formatting and editing. My website itself I have spent well over 30 hours coding and learning how to design and format. Prior to this, I had absolutely no idea how to use CSS or HTML.

WHAT IS MY GOAL WITH PATREON?

I am currently making no profit whatsoever from my website, despite the time, effort, money and work that I place into it. The hours I spend on it does not translate into profit, and as a result it will only be a hobby at best in my current predicament. It is something I am personally funding out of genuine enjoyment as part of the Visual Novel & Otome community. My aim with Patreon is not to make it a full-time job, but to be able to self-fund the website without having to constantly dig into my own expenses every month.

In the worst case scenario (which I would want to avoid) is for the website to shut down, if in the situation that I am unable to personally fund the website anymore.

Every single bit helps, and I am forever thankful to each and everyone of you that continue to support me and help me in continuing to do what I love. 

If you have read up until this point, thank you so much for taking the time to read it until the end! I want to stress that there is no obligation whatsoever to donate, and just your understanding as to why I have decided to open up a patreon is more than enough for me.

Your continual support in visiting my website, reading my content, and expressing how much you enjoy my work in the comment section always inspires me to keep going with the website. Just things like sharing my patreon/website on social media or turning off ad-block when browsing the website helps immensely as well. You can do this via entering visualnovelreviews.com → clicking ad block → select ‘don’t run on this page’ and ‘don’t run on pages on this site’.

And finally, thank you so much to Milkteababy for being my first patron!

EDIT: Over 50% of my monthly website hosting cost has been reached! Every dollar would help so much in order for me to self-sustain the website and keep it up and running!

EDIT 2: 90% of my monthly website hosting cost has been reached! Thank you so much for the support, I wouldn’t be anywhere near as passionate about writing if it wasn’t for all my readers!

Love Always,
Cherry

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Summary of 2017 & 1 Year Website Anniversary

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I know that I am very late to the party, but I hope that everyone has had a great start to 2018 so far and a wonderful New Year! I have been on hiatus the past few months due to final examinations at university and spending time with family and friends over the holiday break. I needed a rest from all the stress, late nights and constant pouring over a textbook. It was nice to finally have some time to myself, and before I knew it — university has nearly started up again for the new semester!

One of my resolutions for the new year was to become more active at university, as I’m only there for a very small fraction of my life. I have never been one to truly step out of my comfort zone, as I am quite a shy and introverted person especially when it comes to trying out new things and meeting new people. However, it has turned out to be a surprisingly rewarding experience.

Becoming a mentor at university, joining new committees/societies and making new friends has been immensely satisfying as I personally never imagined putting myself out there before. If you have ever been in the same position as I am or felt the same way, I definitely encourage you to take that step forward and try something new. You will never know how much you may have missed out on, or all the great friendships and people you may have never met!

Life update aside, despite all my new extracurricular activities alongside my studies this year — I do not intend to stop blogging or writing reviews. I have had many lovely messages wondering where I have been or whether or not I have abandoned my website. Whilst unfortunately I may not be posting as regularly as I did in 2017, writing is something I enjoy with a passion and genuinely love spending my free time doing.

I will still be reviewing and playing the major game releases this year, however I may not be able to play as many smaller or indie titles compared to 2017. Without further ado, here are the significant milestones that my website has been able to accomplish in the past year that I am extremely happy with!

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General

  • My website anniversary was on January 17th, 2017 and when I started blogging I honestly didn’t think many would be interested in reading or hearing about my thoughts on games at all. It was a fun hobby at best, as I had never created my own website before and was a complete coding novice.
  • It took hours and hours for me to start up the website initially, even though I was using a default template that WordPress offered for all it’s users. If you’re an old subscriber/reader, you’ve probably forgotten as to how my website originally looked at the beginning!
  • Fast-forward six months later, I was able to proficiently code more advanced features for my website, adjust formatting/layouts in a fraction of the time it took me initially and complete redesign my template into the site you see today.
  • Considering when I started blogging I had never once understood or even looked at a line of code before, I am very happy with my progress and what I have learnt in the past year. Google was essentially my best friend!
  • I remember when I first started writing, I would be so excited if I received even one new visitor on my page! I used to only receive 1-10 visitors a day and in a whole month only accumulated 100 views! It was only by the third month that this turned into several hundred views, and in the fourth month into several thousand views.
  • Lesson learnt here is: don’t be discouraged if you’re a fellow blogger, and keep writing! It takes time, effort and a lot of patience — if you genuinely believe your content is good, others will soon discover it and recognise your hard work.

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  • In the first four months, I was so immensely happy with the milestone of over 20000+ views and 6000+ unique viewers. Now after one year, I have well over 200000+ views, 74000+ unique viewers and 1000+ subscribers. Never could I have imagined such growth in a short span of time and I am truly humbled by how many people view my website and read my work on the daily. I read and reply to pretty much all my comments, as they always make my day (if I miss out on yours, it’s usually because I haven’t checked in a while or I accidentally skipped over it!)

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Content

  • Despite my inactivity towards the latter half of the year, I managed to publish 53 posts in 2017! That averages out to more or less a consistent post every week.
  • I reviewed 13 unique visual novels in total. This genuinely surprised me, as I had played more games than I initially thought over the course of the year. This averages out to about one visual novel per month.
  • I published 5 unique walkthroughs. This comes as no surprise as I usually publish walkthroughs if no one has posted any yet. When I am late to playing a game and there are already existing walkthroughs, I choose not to publish my own.
  • My total word count for 2017 was 95 899 words and an average of 1809 words per post. My reviews tend to be quite lengthy as I always have plenty of thoughts on the overall game, so this comes as no surprise. My general average word count per review is usually between 5000-8000 words!

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  • What review first propelled my website’s publicity?
    Surprisingly enough, it was my ‘Amnesia: Memories Review‘. I remember waking up and having my jaw drop because of the flood of notifications and views that I was receiving. The Idea Factory twitter account had retweeted my review, and I remember just completely fangirling over it because I never thought any company would ever read my writing or notice my website. It gave my website a lot of traction and publicity, and it was only up from there.

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Best of 2017

  • Most Popular Reviews?
    My top five most viewed reviews are: 1. Nightshade, 2. Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~, 3. The Charming Empire, 4. Irresistible Mistakes, and 5. Black Wolves Saga  — Bloody Nightmare — .
  • Why is Nightshade by far my most popular review?
    Initially I could never have imagined the amount of popularity and publicity my review/walkthroughs of this game would bring about, and for a while I was somewhat stumped as to why this was my standout post of 2017.

    I guess it came down to a multitude of reasons such as: 1. I posted my review much sooner than others, as I was not as busy during its release and was able to binge play the game, 2. It is definitely one of the top contenders in best/most popular english otome releases for 2017, 3. The game left a profound impression on me afterwards, and I suppose these strong emotions and thoughts were conveyed in my review.

  • Favourite review or post to write?
    My favourite post that I wrote in 2017 was ‘The Differences between the Original Hakuoki Series and Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds‘. I have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from both Idea Factory and the community on it, and I personally enjoyed writing the piece very much.

    My initial aim behind it was to be informative for new and returning players to the franchise/series, if I were to put myself in the position of someone who was on the fence about the game.

    Since then, it has been consistently reblogged, linked and referred to in so many Hakuoki-related posts as a useful guide to the different games in the series. It makes me very happy to see that people found it to be both informative, helpful and spoiler-free!

  • Favourite game(s) of 2017?
    My favourite otome games of 2017 were definitely Black Wolves Saga — Bloody Nightmare — and Collar x Malice (PS Vita). As you can see by the trend, I do love darker themed games with immersive storylines and complex characters. I am a sucker for angst and mystery, and it will always be my bias that I can never get enough of.

    In terms of overall game, then my two choices are Persona 5 and The Last of Us. I was a huge fan of Persona 4: Golden, so Persona 5 was essentially everything I wanted and more. If you’re a fan of anime, RPGs, immersive storyline and lengthy gameplay — I cannot recommend it enough. Although late to the bandwagon and hype, The Last of Us definitely lives up to all the critical acclaim it has received and was a roller coaster of emotions from beginning to end.

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Worst of 2017

  • Least favourite review or post to write?
    Due to the length of my reviews, I do have a tendency to experience writer’s block and feel lacking in inspiration every now and then. To my own surprise, it’s not the terrible games that I have trouble writing my thoughts on. In fact, the more strongly I feel about something whether both negative or positive — the words just flow with ease and the reviews seamlessly write themselves. It’s the ‘in-between/mediocre’ games where I find myself struggling the most, as they’re not good… but they’re not bad either. Striking a balance between the two I find is the most difficult aspect of writing reviews in the past year.

    The review I’m awarding this title to is ‘Hakuoki: Kyoto Winds‘ | PS Vita & Limited Edition (NA/EU). I’m sure you’ll be surprised by this, as if you have read my review you’ll know that I definitely enjoyed it and view it to be superior to the predecessors. However, in terms of writing my review and thoughts — this one was an absolute pain as there were simply so many characters to write about. In comparison to the average 5-6 bachelors, this title encompassed 12. Yes, 12.

    It was definitely a struggle to condense my review in terms of detail without losing touch with my usual writing style, and I felt so uninspired every time I sat down to write it due to the sheer daunting amount of how much I had left to cover.The game itself took me much longer than usual to complete due to how lengthy and repetitive it was, and the review took even longer to write. I believe it took me around a month to clock, in comparison to the standard 1-2 weeks for majority of Visual Novels.

  • Least favourite game(s) of 2017?
    My least favourite otome games of 2017 were definitely Period: Cube ~Shackles of Amadeus~ (PS Vita) and Norn9 ~ Norn + Nonette~ (PS Vita). Despite my favourable score of Period: Cube in my review, this was mainly due to the impressive budget, music, graphics, voice acting and system of the game. In other aspects such as the character development and storyline, it fell extremely flat of its potential.

    I just had so many criticisms and issues with the game which I went into detail with in my review, and it ended up being a title that I didn’t truly enjoy. It definitely became a drag after several routes, and I did mainly complete it for the sake of giving a ‘wholesome review’ after seeing everything it had to offer.

    That being said, it’s not entirely all bad (such as the factors I mentioned above) so it could still be very enjoyable and your cup of tea if it’s your type of game.

    Although Norn9 is my second choice, I do admit it is a slightly unfair mention as I have only played the prologue of the game. However, it was the only title this year that didn’t immediately reel me in and left me with little to no interest to continue playing.

    The premise is quite confusing and weak in terms of impact, and the writing seems to be quite scattered and all over the place. That being said, I do intend to finish the game and write a review eventually so it may potentially change my initial thoughts on it. However, I am skeptical based on what I have seen so far and the feedback I have read.

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Collaborations

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Support

  • Without each and everyone of you, my website wouldn’t be what it is today. Thank you so much for the support, I appreciate every view and comment from all my readers!
  • Special thank you to Melli and Laura who helped donate to the website upkeep this year, I truly appreciate your kindness and every little bit helps!
  • I started up a patreon and ko-fi link to assist with the website server costs. These are purely optional and I would never want anyone to feel obligated to donate. However, it would greatly assist me in my review writing and enable me to produce more content every month with your support.
  • You can also directly donate to me via paypal.
  • If you’re unable to donate, just turning off ad-block when browsing my website helps me out so much. I receive a very small amount from wordpress every time someone views an ad on my website, and all of this goes back into the monthly website server costs. The ads are not intrusive or pop-ups, and they appear at the bottom of my blog posts or on the side banners.
  • Special shout out to Ame who has posted the most comments on my website.
  • Special thank you to Hayurika who always mentions my reviews/posts in her monthly updates and on twitter. Hayurika is also a fellow visual novel/otome/game blogger that I read regularly, and you can check out her website here.
  • If you would like to support/follow me on other social media, I do have a facebook page, twitter and tumblr. I always post updates and news on upcoming reviews and games!

That wraps it up for my 2017 summary, and here is to hoping that 2018 will be an even better year than the last!

Love Always,
Cherry 

NEWS: New Facebook Page

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Hi everyone,

I have received some requests from you guys to also have a facebook page for the website, as facebook notifications are a lot more convenient. I know that not everyone has a wordpress account to follow the blog, or would prefer to not have continual email updates about new posts. People also tend to use facebook more so than other social media as well nowadays. I sat down and made the facebook page today, so yes you can also now like/follow ‘Visual Novel Reviews’ on facebook!

You can see the facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/visualnovelreviews/

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I usually do check my social media/website everyday, so if you do comment/post things I do try to respond within the day! For more prompt responses or casual conversation about visual novels/otome games, I am the most active on twitter @vnreviewer.

NEWS: Visual Novel and Otome Games Reddit

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What is Reddit? 

In a nutshell, it’s a social news media sharing and discussion website. You can subscribe to any forum of your interest, and scroll through a newsfeed (similar to Facebook and Twitter). It consists of thousands of other people posting news or interesting and funny links on your subscribed ‘subreddits’ of interest.

I am fairly active on reddit mostly as a lurker under /r/iTotoro, and usually I do check it every day. It’s my go-to resource for visual novel and otome game news. I also love reading the discussions on various games, and seeing what other people’s opinions are. I highly recommend checking out /r/visualnovels, and /r/otomegames! Both subreddits are very active and receive new content everyday from users.

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I decided to post about reddit today because in spite of how popular it is, there are still a lot of people who don’t know what exactly the website is about or use it.

Yesterday night for good fun, I made a post on /r/otomegames where you name specific otome games and other users comment on who the ‘best guy’ is from that game. I did not expect the post to literally blow up over night, and when I hopped on this morning it had over 150+ comments of so many different games and favourite characters.

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I highly recommend checking the post out here, since some of the comments are actually really funny and hilarious. It was interesting seeing who everyone viewed as best boy and there was mostly a lot of contentions between the first and second best guy in every game. If you haven’t signed up for reddit yet, come join in on the fun! Everyone there is really nice, and passionate about both visual novels and otome games.