Brass In Pocket. Alas, No Hand: Brass Restoration

By Kieron Gillen on March 25th, 2009 at 10:57 am.

Sending mixed messages somewhat.
The all-powerful, all-loving, all-mighty Tigsource pointed this English Translation out, thinking it a good place for someone to try out the whole Visual Novel thing. I agree, if only it’s worth playing one to have a handle on what one actually is. Visual Novels are… well, imagine a choose your own adventure, with not much choosing or adventuring, but piling on some melodrama and gawky-anime-fanboy humour. Or porn, if you’re going to go the Leigh Alexander route. Brass Restoration tells the story of a skilled percusionist who loses his arm, and then pretty much gives up. Presumably, he pulls his ass together, but in the 10 minutes I played, I spent most of my time wishing one of the other characters would inform him THE DRUMMER FROM DEF LEPPARD ONLY HAS ONE ARM and then everyone could go home happy. Anyway, you can get it from here and there’s 10 minutes of footage beneath the cut.

Of course, this is one case where watching a video really is like playing the game. It takes about five minutes to get to the first actual choice in the game – that screenshot at the top of the article is immortalizing.

Stuff like this I find interesting more from a philosophical position than actually from the game itself. But that’s a Nature Of The Medium question – i.e. does tihs count as a game or does this count as something parallel to a game… and if the latter, why are we making the line when it’s clearly close to a game than anything else. I don’t think it’s something as simple as a Ludo/Narrative thing either – and I don’t have time for the essay, as I’m already late for a train. I am weak!

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24 Comments »

  1. Dreamhacker says:

    The one-armed drummer from Deaf Lepers? Wow, bands sure do extreme PR-stunts nowadays…

  2. Heliocentric says:

    It was no stunt, the drummer and his arm split because of creative differences.

  3. Leman says:

    Just like every genre some of these visual novels are far better than others. This specific game also seems to have terrible art, which is one of the main draws.

    Try out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yume_Miru_Kusuri this instead.

  4. Tom Armitage says:

    And Gillen dives straight into the Bloodhound Gang; a classy look, as always.

  5. elle says:

    @Leman: Well, that game’s interesting.

    “After going to Hong Kong, snorting cocaine and practicing strangulation sex with” the high school student body president? If you replace Hong Kong with the back of a Wal-Mart, that’s just like my high school experience.

  6. User space says:

    “I have a right to sleep.”
    “It’s an economic activity based on the Japanese constitution, and it’ll contribute to this decaying society I’m living in.”

    Good to see the text doesn’t hang around longer than it’s needed.

  7. bansama says:

    Yup. These are god damned bane of Japanese gaming and yet the market is flooded with them. No wonder no likes to game on PC in Japan when it’s associated with the more pornographic versions of this crud.

  8. bansama says:

    wow. I suck at typing when I wake up. Insert “the”, “one”, “the” where needed. >_<

  9. po says:

    Don’t worry, I suck at reading after waking up. Made perfect sense to a brain making half of reality up.

  10. po says:

    And having used Japanese-English translation software a fair bit, I think the original title may have been slightly different, and more reflective of the fact that said drummer would have to become a ‘Southwick’ (similar to a Southpaw), in order to continue his ‘Brass Restoration’.

  11. Half Broken Glass says:

    In before the obligatory freak who plays these things will hopelessly try to convice people who do not that this genre is not in fact for lonely losers by calling the game crap and pointing out another, extremely obscure title no one of the non-freaks will give enough damn about to actually read a description of, much less buy from trrent J-List and look for a translation patch thus keeping his moral high ground as he continues to hopelessly obsess over drawn underage (robot/maid/cat)girls.

    Damn, too late!

  12. Fumarole says:

    Glad to see I’m not the only one who thought of this:

    “Like that episode where Gilligan gets sick of being teased
    And he breaks into the Professor’s lab and makes some L.S.D.
    Peaks freaks and eats the Skipper’s brains then beats Ginger with coconuts
    As Mr. Howell and Lovey burn alive inside of their grass hut
    Oh he’ll kill again that Gilligan they should have let him be
    And like a postal clerk I’ll go berserk if you don’t stop teasin’ me
    See the trick is only pick on those that can’t do you no harm
    Like the drummer from Def Leppard’s only got one arm”

  13. Heliocentric says:

    Hell a branching story sounds okay if its well written, but i remember reading something about deus ex that every path added reduced the time spent on each path thus the quality.

    That said a diversity of plot lines could give a natural way to express things hidden from the protagonist and the choices would allow some personal investment.

    The genre itself is not broken (see masc). To me it seems its the japanesse versions which are intolerable by being so culturally alien. But i can’t stand the abusive relationships paraded as normal in most japanese media.

  14. Dominic White says:

    Meh. I gave this about half an hour last night, and while it had the occasional line that remained funny post-translation, it really didn’t seem that interesting. The weak art and droning music doesn’t help either.

    Previous RPS-featured (and now fully translated) VN Chaos;Head was pretty good though:

    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2008/04/16/chaoshead-pc-games-discover-the-semi-colon/

    Also no sex. Hell, it recently got a Xbox 360 version with more content. Sadly Japan-only for that version, but the PC original is worth a look. It has decent art, all the (plenty) of dialogue voiced, and a good soundtrack, including a fantastic vocal opening theme.

  15. malkav11 says:

    Yeah, I can see why they pointed it out as a good start – it’s free. But like many things, you get what you pay for. The appeal of a visual novel is essentially the appeal of a novel with mildly more interactivity and multimedia effects. So the writing has to be good, and the multimedia elements probably need to be as well. I would -not- recommend Yume Miru Kusuri, which is, while gorgeous, also very fucked up. Something like Tsukihime, Fate/Stay Night, or Divi Dead, though…

  16. Leman says:

    In before the obligatory freak who plays these things will hopelessly try to convice people who do not that this genre is not in fact for lonely losers by calling the game crap and pointing out another, extremely obscure title no one of the non-freaks will give enough damn about to actually read a description of, much less buy from Amazon and look for a game walk-through thus keeping his moral high ground as he continues to hopelessly obsess over faux depth philisophical nonsense and shoe-gazing.

    AM I DOIN IT RITE?

  17. Kevin E says:

    I will try this only to say I have played this genre of game. But wait! It’s not exactly a game! I will use that excuse if I quit early.

  18. Polysynchronicity says:

    I’ve heard Tsukihime and Fate Stay Night are pretty good, but I haven’t played either.

  19. Hermit says:

    > Leman

    Well, I’d classify the Phoenix Wright games alongside games like this. And Phoenix Wright is awesome. It’s probably not obscure enough for your non-freak purposes though. My apologies.

  20. Heliocentric says:

    Another visual novel i’ve heard good things about is “spot the dog: where’s spot?” don’t be mislead, this isn’t a tale simply about finding a dog but self discovery. The visual novel also has an alternate ending where the 2 year old you are reading it to falls asleep before the end leading to a sneak out of the room without waking the 2 year old mini game. 7/10

  21. Hermit says:

    > Heliocentric

    Your visual novel is nothing compared to The Very Hungry Caterpillar and its unique fruit-based branching paths.

  22. Heliocentric says:

    I always assumed it was linear. I must reexperience it.

  23. malkav11 says:

    And, for what it’s worth, like many genres (anime, for example), 90% of visual novels are crap, or at least poorly translated. The only one I can guarantee is any good is Divi Dead, which is very impressive and something I pushed at my friends despite explicit pornographic content (usually denoting something I pretend I don’t even own), but I hear good things about Tsukihime and Fate/stay night, the former of which inspired an anime I very much enjoy (minus the porn end of the visual novel). I’m also told Eve Burst Error and sequel Adam the Double Factor are good (by the Home of the Underdogs, where I found out about Divi Dead), but I found the writing in the former’s opening to be rather annoying, so I have my doubts about them.

  24. sana says:

    @Polysynchronicity
    They are.
    RPS should blog about the expected re-make of Tsukihime instead of weird VNs nobody knows!

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