Gamer’s Thoughts: The Visual Novel
Lately, I see various games appearing on Steam. Visual novels. That interests me quite a lot. But the let down is huge when I find out that it are kinetic novels. What is a visual novel actually and why is it such an underrated game genre? I want to talk about my favorite game genre in this article and hopefully make some of you guys interested in the visual novel genre. As usual, feel free to write a comment about the visual novel games and or the content of this article.
What makes a game a visual novel?
So, when is a game a visual novel? It’s quite logical that a visual novel is more of a novel then a game. When the novel isn’t interactive, you have a kinetic novel. A kinetic novel is a novel that a movie you can read.
A visual novel has interaction. Sometimes “repetitive actions” and sometimes not. Virtue’s Last Reward for example always has the same gameplay. Solve the puzzle to find the solution to open the safe. Corpse Party on the other hand isn’t repetitive. You have to try and find the other survivors.
A visual novel could be easily confused with a very heavy story driven RPG. Those two genres are two similar, yet different genres. Since visual novels play more on the imagination of the player instead of the skills. If you have ever played an Ace Attorney game, you might have noticed that there isn’t much animation outside the characters. It’s the writing that pulls people in.
What do I like so much about visual novels? I can’t really explain. I think the reason is that I feel more as the main character of a story. I feel that my fate is already planned out and that I have to look for the right path.
Now visual novels nearly have always one solution. Even when a game has different endings, you will most likely come across the final true ending.
Games nowadays are getting “lazy”. The graphics try to paint the most beautiful picture and the sound and music tries to blow you off your chair. But visual novels, that isn’t the goal. You don’t get fancy graphics, you mostly get static images and text boxes.
Somehow, visual novels have the power to make you come invested in a story more then other games have. I rarely felt touched by an amazing game when there wasn’t a deep story. When I’m playing a visual novel, it’s very hard for other games to distract me out of that trance. Visual novels are that good in my opinion.
Visual novels try to pull the gamers in with clever writing. They don’t try to make it a massive big show, they create an interesting plot line. Think about it this way, how many times did you start to loose interest in the side quests or the side goals and started to go for the main goals in a game?
Maybe it’s just my interest. My favorite game genre is adventures and my favorite subgenre is visual novel. Since I’m interested in interesting stories and such. I can’t honestly really answer why, but I think that visual novels deserve more credit then they get. It has it’s issues of course, like for some people there is too much text, but hey, name me one genre that doesn’t have issues.
Anyways, to close off this article, let’s take a short look at 2 great visual novels I played in my life.
Even when I’m not a fan of the series, you got to give it to this game. TellTale Games makes excellent modern visual novels. While the typical text boxes aren’t there, the main focus is the story and how your choices influences the outcome.
It’s a great and modern example of an excellent visual novel. Too bad it doesn’t interest me as much as other visual novels do. If you want to know why I’m not such a fan, you might want to read my first impression. But my buddy Zach (aka Dark_Legend) is a big fan of it, so you might want to read his articles about it.
In this game you play as a death cop and you have to solve your own murder. The catch is that you can rewind time to save somebodies life. With this power you try to figure out who wanted you dead.
This game is tricky to place. It’s a visual novel alright but the gameplay… is it a puzzle game? Action game? Adventure game? I don’t really know.
I wish CapCom announced a sequel of this game since it’s a good game. Not only the story but the gameplay was rather interesting. I liked the idea very much and I wish the game was a bit longer.
Most visual novels are rather lengthy. I haven’t seen a visual novel you would be able to finish in a week. Actually, I have seen one as the exception on the rule. Time Hollow.
The most irritating thing is getting stuck in these games. Since you don’t have to grind or anything of that nature, getting stuck can get even the most veteran visual novel player to put down the game.
It’s quite clear that I’m not done talking about visual novels. I have some other things I want to mention but that will be for another article. I want to compare the visual novel genre with other genres. Or it might be an idea for a podcast.
Anyways, I hope you enjoyed reading this article. Thank you for reading and hopefully I can welcome you at another article. Take care.
Epic article bro and thanks for the shout out! I really do love TellTale games probably my favorite developers out there right now! I’m not sure i’ve wrote articles BUT they are mentioned basically on every recent and old podcast (The Legend of Podcast)
Steam is a bad platform for VN’s, especially if you’re after japanese or other asian VN’s. Valve are quite frankly incapable of deciding what they want in the VN games. Some get banned out right for sexuality, and others get on after stripping it out, and then others are added despite the sexuality.
The problem is Valve is just incompetent all round 😀
There’s also a perception thing going on, for a lot of people when you start talking Visual Novel they immediately jump to the conclusion you’re talking porn. Many people (and almost all of the steam community it seems lol) don’t seem to realise you can have a Visual Novel which has NO porn in it, no sexuality in it, and hell no violence in it!
Analogue: A Hate Story and Hate Plus, it’s sequel are two of the best visual novels i’ve ever played! No sex anywhere in them!
I love VN’s, spent a lot of time playing them, and frankly get my most satisfaction from VN’s.
Though i have to disagree with you on TellTale, frankly i can’t stand them. I’ve played everything they’ve released and frankly none of the game (with the exception of some of their earlier creations) are upto snuff. Walking Dead was terrible, i picked that up for £4 in a steam sale and still felt like i’d been ripped off 😀
Thanks for the comment bro. And I didn’t had the intention to talk about porn in any way :P.
Anyways, I just started to talk about visual novels, so I will write more about them. Most visual novels I played were handheld ones <3
TBH i think consoles like the Vita and 3DS are the perfect console for VN’s. I’d rather see them on those than on the PC, which frankly is stuck in the middle ages when it comes to stuff like this.