The visual novel reading club

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Yirba
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The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:53 pm


The visual novel reading club
Hello and welcome! In this thread, we discuss all aspects of the wonder that is the visual novel (VN), from the latest releases, to beloved classics, and even those soon to be hitting the shelves.

What are visual novels?
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Steins;Gate
The visual novel is a new medium for conveying the written word (and they're not actually that new — they've been around since the early '80s). At a fundamental level, you could consider them to be a sort of eBook, in that they are writing encapsulated as software. However, whereas most eBooks are purely focused on text, visual novels complement it with dynamic illustrations, audio, and often some element of interactivity. The end result is an enhanced reading experience quite unlike that of reading a physical paper book.

Because many visual novels are interactive in nature, and also because for many years game consoles were their primary outlet, visual novels are often considered to be a subset of video games. This is not entirely accurate however, as the focus with visual novels is usually on reading and enjoying a story, not on playing a game. Thus, it may be more appropriate to consider the visual novel to be a medium in its own right. Visualising a two-set Venn diagram with one set being the video game and the other set being the visual novel may help with understanding this idea. The intersection between the two sets contains a large number of video games that are also visual novels, however there are also many visual novels that are not video games, just as there are many video games that are not visual novels.

At this point, it may be appropriate to give some mention to pornography. It is true that there are many visual novels featuring sexually explicit content. This is possibly surprising or even shocking to those unfamiliar with Japanese culture, but this isn't something to be considered unusual. These eroge (a portmanteau of "erotic game") include popular titles like Fate/stay night and Little Busters!, which were later adapted into other media such as anime. Even companies like Square and Enix made their starts developing eroge. It should be noted that for many of these visual novels, the erotic element is only a small part of the total experience. As such, this content is more of a bonus than anything substantial. Of course, there are also visual novels where sex is the main focus, just as there are visual novels that do not feature any sexual content whatsoever. In short, there is a visual novel for everyone, regardless of their preferences regarding porn.

TL;DR: Visual novels are like books. But better. And they live on your PC, game console or mobile phone.

How do I get started?
That's a good question. And we've got a good answer (we think). Here is a carefully curated selection of visual novels considered ideal for someone interested in trying out visual novels. All of them have been officially released in English. Please click on a visual novel to go to the appropriate website where you can acquire it.

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We have attempted to select a diverse variety of visual novels. If you have any comments on these recommendations, please let us know in a reply.

Glossary
  • ADV — Short for "adventure". A type of visual novel where the text occupies a small box at the bottom of the screen, allowing for an unobstructed view of the illustrations.
  • bishoujoge — Literally "pretty girl game". A game that focuses on pretty girls.
  • dating sim — Statistical-based simulation game with the objective being a character's heart. Has almost nothing to do with visual novels.
  • eroge — A game featuring explicit sexual content. Can refer to any game meeting that description, not just visual novels.
  • NVL — Short for "novel". A type of visual novel where the text occupies most of the screen real estate, allowing for a greater focus on the text.
Useful websites
  • The Visual Novel Database — details of more VNs than could possibly be read in a lifetime
  • ErogameScape — similar sort of thing as the above, but in Japanese
  • ErogeTrailers — as the name implies, it's a pretty comprehensive collection of visual novel trailers
  • JAST USA — publishes visual novels in English
  • MangaGamer — also publishes visual novels in English
  • Sekai Project — also publishes visual novels in (you guessed it) English
[Thanks to Silver light for assisting with the creation of this thread.]

[For argument's sake, our definition of a visual novel is equivalent to VNDB's, i.e. if there's an entry for it there, you're free to discuss it here.]
Last edited by Yirba on Wed Jul 01, 2015 10:02 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Kon » Mon Nov 03, 2014 12:59 pm

Been a while since I've read a VN. been meaning to get through tsukihime but I've always had other commitments

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:04 pm

Tsukihime is quite a lengthy VN… Brilliant story, though. I was quite ecstatic when I managed to find a sealed copy at a reasonable price. They can be quite difficult to get hold of…
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by ミドリ » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:22 pm

RIN IS BEST GIRL

aight I'm out, peace
あらためまして、はじめまして、ミドリです。

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 1:31 pm

Wait, which Rin? Anegawara? Aoyagi? Chiyokawa? Fujimiya? Fujisaki? Gokago? Hinokuma? Hirakawa? Hiruma? Honmi? Horizoe? Igano? Iwaya? Kagamine? Kagamiya? Kaminagi? Kamiya? Kawahara? Kazamatsuri? Kazami? Kimura? Kirishima? Kittaka? Koukyoku? Misakura? Nanase? Oohayakawa? Ryuudouji? Saginomiya? Tezuka? Tohsaka? Yazawa? Yoshino? Yuuki? :-O
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by ミドリ » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:46 pm

GO OUTSIDE AND MEET SOME REAL WOMEN

Tezuka
あらためまして、はじめまして、ミドリです。

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by PiGreat » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:51 pm

But that's wrong

Everyone knows Emi is the best


Also I'm gonna put the little credibility I had on the line here and say the Monster Girl Quest had a legitimately good story, against all expectations.

Killer music, too
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Adam » Mon Nov 03, 2014 3:51 pm

Rin Tezuka is best Katawa.

Haven't read many VNs myself. I went through all the routes in Katawa Shoujo and really really enjoyed it, but that's pretty much it. I started Grisaia no Kajitsu a little while ago but haven't got very far into it. Been meaning to go back to it though.

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:00 pm

ミドリ wrote:GO OUTSIDE AND MEET SOME REAL WOMEN
I tried that. It was scary.
PiGreat wrote:Also I'm gonna put the little credibility I had on the line here and say the Monster Girl Quest had a legitimately good story, against all expectations.
Hm, I've heard a lot about that game. Should probably check it out at some stage.
Adam wrote:Haven't read many VNs myself. I went through all the routes in Katawa Shoujo and really really enjoyed it, but that's pretty much it. I started Grisaia no Kajitsu a little while ago but haven't got very far into it. Been meaning to go back to it though.
Grisaia is another lengthy VN… have fun! ^^
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by masa » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:07 pm

Anyone read yu-no? I hear its fantastic

Also need to play Policenauts at some point

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:13 pm

masa wrote:Anyone read yu-no? I hear its fantastic

Also need to play Policenauts at some point
I so so so want to read YU-NO. Unfortunately copies are kinda rare these days. I guess I'll find a way…

Anyone interested in Policenauts may also be interested in Snatcher, which is an earlier visual novel also developed by Kojima Hideo.
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Silver light » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:19 pm

Come on, guys....Lilly's route is easily the best of the ones in Katawa Shoujo. It's an absolute no-contest

I should prolly get around to reading Rin's route at some point, only one i haven't yet >_>

Tsukihime is as dated as you'd expect a doujin VN from 2000 to be, but it's still pretty great. Grisaia no Kajitsu's a really good read as well and also actually getting an offical western release next year.

Yu-No is something i've always only seen praise for, but i've never actually looked too much into it...might actually give it a go after i manage to get around to reading Never7/Remember11.

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Adam » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:29 pm

Silver light wrote:Come on, guys....Lilly's route is easily the best of the ones in Katawa Shoujo. It's an absolute no-contest
If we're talking routes, here's my two cents:

Rin > Lilly > Emi > Hanako > Shizune



Also I have played Danganronpa, just didn't really think of it as a visual novel before. I guess that's what it is though. I did enjoy it, but I didn't care for some of the characters. Chihiro best girl. I need to get the second game at some point.

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:34 pm

I've actually only seen the anime adaptation of Danganronpa (due to my lack of a PSVita), but Kirigiri was definitely my favourite character in that.
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Adam » Mon Nov 03, 2014 4:48 pm

The anime was a lot better than I thought it would be, but it did have to skip over a lot because of how quickly they needed to go through each of the trials. Choosing which characters you want to talk to between chapters to get their conversations is a pretty big part of the game which they couldn't show in the anime, so you might still enjoy playing it if you get a Vita at some point.

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by fronkhead » Mon Nov 03, 2014 7:30 pm

After everyone (figuratively speaking) hyped up Danganronpa 2 to be better than the first, I was disappointed.

It's still good, but its setting made it so convoluted and bloated compared to the razor sharp focus the original's cases and setup had. A

ll the "gamey" bits were mechanically worse. Hangman's Gambit was particularly bad and generally slow/boring to trudge through.

I did like how the cast was less stereotyped, though, but a terrific final chapter didn't make up for the slow burn that were the preceeding 30~ hours.

---

I'm guessing text adventures are out of the question on this thread? Might need another thread for those, I can't wait for The Sailor's Dream this week.

Edit: I saw Snatcher mentioned, which is more graphic adventure than visual novel, but yeah.

---

Can't wait for this to ship...in March 2015

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All the ChiruChiru dakimakura sold out, I blame the anime ;_;

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:14 pm

Anything listed in the Visual Novel Database can be discussed here. Anything that doesn't meet their inclusion requirements, such as text adventure games, is probably out-of-scope for this thread.
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by charlie » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:32 pm

emi is the best girl n thats all u need to kno abt VNs

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Silver light » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:44 pm

fronkhead wrote:Can't wait for this to ship...in March 2015

Michiru.jpg

All the ChiruChiru dakimakura sold out, I blame the anime ;_;
Goddamnit Spork...

Image
Yirba wrote:Anything listed in the Visual Novel Database can be discussed here. Anything that doesn't meet their inclusion requirements, such as text adventure games, is probably out-of-scope for this thread.
*prepares massive post about why Ar tonelico/Ciel nosurge/Ar nosurge are the best thing ever*
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by fronkhead » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:48 pm

Yirba wrote:Anything listed in the Visual Novel Database can be discussed here. Anything that doesn't meet their inclusion requirements, such as text adventure games, is probably out-of-scope for this thread.
Cool, that sounds good to me.
Silver light wrote:
fronkhead wrote:Can't wait for this to ship...in March 2015

Michiru.jpg

All the ChiruChiru dakimakura sold out, I blame the anime ;_;
Goddamnit Spork...

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Wow that figurine is amazing though, she even has a plaster on her thigh.

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by OrangeRakoon » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:57 pm

Why must Fate be like 90% cooking though

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Silver light » Mon Nov 03, 2014 8:59 pm

OrangeRakoon wrote:Why must Fate be like 90% cooking though
Unlimited Cooking Works.

Dunno, i blame Sakura.

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:06 pm

I thought the cooking was the main appeal of Fate/stay night

Oh yeah, if anyone hasn't read it already, this blog post entitled Kinoko Nasu’s Nouvelle Cuisine amuses me somewhat.
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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Timcanpies » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:29 pm

hey silver

also obligatory read umineko
something something umineko

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Re: The visual novel reading club

Post by Yirba » Mon Nov 03, 2014 9:39 pm

I don't get a "hey"? D-:

Anyway, I would have included Umineko in the list in the first post, except it's probably best to experience Higurashi first.
And I would have included Higurashi, except the re-translation is still in production.
Might swap it in once Onikakushi-hen is released.
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