ARE VISUAL NOVELS VIDEO GAMES?
Absolutely! There are many ways to tell stories, and video games are just one of them. The genre of the video game may be closer to a book than it is to a game, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot have some interaction and gameplay elements!
Of course, there are visual novels out there where you just press the button to continue the dialogue (just like reading a book, honestly.) But there are others with far more interesting mechanics.
The Ace Attorney or Danganronpa series are all about solving cases and mystery, so you must pay attention to present the right evidence or coming up with the right argument to continue with the story and win! They’re essentially rewarding the player for being clever and picking up on details.
The Zero Escape series often mixes visual novel with puzzle elements, requiring the player to be good at riddles and mind games. The Telltale series can be seen as visual novels, often mixing their stories with action, quick time events and mini games.
Even the popular Fire Emblem series (a tactical RPG) features visual novel segments to tell its story.
However, the most attractive element of video games as a medium is that the player is not a passive consumer, but an active one. This means that they don’t just WATCH the story, they LIVE it.
In the case of visual novels, this is doubly true. The main appeal of VNs is the ability to make meaningful choices to change the course of the story. That means that a player is going through THEIR own story, which can vary greatly from others.
It’s not uncommon for Visual Novels to have multiple endings, alternative death scenes and hidden dialogue. All things you wouldn’t get from, say, watching a movie.
The fun part about VNs is that they’re very accessible to any kind of player. Most of them don’t feature heavy action or require specific skills for players (more than reading comprehension, anyway), so almost anyone can enjoy them!
If you didn’t know, there are all kinds of genres for Visual Novels! Horror, mystery, romance, fantasy, comedy, educational, adventure, etc. They are very popular in Japan, so VNs are often associated with an anime aesthetic. And sure, a lot of them have Japanese-styled artwork, but that’s not a strict rule! Again, you can find all kinds of styles and interesting ideas!
Do you love Visual Novels? What’s your favorite?