Honest question, are visual novels games? I ask it because for me are not games, are visual books. In the same way an audio book is not a movie.
This my friend is something we VN fans have been asking ourselves for ages. The answer is a resounding "kinda?". Some VNs are undeniably games. Those with action segments, strategy or stat raising. Like Digimon Survive, Danganronpa or Long Live the Queen.
Then you have those that are purely reading, but keep track of relationship or death flags and have different endings... in my opinion those are games, just like Choose your own adventure books are a kind of toy. Not everybody agrees, but most VN fans do. Games like Muv-Luv, The House in Fata Morgana, Clannad... Most dating sims fit this bill, too.
Finally there's "kinetic" novels, that is, VNs with no choices or inconsequential choices, and a single ending. For me those are basically glorified manga or "bookified" anime. Some of the "best" in the genre are like this (Most of the "When They Cry" series, for example) but they're not really for me.
Sorry for the impromptu lecture. Carry on with the thread (A vote for shorter games, I like JRPGs too but honestly I'm 40 and I can play like 2h a day...)