Visual Novels Community Thread | A Little Something for Everyone

#1


Welcome one, welcome all to the Visual Novels Community Thread! This is a place, created to be more beginner friendly help revitalize the community here on GAF, where people can come together to discuss Visual Novels and all related news, whether they've never heard of a Visual Novels or if you've been playing games fresh from Japan for years.




  • No NSFW in the thread, and while NSFW links should be avoided where possible, tag them as such if you do post them.
  • Spoiler tags are your best friend. Use them always, use them often; anywhere you think you could even remotely need them should get tagged. You may also add "Unmarked Spoilers" to the titles of review posts, but not discussion posts.
  • This isn’t the time or place to discuss the validity or ethics of Visual Novels as games or art. This is just a place to talk about the novels themselves.
  • Neogaf’s rules on piracy very much apply, especially in the context of the non-Japanese market. There are some great resources for buying games below, so you don’t have any excuses.


What on earth is a Visual Novel?
A visual novel is a type of interactive fiction that originated in Japan, often characterized by “anime” art style and voice acting and often containing some degree of sexual content, especially in PC games. Arguably far closer to real novels than interactive comic books, both by nature of design and length, with some titles like the famous Type Moon Visual Novel: "Fate/Stay Night" clocking in at around 1,000,000 English words, or more than twice the length of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. However, the kicker is that Visual Novels often allow the reader to make choices much like in classic “Choose Your Own Adventure” books, which can lead to the story branching off in any number of directions to one of many endings.

While they might sound boring or offensive, you might have played one without even knowing it. Arguably the most famous Visual Novel in the west is Phoenix Wright: Ace Attourney, which brings constant critical and commercial success. By their digital nature, Visual Novels are a flexible medium that allow for degrees of gameplay and experiences and stories that you just can’t get in other mediums. Why not take the plunge and find out what the hype is all about for yourself?



There are some specialized terms you might hear in the discussion of Visual Novels, the terms below should give a solid introduction so that you can sound like you know what you're talking about, too!

Adventure (ADV) Game - A Visual Novel where the text box takes up a small part of the screen, and it looks a bit more like a traditional game. The most common type of VN.

Novel (NVL) Game - A Visual Novel where the text covers most, if not all of the screen, often with a transparent or semi-transparent overlay. Less Common and more like a traditional novel.

Kinetic Novel - A Visual Novel with no choices, very rarely seen and usually quite short.

Bishoujoge / Bishoujo Game - Literally “Beautiful Girl Game”, an often male targeted genre focusing on interactions or the prominence of female characters and their interactions with a male protagonist.

Otomege / Otome Game - Literally “Maiden Game” an often female targeted genre with a focus on interactions and the prominence of male characters and their interactions with a female protagonist.

Dating Simulator - Any game that’s focused on relationships, often used very broadly especially by people outside of Japan.

Route - A word used to describe the series of choices and resulting story that brings you to a specific ending, often named after the character most prominently featured in said ending.

Flags - A quantification of the choices required to activate certain routes and text sections in games, often used in more complicated games.

Fandisc - A game “sequel” that usually expands upon the endings of the original games to give fans more of what they liked about the original game. Often heavily focused on sexual content.



So you liked what you read, or just skipped it all and wanted to know where to start. Thankfully, there are plenty of great Visual Novels, both free and commercial that are great for beginners! Click any of the images below to get taken to download or purchase links. Some games have multiple versions for platforms not listed in the links, just throw a title in Google or check official sites as listen on VNDB.org (Visual Novel Database).

Each of the game listings has a series of icons in the bottom right, if the icon is lit up it indicates, in order from left to right: that the game contains sexual content, that the game is available on Windows, that the game is available on Steam, that the game is available on one or more Sony device, and that the game is available on the 3DS. The final icon gives an average game length, taken from VNDB.org (Visual Novel Database).














If you’ve played everything on the list as well as checked out the games listed in the “you might also like sections” feel more than free to ask for recommendations, we’re more than willing to help. A filled out and maintained VNDB (Visual Novel Database) also helps us recommend games, you can see what one looks like here.

If you want to start importing games, I wrote and maintain* this nifty guide over at Reddit and I would be more than happy to answer any questions you might have.
*has problems, will be fixed

Extenal Resorces
VNDB
TLWIKI
Amateratsu
Hau~Omochikaeri (can be NSFW)
Sekai Project

Special thanks to:
InfiniteNine
Marche90
Burnburn
Dresden

Without whom this thread wouldn't have been possible!
 
#4
Nice thread.
I really loved 999, Virtue's Last Reward and Danganronpa series. Recommend to me some similar games.
Well I want to say Ace Attorney and Persona for DR, but neither of those fit in this thread :'(

But you like good stories. Therefore, I suggest Steins;Gate like always >.>

If you want what inspired Zero Escape, play Banshees Last Cry. Its pretty cheap on the app store, not too long, and has a pretty good plot.


On a note for a game I havent played- look up Ever 17 and that series. Its the previous series by the guy who wrote 999. Apparently its in the same vein?
Warning though: a legal copy will run you nearly $1000 dollars new last I checked. I dont have any copy though, soo...
 
#7
Nice thread! I started reading Umineko 2 years after stopping once I had finished episode 5, I was worried that I would have forgotten most of the plot points but it only took me halfway through episode 6 to remember everything.
 
#9
Nice thread.
I really loved 999, Virtue's Last Reward and Danganronpa series. Recommend to me some similar games.
I think Stein's;Gate might be up your alley, it's got that just right combination of nonsense humor and incredible plot and twists that keep you guessing all the way to the finish line.

On a note for a game I havent played- look up Ever 17 and that series. Its the previous series by the guy who wrote 999. Apparently its in the same vein?
Warning though: a legal copy will run you nearly $1000 dollars new last I checked. I dont have any copy though, soo...
I was lucky enough to get mine for $150 off ebay a few years back, unfortunately second hand is the only way to acquire a legal copy now.

So I giess this is the place to ask- yea or nay to If My Heart Had Wings
I've bee enjoying it.
But I'm playing it in Japanese. Several people I know were ok with the English translation, it is known to be a bit... literal. I also don't support the cutting of content, so that's why I imported it instead.
 
#12
Subscribed. There is certainly a lack of Visual Novels in my life right now, and I've been looking for a good excuse to change that. Got a few of the OP suggestions already, looking forward to more recommendations.
 
#14
I'd recommend Clannad from Key as well. I spent a lot of time to fully complete all routes back then. Very nice game with incredible plot. I did play Jp version though, but the Eng version must be out there, or so i've heard.
 
#16
I'd recommend Clannad from Key as well. I spent a lot of time to fully complete all routes back then. Very nice game with incredible plot. I did play Jp version though, but the Eng version must be out there, or so i've heard.
The fan TL for Clannad is bit of a mess, but the game is getting a retranslation and an official Steam release, so I'd suggest waiting for that.
 
#19
I talked with Dresden before we posted this, unless this thread snowballs out of control we're probably going to stay here, in the vein of the Touhou community thread and the like.
Ahh cool. I really need to play my copy of Steins;Gate. Haven't touched it for a long time already :lol

Anyone know if there is a physical release for the upcoming Ace Attorney trilogy? Is it just digital only?
iirc digital only
 
#21
Cool thread! I was making my way through Innocent Grey's Flowers (my Japanese isn't fantastic) but stopped with the intent to start over with the Vita version. Haven't gotten around to importing it yet, maybe this month.
 
#22
:( So few decent English-translated otoge. Most are bad Android games that make you wait or pay for more energy to advance the plot. Best one I've played is Hakuouki, but that's not saying much.
 
#25
I bought the English version of "Attack of the Friday Monsters - A Tokyo Tale" on my 3DS a while back. I finished it, but I guess it's possible to finish the game without completing each individual chapter? At any rate, there's some bypassed chapters that I can't get back to. Is that typical of VNs?

I've been meaning to pick up some more of these; much more relaxed than the usual games I play, and generally inexpensive too. Well, the Level 5 ones, that is.
 
#26
I bought the English version of "Attack of the Friday Monsters - A Tokyo Tale" on my 3DS a while back. I finished it, but I guess it's possible to finish the game without completing each individual chapter? At any rate, there's some bypassed chapters that I can't get back to. Is that typical of VNs?

I've been meaning to pick up some more of these; much more relaxed than the usual games I play, and generally inexpensive too. Well, the Level 5 ones, that is.
Usually there are "routes" that you take to take you to different endings, but I guess for your case, its routes to different points in chapters.

To get 100% out of a VN, people usually go through all of the routes. Most VNs have skip text options for text you have already read. I don't know how good that VN is, but if you enjoyed it, go through all the routes.
 
#29
:( So few decent English-translated otoge. Most are bad Android games that make you wait or pay for more energy to advance the plot. Best one I've played is Hakuouki, but that's not saying much.
If you look in the right places you'll be able to find some good english translated ones.

Unless you are talking about specificly on android devices, those are horrible and I haven't gotten any good experiences with any.
 
#33
I've been wanting to try more VN's for some time now, had a hard time figuring out where to begin.


Great thread! I will make use of these recommendations.
 
#35
The Japanese market for these is mostly otaku and at much higher prices than mobile platforms support.
Understandably. Wouldn't see a $15+ title doing well on mobile, at least not enough to prioritize it. They could always split it into episodes at charge $5 each, but I could see the difficulty in that. Just sucks that KS won't work on my SIII and I could never work out the Ren'Py thing
 
#37
Just letting everyone know about the Grisaia kickstarter that's starting this month. Supposedly. Would be great to get all three games over here.
 
#38
This thread reminds me that I'm still waiting for a Steam release of Steins Gate, or at least a DRM free version on GOG or Humble. :(

I really want to play it, but physical copies of games are pretty much dead to me, and I have no interest in having a JastUSA account just for one game.
 
#39
Virtue's Last Reward is one of my absolute favorites, although it feels more like an Escape The Room type of game than a visual novel. Never played 999 though, mostly because I got put off by reviews saying that you have to redo a lot of the puzzles to get all the endings, which VLR neatly avoided.

Time Travelers is absolutely fantastic and might just be my favorite Level 5 game, like, EVER. It has a lot of themes in common with Stein;s Gate (which I'm playing right now), but it's a lot more like an interactive movie/anime (although it's all polygon models) rather than having to wade through huge amounts of text.

Looking forward to playing Dangan Ronpa at some point as well, as I've heard nothing but great things about the series.

And the Ace Attorney games are great, obviously.
 
#40
Obligatory post about the Tsukihime remake and despair over Arcueid's new short skirt design, and that Tsukihime 2 will come out around Half Life 3 and The Last Guardian.

Obligatory reminder that the Heaven's Feel route of Fate/Stay Night is getting a movie or two after ufotable finishes airing the Unlimited Blade Works adaptation.

Obligatory Miyako route translation post for Majikoi.

Obligatory Ryukishi07 post:

 
#41
Visual Novels/ADV games are my jam. Ace Attorney, Zero Escape, DanganRonpa, Trace Memory/Hotel Dusk, Touch Detective, etc, etc, etc. I love them all, I want more in North America. Please give them to me now, thanks.

A few of my most anticipated upcoming games are VNs, mainly the three gay bara/yaoi dating sims on the horizon. (No, Thank You!!!, Coming Out on Top, and Super Health Club FYI.) I'm super excited to finally see some VNs made with gay gamers in mind getting the green light. Hopefully a sign of much more to come.

As a side note, I don't know if I'd use Hakuoki as the hallmark game for female protagonists. While it is a long running and popular series and the story is quite interesting, the heroine herself is not that noteworthy IMO. Saki of Sweet Fuse is a lot more interesting to me personally, and I think is a better heroine to highlight.
 
#43
Also, a list of all the heavy hitters us english-only peasants are missing right now:

Baldr Sky
Muramasa
Dies Irae
Grisaia no Meikyuu/Rakuen
Kitto, Sumiwataru Asairo Yori mo
The later Majikoi games and some more routes
 
#44
Would it be recommended to play Higurashi with the default art? I kinda wanna mod the character art at first glance.
Definately patch IMO. The OG art is horrible. I'm sorry everyone who thinks the new art lacks something but it's just soooo baaad. I did get used to and quite liked the Umineko old art tho but even there I think it's ok to patch.

I should continue my reading through Higu too. I got to the beginning of Kai but stopped there. I already have seen the anime so it's not entirely new stuff for me.
 
#45
Excellent OP, thanks Yuuichi.

This has been my year of entry for real in the VN, I started last year with Katawa Shoujo and this years some of my best gaming experiences has been with Steins;Gate and both Daganronpa. I have also started Fate/Stay Night, but it´s loooooong. Great stuff, love it, hopefully I can play more.

As a suggestion, could we add a link in the OP to the old thread? It would be a shame losing the recopilation of InfiniteNine.
 
#47
This thread reminds me that I'm still waiting for a Steam release of Steins Gate, or at least a DRM free version on GOG or Humble. :(

I really want to play it, but physical copies of games are pretty much dead to me, and I have no interest in having a JastUSA account just for one game.
You might be waiting forever because 5pb doesn't seem willing to let it be on Steam.
 

Semblance

shhh Graham I'm still compiling this Radiant map
#48
I gave up on Steins;Gate making it to Steam anytime soon and just bought a physical copy last month. Haven't made much progress yet (finished the prologue or w/e), but the art style impressed me immediately. It's a very pretty game.

e: No Christine Love mention anywhere is unfortunate. :[ She does good work.
 
#50
Recently started Fruit of Grisaia on Vita cause I felt in the mood for some cornball antics/melodrama. Been enjoying it so far.
It has some of the best comedy I've seen in VNs. It's actually best when it's just a bunch of random comedy vignettes. The serious parts of the story suffer from some real pacing and structural problems (those never-ending NVL flashback sections!), and the main character isn't very interesting or well developed when he's not being used for comedic scenarios.