- Oct 25, 2017
Hello friends, welcome to the Visual Novels Community Thread! Built from the ashes of a fallen wasteland, this community was created to serve as a place of discussion for beginners and veterans alike. It's a new ERA, yes it is!
No untagged NSFW posts in the thread, generally try to avoid posting NSFW images in general, but if necessary, make sure they're properly tagged.
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.
NO linking to illegal downloads or torrents of Visual Novels, discussion of unlicensed or fan translated games is perfectly fine, just please no actual download links.
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 Attorney, 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.
Developer:Four Leaf Studios
Release Date: January 4, 2012
Genre: Romance, Slice of Life
Katawa Shoujo is a bishoujo-style visual novel set in the fictional Yamaku High School for disabled children, located somewhere in modern Japan. Hisao Nakai, a normal boy living a normal life, has his life turned upside down when a congenital heart defect forces him to move to a new school after a long hospitalization. Despite his difficulties, Hisao is able to find friends—and perhaps love, if he plays his cards right. There are five main paths corresponding to the 5 main female characters, each path following the storyline pertaining to that character.
The story is told through the perspective of the main character, using a first person narrative. The game uses a traditional text and sprite-based visual novel model with an ADV text box.
Release Date: August 5, 2005
Genre: Kinetic Novel, Drama
The anonymous protagonist is diagnosed with a terminal illness shortly after his twentieth birthday, and is admitted to a hospital in Mito, Ibaraki. There he meets Setsumi, a woman a few years older, who is also terminally ill. Finding that they both reject dying either in ahospital or at home, they steal a car and run away together.
Doki Doki Literature Club!
Developer: Team Salvato
Release Date: September 22, 2017
Genre: Psychological Ho- uh I mean Slice of Life!
Doki Doki Literature Club is a peaceful, relaxing visual novel where the player is invited to join the literature club by the energetic Monika! Build friendships! Participate in the cultural festival! Come hang out in the literature club!
Developer: Spike Chunsoft
First Release: November 25, 2010 (Trigger Happy Havoc)
Latest Release: September 26, 2017 (Killing Harmony)
Genre: Thriller. Mystery
Hope's Peak Academy is home to Japan's best and brightest high school students—the beacons of hope for the future. But that hope suddenly dies when Makoto Naegi and his classmates find themselves imprisoned in the school, cut off from the outside world and subject to the whims of a strange, murderous little bear named Monokuma. He pits the students against each other, promising freedom to anyone who can murder a fellow classmate and get away with it.
It's up to you to find out who Monokuma really is, and why you've been taken from the world you once knew. But be careful what you wish for—sometimes there’s nothing more deadly than the truth...
Kara no Shoujo
Developer: Innocent Grey
First Release:July 4, 2008
Genre:: Thriller, Mystery
The year is 1956; a series of bizarre murders rocks the city of Tokyo. Tokisaka Reiji, an ex-cop turned private eye, joins the investigation at the behest of his friend Uozumi Kyozo, a detective in the MPD. At the same time, he takes on a missing persons' case at a private all-girls high school, as well as a mysterious request from a girl named Toko to find her true self. As Reiji frantically struggles to crack the case, he learns that the murders bear an uncanny resemblance to a case in which his own fiancé was murdered six years ago. But try as he might, the body count just keeps rising...
Root Double: Before Crime * After Days
Release Date: June 14, 2012
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
September 16, 2030 - 6:19 AM.
At "LABO", a giant scientific research facility built by a lake on the outskirts of "Rokumei City", an "incident" occurs...!
And thus, nine souls are trapped in LABO's basement.
A world where death eats away at every passing moment.
The way out, shut. Frequent inexplicable phenomena. Countless mysteries.
And... a bizarre murder that occurred right in that closed space.
There are two routes out of this extreme situation:
An amnesiac rescue squad captain in LABO- Watase Kasasagi.
A nine hour escape drama unfolds from his viewpoint.
A high school student trapped in LABO- Natsuhiko Tenkawa.
A journey into his memories of the six days leading up to the incident starts from his viewpoint.
When two intentions and two sets of memories overlap... all will be revealed.
In the end, is there a route for all nine to escape with their lives?
Developer: Type Moon
Release Date: January 30, 2004
Genre: Action, Fantasy
"The one who obtains the Holy Grail will have any wish come true."
The Holy Grail War. A great ritual that materializes the greatest holy artifact, the Holy Grail. There are two conditions to participate in this ritual: to be a magus, and to be a "Master" chosen by the Holy Grail.
There are seven chosen Masters, and seven classes of Servants; beings akin to superhumans with incredible fighting abilities. There is only one Holy Grail. If you wish for a miracle, prove that you are the strongest with your powers.
Emiya Shirou is a high school student who has learned rudimentary magic from his father and uses it to fix objects. He finds himself engaged in the Holy Grail war as he gets attacked by a Servant. As he gets cornered, he somehow summons his own Servant and manages to stay alive long enough to compete against the other Masters.
Release Date: December 31, 2007
Himawari tells a tale of love, tragedy, and sacrifice played out on two stages – Earth, and outer space. Enter Hinata Youichi, a young high school student and sole survivor of a tragic spaceplane crash that robbed him of both his family and memories roughly two years prior. Amnesiac but steady in his new life, Youichi manages to find solace in surrounding himself with friends: Amamiya Ginga, the eccentric son of a world-famous astronaut, as well as the tomboyish, yet ultimately kind-hearted quasi-childhood friend, Saionji Asuka. Everything changes, however, when an unidentified object crash-lands in Youichi’s hometown and he meets Aries, a mysterious – and similarly amnesiac – young girl from outer space. Who is Aries? What happened on that fateful day two years ago? And what secrets lurk behind the accident that turned Youichi’s life upside down?
Explore Youichi’s struggle in coming to terms with his lost memories while an entirely different story is revealed to have taken place far beyond the clouds, in the chilling void of outer space. What starts out as a young man’s light-hearted high-school adventure soon takes a more serious turn as both Youichi and the reader are led to face a sobering revelation: that not everything is as it seems at first glance.
Grisaia no Kajitsu
Release Date: February 25, 2011
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance, Comedy
Mihama Academy - on the surface, a closed learning environment established to nurture students who find themselves at odds with the world around them; in actuality, an orchard-cum-prison built to preserve fruit that has fallen too far from its tree.
Whatever the circumstances behind its establishment, Mihama Academy is at present home to five female students, all with their own reasons for "enrollment." For better or worse, each girl has established a routine obliging of her current situation; life moves at an idle, yet accommodating pace within the walls of Mihama.
Yet with the arrival of the institute's first male student, the nearly preposterously opaque Kazami Yuuji, the students at Mihama begin to fall out of step with their predetermined rhythms. Will Yuuji prove to be the element the girls around him needed to take hold of their lives once more, or will the weight of their pasts prove too steep a wall to overcome?
And in the first place, just who is Kazami Yuuji? While the true nature of the "job" he is wont to alight to at the most haphazard of moments remains shrouded in secrecy, one thing is for certain - his encroachment upon the quiet orchard known as Mihama Academy will prove itself momentous in one way or another. And of course, one cannot discount the possibility that perhaps Yuuji himself carries the weightiest past of any of the students...
Release Date: June 29, 2012
Genre: Slice of Life, Romance
Burdened by the incredible debt his father left behind, Okonogi Masaya is now destitute and alone. However, through a strange collection of events, he finds himself living at the prestigious Vincennes Academy, an all-girls charm school! His purpose is to mingle amongst the Filles De La Vincennes ("Maidens of Vincennes") as the single male "sample" to promote gender integration. How will these young, innocent, and otherwise pure maidens react to his presence?!
And just like that, his life at an all-girls school began...
Release Date: June 18, 2010
Genre: Slice of Life, Comedy
Shouichi was known as one of the ‘nobles’ of the violin world. Having started playing the violin when he was 3, he won the national violin competition when he was in middle school and went to Germany to play in orchestras. However, due to unknown reasons, he returned to Japan, gave up playing the violin and became a freeter. One day, he starts working at a live house and meets many other amateur musicians who are living their lives their own way. Together they will have to overcome obstacles in both their personal lives and as a band. To Shouichi, the live house is a new beginning in a new place… a new world which has opened to him when he thought that his future as a musician had closed.
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Special thanks to Yuuichi for the original OT and pariah164 for help with images! <3