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Visual Novel Community Thread: No Auto Read Required

Dany1899

Member
Dec 23, 2017
1,647
I'm not super familiar with VNs, I played some of the Ace Attorney Games, 999 and VLR, Stein's;Gate, Root Letter and the first two Danganronpa's. Based on recommendations I spent my eShop credit on CLANNAD and also got World End Syndrome because I recall reading positive impressions for that game too. Now my question would be if a guide/walkthrough for my first playthrough is recommended, if:

1) I played Stein's;Gate (and all other VNs I've mentioned, though those are much more linear and less complex) without a guide and enjoyed the 'role playing' aspect of making my own choices even if I didn't get the best ending (I intend to revisit that game in some time and maybe use a guide for the second playthrough);

2) I typically don't 100% games.

I don't know CLANNAD and WES and was planning to just go in blind because I 'think' I prefer role-playing over 100% -ing the game, but if these games are really much more complex than the games I already mentioned I might change my mind.
About WES, I absolutely suggest you to use a guide, it is almost essential because there are so many different combinations that you would waste too much time, in my opinion at least.
About Clannad, that I am currently playing, it is easier to get specific routes by going blind. Only some of them are more difficult to unlock, so if you prefer to go blind you could do that. However consider that it is really long, I am at 55 hours and I still have a route plus the true ending to read, so I suppose I will end at 60 hours, after playing the whole VN using a guide. Besides, to get the true ending, you really have to play almost everything except for some very minor routes.

PS for Steins;Gate, getting the true ending without a guide is another really difficult task
 

Apenheul

Member
Oct 27, 2017
367
The Netherlands
About WES, I absolutely suggest you to use a guide, it is almost essential because there are so many different combinations that you would waste too much time, in my opinion at least.
About Clannad, that I am currently playing, it is easier to get specific routes by going blind. Only some of them are more difficult to unlock, so if you prefer to go blind you could do that. However consider that it is really long, I am at 55 hours and I still have a route plus the true ending to read, so I suppose I will end at 60 hours, after playing the whole VN using a guide. Besides, to get the true ending, you really have to play almost everything except for some very minor routes.

PS for Steins;Gate, getting the true ending without a guide is another really difficult task
Exactly the sort of answer I was hoping to get, thanks so much! I think I'll start with WES and use a guide so that I can make a more informed choice for myself when I eventually start with Clannad.
 

deepFlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,543
I think with Clannad... it’s been like a decade, but there are a few things where it’d be good to have a save at certain points and you might miss that without a guide, giving you more trouble later. But it shouldn’t be super obtuse otherwise, I think?
 

Arcsurvivor

Member
Jul 13, 2018
131
I played One Night Stand on steam. Some of the dialogue choices were funny/corny and the endings made me want to keep playing.
 

deadfolk

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,639
I'm not super familiar with VNs, I played some of the Ace Attorney Games, 999 and VLR, Stein's;Gate, Root Letter and the first two Danganronpa's. Based on recommendations I spent my eShop credit on CLANNAD and also got World End Syndrome because I recall reading positive impressions for that game too. Now my question would be if a guide/walkthrough for my first playthrough is recommended, if:

1) I played Stein's;Gate (and all other VNs I've mentioned, though those are much more linear and less complex) without a guide and enjoyed the 'role playing' aspect of making my own choices even if I didn't get the best ending (I intend to revisit that game in some time and maybe use a guide for the second playthrough);

2) I typically don't 100% games.

I don't know CLANNAD and WES and was planning to just go in blind because I 'think' I prefer role-playing over 100% -ing the game, but if these games are really much more complex than the games I already mentioned I might change my mind.
What I tend to do is play blind until I get the first ending then research the game in question. For example, in Steins;Gate all already mentioned, you'd be very unlikely to stumble into the true ending. Others, you can figure it out with the help of in-game tools such as route maps.
 

Dany1899

Member
Dec 23, 2017
1,647
I have finished Clannad right now, and I am totally satisfied by the ending! It is perfectly in theme with the whole visual novel. I really loved the overall experience, most of the routes were really well written and my eyes got moist more than once., so I was really worried that at the end I would have got a less satisfying ending. At the end my playtime has been between 55 and 60 hours - since the Switch doesn't allow to read the exact playtime.
And now it would be time to start AI, if only my copy hadn't be lost in the shipping...
 

rickyson33

Member
Nov 23, 2017
709
most of the way through chapter 3 of subahibi and I gotta say this game has WAY too much porn in it(and not just in amount of scenes either,a bunch of the scenes feel like they should probably be shorter as well)

it's kind of a shame because it has some really high highs and the pacing is overall good too when it isn't getting bogged down by that

it's not ruining it for me but it's turning it from something amazing into something merely very good
 

IamAwake

Member
Oct 27, 2017
171
What are everyone's favorite Ren'py games? If they could be ported to something like Switch, what would you want to see?
 

rickyson33

Member
Nov 23, 2017
709
finished chapter 4 of subahibi

still a few chapters to go so we'll see but right now it feels like this peaked in chapter 3 which is somewhat disappointing,that 4th chapter fleshed out some characters a bit more but offered very little in the way of new developments towards the wider plot so feels like a step down overall from not just chapter 3 but chapter 2 as well,and I haven't actually read any of chapter 5 yet so it remains to be seen how I end up feeling about it but it being centered around tomosane who based on what little i've seen of him in other chapters I neither care about nor find particularly interesting with him feeling pretty superfluous compared to the other main character personalities i'm not very hopeful about it going in
 

Dazraell

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
1,288
Poland
So I'm thinking about getting into visual novels. Can you give me any recommendations of games with good story and choice and consequence / multiple paths that are available on Steam, GOG or itch.io?
 

ShyMel

Member
Oct 31, 2017
2,140
So I'm thinking about getting into visual novels. Can you give me any recommendations of games with good story and choice and consequence / multiple paths that are available on Steam, GOG or itch.io?
I am leaving out some of my usual recommendations since you want branching paths:
Steins;Gate and its sequel
Chaos;Child
World End Syndrome (have not played it all the way myself but enjoyed the demo and others here have praised it)
Zero Escape The Nonary Games
 

Josephl64

Member
Oct 25, 2017
361
Houston
I would've highly recommended G-Senjou no Maou as it's one of my favorites, but the separated the JP voices and made that DLC on steam last I checked.

Voices do make that game much better so I couldn't possibly recommend the $20 version.
 

Taruranto

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,107
So I guess no one else got Hashihime, uh? It's been a week since I finished it, I suppose I'll write something.



I have... mixed feelings about it. The first route of the game is wonderful, it's so good that it can easily stand on its own as story, it goes in silly places at times, but it really manages to tell an incredibly powerful (love) story, it was something that I could easily have recommended to anyone and not just people into BL. I said was because I can't do it anymore.


Anyway, the second route is less good, but it still manages to do a good job overall, the story branches pretty early so the other love interest is given enough time to develop, but it does suffer from the fact that the story is basically written with a "main pairing" in mind, so the other pairings just don't have the same pull (Like when in S;G you try to get Okarin with anyone that isn't Christina).



Sadly, the good things end here. The third route is garbage and fourth one just seems to exist for the fetishes they weren't covering/porn. They are also short and the romances aren't given enough time to develop (But to the game's credit, the writer seems to be aware of that). But that's overall OK, all novels have good and bad routes. They mostly fail to live up to the first two routes but at least they expand the game's lore/characters.

But the problem is really the fifth route, it just straight up bad and completely ruins everything you just read. It's honestly one of the worst endings I ever seen to a piece of fiction, and it's made worse by the fact I have nothing but appreciation for the first route and the rest of the novel. It's impossible to talk about it without spoilers, but I literally went from recommending this to everyone to just NOPE. It seems like a pretty common opinion given the people I talked with and finished it, so I really don't know what the writer had in mind. I mean, it's not like they had to write this shit at the end. If you cut it, the novel straight up improves and becomes good again.

So Hashihime: Don't read it, but if you do pretend the last route never happened. Also Minakami is best boy.
 
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hersheyfan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
601
Manila, Philippines
I dunno, but I could certainly use a guide.
I gotchu, fam:


this is for the original PC98 version, but it works just as well for the 2019 version. Slight adjustments need to be made here and there (ex. the guide says you need to go to the lab, but references a red door that doesnt exist. Its easy enough to go to the lab anyway, which is clearly marked as a lab).

Its improved my experience with the game immeasurably. The story is fantastic, but the game design is archaic as all hell.
 

Aal-Vee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,202
Canada
What's Yu-no about? is it some top tier visual novel?

I'm looking for something that wowed me like house in fata morgana.
 

Griff

Member
Aug 12, 2018
1,582
Twin Peaks, Washington
I decided to finish up Higurashi for spooktober having left it incomplete years ago in favor of Umineko.

While some of the Club stuff is tedious and bland, the actual thriller writing is choice. I want more good horror VNs that are full novel length. I can't wait to dive into Ciconia after.
 

deepFlaw

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,543
What's Yu-no about? is it some top tier visual novel?

I'm looking for something that wowed me like house in fata morgana.
It was a very significant visual novel when originally released.

...but, and people who’ve read it can comment one way or another, from seeing what people I know who played the JP release of this remake have said, my impression is that it’s actually not that amazing overall? Which makes some amount of sense, significance 23 years ago doesn’t necessarily mean high quality in 2019, but...
 

Dazraell

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
1,288
Poland
Thanks for recommendations. I'll go with Highway Blossoms and The House in Fata Morgana. While it's not a typical visual novel per say, I'm also excited for Six Ages: Ride Like The Wind.
 

hersheyfan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
601
Manila, Philippines
What's Yu-no about? is it some top tier visual novel?

I'm looking for something that wowed me like house in fata morgana.
It's historically significant as being the first "real" visual novel, as at the time the VN scene was composed entirely of porn visual novels with low effort, porn level plot. Now, being a game of that era, the lewd stuff is too deeply embedded into the game to completely excise (while theres no explicit stuff, being a console game, the content they did retain teeters on the very edge of what they could get away with without getting banned). This is my first playthrough, and I'm continually being surprised with the shit they got away with. Still, having mainlined a single route until 1AM in the morning (12 hours on Steam), I have to say the game has its hooks in me pretty good.

That said, the game design is super old fashioned. To see all the content, a step by step guide is almost mandatory to minimize frustration. I played almost 2 hours feeling like I wasnt accomplishing much, but I had a lot more fun after I gave up and just used a FAQ.

Edit: If your direct comparison is The House in Fata Morgana, theyre as far apart tonally and content wise as can be. I really loved Fata Morgana too, for what its worth.
 

Aal-Vee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,202
Canada
It's historically significant as being the first "real" visual novel, as at the time the VN scene was composed entirely of porn visual novels with low effort, porn level plot. Now, being a game of that era, the lewd stuff is too deeply embedded into the game to completely excise (while theres no explicit stuff, being a console game, the content they did retain teeters on the very edge of what they could get away with without getting banned). This is my first playthrough, and I'm continually being surprised with the shit they got away with. Still, having mainlined a single route until 1AM in the morning (12 hours on Steam), I have to say the game has its hooks in me pretty good.

That said, the game design is super old fashioned. To see all the content, a step by step guide is almost mandatory to minimize frustration. I played almost 2 hours feeling like I wasnt accomplishing much, but I had a lot more fun after I gave up and just used a FAQ.

Edit: If your direct comparison is The House in Fata Morgana, theyre as far apart tonally and content wise as can be. I really loved Fata Morgana too, for what its worth.
It sounds too risky for me to foot full price for numerous reasons. What's the story like?
 

hersheyfan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
601
Manila, Philippines
It sounds too risky for me to foot full price for numerous reasons. What's the story like?
It's a time travel plot, like Stein's;Gate but less bogged down in tedious technical jargon. I'm having fun so far, but I can't comment on whether the general plot sticks the landing as I haven't read that far. Maybe somebody ITT who's actually played through the whole thing can help?

Note: A high tolerance for Japanese pervy tropes is mandatory, otherwise abandon ship ASAP.
 

Aal-Vee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,202
Canada
It's a time travel plot, like Stein's;Gate but less bogged down in tedious technical jargon. I'm having fun so far, but I can't comment on whether the general plot sticks the landing as I haven't read that far. Maybe somebody ITT who's actually played through the whole thing can help?

Note: A high tolerance for Japanese pervy tropes is mandatory, otherwise abandon ship ASAP.
I'm getting tired of pervy tropes. I finished this anime called seven deadly sins which I couldn't take seriously pretty much ever.
 

hersheyfan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
601
Manila, Philippines
I'm getting tired of pervy tropes. I finished this anime called seven deadly sins which I couldn't take seriously pretty much ever.
Well, I dont watch much anime so I cant relate, but it sounds like Yu-No might not be for you. What other VNs have you already played? If you list what you've already read, and which of those games you'd like to play more of, then somebody can come in with a better rec for you.

Fata Morgana is pretty singular in terms of VNs, but if you're looking for something loopy and horror-ish in tone I'd suggest Umineko When They Cry: Question Arcs. Just be warned that its very long, youre getting a lot of VN for your money which can be a bad thing depending on your tastes.
 

Aal-Vee

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,202
Canada
Well, I dont watch much anime so I cant relate, but it sounds like Yu-No might not be for you. What other VNs have you already played? If you list what you've already read, and which of those games you'd like to play more of, then somebody can come in with a better rec for you.

Fata Morgana is pretty singular in terms of VNs, but if you're looking for something loopy and horror-ish in tone I'd suggest Umineko When They Cry: Question Arcs. Just be warned that its very long, youre getting a lot of VN for your money which can be a bad thing depending on your tastes.
-The House in Fata Morgana(my fav)
-Zero Escape Series
-Ever17
-Ace Attorney series
-Danganronpa series
-Doki Doki Lit Club
-Steins;Gate

Can't remember anything else. I have my eyes on Umineku(but I waited because the kickstarter thing, which is currently stalled) and Muv Luv(I think that's what it's called). I'm honestly willing to give anything a chance, I just really like well written amazing storylines. Some VN I didn't go for because I already watched an anime of them which would make it hard in a lot of cases(to endure reading when I know all plot points) takes away a lot of the intrigue that gets me reading in the first place. The only exception is Umineko, I have no clue what happened in the anime lol.
 

hersheyfan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
601
Manila, Philippines
-The House in Fata Morgana(my fav)
-Zero Escape Series
-Ever17
-Ace Attorney series
-Danganronpa series
-Doki Doki Lit Club
-Steins;Gate

Can't remember anything else. I have my eyes on Umineku(but I waited because the kickstarter thing, which is currently stalled) and Muv Luv(I think that's what it's called). I'm honestly willing to give anything a chance, I just really like well written amazing storylines. Some VN I didn't go for because I already watched an anime of them which would make it hard in a lot of cases(to endure reading when I know all plot points) takes away a lot of the intrigue that gets me reading in the first place. The only exception is Umineko, I have no clue what happened in the anime lol.
RE: Umineko, I understand the concern, but the Question and Answer arcs are both up on Steam - between the two of them thats well over a hundred hours already. I'd say give them a shot.

Muv-Luv is great, but you have to play through a lot of saccharine (Muv-Luv) to get to the good stuff (Muv-Luv Alternative). It's a large time investment.

If you haven't played Steins;Gate 0 yet, I'd suggest you try that. It's a very solid follow-up to the original.

Higurashi: When They Cry is also great, but a lot more horror-ish in tone. It's episodic, so you can try the first episode for cheap and see if its for you.

Finally, if you have a strong stomach for gore and generally disturbing content, I'd thoroughly recommend Song of Saya. The Steam version is thankfully free of the original' s questionable sexual content (which, having played it, doesnt really add much to the story), so its an easy recommend.
 
Oct 25, 2017
3,452
-The House in Fata Morgana(my fav)
-Zero Escape Series
-Ever17
-Ace Attorney series
-Danganronpa series
-Doki Doki Lit Club
-Steins;Gate

Can't remember anything else. I have my eyes on Umineku(but I waited because the kickstarter thing, which is currently stalled) and Muv Luv(I think that's what it's called). I'm honestly willing to give anything a chance, I just really like well written amazing storylines. Some VN I didn't go for because I already watched an anime of them which would make it hard in a lot of cases(to endure reading when I know all plot points) takes away a lot of the intrigue that gets me reading in the first place. The only exception is Umineko, I have no clue what happened in the anime lol.
Since you've played the Zero Escape series and Ever 17 I'd strongly recommend Root Double. It's from Takumi Nakazawa (the director of Ever 17) and has a very similar setup to the Zero Escape series, but I think it's even better than it in terms of the character development and tension.

Higurashi, as mentioned, is an other good one, and it's pretty easy to get into since the individual chapters are each pretty short. Muv-Luv which you already have your eyes on is a nice one, just keep in mind that you will have to go through a lot of fairly typical harem stuff before you get to the real meat of the story in Alternative. (I didn't mind Extra so much since I liked the characters, but your mileage may vary).
 

Knurek

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,320
It's historically significant as being the first "real" visual novel, as at the time the VN scene was composed entirely of porn visual novels with low effort, porn level plot.
That's not true, as both Desire and EVE: Burst Error (from the same development team) happened two years and one year before Yu-No did.
 

hersheyfan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
601
Manila, Philippines
That's not true, as both Desire and EVE: Burst Error (from the same development team) happened two years and one year before Yu-No did.
Huh. I stand corrected then. I remember reading somewhere that Yu-No was the first.

But if you don't mind me asking, if it was predated by two other visual novels with presumable substance (by the same development team, even), then why is Yu-No considered historically significant? Legitimately interested in knowing this.
 

ffvorax

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,523
So... I got a Switch lately.
Any good VN I should get?
VN I played in the past on my VITA:
Root Letter
Danganrompa Series
Steins Gate Series
Zero Escape Series
Chaos;Child
Hatoful Boyfriend

I think that's all... loved them all! (Root Letter my less favourite probably, but still good.)
 

Taruranto

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,107
Fata Morgana is not on Switch, but you should definitely get that. The best version of the game is on Vita/PS4.
 

Flevance

Member
Oct 28, 2017
961
So... I got a Switch lately.
Any good VN I should get?
VN I played in the past on my VITA:
Root Letter
Danganrompa Series
Steins Gate Series
Zero Escape Series
Chaos;Child
Hatoful Boyfriend

I think that's all... loved them all! (Root Letter my less favourite probably, but still good.)
Try Clannad and VA-11 Hall-A
 
Oct 28, 2017
660
Ireland
So... I got a Switch lately.
Any good VN I should get?
VN I played in the past on my VITA:
Root Letter
Danganrompa Series
Steins Gate Series
Zero Escape Series
Chaos;Child
Hatoful Boyfriend

I think that's all... loved them all! (Root Letter my less favourite probably, but still good.)
A couple off the top of my head
Ace Attorney trilogy
AI: Somnium Files (Zero Escape writer)
World End Syndrome
Death Mark/NG (Also on Vita)
 

ffvorax

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,523
A couple off the top of my head
Ace Attorney trilogy
AI: Somnium Files (Zero Escape writer)
World End Syndrome
Death Mark/NG (Also on Vita)
Already played this series too! Love it! I get N consoles just to play it... XD
I had death Mark in my Vita wishlist! I forgot about it! Gonna take it were it will be discounted more! (vita i guess)

Try Clannad and VA-11 Hall-A
Ok thx to both I wishlisted everything! Gonna take my time to choose wisely.

Fata Morgana is not on Switch, but you should definitely get that. The best version of the game is on Vita/PS4.
Ok I will look at it!
 

Dany1899

Member
Dec 23, 2017
1,647
So... I got a Switch lately.
Any good VN I should get?
VN I played in the past on my VITA:
Root Letter
Danganrompa Series
Steins Gate Series
Zero Escape Series
Chaos;Child
Hatoful Boyfriend

I think that's all... loved them all! (Root Letter my less favourite probably, but still good.)
I suggest you World End Syndrome, it is much more better than the original trailers could make you think.
 

upandaway

Member
Oct 25, 2017
276
Fata Morgana

Finished this the other day (although I haven't read the two extra episodes yet). Have to say it was really really good, and I enjoyed it a lot. Especially Michel's flashback - it honestly felt like the whole VN was designed around it to make telling it possible in the right context. Doors 5~7 were nuts. Art was amazing and the story dealt with some great themes that felt real (again I feel like Michel's flashback gave everything else life).

It was cool that it originally presented itself as a collection of 4 short tragedies, but that ended up being just the prologue of a much bigger and longer thing. Door 4's backlog really freaked me out.

When I started it really surprised me how well written everything is, both the writing style and the content, but honestly I felt like the writing style's quality somewhat fell apart in the second half, or maybe I just got used to it. In general I felt like it was slower and more redundant than it should've been, especially the last door + ending, but it's not like I'm new to pacing problems in VNs. A bigger criticism I have is probably the music which I feel wasn't that good, and also wasn't utilized correctly (tracks were not switched around as often as they should've, and different doors/sections should have shared more tracks between them).

Honestly thinking about it I'm surprised the tragedies of the first three doors were so reserved considering what's behind them. The ones that suffered the most weren't even the 3 men. Even door 2 which is the hardest hitting, the dude never even knew what happened. And the one who got the weakest punishment was the worst offender (jacopo), who I still can't believe what he did to Morgana (or rather, I feel like the VN didn't really sell it as well as it should have for such a crazy twist. maybe if we saw him slipping down the slippery slope a bit further than we did).

Overall I wouldn't say it's my favorite but I did really enjoy it a ton, even if I felt it was somewhat uneven. At least the highs were high.
 

Taruranto

Member
Oct 26, 2017
2,107
Fata Morgana

Finished this the other day (although I haven't read the two extra episodes yet). Have to say it was really really good, and I enjoyed it a lot. Especially Michel's flashback - it honestly felt like the whole VN was designed around it to make telling it possible in the right context. Doors 5~7 were nuts. Art was amazing and the story dealt with some great themes that felt real (again I feel like Michel's flashback gave everything else life).

It was cool that it originally presented itself as a collection of 4 short tragedies, but that ended up being just the prologue of a much bigger and longer thing. Door 4's backlog really freaked me out.

When I started it really surprised me how well written everything is, both the writing style and the content, but honestly I felt like the writing style's quality somewhat fell apart in the second half, or maybe I just got used to it. In general I felt like it was slower and more redundant than it should've been, especially the last door + ending, but it's not like I'm new to pacing problems in VNs. A bigger criticism I have is probably the music which I feel wasn't that good, and also wasn't utilized correctly (tracks were not switched around as often as they should've, and different doors/sections should have shared more tracks between them).

Honestly thinking about it I'm surprised the tragedies of the first three doors were so reserved considering what's behind them. The ones that suffered the most weren't even the 3 men. Even door 2 which is the hardest hitting, the dude never even knew what happened. And the one who got the weakest punishment was the worst offender (jacopo), who I still can't believe what he did to Morgana (or rather, I feel like the VN didn't really sell it as well as it should have for such a crazy twist. maybe if we saw him slipping down the slippery slope a bit further than we did).

Overall I wouldn't say it's my favorite but I did really enjoy it a ton, even if I felt it was somewhat uneven. At least the highs were high.
Requiem may fix your issue with Jacopo, the novel indeed doesn't spend enough time on it because I think the writer had already started to write the prequel in his mind when he got to door 8.
 

takoyaki

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,208
Huh. I stand corrected then. I remember reading somewhere that Yu-No was the first.

But if you don't mind me asking, if it was predated by two other visual novels with presumable substance (by the same development team, even), then why is Yu-No considered historically significant? Legitimately interested in knowing this.
Don’t quote me on that, but I’ve read multiple places that Yu-No was the first VN with a flowchart that’s visible to the player and gets incorporated into the narrative. It’s not the first VN (maybe Portopia? or Otogirisou followed by Kamaitachi?), but an important stepping stone and maybe the first “modern” VN like we know them today. Jump around a flowchart, make decisions in one timeline that have repercussions in another, unlock a number of endings to progress to the final route, etc. I believe the complexity of the scifi narrative was also unprecedented for the genre when the original came out.
 

Drakken

Member
Oct 28, 2017
144
Nabbed Steins;Gate Elite on Switch yesterday thanks to the 60% off sale! Looking forward to finally checking that out after all this time.
 

hersheyfan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
601
Manila, Philippines
Don’t quote me on that, but I’ve read multiple places that Yu-No was the first VN with a flowchart that’s visible to the player and gets incorporated into the narrative. It’s not the first VN (maybe Portopia? or Otogirisou followed by Kamaitachi?), but an important stepping stone and maybe the first “modern” VN like we know them today. Jump around a flowchart, make decisions in one timeline that have repercussions in another, unlock a number of endings to progress to the final route, etc. I believe the complexity of the scifi narrative was also unprecedented for the genre when the original came out.
I see. Yeah, this is more in line with what I had read, I remember in the other Era Yu-No thread somebody recounted how the dev team wanted to expand beyond what the rest of the industry was offering at the time, which was H-games pretty much. Thanks for taking the time to write that up, I appreciate it!

Nabbed Steins;Gate Elite on Switch yesterday thanks to the 60% off sale! Looking forward to finally checking that out after all this time.
Enjoy! Power through the initial slow parts - when Steins;Gate gets going, it really gets going. You're in for a ride.
 

takoyaki

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,208
I see. Yeah, this is more in line with what I had read, I remember in the other Era Yu-No thread somebody recounted how the dev team wanted to expand beyond what the rest of the industry was offering at the time, which was H-games pretty much. Thanks for taking the time to write that up, I appreciate it!
It can be tricky to talk about VN history since we missed out on a lot of the important classics (Famicom Tantei, Kamaitachi, Tokimeki, etc.) in the West and the genre is thrown into one pot with Adventure games in Japan. Otogirisou (1992) started and Kamaitachi no Yoru (1994) further popularized the Sound Novel subgenre(?) that’s closer to modern VNs than point-and-click adventure games like Portopia, Famicom Tantei, Desire, Eve, Snatcher, etc. They both told mature mystery stories without any H-content, had flowcharts and multiple routes but only the reader was aware of them. Those early SpikeChun sound novels are often cited by modern VN creators like Uchikoshi, Nakazawa or Ryukishi07 as their big influences and inspirations. Yu-No upped the complexity of he story and took the flowchart system one step further by making it part of the narrative with a protagonist that was aware of its existence. It’s easy to see that influence in games like Steins;Gate.
 

Dany1899

Member
Dec 23, 2017
1,647
Nabbed Steins;Gate Elite on Switch yesterday thanks to the 60% off sale! Looking forward to finally checking that out after all this time.
If I could erase the memory of having played a VN, I would choose Steins;Gate to experience it again. As hersheyfan suggested, if you find the pacing or the first part a bit too slow, go ahead and you will read on the best VNs. The same is if you don't like Okabe, the main character. At first, I hated his personality. At the end of the VN, my opinions about him were the opposite.
 

hersheyfan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
601
Manila, Philippines
It can be tricky to talk about VN history since we missed out on a lot of the important classics (Famicom Tantei, Kamaitachi, Tokimeki, etc.) in the West and the genre is thrown into one pot with Adventure games in Japan. Otogirisou (1992) started and Kamaitachi no Yoru (1994) further popularized the Sound Novel subgenre(?) that’s closer to modern VNs than point-and-click adventure games like Portopia, Famicom Tantei, Desire, Eve, Snatcher, etc. They both told mature mystery stories without any H-content, had flowcharts and multiple routes but only the reader was aware of them. Those early SpikeChun sound novels are often cited by modern VN creators like Uchikoshi, Nakazawa or Ryukishi07 as their big influences and inspirations. Yu-No upped the complexity of he story and took the flowchart system one step further by making it part of the narrative with a protagonist that was aware of its existence. It’s easy to see that influence in games like Steins;Gate.
That's an interesting point - the characters (or at the very least, the protagonist) being aware of the existence of "routes" allows them to engage with the game mechanics in the story itself, and react to the effects of choices made in the same way the reader would - it takes it a step further that just having routes without character awareness. If Yu-No really did start the whole "visible" flowchart idea, that's definitely a major innovation that deserves credit.

Since you obviously know a lot about the subject, are there any older PC visual novel classics that have english fan translations? I'll be in Osaka for a week starting this Saturday, and if there are any I can realistically cop I might as well spend an afternoon combing Den Den Town for some VN loot. Or are all of the good ones super rare/prohibitively expensive?
 

takoyaki

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,208
That's an interesting point - the characters (or at the very least, the protagonist) being aware of the existence of "routes" allows them to engage with the game mechanics in the story itself, and react to the effects of choices made in the same way the reader would - it takes it a step further that just having routes without character awareness. If Yu-No really did start the whole "visible" flowchart idea, that's definitely a major innovation that deserves credit.

Since you obviously know a lot about the subject, are there any older PC visual novel classics that have english fan translations? I'll be in Osaka for a week starting this Saturday, and if there are any I can realistically cop I might as well spend an afternoon combing Den Den Town for some VN loot. Or are all of the good ones super rare/prohibitively expensive?
I’m definitely not an expert on fan-translations and mostly play on consoles/handhelds, so I hope someone else in this thread can chime in.

The first three Infinity series games (Never7, Ever17 and Remember11) got good English fan-translations. The fourth game in the series (12Riven) is the last one where Uchikoshi was involved. The fan-translation was never finished, but 12Riven is generally considered worse than the previous three games in the series so you’re not missing out on too much. When you say PC VNs, the Eve series, Desire, Doukoku and similar games come to mind. I think some of them are available in English either officially or via fan-translation. Some of those games got remakes on Vita but I’m not sure what the state of Vita fan-translations is right now. I think a good place to check for fan translations are the fuwanovel forums.

From a collector’s perspective, the language barrier of VNs has helped to keep prices down compared to other retro games. There’s a few really expensive adventure games / VNs (e.g. Dead of the Brain on PC Engine), but in my experience retro VNs can sometimes be hard to find but mostly aren't super expensive. There’s almost always one or two weird VNs on consoles that you typically wouldn’t associate with the genre: Yakouchuu on GBA, Yakouchuu 2 on N64(!), Terrors 1 & 2 on Wonderswan, Higanbana GBA and PS2 (the follow-up to Otogirisou by the same author), etc. Not saying those games are good or long-lost classics, but they make for cool collectibles if you’re a VN fan and on the hunt in Den Den Town. And most of the classics are available on multiple platforms and you can find them used for under $10 (Infinity series, Machi, Kamaitachi series, etc.)

One more tip: There’s a lot of really good books about all kinds of video game subjects with information that is often hard or impossible to find on the internet, at least in English. Keep en eye out for them while you’re there, even with the language barrier you might still find out about some interesting VNs. I can recommend this one about VNs/Adventure games from 1980-2000.
 
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