If video games catch your interest and books capture your attention, then here’s a suggestion for a game genre.
Visual Novels, for those who haven’t heard of them, they’re originated in Japan and are basically a text-based story genre of a game that follows a narrative style of writing, accompanied by visuals such as sprites and CGs, meaning computer graphic, which are images that go with certain scenes.
Why should people check out these games? This genre of game may not appear interesting to people unfamiliar with it at first glance, however, this is where that perception is wrong.
Visual Novels may seem like there’s a lot of reading, like in novels, but there are differences such as the unneeded descriptions of a character’s appearance or the setting, since there are visuals already showing such information to the player. Often there are descriptions that the main character will describe in first person, and other time there are the narrator description that are used.
The interactive part of the game usually comes with multiple choice options at certain points of the game. Some have more than just the one way to interact with their game, but most usually just stick to the options of multiple choice.
Depending on those choices, the ending the player will get will change. Bad endings generally aren’t at the very end, so if bad options are being chosen, the bad ending appears rather early on or part way through if the player doesn’t get the first one. Some games will have only one option at a time that will lead to a bad ending, if you pick up on the hints of what’s bad, they can easily be avoided.
There is a community of players who enjoy Visual Novels here at Riverside as well. “I like how immersive it is and the fact that it has multiple endings you can get,” said grade 11, Lee Boyd. “Sometimes there’s even secret endings you can get, which is really cool.”
An example of a Visual Novel game that can be used is Amnesia: Memories. It’s a game where you play as girl who woke up one day with no memories, and in order to get your memories back, you have to choose from five different routes, each with a different world.
Amnesia: Memories in its entirety has 26 different endings, each route with their own good ending, normal ending, and a few bad endings. One of the five routes is unavailable to play until all the other route’s good endings have been reached, as the good ending of the locked route serves as the true ending of the game.
The game has full voice acting for every character, except the player’s character, whom you get to name whatever you want.
Visual Novels have a rather simplistic layout to use, so much so that most people could make one if they desired too, with the help of others or on their own. There are plenty of engines out there that can help fans make their own Visual Novels, such as Ren’Py or NScripter.
“If I were to make a visual novel, it would be mystery based and interactive, with some comedy,” said grade 11, Alex Pao. “I’m unsure of what the subject would be, but I would aim for the plot to be consistent and without fault.”
Some players might be hesitant to try out Visual Novels for the first time, but most people feel nervous about trying new things they aren’t familiar with. They just don’t know what to expect or how to go about it and what games would be good to try out first for a beginner.
Some good games to try starting with would be things like Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Danganronpa or 999.
Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney follows a rookie defence attorney who attempts to defend clients in court. “I would definitely recommend Phoenix Wright as a first time visual novel because it’s nothing too crazy in terms of its story,” said Pao. “It’s easy to follow, and it has a great series to keep going through.”
Danganronpa is about a cast of students who were invited to study at an elite school but find themselves being forced to partake in a deadly and sinister game. 999, meaning nine hours, nine people, and nine doors, following a character named Junpei who finds himself in a game of sorts with 8 other people, all with a bracelet on their wrist with a number on it, including him.
If this article catches anyone’s interest of Visual Novels, try some of the ones suggested and see if they are enjoyable.