Visual novel

Visual novel

A nihongo|visual novel|ビジュアルノベル|bijuaru noberu is an interactive fiction game featuring mostly static graphics, usually with anime-style art. As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels or tableau vivant stage plays. Visual novels are commonly called dating sims in the West, a misnomer as visual novels are classified as a sub-genre of adventure games and not simulation games. This has led to confusion with the "other" genre known as dating sims, which often shares a similar visual format with visual novels, but has gameplay based on statistics.

In Japanese, a distinction is often made between visual novels proper (abbreviated NVL) and adventure games (abbreviated AVG or ADV). This distinction is normally lost in English, where adventure game refers to a different genre.

Visual novels and ADVs are especially prevalent in Japan, where they make up nearly 70% of PC games released. [cite web| date = 2006-02-08| url = http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/pressrelease.php?id=1510| title = AMN and Anime Advanced Announce Anime Game Demo Downloads| publisher = Hirameki International Group Inc.| language = English| accessdate = 2006-12-01] They are rarely produced for video game consoles, but the more popular games are sometimes ported to systems such as the Sega Dreamcast or the Playstation 2. The market for visual novels outside of Japan, however, is small.

Gameplay

Visual novels are distinguished from other game types by their extremely minimal gameplay. Typically the majority of player interaction is limited to clicking to keep the text, graphics and sound moving (most recent games offer 'play' or 'fast-forward' toggles that make even this unnecessary).

Most visual novels have multiple storylines and many endings; the gameplay mechanic in these cases typically consists of intermittent multiple-choice decision points, where the player selects a direction in which to take the game. This style of gameplay has been compared to the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. Most, however, strive for a higher level of plot and character depth than the aforementioned series of interactive children's books. These can be more closely compared to story-driven interactive fiction. While the plots and storytelling of mainstream video games is often criticized, many fans of visual novels hold them up as exceptions and identify this as a strong point of the genre.

Some visual novels do not limit themselves into merely interactive fictions, but also incorporate other elements into them. An example of this is Symphonic Rain, where the player is required to play a musical instrument of some sort, and attain a good score in order to advance. Usually such an element is related as a plot device in the game.

Some shorter works do not contain any decision points at all. Most examples of this sort are fan-created. Fan-created novel games are reasonably popular; there are a number of free game engines and construction kits aimed at making them easy to construct, most notably NScripter, KiriKiri and Ren'Py.

Many visual novels use voice actors to provide voices for the characters in the game. Often, the protagonist is left unvoiced, even when the rest of the characters are fully voiced.

tyle

The visual novel genre has evolved a style somewhat different from print novels. In general, visual novels are more likely to be narrated in the first person than the third, and to present events from the point of view of only one character. It is fairly common for the primary structural unit to be the day rather than the chapter, with formulaic awakenings and returnings to bed framing each day's events. There are of course many exceptions to these generalisations.

In the typical visual novel, the graphics comprise a set of generic backgrounds (normally just one for each location in the game), with character nihongo|sprites|立ち絵 |tachi-e superimposed on these; the perspective is usually first-person, with the protagonist remaining unseen. At certain key moments in the plot, special "event CG" graphics are displayed instead; these are more detailed images, drawn specially for that scene rather than being composed from predefined elements, which often use more cinematic camera angles and include the protagonist. These event CGs can usually be viewed at any time once they have been "unlocked" by finding them in-game; this provides a motivation to replay the game and try making different decisions, as it is normally impossible to view all special events on a single play-through.

Content and genre

Many visual novels are centered around romantic themes, but games centered around science fiction, fantasy fiction, and horror fiction are not uncommon.

Traditionally, PC-based visual novels have contained ecchi scenes even if the overall focus is not erotic (similar to the "obligatory sex scene" in Hollywood action films). However, the vast majority of console ports do not contain adult material, and a number of recent PC games have also been targeted at the all-age market; for example, all of Key's titles come in family-friendly versions, and three have never contained adult content at all. Also, all of KID's titles are family-friendly.

Related terms

"Sound Novels" is a trademark of Chunsoft, which used the term for its novel games such as "Otogirisou", "Kamaitachi no Yoru" and "Machi". Sound Novels were the origin of the "novel"-type game genre. Both genres share the style and gameplay. However the term "Visual Novel" is used by non-Chunsoft developers partly to avoid Chunsoft's trademark and partly to emphasize its focus on visuals rather than sound. As later entries in Chunsoft's own Sound Novel series have strengthened its visual expression with 3DCG and real-life graphics, the latter difference have pretty much disappeared.

Despite what the term may imply, not all sound novels have voice acting; the "sound" being merely background music and sound effects. An example of this is the original "Higurashi no Naku Koro ni" series for the PC, which billed themselves as "sound novels".

VisualArt's, the major visual novel house that publishes Key's works (among numerous other brands), has recently released a series of works called "Kinetic Novels", which are notable for being an experiment in online content distribution. Most of these fall into the completely linear category, lacking any choices at all; as a result, some fans have begun using the term to describe other non-interactive titles. [cite web|url=http://kineticnovel.com/kineticnovel.html|title=キネティックノベルについて|publisher=kineticnovel.jp|language=Japanese|accessdate = 2007-01-06]

Translations

As of 2007, all major visual novels are produced in Japan. Only a few have been licensed in the United States and other countries; as the reason is the majority are eroge, with Hirameki's AnimePlay series and Capcom's Gyakuten Saiban (Ace Attorney internationally) series being exceptions. The Ace Attorney series in particular has enjoyed both fan and mainstream success outside of Japan. [cite web| url = http://www.gamerankings.com/htmlpages4/925589.asp| title = Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney review scores on GameRankings.com| publisher = GameRankings.com| language = English| accessdate = 2007-11-11] In addition to official commercial translations, a vibrant fan translation scene exists, which has translated many free visual novels (such as Narcissu) and a few commercial works into English. Some Russian translations exist as well.

ee also

*List of video games based on anime or manga

References

External links

* [http://vndb.org/ VNDB.org] - A comprehensive database for information of visual novels
* [http://visual-novels.net/ Visual-Novels.net] - A site dealing with the latest visual novels from Japan, forum and downloads
* [http://www.shii.org/translate/ Visual Novel Fan Translations]
*


Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Visual Novel — Exemple d une scène typique de visual novel : un décor, un personnage (ici Wikipe tan) et un dialogue. Un visual novel est une sorte de jeu vidéo, assez populaire au Japon mais très peu connu dans les pays occidentaux. On pourrait qualifier… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Visual novel — Représentation très répandue parmi les visual novel : un décor, un personnage (ici Wikipe tan) et une boîte de dialogue. Un visual novel (ビジュアルノベル, bijuaru noberu …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Visual Novel — Japanische Adventures (jap. アドベンチャーゲーム, adobenchā gēmu von engl. adventure game), kurz: AVG oder ADV, ist die spezifisch japanische Ausprägung von Adventures. Diese werden außerhalb Japans häufig einerseits als Visual Novels (ビジュアルノベル, bijuaru… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Visual novel — Japanische Adventures (jap. アドベンチャーゲーム, adobenchā gēmu von engl. adventure game), kurz: AVG oder ADV, ist die spezifisch japanische Ausprägung von Adventures. Diese werden außerhalb Japans häufig einerseits als Visual Novels (ビジュアルノベル, bijuaru… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Visual Novel — Визуальный роман (яп. ビジュアルノベル бидзуару нобэру?)  жанр компьютерных игр, в котором игроку демонстрируется история при помощи вывода на экран статичных изображений, текста и звуков. Степень интерактивности в таких играх обычно низка, и от игрока… …   Википедия

  • Visual novel — Визуальный роман (яп. ビジュアルノベル бидзуару нобэру?)  жанр компьютерных игр, в котором игроку демонстрируется история при помощи вывода на экран статичных изображений, текста и звуков. Степень интерактивности в таких играх обычно низка, и от игрока… …   Википедия

  • visual novel — noun A video game, usually of Japanese origin, that is of interactive fiction, is predominantly or entirely narrative, and is illustrated by static images that are often of anime style …   Wiktionary

  • Clannad (visual novel) — Clannad Clannad original Japanese visual novel cover クラナド (Kuranado) Genre …   Wikipedia

  • Air (visual novel) — Air Air original visual novel cover. Depicted are Kano (left), Misuzu (center), and Minagi (right). Genre Drama, Fantasy, Romance …   Wikipedia

  • Clannad (visual novel) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Clannad. Traduction à relire …   Wikipédia en Français


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.