Intermission – Visual Novels

Hey everyone. Just thought I would pop in and let people know what I’ve been up to. With only a couple more days before I head off to college, I’ve been making sure to keep myself busy. But, I did make sure to set aside some time for you guys.

Anyway, for quite some time I’ve had on my list of distractions these things called “Visual Novels“.
“What is a Visual Novel?” You ask? Well, I just put in the link describing them twice you lazy jerk. However, the easiest way to describe it would probably be to call it a really fancy version of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” book made for your computer (especially popular ones are re-released for consoles). By fancy I mean with added graphics, voice acting, sound effects and a ton more content. Even for a fast reader, if you’re paying attention to the voice acting, these stories will last for hours upon hours upon hours, and then several more hours on top of that; if you want to see all the content and the different endings, you might need to multiply those hours by two or three.  Did I mention they can be really long?

Chances are though, most of you haven’t even heard of visual novels before just, and you most certainly haven’t heard of them being made available for consoles. The main reason is because they are mostly popular in Japan and East Asia, and are being re-released on their consoles and not anywhere else. The vast majority of visual novels are not even translated into English at all. As to why that is the case, I’m sure there are several reasons contributing to it. Never mind the obvious culture barriers of things being  “too anime” or what not, visual novels appear to be very expensive to make in comparison to simply writing a book, and to those who would rather play a straight up video game, visual novels would come across as rather boring as it is; no one would want to spend the extra money to export games that can’t be guaranteed to sell well.  The most “mainstream” one that people might recognize over here would most likely be Capcom’s Ace Attorney series, which is mostly available for the Nintendo DS. Another possible example could be the critically acclaimed story Ever 17, which was popular enough to be translated from Japanese to three other languages (Chinese, English, and Russian) for commercial release .

Objection! …Or something like that.

Despite the lack of attention given, there appears to be a rather devout cult following dedicated to bringing the genre over here in the West, who have gone out of their way to translate a great many visual novels for those who want to try them out. Unfortunately, no one (from what I can tell) has sought to actually replace the original voice acting with english or anything other than their native language. That said, the fact that I’ve actually started hearing about them in the first place, does seem to suggest that there is a (slightly) growing traction to see the genre migrate overseas.  I have also caught wind of  indie developers wanting to make their own versions of visual novels, which seems promising as well.

One final note for everyone would be a parental advisory warning: while many visual novels are approved for all ages, some do contain violent and/or sexual content that would be deemed unsuitable for minors.  That’s all for now!

Riknas, signing off!