I’m hearing negative stereotypes about video games less and less frequently as time goes on. I appreciate that, as somebody who grew up playing video games and remains an avid gamer to this day. Recent video games have had amazing strides in graphics, storytelling, and gameplay. Although I don’t have the money to try them for myself, I have been watching the evolution of virtual reality gaming from the sidelines. The possibilities that such an immersive form of media have are difficult to predict. But for now I want to discuss my video game genre of choice: visual novels.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, a visual novel is a video game that delivers a text-based gameplay experience combined with either static art or sprites. Often the story branches similar to a choose your own adventure novel. Often the story revolves around romance, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Romance-based visual novels also fall into the genre of a dating simulator or dating sim. Visual novels tend to use a first-person perspective so that the player can immerse themself into the story.
Text-based video games are one of the oldest genres in existence. They’re relatively easy and cheap to create, so the barrier for entry is among the lowest for any kind of video game creation. Visual novels are also among the cheapest games to play, as many of them are free.
I’m going to look back to some of my favorite text adventures and visual novels, both new and old. Hopefully I can spend some time shining a light on the video game genre that I love so much.