Visual Novels: A unique way to tell a compelling story


As many of you Anime fans might have heard–hopefully from my blogs–The Clannad Visual Novel was released on Steam last Fall. It was an important moment for Visual Novels being released in North America as Clannad had name recognition thanks to the anime, which itself is based on the Visual Novel. Western fans could now enjoy Clannad in its original form. That said, Clannad wasn’t the first VN to get a Western release and likely won’t be the last. Even though its Western release comes over 10 years after its original release in Japan and 8 years after the release of the Anime, the Clannad VN coming to Steam is a big step forward for the medium known as Visual Novels (VN short).

Predominantly used in Japan, Visual Novels are exactly what the name implies: A story told with pictures and music. Most VNs have choice points to make the VN interactive, in many cases meaning branching storylines and multiple endings. This adds a layer of replay value to the VN, which is technically considered a video game. Almost all VNs are on the PC though in recent years VNs have been getting released on or ported to consoles, making them far more accessible than they were in their early years in Japan.

While VNs are technically video games, they appeal to the non-gaming crowd more because of how simple and easy to get into they tend to be. While most gamers in both sides of the Pacific think of sexually explicit content in VNs, this is only part of the format. Like Anime and Manga, VNs are a format and not a genre. This is why I made the clear distinction between the Anime and VN versions of Clannad. The story is mostly unchanged but there are two different formats.

I posted this not just to talk about VNs but because I’ve decided to cover VNs on both this blog and my Video Game blog. This is something I’d been thinking about since I got the Clannad VN last year. So I’ve decided If a VN is released on a console but doesn’t have an Anime and/or Manga, I will cover it here. If it’s released on the PC including Steam or has a Manga and/or Anime, I will cover it on my Anime blog. I do want to say I will NOT cover Sexually Explicit VNs on my blog. That’s not my thing anyway. If there are suggestive moments that’s one thing but nothing beyond that.

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