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Author Topic: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread  (Read 9697 times)

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mDuo13

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Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« on: October 21, 2008, 11:43:18 AM »

Alright! So I decided that there needs to be a place to talk about this kind of game - the visual novel! Since they're often hardly describable as games, though, I've decided to put it in the anime section - especially considering how many visual novels get made into anime. Here you can chat about what visual novels/kinetic novels you've been playing lately, which ones are coming out and exciting, whatever as long as it's roughly on the topic. But, since they're kind of a niche genre, I'll start with a FAQ!

What is a visual novel?
I like to describe a visual novel as like taking an RPG and then leaving only the in-game cutscenes. Basically, it's a combination of still-images, text, and music put together to tell a story. Usually they feature interaction in the form of choices that lead to branching storylines. (Visual novels that don't offer choices are sometimes called "Kinetic Novels".) Because of that, you could also think of a visual novel as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel but with pictures and sound; I don't like that one as much, though, because Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books tend to be pretty sloppily written.

What about Galge, Bishoujo Games, Ren'ai, AVGs, Sound Novels, and Eroge?
A lot of these terms are related. "Galge" is a shortened version of the Japanese term for "girl game". Basically, a galge or a bishoujo game is a game that includes several girls where you develop some sort of romantic attachment to them through your interactions. Ren'ai games are also known as dating sims, so they'll be similar, but usually involve more stats and that sort of thing as opposed to being strongly story-based. AVGs/ADVs ("Adventure Games") are distinguished from visual novels by the way the text is displayed - in a box at the bottom of the screen rather than taking up the whole screen, over a darkened image; but, honestly, most people outside of Japan will refer to AVGs as visual novels, because Adventure refers to a different genre in English. Sound Novel is a trademarked term for pretty much the same thing as Visual Novels, so you might also hear it used occasionally. As for eroge, that term comes from "erotic game", so it can be applied to any game that has sex scenes in it, whether or not it also qualifies as any of the other genres. Since there's a lot of crossover between all these genres, I'll be using "visual novel" as a sort of blanket term for this kind of thing.

I don't know any visual novels!
Actually, chances are good that you know of a few anime that have been adapted from visual novels.
Key - Original creators of AIR, KANON, and CLANNAD. Their kinetic novel Planetarian and their latest visual novel Little Busters! haven't been adapted to anime yet.
Type-Moon - Original creators of Tsukihime and Fate/stay night. A doujin group that went pro.
Leaf/Aquaplus - Original creators of ToHeart, ToHeart2, and Comic Party. They've also made some games that combine galge elements with the SRPG genre, including Utawarerumono and Tears to Tiara (the latter of which has an anime adaptation forthcoming).
Navel - Original creators of Shuffle!
KID - None of their main visual novels (like the Infinity series) have been animated, though they did an adaptation of Ai Yori Aoshi, which also got animated into a terrible series. Ever17 - out of the infinity was one of the rare visual novels to get a domestic translated release, though.
07th Expansion - A doujin group; original creators of the Higurashi no Naku Koro ni series. Their current project is called Umineko no Naku Koro ni.

Aren't these games just porn?
Not exactly. It's true that a large number of visual novels contain sex scenes and are therefore adults-only. But it's also true that there are plenty of visual novels that don't have any adult content, and many of the first group are available in all-ages versions. (For example, Leaf games are usually 18+, but the sister brand Aquaplus publishes many of the same games in clean versions.) And, I'd like to point out, that if a game can sell with or without the 18+ parts, then it's obviously not the sex that's the main draw.

How do I read a visual novel if I don't speak Japanese?
Good question, especially since few companies will license these for official distribution (and Hirameki, one of those few, threw in the towel last January). Luckily, there are some very good fan translations for some of these games. Insani is a group that translated quite a few of them, though they're not really active nowadays. For Type-Moon games, Mirror Moon has produced a full translation of Tsukihime, even including an install option to cut out the sex scenes (not something available in the standard Japanese version). They've also translated or collaborated on translating several other games, Type-Moon and otherwise. Plus there are some translation projects that appear for a single game, many of which are being tracked on a wiki.

How do I get a copy of one of these?
In most cases, it's not easy. Usually the translation projects (rightfully) want you to buy the original work, which often means importing a Japanese PC game, switching your Windows locale settings, and then installing the patch over it. There are some that are easier to get than others. For example, "Planetarian" can be purchased to download for like $30 - Insani has instructions which are kind of outdated but not TOO different from the current buying process. And there are some such games that are just free, like True Remembrance (which by the way, I highly recommend).

So, that's about it. I'll say that, personally, I've only played a few visual novels (One path of Ever17, all of Tsukihime, Planetarian and True Remembrance, a little bit of Little Busters!) but I really do enjoy them. What do you all think?
« Last Edit: October 21, 2008, 11:05:16 PM by mDuo13 »
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Dakanya

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, & Galge Thread
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2008, 12:11:41 PM »

AGTH - "Anime Games Text Hooker" is a useful tool for those who would like to play the game in Japanese. I only suggest this for people who are attempting to learn Japanese though... not for people to paste into some sort of babelfish program and get some horrible translation which would completely strip all personality and style from the writing.
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Chun

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, & Galge Thread
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2008, 12:21:17 PM »

This post fails for lack of Narcissu (Which comes in English!).  >:(

I played through Wind ~A Breath of Heart~ recently. It is dissapointing, and if I had known it was this bad I wouldn't have cared about nnl's patch in the first place. Except Hinata is pretty cute. And peopel should buy Ever17 now. It's dirt cheap.

~Chun
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mDuo13

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, & Galge Thread
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2008, 01:47:12 PM »

This post fails for lack of Narcissu (Which comes in English!). 
Well, then you should be the one linking to it. I mean, it's not like I can cover everything myself.
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PyronIkari

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, & Galge Thread
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2008, 02:15:25 PM »

It also fails for incorrect descriptions. Visual Novels != Galge

The terms are very specific, and visual novels are one kind. Such as Ren'ai are one type. You can't consider Utawarerumono and visual novel, since in it's base it is an SRPG. It is a bishoujoge though.

Also your point about "aren't these just porn games" are very misleading. You try to make the games sound more innocent than they are. Most of the non-porn versions are console only. These games came about because of their already popular versions on the PC. In addition, most of them were given extra things. Outisde of like, TokiMemo and sentigura... Which are considered two of the first of the genre... almost all of them have been eroge. Yes they have stories and everything, but who would play them if they didn't? The point of these games are to build up to it.

Anyways, point is... you might want to look up actual definitions of terms instead of using badly misconceived US descriptions.
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Tsubasa

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, & Galge Thread
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2008, 06:01:32 PM »

I have to go off a little cause it's a slight peeve of mine:
Unlike popular misconception, "visual novel" is not a blanket term.  It describes a type of game where the entire screen darkens and text is overlaid over the image.  The point being that text is more important than visual.  Leaf pioneered the genre and invented the term with the release of Shizuku (1996).  People this side of the Pacific often believe that "visual novel" can be used to described games that have image and a text box along the bottom of the screen.  This is incorrect.  Those would be adventure games/AVG/ADV.  Sometimes there's stat management, in which case they'd be AVG/SIM.  If you add anything else, then that adds some other kind of classification.

With that out of the way, galge are great.  I'm getting back to Little Busters! someday.  I have Fortune Arterial lined up after that.  And I hear a fan translation of Chaos;Head is almost complete. :3
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mDuo13

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, & Galge Thread
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2008, 10:48:40 PM »

The point of this thread is not to discuss the semantics of the genre(s) in question, it's to discuss the games. Yes, Utawarerumono is a galge SRPG, not strictly a visual novel. True Remembrance is called a "visual novel" even though it has no choices, and yet Planetarian is called a "kinetic novel" instead, for that very reason. The Higurashi games were called "sound novels" even though they're basically the same format as visual novels. And as for AVG...
Quote from: Wikipedia: Visual Novels
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.
So yes. In Japanese, they're not the same. But we're speaking English, so I'm ignoring that. This thread is supposed to be about all of the separate genres in question. I'll edit the first post to be more clear on this.

And my point about these games not being strictly porn stands. "Who would play them if they didn't [contain ero scenes]?" Obviously, anyone who buys the clean versions would! ToHeart2 started out clean (well, ecchi), as did Little Busters, and Clannad proper has never had an ero version (Tomoyo After is a separate game). Not to mention Planetarian, Ever17, True Remembrance... the list goes on. The clean versions don't exist just as spinoffs of the eroge; the genre(s) simply span both porn and non-porn territory.
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PyronIkari

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, & Galge Thread
« Reply #7 on: October 22, 2008, 12:27:57 AM »

The point of this thread is not to discuss the semantics of the genre(s) in question, it's to discuss the games. Yes, Utawarerumono is a galge SRPG, not strictly a visual novel. True Remembrance is called a "visual novel" even though it has no choices, and yet Planetarian is called a "kinetic novel" instead, for that very reason. The Higurashi games were called "sound novels" even though they're basically the same format as visual novels. And as for AVG...
Quote from: Wikipedia: Visual Novels
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.
So yes. In Japanese, they're not the same. But we're speaking English, so I'm ignoring that. This thread is supposed to be about all of the separate genres in question. I'll edit the first post to be more clear on this.

And my point about these games not being strictly porn stands. "Who would play them if they didn't [contain ero scenes]?" Obviously, anyone who buys the clean versions would! ToHeart2 started out clean (well, ecchi), as did Little Busters, and Clannad proper has never had an ero version (Tomoyo After is a separate game). Not to mention Planetarian, Ever17, True Remembrance... the list goes on. The clean versions don't exist just as spinoffs of the eroge; the genre(s) simply span both porn and non-porn territory.

Ugh... I hate this "I'M TALKING ABOUT THE ENGLISH DEFENITION" shit. All that says is "I WANT TO BE IGNORANT AND I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU SAY!" God damn it, it annoys the hell outta me when people use that argument.

Porn games sell much more than the non-porn versions. Key stuff, most people don't care about porn versions because the art is so horrible that people don't care. Well that was the case with Clannad, Kanon, and Air. However, if you look at the genre as a whole, you learn a lot more.

A thread made in ignorance, by an ignorant person, who then chooses to be stupid about it. The point of the thread is what you make of it, but much like Tsubasa, it's a peeve of mine when people misuse terms like this. It makes me annoyed at the people who claim to be fans, when i myself am a fan. It makes me annoyed that these people are supposed to be "my peers" as we share the same fandoms, only they're utter idiots about it and choose to remain ignorant, rather, choose to be stupid about it.

But to contribute to the thread... Cross days is coming out. I should really go reinstall Summer Days and finish up getting the rest of the endings.
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Tsubasa

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« Reply #8 on: October 22, 2008, 06:52:38 AM »

The next game I'm pretty hyped for is Leaf's next offering: Megiddo.  Time to see if Leaf can make a proper RPG cause their last efforts @SRPG have been pretty sad offerings.  That's fine though, cause the AVG portions are the actual game. =P
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mDuo13

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2008, 10:16:54 AM »

The next game I'm pretty hyped for is Leaf's next offering: Megiddo.  Time to see if Leaf can make a proper RPG cause their last efforts @SRPG have been pretty sad offerings.  That's fine though, cause the AVG portions are the actual game. =P
Character designs are hella Leaf. I do like this trend towards high-quality cel-shaded games, though.

Also on topic, I played a doujin visual novel called "The Noose" last night on recommendation from Sims. I kind of expected this, but it was dumb. It didn't really make sense. It was just a kind of pretentious collection of creepy sounds and gross verbal imagery. Think, like, if you took the parts of Tsukihime where Shiki was freaking out and made a 45-minute game like that. So no wonder Sims likes it. But I can't recommend it. At least it was free. And short.
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LastElixir

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2008, 11:26:28 AM »

The next game I'm pretty hyped for is Leaf's next offering: Megiddo.  Time to see if Leaf can make a proper RPG cause their last efforts @SRPG have been pretty sad offerings.  That's fine though, cause the AVG portions are the actual game. =P
Character designs are hella Leaf. I do like this trend towards high-quality cel-shaded games, though.

Also on topic, I played a doujin visual novel called "The Noose" last night on recommendation from Sims. I kind of expected this, but it was dumb. It didn't really make sense. It was just a kind of pretentious collection of creepy sounds and gross verbal imagery. Think, like, if you took the parts of Tsukihime where Shiki was freaking out and made a 45-minute game like that. So no wonder Sims likes it. But I can't recommend it. At least it was free. And short.

don't listen to sims.

The next game I'm probably going to check out is "Soshite Ashita no Sekai yori --", been curious about it for a while. Etude is a company with only a handful of games and they are still a mystery to me, gonna see how this ends up.

j
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Chun

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2008, 02:30:11 PM »

I just remembered there was a Visual Novel called Kira -snowdrop- that was translated by Haeleth a few years back. I remember it being the hilight of altogether 2005 next to narcissu and Sore Ja, Mata. However it seems Haeleth removed the link after "lack of permission to translate" and it hasn't been around since. I liked the feel of that one as well.

~Chun
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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2008, 03:08:13 PM »

Let's leave the insults and semantics out and the keep the contributions coming guys. If there are errors, disagreements or whatever, just point it out. It's a good thread that people can add suggestions and comments to without the drama.
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Devereaux

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2008, 12:12:35 AM »

Let's leave the insults and semantics out and the keep the contributions coming guys. If there are errors, disagreements or whatever, just point it out. It's a good thread that people can add suggestions and comments to without the drama.

Chyea
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mDuo13

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2008, 10:00:42 AM »

So I finished Kyou's arc of CLANNAD last night. It was pretty good, though it took a lot of effort to get. (I did Ryou's semi-arc first, of course.) The game is actually pretty different from the anime on that path. Oh, and Sunohara is totally shadier in the game, always pressuring underclassmen into lending or buying him things. And apparently there are a lot more paths/minipaths in the game than the anime made it seem.
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Tsubasa

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Re: Visual Novels, Kinetic Novels, AVG, & Galge Thread
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2008, 06:26:50 PM »

And apparently there are a lot more paths/minipaths in the game than the anime made it seem.

A lot of paths.  The Misae path was pretty touching.  I still have to get around to getting the Sunohara/Mei arc someday.
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