Noun: Visual Novel; Plural Noun: Visual Novels

Visual novels are games whose gameplay is predominately based on reading, or advancing written action or dialogue.
“This visual novel is over nine-thousand words!”


Not dissimilar “choose your own adventure” books, visual novels (or “VNs”) are like flipping through a virtual book. Most VNs feature one or more player choices, which collectively affect the way the story unfolds; some visual novels employ minigames to determine the outcome of events. Puzzle-games and RPGs popularly use visual novel segments to render cutscenes between puzzles or quests.

Visual novels are an effective way to craft an intimate experience between characters, without the noise of conventional gameplay.

A typical VN-experience consists of reading text boxes, and occasionally deciding between on-screen prompts. Characters in the story are represented by static avatars, which appear alongside dialogue to indicate who is speaking. Full-art animations and CGs are generally reserved for turning points in a VN’s story — or, In the case of adult visual novels, CGs they are instead reserved for sex scenes. High-budget releases may break the mold, and instead use full-art imagery for the entirety of the game.

Think of this game as a book. It’s a thing you read.

DatWombat, review for The foreigner