A visual novel  

Thursday, January 7, 2010

A visual novel (ビジュアルノベル, bijuaru noberu) is an interactive fiction game featuring mostly static graphics, usually with anime-style art. As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels or tableau vivant stage plays. Visual novels are commonly called dating sims in English[by whom], a misnomer as visual novels are classified as a sub-genre of adventure games and not simulation games. This has led to confusion with the other genre known as dating sims, which often shares a similar visual format with visual novels, but has gameplay based on statistics.
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 the West, since both are streamlined compared to Western adventure games. Visual novels and ADVs are especially prevalent in Japan, where they make up nearly 70% of PC games released. They are rarely produced for video game consoles, but the more popular games are sometimes ported to systems such as the Dreamcast or the PlayStation 2. The market for visual novels outside of Japan, however, is small.

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