Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

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Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#1 Post by High » Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:51 pm

So... I've always thought of Visual Novels as a genre of Video Games, that included the likes of Life Is Strange and the Telltale games. They are a type of software sold in places like Itch and Steam so to me it was no brainer. BuT after joining the forum I've seen people talk about how they were going to "read" other people's visual novels and my horizons were expanded. I find it fascinating that it's a form of fiction that apparently changes medium depending on the consumer's perspective. (If that made any sense to y'all.)

So I'm very curious abut the opinion of my fellow LemmaSofters. When you consume with Visual Novels what do you do? Do you "read" or "play" it?

For the people who say "read" : Do you consider yourself a bookworm? Do you see Visual Novels as just another book in your reading diet? Would you say something like "The Da Vinci Code and Fate/stay night are my favorite novels"?

For the people who say "play" : Do you consider yourself a gamer? Do you see Visual Novels as just another game in your reading diet? Would you say something like "Clannad and Breath Of The Wild are my favorite games"?

Do you think it's neither game or literature and something else entirely(interactive fiction?)? I really want to know what LemmaSoft thinks.

And if someone with connections could summon the OG, @PyTom himself (I don't understand why we can't tag people here) to this thread so he could share his opinion that would be great.

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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#2 Post by trooper6 » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:15 pm

I am a bookworm and a gamer. I read all the time and I also play games regularly.

I think of visual novels as a form of video I play visual novels. I also see interactive fiction as a form of video game. But I'm also I remember a time when interactive fiction was squarely in the world of video games. Kinetic Novels? That, I don't know. I don't generally play Kinetic Novels, they are not generally to my taste, with a few exceptions. So I don't tend to judge KNs as a genre since I don't play them enough.

I would never say, "Bleak House and Cave Cave Deus Videt are my favorite novels."
I would say, "Silent Hill 2 and Analogue: A Hate Story are my favorite video games."
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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#3 Post by CSV » Mon Dec 17, 2018 5:20 pm

I play VNs, in the same way I would play any other type of interactive fiction game. If you can either fail (i.e., get a bad ending) or replay for different outcomes, I will generally consider it a game. Mixed formats are also not that rare, either be it for VNs with RPG or mini-game parts, or other sorts of games that have VN-style cutscenes, so drawing a line there just for VNs is kind of impossible imho.
To answer your other questions: I do not call myself a gamer ever even though I love games because I dread the gamer community. Please don't take offense if you are one, I am well aware that there are nice gamers, but there are also way too many pretentious ones looking down on 'inferior' formats and genres (which in the end is just anything they don't personally prefer). I also do include VNs alongside any other game genres, and I have said things like "I mostly play otome games, but I also like pixel horror and open-world RPGs!"

Exception: Regarding KNs or linear VNs, I'd say they are read rather than played. I think I have only read about two of them, so I am no expert, but I see them more as illustrated/animated stories.

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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#4 Post by Imperf3kt » Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:27 pm

In my opinion, it depends, highly, on the game itself.

If your visual novel is mostly text and choices, I'm reading it.
If your visual novel includes generous amounts of games of skill or chance, or some other interactive element outside the general "pick an option" style usually seen in a lot of visual novels, then I am playing it.

Of course, the line I draw isn't black and white, some visual novels in and of themself, are a game of chance or skill requiring you to make the correct choices to achieve the desired outcome.

It's hard to clearly distinguish the two, but generally, if your novel is nothing but text and choice nenus, as stated earlier, I feel it's just something being read. I'm not interacting with it, I'm just choosing the direction the story takes. Whereas if my actions affect the outcome, in a more meaningful way, then it's more interactive and more of a game than simple selecting a choice. For example, did you pick up the elvish sword before travelling to dam flood control number 3?
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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#5 Post by PyTom » Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:35 am

High wrote:
Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:51 pm
And if someone with connections could summon the OG, @PyTom himself (I don't understand why we can't tag people here) to this thread so he could share his opinion that would be great.
My opinion is:

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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#6 Post by Yomuchan » Mon Dec 23, 2019 4:38 am

I guess I experience them. The culmination of work from the artists, the musicians and writers as they put together something that I'll enjoy - then remember for years to come. I play new visual novels with a sense of excitement, but also with some trepidation; for that newfound sense of wonder I feel as I start up a game I have never played before is something I'll never experience for it ever again. So I make sure to relish everything it has to offer - from the good to the bad, from the good storylines to the silly bad ends and everything in between.

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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#7 Post by GNVE » Mon Dec 23, 2019 1:37 pm

I'm more in the play camp. But I can see a good case being made for read. I guess it also depends on the VN. Some leaning more towards passive uptake while others lean more towards being a game. If you have to think hard about what the 'right' option is (in the sense of roleplaying not just to guess the moonlogic of the creator) then it's a game for me.

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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#8 Post by Kokoro Hane » Wed Dec 25, 2019 4:01 am

I typically will say "play" a visual novel more than "read", but I have used both terms before, but "play" mostly. I absolutely love reading (and writing) but I am also a gamer, and since this is software, usually interactive (unless it's Kinetic), to me it is a game that is highly focused on the story aspect more than gameplay. As a dev, they are a good starting place for new game makers since they are fairly easy to make and you can learn a lot from doing so.
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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#9 Post by SinaAzad » Fri Dec 27, 2019 4:36 pm

Give me the option to pick a route in the VN and I will "Play" it, take the options away and I shall "Read" it!
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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#10 Post by isobellesophia » Sun Dec 29, 2019 6:45 am

For me, i read visual novels, some games also combined with interaction play, and some storyline and such, its also fun to read visual novels if they are narrative, especially kinetic novels with longer narration and dialogue.
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Re: Do you "play" or "read" Visual Novels?

#11 Post by earthpow » Fri Jan 03, 2020 10:16 pm

Honestly, there should be a third option for 'Listen'.

Some of the best VNs I've played weren't game of the year levels, but good audio draws me back each time like Life is Strange or Echo.

But most of the time, I read visual novels for the sake of story.

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