Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

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MarkKnappJr
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Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#1 Post by MarkKnappJr » Mon Mar 21, 2022 3:15 pm

Hey guys! I'm still pretty new to the VN genre as a whole- probably only been with it for ~2 years. I've made some, worked on others, and written a decent amount of music for them- but I've only really played two. My shower thoughts today led me to this question, and so while it's been asked dozens of times before, I would like to ask a modern audience- why do YOU consume and/or create VNs? What about them is more inviting than other game types (rouge likes, FPS, MMOs, top downs, etc.), either to read or to make?


My personal answer:
I've only ever played two- DDLC+ (my first), and Saya no Uta. I've also watched a few anime based on VNs (Clannad and Steins; Gate come to mind). To me, I suppose I just really liked the stories the tell- that's the only reason I played those two. I had read overviews of them, they sounded appealing (the psychological horror, mainly), so I played them.

I noticed mainly that what I really enjoyed the most was the stories being told and the OSTs. As a composer, the music of VNs have sincerely captured my interest. They're almost like wallpaper music- just complex enough to stand alone as great tracks, but not complex enough to distract you from reading.

I don't know. I guess I'm asking currently as I have a few more game ideas, and while I've tossed around the concepts in RPG Maker/GameMaker Studio, I'm starting to feel a real connection to the VN genre as a storyteller. (Plus, the reception from complete strangers and friends alike has been extremely encouraging). I guess I'd really just like to hear why others enjoy the genre if you have a spare moment or two! Thank you so much for your answer :)

(Also relevant, the Lemma Soft forums are perhaps the first forums I've ever actually WANTED to be a community member of- everyone is just so friendly, and I think that's another reason why I'm enjoying VNs so much).

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#2 Post by Zelan » Fri Apr 22, 2022 12:40 pm

Honestly, a part of it for me is that I like video games but I'm actually pretty bad at them LMAO.

I was a biiiiig reader as a kid, but as I got older I started to get more into video games (Nintendo, basically, since that was the console that we had). I'm not HORRIBLE at games by any means but in general there's certain genres/types of gameplay that I struggle with and don't find fun (if I have to walk around in 3d space I'm going to struggle, and if I have to aim and shoot on top of that it's ALL over lmfaooooooo).

I stumbled upon VNs purely by chance when I saw a YouTube comment (of all things) recommending Katawa Shoujo, which was my first VN. I was really intrigued by it because I had never played a game like it before (I hadn't yet found the term "visual novel") but it reminded me of the Choose Your Own Adventure books which I really enjoyed.

Mostly, I just think visual novels are such a cool medium because there's so much you can DO with them - art, writing, programming (including "tricks" like those in DDLC), etc. and making all these things complement each other to tell a story. There's absolutely no way for me to concisely explain how much I love the cool things people have done with the medium that can't necessarily be done in others.

Similar to you, the community was a huge part of it for me as well (: I pretty much lived on this forums in high school lmao. It was really cool to talk with other people on the forum and follow cool projects; I made enough friends on this forum that when I released my first game (less than a thousand words and no art lmao) I got a lot of comments from friends I had made who were super encouraging. I'm returning to this forum and to playing visual novels after not being active in the scene in a hot minute and I'm realizing how much I missed it. (:

(Went on a bit of a tangent here and used way too many parenthesis LMFAO but hope this answers your question!)

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#3 Post by ketskari » Fri Apr 22, 2022 2:10 pm

From a writing perspective, I really like the script format of engines like Ren'Py (although I'm currently using Naninovel for Unity, which has a similar approach). Ink is another good one.

I've tried using "node-based" workflows and it would not be an exaggeration to say I hate them. (Articy Draft comes to mind... but there are lots... this is apparently the norm in game writing).

There is something about a script-based workflow that is very intuitive... straight from your brain to your fingertips to a playable story.

Whereas node-based workflow is more like brain -> fingertips -> interrupted twenty times dragging the mouse around -> FINALLY a playable story.

....Nodes are like nails on chalkboard for me.

Anyway, as for why I like to READ them.... well.

I'm more visual/verbal. I like words. I also don't like repetitive tasks (stat grinding, doing stuff over and over to get it "right"), and I'm not a huge fan of navigating my way around 3D worlds (not immersive at all for me), and I don't get anything out of high adrenaline experiences (modern style horror games, etc...).

So VNs and point 'n clicks are my thing. It was point 'n click adventure games first, then I stumbled across Narcissu, which was the first VN I played, and I was blown away by the atmosphere it created with words, music & SFX.

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#4 Post by YuukiCrossPudding » Tue Apr 26, 2022 6:22 am

Since childhood, I have always loved games with compelling storytelling. Maybe that's what makes me fall in love with Visual Novel!
I remember accidentally playing a VN on my junior high school computer, and it opened up a whole new world for me. I looked to the credit section a lot just to track who made the game, then found Ren'Py and this forum.

The community was really nice and welcoming, I'm not fluent in English and my teenage self is pretty bad at expressing thoughts in writing, but everyone is really kind. I ended up finding more friends and have nice memories of creating VNs.

Ren'Py is also free and easy to use which helped me a lot in the past to express my creative passion, I switched to focus on drawing digitally in the end but still trying to learn how to create VN in terms of directing, writing and programming.

Overall I don't think I'll ever stop trying to create VN, it's just an amazing feeling for me to be able to play such great VN games and involved in creating VNs that I want others to feel that way too!

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#5 Post by MarkKnappJr » Tue May 03, 2022 10:34 pm

Oh my gosh you three, thank you so much!! Sorry I'm just seeing this now, but I really appreciate your time and such in-depth answers! I've picked up a few more VN gigs over the past month, and I'm just falling more and more in love with the medium. Wish it was a little bigger over here in the West, but at the same time, I kinda like how niche and small it is. Keeps the community close-knit! :)

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#6 Post by tier » Fri May 13, 2022 12:42 am

I read visual novels because I like stories. It is similar to watching anime or reading manga.

Perhaps I also like to see the world from another person's perspective, for a while. As someone who lives with depression and anxiety, escapism is sometimes helpful to me. My favorite genres are sci-fi and slice-of-life. I feel something like joy when I read visual novels and I believe that is a good thing.

Some games offer a story alongside gameplay; sometimes I only want to experience the story.

Other reasons I like this genre include the following:
  • Making choices that lead to (A) additional lines of dialogue or (B) another story branch
  • Interacting with characters
  • Facial expressions and reactions
  • Situational music
  • Reading

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#7 Post by Elfie » Sat Jul 16, 2022 5:41 pm

I like VN's because they often give you a say, a choice in stories. To me, games were always a thing to express oneself, to live the MC's life and make choices and decisions as I would see fitting to myself (or to the protagonist, if they have fixed personality). Linear stories simply bore me.
There are not much of RPG games that feature real branching story - simply because, its very labor-intensive to make such games, each branch requiring assets, locations, scripts...so these "choicy" games are often build in specific universes and 99% of them are fantasy RPG's in one way or another.

While in VN, thanks to RenPy, adding a branch is really something that can be done relatively easy. And thus we can see many branching novels with multiple endings in quite unusual settings.

As for creation...after all these years I still haven't finished any of my novels (sometimes - lost interest to outlined narrative halfway through development and scrapped everything in rage, sometimes - just getting swamped by life/dayjob issues so much that projects gets abandoned and not much motivation to pick them up again later).

However, I know that if I ever finish something - my first game will be a VN, simply because it is the easiest way to tell a branching story with little coding skills and minimal investments (if any).

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#8 Post by TheLemmaLlama » Wed Oct 05, 2022 11:06 pm

As a player/reader, I don't think VNs really compete with other games (rouge likes, FPS, MMOs, top downs, etc.) for my attention. They satisfy completely different desires for me. Forget apples to oranges, it's like asking 'what about apples makes it more inviting than ramen?" Answer; they're not - they're both inviting at different times, depending on what I'm craving :P

For me, VNs compete more with 'pure' storytelling mediums like novels, comics, TV shows/anime/movies etc. What I like about VNs over those mediums is that it's the best of many worlds. It has visuals, it has sound, it lets you play at your own pace so there aren't any 'blink and you'll miss it' moments like movies, and it has prose/narration which I've recently come to believe has its advantages over non-narrated mediums like comics since you could, say, explore a character's inner world without resorting to unnatural-sounding internal monologues.

___________________________________________________

As a creator (coming from more of a webcomic background than a gamedev background), I like that you can draw fewer pictures (sprites, backgrounds, and a few CGs for important scenes) because it doesn't matter if the visuals don't exactly line up with what's happening because the narration is there to tell you. For example, the narration can say 'X is peeling an apple' but all you actually see is X's sprite standing in front of you doing a non-orange-peeling pose, and that's fine. They say 'show, don't tell', but you gotta admit that telling is a great time-saving measure :P

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#9 Post by umbrores » Fri Oct 07, 2022 5:24 pm

I've got to say that I haven't played many visual novels. When I was younger I wanted to play all those popular otome games that got reverse harem anime adaptations, it was so interesting to me that there could be games that had pretty much no gameplay at all, where based on choices you made, you could have different types of bonds with different types of characters.

And as a creator, I like visual novels because they allow me as an artist to show what I am capable of, but I've never been able to make comics or anything similar (I'm awful with paneling) so visual novels seemed like a nice way for me to convey my stories to a wider audience. Additionally, visual novels (some other types of games as well of course) offer that opportunity to explore different endings, to make your choices matter and twist the story according to the input of the player. I've always loved to work with "what if"-scenarios and visual novels allow me to actually utilise all of those, and I'm not stuck with just one single story to tell. I can make it head into all sorts of different directions, without having to give up one for the other.

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#10 Post by TheLemmaLlama » Fri Oct 07, 2022 7:32 pm

umbrores wrote:
Fri Oct 07, 2022 5:24 pm
I've never been able to make comics or anything similar (I'm awful with paneling) so visual novels seemed like a nice way for me to convey my stories to a wider audience. Additionally, visual novels (some other types of games as well of course) offer that opportunity to explore different endings, to make your choices matter and twist the story according to the input of the player. I've always loved to work with "what if"-scenarios and visual novels allow me to actually utilise all of those, and I'm not stuck with just one single story to tell. I can make it head into all sorts of different directions, without having to give up one for the other.
I'm awful with paneling too; I just make all my panels the same rectangular size :P (Hooray for webcomics not being limited to printable pages XD)

Choices and multiple story paths are definitely a huge advantage VNs have over 'pure' storytelling mediums though; idk how I missed that one :'D (I guess comics/novels etc can be choose-your-own-adventure too, but VNs are just so much less tedious and more robust when you've got the computer keeping track of the flags for you :P)

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#11 Post by ReneAllison » Sat Oct 08, 2022 2:37 am

It is my hobbies.

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#12 Post by umbrores » Sun Oct 09, 2022 5:19 pm

TheLemmaLlama wrote:
Fri Oct 07, 2022 7:32 pm
umbrores wrote:
Fri Oct 07, 2022 5:24 pm
I've never been able to make comics or anything similar (I'm awful with paneling) so visual novels seemed like a nice way for me to convey my stories to a wider audience. Additionally, visual novels (some other types of games as well of course) offer that opportunity to explore different endings, to make your choices matter and twist the story according to the input of the player. I've always loved to work with "what if"-scenarios and visual novels allow me to actually utilise all of those, and I'm not stuck with just one single story to tell. I can make it head into all sorts of different directions, without having to give up one for the other.
I'm awful with paneling too; I just make all my panels the same rectangular size :P (Hooray for webcomics not being limited to printable pages XD)

Choices and multiple story paths are definitely a huge advantage VNs have over 'pure' storytelling mediums though; idk how I missed that one :'D (I guess comics/novels etc can be choose-your-own-adventure too, but VNs are just so much less tedious and more robust when you've got the computer keeping track of the flags for you :P)
Haha, I think that if I ever do make comics (I have a few scenes with OCs in mind that I kind of do want to draw in a comic style) I will go with simple rectangles as well :') I always try to make it dynamic but it quickly turns into a mess.

And yeah, written media or even shows can be choose-your-own-adventure but to me it always feels a little more clean (? for a lack of better words) when it's not like "if you pick A, go to page 34. If B, go to page 45", it's indeed nice when the pc does everything for you instead.

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Re: Why do YOU like/play/read/make VNs & Kinetic Novels?

#13 Post by Chiagirl » Fri Nov 11, 2022 4:40 pm

I like VNs because it's like all my favorite things had a baby together. I like anime, and VNs usually use that art style. I like choose your own adventure books, and visual novels usually offer multiple endings. I like videogames, and a VN is a type of videogame that shares enough in common with more mainstream genres including achievements, portability & replay value, and a robust community for recommendations and discussions. I like reading, and VNs are very narrative heavy without the grinding and combat tedium that accompanies a lot of narrative heavy JRPGS. And so on and so forth.

I've tried to make some VNs and finished one short kinetic novel; but my lack of artistic ability, programming, knowledge, and writing skills holds me back. I basically want to be the "idea guy" while someone else irons out all the finer details, and anyone who's ever actually built a game can tell you that idea guys are worthless because everyone has ideas, and idea guys can't actually contribute anything tangible to the project (artwork, script, etc.). I got tyrano builder to try and get around learning to code as it uses visual scripting, but I still doesn't solve my art problem so I'm limited in what I can actually do with it unless I want to stick to interactive fiction.

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