trooper6 wrote:Well I wouldn't be bothered...though some purists might be bothered...but purists get bothered by everything.
However, I think you might be thinking about your advertising in the wrong direction. What I mean to say is, some of the most successful EVNS I can think of tend avoid marketing themselves as visual novels at all--even if they fit very comfortably in the genre. Mainly, because I think the makers wanted markets beyond the fairly narrow VN purist market and might have wanted to avoid the stereotypes associated with the genre in Western minds. I mean I was playing a successful weekly VN on iOS for years, Cause of Death, that never mentioned the phrase visual novel. I could have easily been a huge fan of that game and never found my way to the VN community. I found my way here through Christine Love's work, specifically Digital: A Love Story...but when I found that game, it was in the context of it being marketed as an Art Game, not as a visual novel. I found my way here because some googling revealed to me that her art games were made with renpy...and I thought, I want some more games like those cool interactive fiction art games...and I bet I could make one myself!
I think if you self-identify your game as a VN, you should call your game a VN. Even is some VN purists get upset. But if your game might have any crossover appeal, you might want to consider marketing your game with other labels as well, not because VN people will be mad if you don't, but because you could possibly get a much bigger market if you do.
That actually makes a lot of sense. I hadn't thought of it that way before, from a marketing standpoint. I don't necessarily need to label my game as a VN, even though it may or may not contain VN elements. Even Umineko, which was my inspiration for getting into VNs in the first place, advertised itself as a "sound novel" because it emphasized music and sound over visuals. That interest in Umineko bled over into other visual novels (to an extent), but I completely see your point. You can totally get someone interested in the "genre" of visual novels by introducing them to something that isn't necessarily CALLED a visual novel but has many VN-like aspects to it. Thanks for the advice.
Rossfellow wrote:I don't understand. Isn't the whole point of this thread to set a difference between Visual Novels and Games? I tried to lay it as flatly and as simple as possible, but there seems to be an insistence to complicate it by piling on exceptions done by Game X or Game Y.
Why is there this reluctance to accept that Visual Novels are pretty much just that-- Novels?
This whole discussion was very interesting to read. My main problems come with classifying VNs based on what they are made of rather than their functional components. For instance, Wikipedia would call something a VN because it has a textbox, 2D sprites, clickable choices, branching routes, backgrounds, and music, with minimal programming. Other games are decsribed by their functionality: are there experience points, levels, map-based movement, and a story? RPG! Is there a first-person perspective and you shoot people? FPS! Are you jumping from platform to platform? It's a platformer! Functional components are more the programming side of things, and VNs have very little coding in the first place (hence I'd agree that it's "mostly novel"). The only functional component that is consistently in a VN (with the puzzling exception of KNs) is "choice", or maybe more appropriately "player interaction" and its effect on the story. Whether or not a choice is a gameplay element itself is a little trickier.
In the juice example, as you make the choice the outcome is known, but for more complicated situations, and especially those where the consequences of your choices persist throughout the whole VN, the full outcome of each individual choice is hardly known at the time you're making it. What sets VNs apart from other games is that other games have almost "infinite" choices. Do I move left? Do I move right? Do I jump? Do I attack? Do I evade the enemy? As a traditional VN, you're limited to the X amount of options the author has provided for you (where infinity > X >= 0), and that spins the story in a different direction.
So in VNs, there are a discrete set of choices, whereas in a normal game you'd have a continuous amount to choose from. Do you choose to jump to page X or page Y? Versus jumping to a specific point (x,y). In a JRPG, you'd have the freedom to roam the map UNTIL you stumble upon the next story point -- you're free to do as many sidequests as you want and waste as much time fighting monsters you've already defeated. In that sense, VNs are far more linear, because the story is always propelling you forward, into the next page.
And that's really where my classification issue arises. If we're defining a game based on "does it have a particular objective until we go from story point A to the next story point B?" and a VN as "do we have a set of choices that always take us from story point A to the next story point B?" I don't actually see much of a difference in what is being asked. It suggests that VN choices can't have strategy to them, and if they do, it's no longer a VN but a game (despite it maybe having every other quality that a VN might have; why should this one exception disqualify it?)
And regarding the "equality of endings", indeed there is always going to be some emotional value tied to an ending (good/bad/neutral endings, for instance). The player will have some reaction to reaching that point in the story, and evaluate it into some emotion. For typical video games, the GAME OVER ending is the one you don't want, because you want to reach the single VICTORY ending. VNs complicate this by often having multiple VICTORY endings as well as fewer and less obvious GAME OVER endings.
So yeah, I do find it strange as well that people tend to list "there was this one exception in this one game, but we still call it a VN because it's VN-like overall". I suppose it really makes sense to just consider it a marketing strategy, because ultimately the label doesn't so much matter as the actual content. People like Phoenix Wright and Dangan Ronpa for what they are, not just because they are great mystery games which happen to meet this set of "visual novel" criteria.