Visual novels exist at the intersection of books and videogames, often on the PC but sometimes on videogame consoles as well. They are written stories that always feature at minimum the written text, accompanying music, and images. They often but not always also include things like voice acting, multiple choices (which lead to different routes, with a full playthrough of a visual novel often involving seeing all of said routes), and occasionally even some gameplay elements. Games you may be familiar with like Danganronpa, Ace Attorney, and 13 Sentinels sort of sit on the edge of being considered the most game-y that visual novels reach.
Useful tools for finding VNs and getting easy lookups
If you haven’t done any of this before there’s some first time setup involved, but as soon as everything is ready to go, all that will be required is to launch the texthooker, select your game, and then select the “hook.” It takes mere seconds once you know how it works!
No sexual content, or a version that cuts the sexual content (there is a “no sexual content” tag to verify with on VNDB)
Limited gameplay (hard to draw an objective line because I think reading related-gameplay like puzzles in Zero Escape/Ace Attorney/Danganronpa are fine). Just keep in mind this is of course a reading focused club, and we don’t want too much time spent on pure gameplay or potentially excluding members who don’t play videogames.
Available for legal purchase in Japanese
Individuals are allowed to propose multiple VNs!
Many of us will be somewhat flying blind on our picks so just do your best with nothing hugely offputtingly difficult (websites like jpdb.io are occasionally helpful, but take their ratings with a grain of salt). For pros and cons, things you might consider, as well as you know them: length, ease of access, wider availability (consoles etc.), ease of texthooking, presence or absence of voice acting, writing style and subject matter, difficulty, etc.
Taken, and then adapted, from the beginner book club.
Copy this template into a new post when proposing a visual novel.
# Insert Title Here
VNDB Play Time:
Add summary here.
Insert links to online stores here (ensure Japanese is available when using stores like Steam!)
## Personal Opinion
Insert why you think this VN would be good to read, personally and for the book club here.
### Pros and Cons for the Book Club
* Insert pros here.
* Insert cons here.
Insert images with Japanese text here (screenshots from you, the internet, VNDB, etc).
## Difficulty Poll
How much effort would you need to read this VN?
[poll type=regular public=true]
* No effort at all
* Minimal effort
* Moderate effort
* Significant effort
* So much effort my head might explode
* I don’t know
I’ll be back with my own nomination later – up to this point I’ve gotten pretty lucky about whatever I wanted to read working with the texthooker, and my general impression is that most of the time it’s fine. But I was going to propose Narcissu (it’s free and allegedly good!) and found that during testing, seems the texthooker can’t actually find the full lines of text. Very unfortunate. especially since my brain only turned on to remind me to check after I made most of the post
We COULD advise game2text in some OCR like that in some cases if our desire to play something outweighs loss of convenience, but usually when I used it it was just touchy and janky enough that it does require a little extra attention. Especially at the start of the club I want to make things easy and highlight benefits of the medium, like how well texthooking works on the games where it does.
I have used game2text in some situations and while it can be helpful, I’m not sure if its best to use it for the club. With some games, it just can’t read things accurately at all and you’ll be spending more time trying to fix the mistakes it makes more than anything. I guess in the end you could list that as a pro/con when you nominate a game and the club could make the decision then but personally, that would probably be too off-putting for me.
I’ll try to make my nomination post either later today or tomorrow. I wanted to nominate 9-nine but since it technically has two routes, I’ll throw something else up and keep it in mind after the club is more established.
Yeah I think that’s more or less how I feel too honestly, was just trying to come up with any possible take on what could be done about games Textractor doesn’t help with. We should have enough options anyway; I’m just aggravated about running into it already heh. I could see demand outweighing the annoyance in a sense for people if this was more like the clubs that read manga where sometimes something gets really popular and people just really want to do that, but there aren’t exactly VNs making big splashes likely to get all of WK rushing to come read that all at once, haha. Maybe if another Doki Doki Literature Club type phenomenon rolls around
I mean, there are people who read books on paper or manga without furigana, so while it significantly lowers the hurdle for beginning readers to have a texthooker in place, I‘m not sure it is necessary to exclude those that don’t allow for a texthooker? If you clearly list this as a con, like AzusaChan said, then the people can decide for themselves, would be my take.
weasels off to the sidelines again and shuts up
I think we’re essentially in agreement here – I’m not making it a hard requirement that one can be texthooked. I’ve made it through the first Ace Attorney with Game2Text so I know I can put up with that if I want, assuming it’s not a random game G2T won’t behave on either. It just is truly a pretty big negative for me as well, enough that I don’t personally feel so strongly about Narcissu that I wouldn’t rather just pick something else that allows for texthooking. I’m terrible about letting unknown words go haha. Maybe another I feel that strongly about will come up sometime though.
It’s also the most annoying thing to check because unless you can stumble on people online incidentally mentioning texthooking a VN, or someone here happens to know, the only way to check is to get the VN yourself and try it. So I’m not exactly… requiring that people find out if it can or not before they propose them? I’ll do my best to check on some when they come up but I have no good answer there, since plenty of people might nominate something they don’t own yet or simply not be a texthooker type person.
All the same, on we go, and it’s gonna be great Input from the sidelines is still very appreciated too!
Just make enough choices, so that it can be decided by interesting factor. Though, I might be more likely to play if there are companions playing it.
I have never setup game2text, nor being serious about OCR, so I can’t tell, but generally I am OK with searching in a dictionary app with my finger writing. (If with audio, it’s even easier to key in by Kana.)
I definitely have played games with text dialogues and characters moving minimally (and usually have Japanese audio); but not as far as choosing a route. (Although I have in English.) It can be classified as somewhat VN, but not quite, I guess.
Does Fire Emblem count as a VN, I wonder…? If so, then I’ve played more than one or two… I kid, of course. Looking forward to seeing nominations; hopefully there will be something I can fit into my schedule!
I decided to vote for never having read one, because I’ve never read one in Japanese. And the only ones I’ve done in English are the Ace Attorney games, so kinda on the game-y side. ^^
Considering I look up things with my phone/tablet while reading paper manga and such, not being able to use this textractor thingy isn’t a must. In fact, what would make me more likely to join is whether it is available on Switch.
Read a few in English, but not in Japanese. Got a steam deck and that made me consider playing some VN’s for practicing Japanese. Of course then I saw Persona 4 Golden being verified and have been playing that. It’s like half a VN anyway ( ) and I’m eyeing the upcoming Digimon Survive game which has elements as well. So it’s not like I’m not already thinking about it.
By the way, you can add more tags, such as Japanese language, and add a length column, so you can easily see what’s available. It also narrows medium VNs to 66, so you can just check the lengths right there.