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Sayaka

Your experience of "the visual novel entry barrier"

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I've been inspired by the "Make vns popular in the West" topic to ask:

 

How did you get into visual novels?

 

More specifically, what factors, if any, made it difficult to take up the hobby?

I personally had big problems at first adjusting to the (slower) pace of visual novels, and gave up on titles that later became favourites. For that reason if I were to try to introduce someone to VNs, I'd start with a short kinetic novel.

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weeeeeeeell, i got into vns after discovering 2d boobs. :rimu: id say the start really was persona 4. this got me more interested in jrpgs and japanese medium as a whole and lead me to... hentai. :notlikemiya:

 

this lead to me acquiring :ph34r: a vn called x-change because of one fact. boobs. i would say my journey took a turn when i read katawa shoujo. i gained a deeper respect for vns and their structure after that and began to seek more for the thinking part of my brain and not the libido part. :miyako: 

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TL;DR version... what got me into VNs was... Archer from F/SN.

Now let me explain. I learned about F/SN and thought "I have to try this shit" but when I saw it was a VN I was discouraged because I thought at the time that VNs were really boring game that having nothing to "play". So I went to the manga version instead (dumb me). I always read tons of manga.

And I was instantly hooked! Especially in the Archer+Rin parts (the manga version was a mix of Fate and UBW). They're my OTP and I loved Archer (still love, my precious husbando). Except... they abruptly ended the UBW coverage to finish the manga with the Fate route. And they did that exactly in the day they went to Ilya's mansion in Fate. I was enraged, so so pissed. Without understanding anything, I looked around to understand why they dropped a bridge on Archer's head and found out about the routes and such, that I didn't knew at the time (like I said, I was dumb). My next thought? "I need to read the VN. Screw boring, I need to know the rest of Archer's story!"

UBW was as awesome as I expected it to be. I have fond memories of the time I read it. And I found out that VNs aren't boring. And never stopped playing ever since. And then I went down the slippery slope and started reading BL like crazy but that's another story...

Edited by MaggieROBOT

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I started reading rewrite and had a blast with it. Being the first vn i ever read, but i did have a big problem with the protagonist though. We have a lot of shitty protagonists in anime and such, but it felt different to be in the protagonists perspective like that, and his thoughts were almost always my opposites. I won't say it was easy for me to get into vn's, because it wasn't. What kept me hooked is the stories and the romance the vn's would at certain times present. 

I guess it was Da capo 1 and Grisaia that were my most comfortable reads, as the protagonists resonated so well with my own thoughts. 

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I knew they were a thing and wanted to try one, the "barrier of entry" was actually finding one though(this being around 2008). At first I couldn't find one in English and tried an untranslated one; I quickly came to the conclusion I couldn't even understand half of it.
After some more searching I found a translated one: "Yukizakura", I really liked it and continued looking for more.
I didn't have any issue getting into the "format" itself though.

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2 hours ago, Sayaka said:

I've been inspired by the "Make vns popular in the West" topic to ask:

 

How did you get into visual novels?

 

More specifically, what factors, if any, made it difficult to take up the hobby?

I personally had big problems at first adjusting to the (slower) pace of visual novels, and gave up on titles that later became favourites. For that reason if I were to try to introduce someone to VNs, I'd start with a short kinetic novel.

I began with Tsukihime.

Understand, my biggest barrier to playing VNs was erotic content.  For better or worse, I was living like a monk at the time, and I wasn't interested in being reminded about sex.  I often acted irritable and made uppity anti-sex speeches back then... (Yes, I was that bad).  However, a friend in the anime fansubbing community insisted that I should play Tsukihime, so I reluctantly did so... and I was instantly addicted to the VN experience.

I went through every VN translated at the time inside four months, then immediately moved on to untranslated and haven't looked back since.  Looking in from the outside, I'm pretty sure people will say I am an addict and need help... since I restructured my entire life around paying for my habit and blow thousands of dollars on it every year.  However, I'm reasonably happy.

Edit: Yes, I am living proof that visual novels obsessively make you over into a fetishist pervert.  I've been corrupted and I am at peace with my corruption, which is probably why I always feel empathetic toward the fallen goddess heroines in Venus Blood games.

Edited by Clephas

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Like many things Galaxy Angel brought me to Visual novels

It was around 2009 (has it been that long?) I think and I was probably doing what I usually did for a while and scour the internet for things relating to Galaxy Angel. I was hugely obsessed at the time and I finally found out that they were games released for it and that one was translated. So then began my visual novel awakening. It really took off once I discovered Fate Stay Night when I typed in visual novel while browsing Wikipedia. I thought the title and the cover was interesting so that was the true tipping point.

The biggest barrier was getting them to install, after that it didn't pose much of a problem.

Though playing Lighting Warrior Raidy 2 made me avoid nukiges for years.

Curse you enemas!

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I got into VNs through a mix of Kamidori Alchemy Meister, X-Change, and Katawa Shoujo. I forget what it was that led to me giving X-Change a try but as for the others I saw my cousin and a few friends talking about Kamidori and I thought it seemed cool so I gave it a try, it being my first VN as a result. Katawa Shoujo meanwhile was the first VN that I gave a try without any prior exposure, going in completely blind. Needless to say I loved it and so I decided to get farther into the medium and now here we are.

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45 minutes ago, Clephas said:

I went through every VN translated at the time inside four months

Really?  All of them? The pickings were awful slim in those days, but not so slim I can buy getting through everything in 4 months.  Tsukihime released after G-Collections went under, and their library has more than 25 games.  That's a lot, and that's just G-C.  Then there's Jast USA, and Himeya-soft, and the dozen or so released by various minor companies who did a few titles then folded.  You actually went back and played all those really old kusoge?  Terrible games like DOR, or Cobra Mission, or Pro Les-Ring, or Time Stripper Mako?

As for me, well, I had an interest in "hentai" before I even knew what anime was.  (I discovered it back when I discovered you could just type porn into search engines and actually find porn.  This was in the very early days of the internet.)  My interest in "hentai games" grew out of that.  Three Sisters' Story, Seasons of the Sakura, and Nocturnal Illusion were the games that convinced me there was something worth looking into (for more than just pr0n reasons).  I converted into a paying customer when I found out exactly how poorly all these games sold.  The first game I paid for was Snow Drop, which at the time I liked (and which I can't imagine liking now, 15 years since I last messed with it).  And, well, nearly 20 years later, here I am.

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I got interested in VNs only because I saw a picture of Katawa Shoujo on this really shitty content aggregator website.  Looked it up, saw that it had porn, ran on OSX and was freeware, and I downloaded it on the spot.  I eventually got my hands on emulation software, emulated Windows, and started reading F/sn and Hoshimemo.

Never really had any difficulties adapting to VNs.  I already liked anime (yes, and hentai :makina:) and I read quite often, so it was a pretty well-fitting hobby for me to pick up.

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The h stuff annoyed me because at the time I was in middle school and couldn't play those yet, but I ended up using Umineko as a gateway drug anyway and played Katawa Shoujo one or two years later. And then I learned how to "acquire" and it was all over for me. So I guess I didn't really feel it much at all.

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Let's Plays on youtube and Twitch I guess got me interested. Watched SuperJeenius' let's play of Ace Attorney, and Cirno_TV's stream of Steins;Gate.

Then around the halfway mark last year, one of my friends on Twitch was streaming Grisaia. Heard the unrated version had H content. Bought it, got instantly hooked on the humor and characters. And the rest was history.

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I never really got into visual novels much. I was really into anime back when I was 15 and I watched some key anime and heard that there were "games" for them. Same happened for danganronpa and school days. School days was such a weird experience that I wanted to search for the game itself (plus youtube-chan said it was animated). So I kept googling it but all that came up was websites having moon runes in them (dunno if School Days was translated back then or if I was bad at searching stuff). Then I searched for English visual novels and boom.... Katawa Shoujo came up. So I played the game and after finishing it, I searched for similar English visual novels and this led me to this website, fuwanovel itself (a friend told me about it). I found Danganronpa and started playing it. Since I started playing visual novels after Katawa Shoujo, characters being voiced was such an amazing finding for me. I really liked the concept of visual novels because I had a really bad imagination (still do!) so voiced characters + seeing the expressions of characters + having some kind of an ost playing in the background + still having the novel atmosphere was really a good combination.

 I then read Steins;Gate and Fate/stay night and didn't manage to finish one whole visual novel since. So I can't really say that I really got into visual novels. As you can see, what I found to be barriers for me to get into visual novels were several things though (those are subjective to me and probably not a lot of people agree with me on them) :

1-Sexual Content: until F/SN, I didn't really have much sexual content (I used to skip h-scenes in katawa shoujo) in my visual novels but the sexual content in F/SN had to do with the story so it was arguably ok. I still didn't feel a need to go into an h-scene from beginning till end. I used to read books from time to time and sex scenes were just implied and not described form beginning till the end in full detail (and ofc didn't have illustrations for all their stages) so it was really annoying for a bit since they were not enjoyable. Additionally in other visual novels, sexual content felt really unnecessary. I still think of most sexual content in the visual novels to be utterly unnecessary because there are nukige after all. It's like ignoring all hentai and doujins and just overly implementing h-scenes in all anime and manga.

2-Idea of routes: despite me liking the idea of being able to choose a route, the inconsistencies in some routes really aggravated me especially in quality. I was never the kind of guy who you can tell "The story gets better ahead so  keep reading". This happened with Shizuru's route in rewrite and mitchiru's route in grisaia no kajitsu and they both made me drop their respective visual novels.

3-RomCom moments being way too long: even in games that were not considered moege, the romcom moments were still way too long (e.g. fate/stay night itself). Trust me, I do love RomCom moments but I don't want to spend over 10-20 hours of my reading experience on it. And obviously it gets even worse in games that seem to be dedicated to RomCom but are still long (in terms of hours) like my gf is the president, princess evangile and almost every common route (especially in key visual novels like kanon and rewrite and it kinda continued in the routes to a huge degree). Such moments eventually feel repititive and boring for me, put me off and I stop reading the visual novel for a while until I ultimately lose all interest in the visual novel.

4-Setting of visual novels and being repetitive: Now this is not a problem for me towards visual novels only but it has really irritated me even in anime and manga. After consuming japanese products as my hobby for about 5 years, I am starting to get bored of the same highschool setting with the same generic characters having the same character traits that were introduced in the 80s and 90s and then they were thought to be amazing to just repeat for almost 3 decades. All encounters start to feel so cliché to the point that it's just a meme when they happen. Lack of seriousness and being almost always unrelatable started to become annoying. I guess you could say that not introducing relatable problems might be good since it's a means of escapism but I'd love to see relatable problems from time to time. 

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32 minutes ago, hsmsful said:

School days was such a weird experience that I wanted to search for the game itself

Hah, this was actually exactly the thing that re-ignited my interest in VNs, the anime was so messed up that I had to find out what the good routes look like - basically to see if the story can have a happy end at all. I really liked both of the girls and wanted to see them getting some happiness.

I've played Analogue: A Hate Story a few years earlier and loved every piece of it, but didn't really get interested in the genre. From School Days however it somehow escalated into yuri OELVNs, than Flowers and I was hooked ever since. So, there was no real "entry barrier" for me, I picked them up being so old that neither reading nor sexual content could really scare me off, as long as I've enjoyed the story. It just took me cutting down on other games to "free some space" for VNs and truly appreciate them.

Edited by Plk_Lesiak

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The first VN I played was viper v-16, translated in Italian by Hobibox Europe. A shit game indeed. It was so bad that I quickly forgot abot the medium altoghether. My interest in the medium started to pick up again after the realease of Fate Stay night anime adaption, I liked it, despite the poor quality, then after type moon finished the fantrans I decided to give tsukihime a chanche, I only read a route and I didn't like it very much, though. Then I became a fan of Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni anime adaption, and I knew from the very first episodes that it was adapted from a VN.

In the end, the game that made me a VN fan was Chaos;Head, before that i was only a casual player, Chaos head was the game that made ma an avid VN reader.

Edited by WinterfuryZX

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1 hour ago, Plk_Lesiak said:

Hah, this was actually exactly the thing that re-ignited my interest in VNs, the anime was so messed up that I had to find out what the good routes look like - basically to see if the story can have a happy end at all. I really liked both of the girls and wanted to see them getting some happiness.

not to derail the thread too much but did school days the vn satisfy you?

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got into vns when I was at a very lonely place in my life, so I found this amazing thing where i could actually sex the waifus as well....so that was nice I guess, for a month or two.

But then i discovered saya no uta that showed me what vns are capable of doing that anime are incapable of and it just kinda took off from there

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13 minutes ago, mitchhamilton said:

not to derail the thread too much but did school days the vn satisfy you?

I guess it did? It was very engaging, at times disturbing and I dropped it twice after the protagonist pretty much ignored my input and decided to be an asshole on his own volition (had to cool off a bit before coming back). But I've got optimal endings for both Sekai and Konohona at pretty much first tries, with only minor backtracking and like I've said, I've really enjoyed both girls as characters. Makoto being a spineless asshole made for some interesting drama, as much as I hated him, it was something very different than the usual anime romance. And from technical point of view, the game was very impressive.

Don't get me wrong, School Days is filth and I completely understand people like Tay hating it (he gave it one star if I remember well). I've just played it with a very specific mindset - basically trying to find a path around Makoto's horrible personality, as if it was a adventure puzzle game rather than a VN. And from that point of view, finding a path in which he didn't set the world on fire and getting a heartwarming conclussion was very gratifying. Enough to make me actively look for more VNs.

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My origin with VNs is very... sporadic...

I remember some years ago gettin' into VNs 'cause of my liking to "interactive movie" games like Heavy Rain, than I downloaded a bunch of freeware ones from the internet, but, I don't remember much of it...

Than I heard 'bout this game called DRAMAtical Murder from some of my Fujoshi classmates and I had to fill a hole in my heart 'cause I was interested in other game called Cecillia: Cruel Miracle (which now I realized it is an Otoge Rpgmaker Hybrid, sadly the game was cancelled recently) that was to be released at the time, so I played it and fell in love with it, I really liked all characters (even Mink) and it was also refreshing to see homo characters that weren't the steriotypical "flamboyant girl-lish man" (at the time I was also struggling with the fact that I wasn't hetero, so the game helped).

Than from there I got into other games, like Saya no Uta and KnS and also played one called "Bad End".

But curiously what really made search for VNs was a TV tropes page xoD

There is this page called Visual Novels\Multiple Endings that really picked my interest on the genre (I always been a fan of multiple endings in games, so I was hooked), the rest is history...

Edited by SeniorBlitz

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12 hours ago, MaggieROBOT said:

TL;DR version... what got me into VNs was... Archer from F/SN.

Now let me explain. I learned about F/SN and thought "I have to try this shit" but when I saw it was a VN I was discouraged because I thought at the time that VNs were really boring game that having nothing to "play". So I went to the manga version instead (dumb me). I always read tons of manga.

And I was instantly hooked! Especially in the Archer+Rin parts (the manga version was a mix of Fate and UBW). They're my OTP and I loved Archer (still love, my precious husbando). Except... they abruptly ended the UBW coverage to finish the manga with the Fate route. And they did that exactly in the day they went to Ilya's mansion in Fate. I was enraged, so so pissed. Without understanding anything, I looked around to understand why they dropped a bridge on Archer's head and found out about the routes and such, that I didn't knew at the time (like I said, I was dumb). My next thought? "I need to read the VN. Screw boring, I need to know the rest of Archer's story!"

UBW was as awesome as I expected it to be. I have fond memories of the time I read it. And I found out that VNs aren't boring. And never stopped playing ever since. And then I went down the slippery slope and started reading BL like crazy but that's another story...

WOW I never thought I'd have someone with an almost similar story with mine. (except the BL things)

I was a huge manga/anime fan and I was a friend suggested the FSN manga to me... So I checked it out... And I got hooked! I have always been a fan of intersting settings, and the Holy Grail war concept was a very promising premise... plus Archer is as cool as you can possibly be.

So one of my classmates back then saw me reading the manga in class (I wasn't a particularly good student) and casually noted that FSN is actually based on a game. So I searched for it and found the VN format of story telling. Interested in the format, I looked up other VN titles, then I saw Clannad. Then I knew that I had to read it. I looked for sites that I can download VNs and found Fuwa.

With a copy of FSN and Clannad, I started reading. I had to drop FSN because I was having a hard time reading it because a wall of text in front of the cg background is really different from anime presentation with subtitle. Also I held off on starting Clannad, hearing that it is a grueling VN that is extremely long to read.

Not wanting to give up on the promising mediium, I picked up an unadapted VN, G Senjou no Maou.

And there's that. Five years later, while I haven't read as much VN as I would've liked, I'm still very engrossed in it.

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Well, for me it started in 2013. I watched Clannad anime, and I really liked it back then. I looked up a Wikipedia page for it and learned that it was based on a visual novel. So, after I watched the other Key anime, I decided to read later VNs by them that weren't adapted yet, namely Rewrite and Little Busters. And, well, I liked the format and I found several other VNs on vndb that interested me, but I can't say I was hooked back then. I watched several anime adaptations of other VNs, and I still regret that with Steins;Gate, because it's the only reason that I haven't read the VN for it yet.

Then I read Umineko. And, well, here I am now.

As for the barrier of entry... Surprisingly, I never actually had one. I would expect to have one with h-scenes, but the only 18+ VN I finished in my first year of reading them was Air, and it's pretty low on sexual content, and I basically skipped all the h-scenes. It also helped that back then I didn't know how far some VNs actually go with their sexual content. If I encountered something like Subahibi or Saya no Uta back then, I'd probably avoid the whole genre like plague.

PS. And, by the way, Clannad was only about a fifth anime I ever watched.

Edited by Dreamysyu

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VN's are the thing that opened the whole wonderful world of anime to me, getting into them is what pushed me to try and experiment and try light novels and manga as well (up till visual novels i was only interested in TV shows and movies anime). My first finished and properly played visual novel was Katawa Shoujo, i just tried it out due to all the controversy ending up beign sucked in due to the amazing story and interesting characters, my first japanese visual novel probably was D.C. Da capo, from there i was hooked.

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About the entry barrier, since i was a pre-teen when i first got interested in VNs (and i thought VNs = eroge with a few exceptions), the existence of H-scenes made me scared to try out the genre for 2 whole years.

What made me say "fuck it" and try G-Senjou no Maou was Asceais's Top 100 list, because it made me see how much stuff i was missing.

Edited by onorub

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