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LemiusK

What do you consider to be a VN, and do you trouble yourself with the definition?

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A long occurring trend in VNDB is that there is a stringency kept to define what is a "VN" and what isn't. Those that aren't are deleted from the database. Please refer to this page for more details:
https://vndb.org/d15

There are a lot of games with VN elements but aren't considered "true VNs," such as the Persona games, the Disgaea series, the Touhou games, Madoka Magica PSP, and Digimon Adventure PSP. Personally, I don't bother with the distinction and just treat them as visual novel-ish games, much like how I don't bother with whether if a visual novel should be considered as a true "video game" or not. Such semantics could only lead to and have led to toxic arguments (especially the latter argument regarding video games), and I don't have the time for that.

But what about you? Do you trouble yourself with what is a true VN and what isn't? Do Fuwa users discuss "non-true VNs" like Persona in "visual novel talk," or is that relegated to the video game board? Do you consider yourself a purist who needs to define things by their specific and accurate labels?

Moreover, are you bothered by VNs with gaming elements like Danganronpa and 999? Do you prefer VNs to just make you read and do nothing else? Are VNs improved by gaming elements, or are they worsened by it and only serve as a poor distraction?

What about "interactive anime" like School Days? They are considered "borderline VNs," but do you prefer those kinds of VNs or do you stray away from them? Do you prefer the animation sequences, or would you rather keep to the ordinary static VN imagery? Personally, as you could tell from my signature, I definitely prefer the full-length animations of School Days. :nokia:

In fact, on that same note, aren't VNs just interactive novels? Sure, there are novels without choices, but aren't those kinetic novels? Are KNs called VNs in a conversation even though they don't have choices?

Edited by LemiusK

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This kind of thread pops up every two years or so...  but the basic rule of thumb is the existence of extensive narration and the use of a text box in the ADV or NVL style (though there are exceptions).  VNs must always try to tell a story, even if it is nothing more than excuse for sex scenes.  While I mention narration above, someone is eventually going to point out Lamunation, which has almost no narration and the story is told almost entirely through dialogue.  

There are hardline parts of the community that don't even want to accept Eushully-type games as VNs because of the existence of gameplay.  there are also more liberal parts of the community that want to consider most jrpgs that even hint at VN elements as VNs.  However, the fact is, you have to draw the line somewhere. 

A few comments.  Persona generally gets excluded because the VN elements are actually far closer to dating sim elements than visual novel ones.  Dating sims, while they retain some similarities to a VN on the surface, rarely tell a story and are focused on simulation of a romance, often using social stats such as are seen in the Persona games. 

Personally, I find the inclusion of Ar Tonelico to be almost equally questionable, because the Cosmosphere is not so much telling a story as exploring the psyches of the heroines... though it does effect the story greatly at times.

Understand, if you play any Eushully game, then play a normal jrpg afterward, you will immediately see the differences... even if that other jrpg is Persona.  Simply put, Persona games' story is dependent on its gameplay, whereas a true VN hybrid's gameplay is an appendage to the story.  The differences are obvious when taken subjectively, but objectively, they are hard to describe.

 

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1 hour ago, Clephas said:

A few comments.  Persona generally gets excluded because the VN elements are actually far closer to dating sim elements than visual novel ones.  Dating sims, while they retain some similarities to a VN on the surface, rarely tell a story and are focused on simulation of a romance, often using social stats such as are seen in the Persona games.

But isn't Ever17 also dependent on a social-stats like point system to determine which route you enter? In fact, I'm sure a few other VNs do that too. In a more generalized, simplified description, both Ever17 and Persona rely on picking specific dialogue options to enter into a "route" for a certain heroine. In that sense, they're not too different from each other, especially Persona 4, which I have played and know this to be true.

And furthermore, I feel that to say Persona 4 is excluded because its story is dependent on its gameplay is confusing, especially when you take into account that Corpse Party: Blood Drive, of which its story is just as dependent on its gameplay (Game Over screen when you mess up during its gameplay sequences), was included in VNDB as an official VN.

 

Edited by LemiusK

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I'm not here to help. Just figured I'd mess this up some more :makina:

Take School Days. It doesn't have text boxes, and while the text does appear, technically you wouldn't need it if you could understand spoken japanese. The reason it's considered a VN, I imagine, is because there are multiple choices along the way that lead to different outcomes in the story. However, we know that this feature is not a sine qua non condition for something to be a VN, as works like MLA and Umineko are not only considered VN, but also highly regarded ones at that. 

OK, now imagine that you get rid of this interactive feature in School Days. What do you get? An anime. 

EDIT: In case I didn't manage to get my point across, what I meant is that School Days is a VN BECAUSE and only because that route system, while something like Umineko doesn't need this feature to still be considered a VN because it has plenty of narration and inner monologues, something you couldn't fit in an anime to that degree. 

Edited by Thyndd

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46 minutes ago, Thyndd said:

EDIT: In case I didn't manage to get my point across, what I meant is that School Days is a VN BECAUSE and only because that route system, while something like Umineko doesn't need this feature to still be considered a VN because it has plenty of narration and inner monologues, something you couldn't fit in an anime to that degree. 

Hmm, I wonder. I believe, choices (or routes) don't automatically make a random game into a VN. If Rockstar decided to add routes to GTA 6 while keeping the traditional mechanics of 3D action games, it still wouldn't be a VN. I didn't play it myself, but I heard Witcher 3 actually has something similar to a route system in its mechanics? The lack of gameplay also isn't that important, a lot of adventure games also only have very minimal gameplay. I'd say these factors combined gives School Days enough point that it could be considered a VN in some broad sense, but in the end it's only because it's so unique that it doesn't fit any other genre at all it is considered a VN.

As for the topic of this thread, I guess I personally more or less agree with the current VNDB definition. When I'm reading a VN, I usually do that for its unique style of presenting a story, not for choices or something else.

Though, to be honest, does it matter how you classify something as long as you enjoy it?

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2 hours ago, Thyndd said:

I'm not here to help. Just figured I'd mess this up some more :makina:

Take School Days. It doesn't have text boxes, and while the text does appear, technically you wouldn't need it if you could understand spoken japanese. The reason it's considered a VN, I imagine, is because there are multiple choices along the way that lead to different outcomes in the story. However, we know that this feature is not a sine qua non condition for something to be a VN, as works like MLA and Umineko are not only considered VN, but also highly regarded ones at that. 

OK, now imagine that you get rid of this interactive feature in School Days. What do you get? An anime. 

EDIT: In case I didn't manage to get my point across, what I meant is that School Days is a VN BECAUSE and only because that route system, while something like Umineko doesn't need this feature to still be considered a VN because it has plenty of narration and inner monologues, something you couldn't fit in an anime to that degree. 

If you're referring to the dialogue box, that makes Persona 4 far more of a VN than School Days, because it actually has a dialogue box, whereas School Days doesn't. It also features 1) a narration, and 2) inner monologue.

Edited by LemiusK

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22 minutes ago, Stormwolf said:

If i read something that can be considered a novel with visuals, then it's a visual novel. I don't get the question, doesn't the name itself explain it?

School Days hardly looks anything like a novel. So no, it's not that simple.

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Just now, Stormwolf said:

So school days isn't visual? I don't get it. Sure, it's like anime, but it's still visual. You could go for anime novel if that's what you mean.

It's not the "visual" part I was referring to, but the "novel" part. Do you see a ADV or NVL text box? 

Anyway, it's not even my definition of what is or isn't considered a VN. As I stated in my opening post, that's the given definition in VNDB. That's also the definition given by other Fuwa members above; refer to the other posts in this thread.

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