Adventure dating games
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Visual novels with non-branching plots, such as Higurashi When They Cry, Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet, Muv-Luv Alternative, and Digital: A Love Story are rare exceptions within the genre.Many visual novels often revolve almost entirely around character interactions and dialogue choices, such as Ace Attorney and Tokimeki Memorial, usually featuring complex branching dialogues and often presenting the player's possible responses word-for-word as the player character would say them.
Each path only reveals certain aspects of the overall storyline and it is only after uncovering all the possible different paths and outcomes, through multiple playthroughs, that every component comes together to form a coherent well-written story.
Some shorter works do not contain any decision points at all. Fan-created novel games are reasonably popular; there are a number of free game engines and construction kits aimed at making them easy to construct, most notably NScripter, Kiri Kiri and Ren'Py.
Many visual novels use voice actors to provide voices for the characters in the game.
Often, the protagonist is left unvoiced, even when the rest of the characters are fully voiced.
This choice is meant to aid the player in identifying with the protagonist and to avoid having to record large amounts of dialogue, as the main character typically has the most speaking lines due to the branching nature of visual novels.
The more famous visual novels are also often adapted into the light novel, manga or anime formats.
The market for visual novels outside of East Asia is small, though a number of anime based on visual novels are popular among anime fans in the Western world.In Japanese terminology, a distinction is often made between visual novels (abbreviated NVL, derived from visual No Ve L), which consist predominantly of narration and have very few interactive elements, and adventure games (abbreviated AVG, or ADV derived from ADVenture), a form of adventure game which may incorporate problem-solving and other types of gameplay.This distinction is normally lost outside Japan, where both NVLs and ADVs are commonly referred to as "visual novels" by international fans.Such titles revolving around relationship-building, including visual novels as well as dating simulations, such as Tokimeki Memorial, and some role-playing video games, such as Shin Megami Tensei: Persona, often give choices that have a different number of associated "mood points" that influence a player character's relationship and future conversations with a non-player character.These games often feature a day-night cycle with a time scheduling system that provides context and relevance to character interactions, allowing players to choose when and if to interact with certain characters, which in turn influences their responses during later conversations.This would be far more difficult to track with physical books.