Don't mention that pigeon game

The last few days I've been working through a few VNs, or Visual Novels. I don't doubt there could be better things to do with this time, but regardless I suppose it's like reading a book, but with some major differences. Actions are still narrated, it simply comes with additional images, animation and sound which enhance the experience. While we're on this though, I don't know when I started considering reading novels a waste of time, despite having done it in the past. I know the many reasons which could have led to this thought process, but I'm still curious why.

I wouldn't call myself an expert at Visual Novels... or anything really. Just because you've worked through one or two and now understand how it works or have some insight into it does not make you an expert despite what some people online seem to think. But I've played my share all the same. If you're like me with a tight leash on spendings yet female to boot, there are not many free otome games out there (play as the girl), but there are a plethora of dating sims where you can play as a male character, whether it's a light-hearted romance or an eroge remains to be seen. And of course, there's the occasional yaoi (male-male) VN. I haven't played a yuri (female-female) one yet, but if you search up VN Openings on Youtube, you're bound to come up with something.

Katawa Shoujo: Emi route

From the top of my mind, the VNs I've played that have stuck with me are Katawa Shoujo, Altor, May Sky, Brass Restoration and the more recent ones I've played from sakevisual, [text], RE:Alastair++ and My Magical Cosplay Cafe (this last one sounds totally suspicious, I have to admit). These are all available in English, save for Altor which I played in Chinese despite not understanding a great deal, but it was enough to tide me over. It surprises me a little that the list is so small, but there are plenty I never really got through as they weren't all that greatly engaging and plenty I've forgotten the name of for one reason or another.

I wonder if it's right to say that you're 'playing' a VN? A Visual Novel isn't so much a game as just a digital book, in some ways. So 'reading' a VN could equally be accurate. But in other senses, it's still a dating simulation. But the difference is that sometimes it's not just a dating sim.

I may not stake out the VN scene, but Katawa Shoujo has frequently gotten good comments and recommendations and for sure it's easy to read, and at once touching and educational. Incredibly well written, it makes you consider situations and how people adapt to them. Unfortunately I write quite less capably than Aqua from 4LeafStudios that produced the novel. I hardly think the time helps that either, nonetheless it's a touching story that has impacted many people and I applaud their efforts in creating such a 'quality product', as I believe Ruben would say in a very 'Bernard'-like voice.

Katawa Shoujo: Lessons from the Rin Route

These dating sims are not just about getting the girl or enjoying the sex scenes, it's about the story, and that's probably the reason I play them despite not being a male, yet still playing these games from the male's perspective. It's interesting to see how the characters change and how relationships develop, how things can go wrong, and how things can go right. I like exploring the different paths, because I like to see the whole story. How this change could have impacted the story in this way. I suppose this is also kind of reflective of our world, how sometimes little choices made so far down the path can lead us to where we are today.