Visual novel

interactive fiction game

A visual novel is a type of video game.[1][2] They use mostly static (non-moving) graphics, and usually have anime/manga-styled art. Sometimes they contain video footage. Almost all visual novels are produced in Japan, very few of these are ever sold in the Western market. Examples of popular visual novels are Kanon, Clannad, and Air.

An example of what most visual novels look like.



Visual novels are different from other types of video games in that there is not much gameplay, most of the time the player clicks the screen to move through the game, and occasionally choices will come up for the player to make, which will determine what happens in the game. Most visual novels have more than one storyline and ending, the gameplay has been compared to Choose Your Own Adventure books.

Content and genre


Many visual novels are centered around drama, particularly themes involving romance or family, but visual novels centered around science fiction, fantasy fiction, and horror fiction are not uncommon.

Adult content


Many visual novels have sexual or pornographic scenes in the game, even if they are not the whole purpose of the story.


  1. Cavallaro, Dani (2010). Anime and the visual novel: narrative structure, design and play at the crossroads of animation and computer games. McFarland & Company. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-7864-4427-4.
  2. Lebowitz, Josiah; Klug, Chris (2011). "Japanese Visual Novel Games". Interactive storytelling for video games: a player-centered approach to creating memorable characters and storie. Burlington, MA: Focal Press. pp. 192–4. ISBN 978-0-240-81717-0. Retrieved 2012-11-10. Visual novels (or sound novels, as they're sometimes called) are a popular game genre in Japan.