Translated dating sim
Though there are now many diverse VNs on the market, there is no doubt that the genre has its roots in games, in which the assumed straight male player can have romantic and/or sexual encounters with various female characters.
In fact, the first visual novel (of those documented by VNDB) was a game called (1997) included an ADMS (Automatic Diverge Mapping System), a map of the decision points in the branching narrative.
Players could participate in time-sensitive chat rooms and even answer “phone calls” from various characters.
This seemingly-lighthearted VN is also not without its dark twists; in fact, its unique format is well-suited for horror.
Due to the nature of this tactic, the most impactful stories are often found in unlikely places… While the premise of the game is strange enough, perhaps more surprising is the fact that the individual character routes have fairly well-developed stories ranging from heartbreaking to horrifying.
Players are made to feel a rollercoaster of emotions throughout the game, possibly so that they will feel more attached to the story and its characters.
The developers of (2007 onwards) also deserve mention (though the latter is not considered a VN due to its lack of narration).
Many are dating sims, in which players try to win over characters by choosing certain dialogue or action options, and many others are puzzle-based mystery games (referred to as “adventure games” in Japan) in which players must complete minigames in order to progress the story.
Unlike mainstream types of video games such as RPGs or FPSs, VNs are considered a rather niche genre.