Novelas are Brazilian soap operas. They are very different from Mexican soap operas, since they don't have the over acting and implausible plots. When I was a kid, my family was poor, so we had only one TV in my house. And I have a mother and two sisters, meaning that TV at night was all about seeing novelas. So, as the only boy until my father got home at night, I was forced to do something else or watch novelas.
A typical Brazilian novela is all about a couple of a charming, brave and all right good guy meeting an innocent, beautiful girl and falling in love. And them the bad guys around them trying to keep the couple apart for several reasons, from the bad ones loving one person of the couple, to social status to greed and any other excuse the author could find. Then you would spend 4 to 6 months wondering if the couple would ended up together, if the bad guys would receive the deserving punishment (to save your time, yes, most of the time, to each question), who killed Odeth Roithmann (if you are a Brazilian around my age, you get it).
So, as part of how I grown up, I can't deny the novela's influence. I still love a nice love story about people's fighting to get together, to see if the main character will ended up with the person I am rooting to be the one. So, I can't deny that everytime a love story is put in a game and there is several possible endings, I get curious to see if my favorite couple will end up together.
That explain in part why I find Visual Novels attractive. My first contact with Visual Novels was an eroge (yes, a porn game, live with it) when I was 16. It was Season of Sakura
, or Plagiarism: The Game. And it was quite fun. Would I be able to hook the main character with the girl I like most? Or will I screw up? It was quite a remarkable experience to me. The sex scenes at the end, a reward to any horny male teenager, didn't mattered so much at the end. The story, the characters, all that mattered way more.
I know a lot of you are reading and thinking that I am a lonely perv that want to have sex with underaged girls. I am a pervert, but not of that kind. I have no sexual desire for underaged girls. And I am not lonely, albeit no girlfriend right now. I work, I go out, I flirt. Not everyone is drawn to Visual Novels because they are socially awkward perverts. Some of those Visual Novels have great stories with some remarkable characters. Some of them have no sex at all.
Of course, the bad reputation of them avoid them to be localized in the West, which is a shame. I would love to play some titles like Fate//Stay Night and Stein;Gate. Yes, some of them get so popular that become anime and even entire franchises on its own. And you don't do that, for more that some people want to believe, just by being a porn game for perverts. Asks how many porn titles become franchises outside porn.
Not all Visual Novels are about scoring with high school girls.
Many Visual Novels aren't about looking girls at bath, upskirts and dating stereotypical anime girls. Some have compelling, interesting stories and unique characters. The prejudice the whole genre gets and, specially, its players, only hold up some true incredible titles to have any chance of coming West. The interesting thing, it is not the dating sim element that holds it back.
Most people loves to talk about their favorite BioWare mate, like Tali from Mass Effect
or Morrigan from Dragon Age
. Or even their love of titles that are heavily made around a dating sim element like Persona 2 and 4, and yet many will see any pure dating sim or Visual Novel game as unacceptable. Funny stuff. Saying that your character got to bed with a blue alien is OK but saying you was able to make two fictional high schoolers fall in love makes you a criminal.
It is a shame that due to several reasons, some great Visual Novels that I would love to play will never get a chance. Of course, my own circumstances make accepting the genre existence easier, while others simple cannot see the appeal, and it is way easier to dismiss and mock than understand and accept. Yes, I realize that there is plenty of Visual Novels that only exists for people looking for porn. But that is not the only ones that exists.
I know a lot of people are just happy with games being all about shooting things. And that they prefer games with no stories at all. But I particularly don't mind a game that is only story, neither I have a hate for any story that don't involve you trying to end the existence of something else. In the end, it is just a question that I am different. This doesn't mean I am better or worse than anyone else.
I think it is a shame that sometimes due to several prejudices something that people may enjoy will never have a chance. Probably I am not alone, and I am pretty sure someone will come on the comments and make a lot of a fuzz about what kind of lame person I am. Of course, if I cared, I wouldn't have wrote this in the first place.
But I really would love to see some of these games get a chance of being released, even if just as a digital tile. Some of them have compelling premises, others just seem to be fun stories. And after all, we all just want a game that are a good time spent playing.