Ten Years of VNs Now Special Feature: Fifty EVNs JP Recommends (10-1)
2. VA-11 HALL-A (Sukeban Games)
Often imitated, but never duplicated, VA-11 HALL-A was my best EVN for the previous decade and remains a touchstone work in the entire subgenre. At this point, trying to hype the game up is almost pavlovian for anyone familiar with the title. The presentation is fantastic, the soundtrack is one of the best original scores in a game ever made, the mechanics master the concept of ‘Easy to Learn, Difficult to Master’ and its cast is a motley crew of anime and gaming homages shaken into the life of a normal girl, going through normal life with deeply, human regrets and quickly growing too old to change her ways. Like many real life tales, it is told one drink at a time and the audience will gladly spend several long nights watching these lives unfurl before them: lost in a haze of alcohol, memories and the all too human desire for something more. It’s a masterpiece of storytelling that will most likely never age.
BUT for those who are familiar with me and my work, you may have noticed we have gone forty-nine entries and something has been missing. While I have and will continue to recommend all of these titles, there is one game that myself and others always start with when we talk about English Visual Novels. One game that takes everything given to it and stuns with its execution on a level that may be topped one day, but not today. With that said, the game that I haven’t shut up about the most is –