Ten Years of VNs Now Special Feature: Fifty EVNs JP Recommends (50-30)
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Ten Years of VNs Now Special Feature: Fifty EVNs JP Recommends (50-30)

Over the years, more than a few have asked me for recommendations for visual novels. Usually, I just point to whatever game I was happy playing with at the time and said list tends to build up when you have been giving those recommendations since 2011. For our Ten Year Anniversary, I have done my best to organize this mental list and present for the first time an annotated, ranked guide to what English Visual Novels people should play as an introduction to the subgenre. BUT, before we do that, we have to lay down some ground rules.

  • First and foremost, this is not, I repeat, NOT a list of games I think are the best of the period. I have already given my opinion on that which you can read here. This is a purely subjective list recommending titles I have enjoyed in one form or another. Of course, that means I think they are good, but don’t be surprised if one or two titles don’t match the vaunted VNs Now Review Ranking System. I have been on record of games I’ve enjoyed despite themselves and while I would never suggest someone play a game I think is outright bad, I have and will recommend titles that I considered flawed.
  • Second, please do not assume I will be trying to fit in a title to fit specific genres or archetypical characters in media. This is not a comprehensive list of where you can get certain games depending on certain attributes you may be looking for. Again, this is strictly games I have liked over the years and ones I can safely recommend as a good time. So, if you’ve got that ‘YOU DID NOT INCLUDE -insert fictional subgenre here- AND THAT IS BAD’ template in the comments, go ahead and delete it. No, I don’t have -insert fictional subgenre here-, probably because I have yet to play a game in said subgenre I would recommend.
  • Finally, this isn’t meant to be a list of totality; in which I mean these are the only games I think you should play. This is just where I think people can safely start then branch out on their own. I have done my best over the past decade to go outside of my comfort zone and try projects and titles that don’t always line up with my tastes. The results are mixed, but that’s because the results are always mixed when you are willing to experience new ideas. If anything, that is what I am celebrating this month: where the Spirit of Adventure can lead, if only in this small corner of gaming.

Oh and a hard rule I gave myself before I started is that developers with a large catalogue are limited to two entries in this list. Otherwise I’d be tempted to just say, ‘Play all of their games’, which would be cheating, or cutting out massive chunks of the list for that developer. So certain devs get two and that is it.

With all of that said, and be careful because if you have not played any of these games there will be some mild spoilers, let’s begin.

Written by JP3 - June 11, 2021

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