JP3’s Top Ten Best VNs of 2017
End of the Year Lists

JP3’s Top Ten Best VNs of 2017

5) Detention (Red Candle Games)

Remember when I said two horror VNs defined the genre for me this year? Yeah, say hello to the other one.

Detention is terrifying: period. Its imagery is stark, hellish and unforgiving; mastering the 2D plane to keep you on the edge of your seat for what is nothing short of a journey through a teenager’s personal Hell. Interestingly enough, the core of that Hell is a very real world fear: tyranny. Specifically in this case, the Taiwanese government; led by a vengeful Chiang Kai-shek and the remnants of his defeated Nationalist army shortly after the rise of Mao Zedong and the formation of the People’s Republic of China. Under Kai-shek, Taiwan imposed martial law and cracked down on anything or anyone that could be seen as supporting Communism in a period known as the White Terror.

The fact that it’s based off Taiwanese history only adds a particularly grim layer onto this unsettling experience. It’s the themes in its orbit, especially of grief and trauma, that I will carry with me for years to come.

Written by JP3 - December 31, 2017

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  • P January 2, 2018 at 11:43 am

    Almost half of those aren’t even VN… Story rich isn’t doesn’t always mean VN you know. Some of this are way closer to a point & click or just and adventure game than a VN. Though there’s still debate over what a VN really is, I don’t think A Mortician’s Tale, Herald, Detention and Old Man’s Journey are even close to being visual novels. Maybe they’re great games, but not of the VN kind.

    • VNsNowGuy January 17, 2018 at 2:26 am

      Hello! While I understand your point-of-view, I clearly disagree with it. If your argument is simply that there is more gameplay involved with those titles in particular than just a static image and narrative, I would remind you that the following games are marketed and accepted as visual novels that feature similar gameplay elements:

      – Danganronpa
      – 9 Hours, 9 Persons, 9 Doors
      – Hotel Dusk: Room 215
      – The Silver Case
      – Symphonic Rain
      – Policenauts
      – Sakura Wars

      Now, outside of that, all I can tell you is that on this site, we have seen both Japanese and English creators evolve the formula. You may not see them as VNs and that is fair enough. However, none of them are without precedent and, if anything, should be commended for not sticking to a strict formula and giving us something still in the visual novel medium, but also uniquely their own thing.