I want to take a minute to write about Visual Novels. They are a genre of games similar to dating simulators, but some differences can set them worlds apart. I am not a man of remantic novels,
they usually don't leave any lasting impressions on me. But I recently got into playing Japanese games as I like quite a few things Japanese, the language for one. These games I soon found out were rated 18+
at first I wondered why but after playing for sometime I realized that they all move in one linear direction - the sex scene. This is the scene people appearantly link with the genre and after having played a few games I can see how this idea would have been developed. But I write this to shine the light on the fact that these commonly shunned games are in many ways (in some cases) far from inappropriate.
I am able to say this mainly thanks to Katawa Shoujo - "Disabled Girl". Think that's a wierd title? I have got to agree with you, but I don't speak alot of japanese so I had no idea about it's translation when I started out. You take the role of Hisao Nakai, a teenage boy who is about to have one of the most heartpounding confessions imaginable - literally. For as a girl, known as Iwanako with whom Hisao is secretly in love, tries to convey her feelings to him on a cold winters day, his heart skips a beat adn then two - he suffers a heart attack due to un-diagnosed arrythmia. He faints and wakes up in a hospital, and due to his condition he is forced to enroll in a school for the disabled, where proper medical facilities are present should he have another attack.
The games then concentrates on how Hisao tries to make friends, cope with his lost past and forcefully altered future. This is still a game about romance and as you play you get to follow Hisao as he first becomes friends with and then grows closer to one of the girls in the school. This doesn't mean that he tries to woo chicks with flowers or typical clichés, it is more about understanding, acceptance and coming to terms with himself and the one he loves. Every person has a past, but if you lack your sight, got scarred in a fire or were born without legs, life is probable to hold bullying, difficulties with day to day activities and a jumbled up past. I think that getting to know and trying to understand one of these fictional characters, as well as Hisao himself, is something that we all might take a lesson from. For the script is masterfully written and the story very indepth. It tries to show how the world can be harsh for you if you are different, and that maybe there is more to people than their most unique trait. Enough rambling from me, I leave off here with hope that maybe, no hopefully, you have seen what the great thing about Visual Novels can be if the author wills it so - a story of young love.