I think this is the time for me to discuss my own opinion about VNs as well as sharing some of my personal experience considering it has been 3 months after the poll that i put ended. But before that i just finished Miku Kisu - mirai no kimi to subete no uta ni which is a fanmade VN sold in comiket few years ago. As i expected this VN is not as good as the commercial VN in general but did quite good job in pandering Miku fans which unfortunately i am not. While i find the story cheesy, at least my perspective on Japanese VN broadened yet again.
So back to the topic, firstly from 33 polls from the polling that i put which for some reason reduced to 22 but anyway majority of the people who have polled at least play 1 VN title or more. I have played more than 30 VN titles up until now, which i don't know whether it is consider a lot or not but from this journey i have reached the conclusion that Visual Novels is one of the best medium for storytelling compared to other gaming genre. The first time i read a Visual Novel is when i was in grade 10 or 11 at high school which i did out of curiosity and that first title was Snow Drop which was mediocre but made me interested enough to keep going on. From there on i keep reading VN titles, some are really good some are mediocre and some are utterly terrible. But nevertheless i do find the experience of reading Visual Novels are really enjoyable. There are differing ways to judge a quality of Visual Novels, some people buy the VN just for the drawing but for me the most important thing for a VN is storyline without a doubt. From my observation the VN that have good storyline tend to have their story to be character driven because surprisingly Visual Novels allow some good character interactions in their medium.
There may have been general perception that VNs or Bishoujo games are only about pandering readers with pornographic material which are sad prejudice toward this gaming medium. While it is true majority of the Visual Novels will contain adult material as they are marketed toward young adults as main consumer base and it is inevitable for developers to put adult content as an incentive to attract the buyers. It is true that there are VNs that focused on adult content called Nukige which i have played some but tend to avoid them and 3D adult simulators like the ones from Illusion games perform better jobs. Anyway most of the VNs from my experience have good balance of story and adult contents. Nevertheless there are handful VN developers that make VN title with no adult content which their effort are commendable and back then Hirameki spearheaded to introduce VN Market to the west with these VNs but unfortunately they went down under (though i find it because they poorly execute the concepts and those interactive DVDs got too much problem). While most of the VNs are in japanese fortunately some of the good titles are translated and developers like Mangagamer try their best to bring more VN titles to the west.
Some of the VN titles that i considered to be good are Ever17 which got really good story especially toward the end, then Yume miru kusuri while i tend to avoid slice of life in general the writer of the script is something else and finally Saya no Uta, it is short but it got some twisted yet beautiful story at the same time. But probably you will prefer to touch these titles after reading couple of VNs in general. Phoenix Wright and Kyle Hyde Saga are quite good game titles as well if you are interested to get into reading VNs despite both of them are not really considered to be VN. As a closing word i will keep on reading VNs in the future and someday probably mastered good command of japanese to play the game in their original language and probably i am going to write another similar post like this in the future.
So what is your first Visual Novel and your favorite one?