A widely skewed image of the visual novel genre. and a commonly incorrect usage of the term “dating simulation,” keeps people from trying out an otherwise excellent method of storytelling.
Take the rather recent “Katawa Shoujo,” for instance. Many people went in thinking it was a “dating sim” about disabled girls. While the story is about disabled girls, it is not a dating simulation game. It’s intended to be an emotional visual novel that will break even the most wicked of souls (it’s actually rather average). Calling it a dating simulation game is as correct as calling Half-Life 2 an RPG. Or Eiken a “good anime” (ha ha). Which is why I felt like making this post, “Visual Novels vs. Dating Simulation Games.” For all you savvy folks out there, this post isn’t to put down one or the other, but to educate.
Within this post, I will post both the similarities and differences between visual novels and dating sims, and hope to take down any misconceptions about the former by forming a clear description of what the latter really is.