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Visual Novels are a relatively new medium. They are sometimes categorized as a genre of Video Games, as they are software-based, but given that the relationship ends here, they could also be considered another, independent medium of interactive fiction.
These are the unique cornerstones of Visual Novel storytelling that could theoretically happen in any medium, but for certain reasons, this format especially encourages them:
The genre of Visual Novels that have graphic sex scenes (regardless of their amount or significance in the work.)
- Earn Your Happy Ending
The more grimdark some Bad Ends can be, the more WAFF you can expect from the True End.
- Faceless Protagonist
Not showing the protagonist's face is an old tradition in the medium, even in cases, where, unlike the rest of the trope's examples, he does have a personality.
- For Want of a Nail
Usually, totally different routes can be started by picking up a slightly different choice in the same decision.
- Golden Ending
From the Multiple Endings tradition. Usually known as 'Good End' or 'True End'. Many times it can only be achieved after going trough many Bad Ends.
- H-Game POV Character
Related to Featureless Protagonist, which allows the player to project their own personality onto the character.
- Harem Genre
This setup commonly happens, but it's less prominent than in Harem Anime, because you can focus on one girl early on.
- How We Got Here
An extremely common way of starting the story, a few days into the future.
- Jigsaw Puzzle Plot
Known in the fandom as Multiple Route Mystery
- Ordinary High School Student
The most common protagonist type.
- Porn Without Plot
This subgenre of trashy, plotless eroge exists, but they are less likely to get English fan translations.
- Porn with Plot
These sort of eroge are more likely to get an English translation and get known over here.
- Renai Game
Romantic stories, one of the main genres.
A genre name, meaning "Depressing game", usually based on romantic plots.
These are the tropes that the medium shares with video games, originating from the choices that the player can make during the story:
- But Thou Must!
Things that look like choices but actually enforce a certain direction.
- Cruelty Is the Only Option
A side effect of the Utsuge Harem genre, where you must ignore the tragedies of every other heroine to solve the chosen route.
- Cutting Off the Branches
Usually sequels follow the True End of the original story (see below).
- Dialogue Tree
It's practically a staple, except for minor subversions and aversions.
- Multiple Endings
Bad End, Good End, True End, and Normal End are most commonly used names for them.
- Optional Sexual Encounter
The entire point of Eroge routes
Due to their unique narrative structure, plot, and interactive nature, the adaptions of Visual Novels also have their recognizable quirks:
- Anime of the Game
Usually adaptions are focusing on one route, and importing minor parts of other routes into it.
- Bleached Underpants
Many anime adaptions can cut out not just the graphical sex scenes, but even the implication of sex, without heavily changing the plot.
- Visual Novel Shot
A visual clue about the nature of the original source, in an anime adaption.