Best EVN of 2012

It’s been an odd year in the OELVN world. The long-awaited release of Katawa Shoujo back in January set the tone for an unexpectedly strong first half of the year. Several strong titles came out of this year’s NaNoRenO event, including Dischan’s first completed work: Juniper’s Knot. Shortly after NaNoRenO ended, Christine Love’s Analogue: A Hate Story became the first EVN available on Steam with remarkable commercial success. More so than Moacube’s Cinders, which despite amazing visuals and lots of press coverage never became a breakout hit.

The second half of 2012 was markedly less strong. The only commercial release I wouldn’t feel guilty about calling a visual novel was Encarmine. Existing commercial groups seem to be turning further away from visual novels in favor of casual/simulation games. New commercial groups are able to deliver competing quality, but almost always with massive delays to their planned release dates (Cinders was originally slated for summer 2011).

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OELVN Recommendation Chart v1

Look, I made a thing.

The interactive version contains links to the homepage and VNDB entry for each VN. Clicking on the screenshot displays the full size version.

I’ve seen quite a few ‘regular’ visual novel recommendation charts over the years, but never one specifically featuring English-language visual novels. I guess there probably aren’t too many people who’ve read a significant enough number of OELVN to make such a chart. Of course I haven’t read everything either and that’s a disadvantage of making a chart based on the opinions of a single person — what I haven’t read isn’t on there.

I’ll be updating the chart periodically to make small improvements/fixes and, when necessary, to swap out some of the VNs. I’m interested in hearing suggestions for other visual novels I should read or consider putting on the next version. Please don’t recommend (dating) sims or RPGs with visual novel parts unless the VN parts outweigh the gameplay parts.