Today visual novels are rising in popularity, receiving recognition thanks to popular hybrids and the growing number of homemade games found in places like itch.io. They’re still considered a very niche subject, but the small community that revolves around these games is thriving. As discussed on my Where pages, visual novels are not the type of game that people in the West generally prefer due to their lack of action, but they have been prevalent in the Japanese game market for a long time. Dating simulations, usually targeted at lonely heterosexual men, serve as a kind of simulated stand-in for real intimacy (as the genre title implies) that is easy to immerse oneself in. Platforms like Steam now accommodate a growing number of visual novels that have thousands of reviews and are very popular despite censorship issues. There are a number of game publishing companies that focus on translating Japanese visual novels, some which are listed on this page from the visual novel subreddit. People are also becoming more open-minded towards visual novels made around the world; visual novels created outside of Japan were generally disregarded until just recently.
The future of visual novels is a little ambiguous, but hopeful. The medium has a long way to go before it is properly recognized as worthwhile in the video game industry at large. I’m hoping that this website will help at least a little bit by giving people an introduction to the potential of visual novels as both video games and literature. Recognizing the scholarly worth of video games is just beginning, as more people begin to research and make an effort to understand them beyond their shallow, pornographic reputation.