Anyone who knows me personally knows this has been a common whine for me every time a new “ironic”/ “critical” / parody VN becomes a primary object of discussion for a short window: Despite the long history, popularity, and measurable influence of the visual novel genre, when one emerges it is often framed as a novelty, and this framing is usually accepted by the press. They’re just so wacky! Even outlets who are typically more oriented towards, y’know, videogamey-games try to critique or provide context to this tendency, they tend to focus on narrative content and comparison to non-VNs. I’m fascinated with visual novels, not just for their narrative but for their form and structure as software and videogames. I hardly consider myself an expert or hardcore fan, I just regularly seek them out and enjoy them. Even with just my cursory knowledge, I want to add something to this discussion (which may be a few months late at this point… but it always comes up again), about important features of the visual novel form, from a Game Studies perspective.