A visual novel (ビジュアルノベル, bijuaru noberu) is an interactive game genre, which originated in Japan in the early 1990s, featuring mostly static graphics, most often using anime-style art or occasionally live-action stills (and sometimes video footage). As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels. In Japanese terminology, a distinction is often made between visual novels (abbreviated NVL, derived from visual NoVeL), which consist predominantly of narration and have very few interactive elements, and adventure games (abbreviated AVG, or ADV derived from ADVenture), a form of adventure game which may incorporate problem-solving and other types of gameplay. This distinction is normally lost outside Japan, where both NVLs and ADVs are commonly referred to as "visual novels" by international fans. Visual novels and ADVs are especially prevalent in Japan, where they made up nearly 70% of the PC game titles released in 2006. Visual novels are often produced for video game consoles, and the more popular games have occasionally been ported to such systems. The more famous visual novels are also often adapted into the light novel, manga or anime formats. The market for visual novels outside of East Asia is small, though a number of anime based on visual novels are popular among anime fans in the Western world.
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