I've played a lot of visual novels like this one, but the one thing I noticed is that it's hard to recall events that happen in visual novels, especially one like Phoenix Wright, but if I had to recall events from say Harry Potter or another more traditional fiction novel, it's a lot easier because I have images in my head created from the reading.
In visual novels, I don't really visualize the characters doing anything because they are just standing there making faces, and after the game is done, the story is a little less memorable because there is less to associate the memories with.
This VN is alright at adding detail when it needs to, so is a VN like 999, although they are still both lacking to me compared to a real novel, but Phoenix Wright is a huge offender. I can't recall most of the cases unless I have some kind of reference. Phoneix Wright is also a little different because it only has dialogue for writing. Most other VNs have more detailed text, but there is still less that is left to the imagination because of the pictures for me.
My question is to you guys, do you think the visual aid helps or hinders the experience of telling a story and why? Whether it just be this game, or all VN's you've played.
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Meh. I've only played this and Brass Restoration, but I like the VN style about as much as I like books, though in a slightly different way. I remember pretty much all the events from this game I think, but that's probably because most of the scenes which I otherwise might not remember are seen multiple times on different routes, and the scenes that only occur on one route are just awesome, so I don't forget those either. Brass Restoration really isn't plot driven; it's pretty much all about character interactions, so specific events aren't really as important anyway.
I really like books as well as the two VN's I've played. I think I actually prefer VN's for character interactions. But back to the original question: do visual novels require less imagination than books? Perhaps. As you said, there is less need to visualize the events of the story, and visualization certainly takes some imagination.
To answer your last question (do you think the visual aid helps or hinders the experience of telling a story and why?), I wouldn't say it necessarily helps nor hinders the experience. It's just a different way to present a story. I personally like it. To me, I feel more isolated from the outer world and involved in the story when I'm in a dark room with a good, comfortable pair of headphones and I see the characters and words on the screen in front of me than I do when I'm reading straight text on the page of a book.
But that's just me; maybe my imagination is lacking :P
It's an interesting thing to think about, but I think whether it adds or detracts to the experience is purely a matter of preference.
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." -Mark Twain
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I wasn't a big fan of novels as a child, and even though I've become more of an avid reader, I have to admit that I have trouble attaching a face to most of the characters I read about - most of the time I know and recall them only by name and only have a vague idea of who they are visually. The same goes for the setting.
Visual novels, on the other hand, show you the characters and setting. Being the unimaginative person that I am, I like how this gives me less to worry about. For me, the fact that I'm presented visuals doesn't suddenly mean I don't play out scenes in my head. Since the visual foundation is already there, my mind can easily fill in the gaps. As the story progresses and I get hooked, I also get attached to what I see. It's been almost a year since I've played Ever 17 and I can still vividly remember many scenes. Memories also come rushing back every time I listen to a track from Ever 17.
Like mkmaster95, said, I think it comes down to a matter of preference. For me, it certainly adds to the experience. I also agree with mkmaster95 that it really is a different way to present a story. It's not all text, but can be just as descriptive. It isn't exactly a picture book because we have the voice acting, the music and it is often is heavy in text, but it isn't exactly a movie either because the visual elements (at least in older VNs) are primarily comprised of static images.
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Well I dont know about requiring less imagination... maybe it does require less, but it certainly doesnt stop me from using it, and I tend to like VN's more than I do books (there are books I like more than VN's and VN's I like more than books but in general) and I think that's due to the fact that I get far more easily pulled into VN's than I do books, for em what really does it is the visual and audio stimulation I think, I mean you know how sometimes you can get teary at the movies because there's a sad track playing? That's the way it works music can influence your mood. Books dont tend to have music XD. However more than that it's the voicing that I think works out for VN's I mean one of the reasons it pulls you in is because you can hear them, they're right there (sorta) and for example I was bawling at Tsugumi's end less because of what it was that was happening and more because of the fact that I was hearing the sorrow/anguish whatever you want to call it in the voices, books rarely have that, you kinda read "and then X died" (yes I'm exagerating) and you feel sad sometimes but rarely do I get sad because of how it affects other characters or the emotions they have, it's all just my missing the characters
So yeah while VN's maybe use less imagination (though for me I start seeing VN's almost as a movie and I see the scenes playing in front of me) I dont think it's something to think too hard on because it's just different, imagination still gets used, just perhaps not as much, and giving people a prod in the right direction for their imaginations to run I think works pretty well