In Fate/stay night, for example, the way the player character behaved towards non-player characters during the course of the game affects the way they react to the player character in later scenes, such as whether or not they choose to help in life-or-death situations.
This would be far more difficult to track with physical books.
It also features a phone that could be used to dial any number to contact several non-player characters.
Another more non-linear early example was Mirrors, released by Soft Studio Wing for the PC-8801 and FM Towns computers in 1990; it featured a branching narrative, multiple endings, and audio CD music.
Each path only reveals certain aspects of the overall storyline and it is only after uncovering all the possible different paths and outcomes, through multiple playthroughs, that every component comes together to form a coherent well-written story.
The branching path stories found in visual novels represent an evolution of the Choose Your Own Adventure concept.
This choice is meant to aid the player in identifying with the protagonist and to avoid having to record large amounts of dialogue, as the main character typically has the most speaking lines due to the branching nature of visual novels.
Often, the protagonist is left unvoiced, even when the rest of the characters are fully voiced.Typically the majority of player interaction is limited to clicking to keep the text, graphics and sound moving (many recent games offer "play" or "fast-forward" toggles that make this unnecessary), while making narrative choices along the way.Most visual novels have multiple storylines and more than one ending; the mechanic in these cases typically consists of intermittent multiple-choice decision points, where the player selects a direction in which to take the game.It is not uncommon for visual novels to have morality systems.A well-known example is the 2005 title School Days, an animated visual novel that Kotaku describes as going well beyond the usual "black and white choice systems" (referring to video games such as Mass Effect, Fallout 3 and Bio Shock) where you "pick a side and stick with it" while leaving "the expansive middle area between unexplored." School Days instead encourages players to explore the grey, neutral middle-ground in order to view the more interesting, "bad" endings.This significant increase in length allows visual novels to tell stories as long and complex as those often found in traditional novels, while still maintaining a branching path structure, and allowing them to focus on complex stories with mature themes and consistent plots in a way which Choose Your Own Adventure books were unable to do due to their physical limitations.Visual novels with non-branching plots, such as Higurashi When They Cry, Planetarian: The Reverie of a Little Planet, Muv-Luv Alternative, and Digital: A Love Story are rare exceptions within the genre.Some visual novels do not limit themselves into merely interactive fictions, but also incorporate other elements into them.An example of this approach is Symphonic Rain, where the player is required to play a musical instrument of some sort, and attain a good score in order to advance.Usually such an element is related as a plot device in the game.Some shorter works do not contain any decision points at all. Fan-created novel games are reasonably popular; there are a number of free game engines and construction kits aimed at making them easy to construct, most notably NScripter, Kiri Kiri and Ren'Py.