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Whether or not "visual novel" is a genre, a sub-genre/modifier for other genres, or a pejorative term is unclear, as connotations differ by community.Public Medium Ignorance, particularly the Animation Age Ghetto and Girl Show Ghetto, may be responsible for quite a bit of the confusion.Because the market for Dating Sims is virtually non-existent outside of Japan, people tend to assume that any visual novel that is a Romance Game should be called a dating sim, when they are actually quite different.(It doesn't help that most Visual Novel-style eroge series is probably the game closest to a true Dating Sim with mass-market appeal in the US.

Still, the bulk of visual novels are translated by dedicated fans if they are translated at all.However, with the advent of Steam, its Greenlight program, and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter (all of which have also aided the revival of Western adventure gaming), the number and availability of visual novels outside Japan have been steadily expanding.Since Steam disallows explicit sexual content, the games available there are either "clean" versions of explicit games or games without any explicit content in the first place.The level of gameplay can vary, leading to difficulty in defining the boundaries of the medium.On the far video game end of the scale we have games that adhere closer to the Adventure Game model such as the .

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