Before getting into Butterfly Soup - one of my favorite gaming and narrative experiences this year - I want to loosely define a few phrases:
Slice-of-life, as an idiom, is sort of quaintly useless. Life is broad, and the slices can be generous. Ironically, in gaming, we use the term “vertical slice” to delineate the most exciting parts of a video game.
Yesterday on the Chicago L I saw a 50-something-year-old woman with a giant Hunger Games mocking jay tattoo on her neck. She probably wasn’t Hunger Games author Suzanne Collins. I know that for industry/genre enthusiasts YA is a useful term, but it’s also a dumb one.
Visual novels are popular in Japan, but not living in Japan I haven’t spent much time with them. I did play the grossly overwritten 999: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. It didn’t exactly leave me wanting more.
In visual novels, the player/reader reads text (mostly dialogue), looks at character portraits and makes occasional choices. Some visual novels include slightly more gamified systems, like inventories or stats, but generally they’re even less dynamic than choose-your-own-adventure books.
Okay, now Butterfly Soup: