Add Visual Novels & Video Games

I know there is plans to bring Anime, Movies, etc to Natively’s database for tracking, but I was curious if VN were something you guys have considered. I think it would be easier to implement than Anime, but I think you would run into issues with tracking like you do with books. Maybe by chapter instead of page number?

This is a huge part of my reading, so I’d love it. My suggestion for tracking would be by time instead of anything with the text just because getting the length in chapters/scenes/characters can be a bit of work sometimes.

vndb would be an excellent source for the information about the VNs


Along with VNs, I’d like to see drama CDs considered added to Natively. Though I’m not sure if there’s any decent db to pull from for those…

Anyway, more on topic, while I support the addition of VNs, I would like to ask where the line would eventually be drawn. Does Phoenix Wright count as a pure enough VN? What about those stat-raising ones where 80% of the game is trying to balance your stats so you don’t die early? What about a game that’s not technically a VN, but there’s a lot of reading? I guess in theory you could limit the category solely to only things that are in vndb…


I don’t think time is a good measuring gauge for anything that is interactive to be honest.

Maybe @brandon has something in mind?


I’m not even sure if the distinction matters so much for the Natively addition, since visual novels and other video games could probably be treated the same. (And I’d really love to have video games including VNs in Natively, since that’s a big part of my reading…)

But if this feature request is only about VNs for some reason, I should probably add my own request related to video games in general…


Same! I think there’s enough overlap with VNs and video games to group them together. tbh I just consider VNs to just be a type of video game anyway. That would solve the issue of “what do things like Ace Attorney/Zero Escape/etc. count as?”

But they do kind of exist in a weird area where some are super interactable or have lots of routes or mini games, while others are basically no different than a book but in a different format. And I could see them being considered separate too especially for the sake of grading. I mean, personally I’d prefer VNs and other games to be treated the same, but I can see the argument for treating them differently as well.

Oh, and this thread reminds me…

I’ve been thinking of making a thread where people say what VNs and games they’ve played and what their Natively levels should be. I figure VN and video game support won’t be coming to Natively for quite a while (if at all), so in the meantime we could discuss in the forums :slight_smile:

But I wanted to wait until I actually finished a game to make that thread (I haven’t played nearly enough of any game in Japanese to even guess at Natively levels). Maybe I should go ahead and make it now though?


Please do!


Alright, it’s made! I hope VNs and other games are added to natively, but in the meantime here is this thread


It’s definitely been requested and I’d love to add.

I’ll echo other people’s sentiments around adding with videogames. Not only is the dividing line a bit difficult to judge from my understanding, but VNs by themselves are quite Japanese specific, which is a detractor wrt to product prioritization. I think bucketing them with video games makes a lot of sense.

I haven’t thought too much about this, but my gut says that @Bijak’s proposal is probably right. Simply specifying how much time you’ve spent playing a game seems like the only thing you could easily track. Granted, that would prevent you from tracking your progress on reading/playing speed, but I’m not sure there’s a better way.

Honestly for a lot of games it’s not even one narrative, so ‘completion’ of the game is pretty subjective. Time tracking at least allows you to see how you’re budgeting your time and allows goal tracking.

At the end of the day, if many people don’t opt to track their time, they could at least mark the status (Playing, Finished), grade and review… not the end of the world.

Does anyone know of a ‘game’ tracker where you track your games played?

Yes, when I looked into this the db is a little difficult. If we’re doing games I’d probably opt for Amazon, but this, along with implementing the UI and progress tracking are definitely the largest issues.

You’re right it will probably be a little while before I add another media type. I’m not sure what would be next. There are probably 4 categories right now I’d consider, all of which would be popular but each have their own difficulties:

  • Audiobooks
  • Podcasts
  • Videogames
  • YouTube

… but adding item types isn’t easy. Granted, it should be much easier after movies… as everything is built to allow random types (Grading, Item Reviews, General UI components, etc) but progress marking, data input processes, search & individual item pages… all need to have quite a bit of customization.

I appreciate you bringing this up @WaniTsunami and for creating that thread, @meagstudies. There are a lot of people interested in it and it’s worth discussing!


I’d love these too (personally I’d prefer these to just be with the books though like subs vs no subs on the movie side)

More on topic though, this is strictly speaking not true so much anymore. More English VNs release yearly than Japanese and there are a lot of Mandarin ones as well. Korean is not quite as big as any of those three but there are a fair few. (stats per vndb)


:pleading_face: :pray:


There’s quite a few of them out there. Backloggery, How Long to Beat, and Backloggd immediately come to mind, since I/people I know use them, but you can quite easily find lists of other sites.

There should be quite a few options for video game dbs as well; I’m not familiar with the reputations for most of them, though I know MobyGames has been around for a while and is generally well thought of.


Yeah I looked at the first two and I think progress marking would simply be hours spent, if anything. It seems like they have a variety of ‘tiers’ of completion… main narrative, ‘perfectionist’ (totally complete)… etc. I’m not sure I’d need that, but interesting regardless.


You could give the option of adding character counts, just like we say we read “20 pages” in “70 minutes” for books… if people can hook the VN, they can count the characters, but if not, than they still have the time. :thinking:


Backloggery, GGapp, and How Long to Beat are the main ones I can think of. Backloggery and HLTB track time, GGapp does not and only tracks status (backlog/played/stopped/etc). Personally I just made my own tracker in Notion since I tried those other trackers and although I liked them, none of them worked for me. Although once Backloggery is done being revamped I’ll probably try it again! GGapp and HLTB include visual novels, and Backloggery doesn’t have a game database at all (users manually input all games).

some thoughts about tracking time played:

I agree that time played is probably the best way to track progress, I doubt things like 100% complete/main narrative are really essential for language learning purposes. But maybe that’s because I’m not a trophy hunter :joy: so I don’t care about 100% complete.

If time played ends up being recorded on Natively, you could display the average time to complete on the game’s page. I suggest not pulling times from HLTB because 1) HLTB doesn’t have a public API and 2) HLTB times are based on native speakers’ times, and it’ll take us language learners much longer to beat these games. So if nobody’s played the game the average time would be null but that’s fine I think.

(this is all speculative of course, I just love thinking about how to implement this kind of stuff)


For what it’s worth, I’m not a time-based person at all besides looking at my total finished time (if the game records it). Game-wise I’m a proponent of allowing the user to just mark when they’ve beaten the game, stopped the game, etc., very basic stuff. While granularity is nice, it can also be a turn off in the opposite direction: “What, I have to put in how long I played tonight? I don’t pay attention to that; this is annoying.” I say options where you just trust the user are also essential; ultimately no one really cares if I marked that I’ve beaten 9 million games: it’s just my stats that are affected.

I would argue that time tracked is not a great indicator of language learning for games either, not compared to something like books or audiovisual. I could play a 20 hour RPG where 15 of those hours is gameplay or grinding or something; you can’t really track the Japanese time you’d be experiencing. Same thing with something like a puzzle game in Japanese. Sure, you played it in Japanese, but if the only text you saw was the menu options, by what measure should you be measuring your learning?

Simply recording how long you played the game is a valid statistic, I think, and a useful one, but not as a measure of language learning or how hard a game should be rated for a language learner (not that anyone brought that up, just something I wanted to add). I suppose as a method to track progress it’s one way, but I want to argue that it shouldn’t be considered the only way, or even the main way.


My main reasoning was so people have a way to estimate how long it takes language learners to beat the game. So that way you know how much of a time investment it could be. That’s the main reason I look at things like HLTB (“will this be a 5 hour game or a 50 hour game?”). But I totally get your point of view, and I agree that feeling like you have to track hours could be annoying. Maybe having the option to track time, but not making it required? Same as how it’s optional to track reading time.

I hadn’t thought about that at all, I agree completely. For visual novels, basically all the time tracked is relevant to language learning, while for lots of puzzle games (like you said), you often barely need to read at all. I’d consider RPGs to be more text-heavy and therefore more time is spent reading, but you’re right, a lot of time’s spent grinding.

I still think time is the best measurement of progress (if we track it any way other than just status labels), but I also get the arguments against it


I think it’d be useful to be able to track time, but in terms of Natively I think completion markers etc are perhaps the more useful thing. Interactive media is such a pain to track completion ratios anyway, I basically only have ‘want to play / playing / played and consider finished / played and consider satisfied / abandoned /’ statuses on my personal tracker.


Thanks for all the responses. I suppose the reason I wanted this feature is not so much to track progress but time it takes Japanese learners on average for each section/chapter but that would be too different from the existing grading/progress systems in place I suppose. Thank you guys for your time.


Circling back on this because I happened to be poking around last night…

Has anyone played around with It seems to be essentially the equivalent to TMDB but for games. Can you find your visual novels on there? Games?

I’m not sure how soon i’ll add games, but if igdb would work that’d be a massive boon :slight_smile: