- The visual novel, a peculiarly Japanese piece of game/narrative crossover, continues to lurk in the nichiest of niches over here in the West, but there are sites such as VisualNews.net which keeps the translation and news scene alive for the English speaker.

Checking it out recently, I noted a demo review for 'Piece Of Wonder', the translated visual novel brought to the States by Hirameki International, and I think I may be out of my depth with the game here: "As all good school related visual novels have to start out, our protagonist starts out sleeping in his bed and his childhood friend (who is always a girl and one of the cute/popular ones at school) is trying to wake him up."

Also notable on the site's forums - a listing of the most popular PC visual novels for 2006, at least in Japan - for which rg comments: "Overall, sales seem to have significantly lowered when compared to 2004 and 2005 (no giant launches, I guess), but things are still relatively consistent with the last five years." It's unclear whether these are absolute sales numbers or just from a few stores, but 2006's top game is the probably somewhat suspect Sengoku Rance (Alice Soft) with just over 63,000 sales.