This distinction is normally lost outside Japan, where both NVLs and ADVs are commonly referred to as "visual novels" by international fans.
Visual novels and ADVs are especially prevalent in Japan, where they made up nearly 70% of the PC game titles released in 2006.
Let's have a look at both categories, including some prominent (and not-so-prominent) examples of both.
Most people credit Will Wright's The Sims as the originator of the sandbox life sim genre, but in fact it's much older than that.
As the name might suggest, they resemble mixed-media novels.
In Japanese terminology, a distinction is often made between visual novels (abbreviated NVL, derived from visual No Ve L), which consist predominantly of narration and have very few interactive elements, and adventure games (abbreviated AVG, or ADV derived from ADVenture), a form of adventure game which may incorporate problem-solving and other types of gameplay.
This can lead to confusion, as visual novels are considered a subgenre of adventure games and are not technically included in the dating sim genre.
"Life sims" tend to be one of two different types: freeform sandbox simulators, and stat-centric life sims with a degree of "direction" about them, though there's a degree of overlap in many cases.
You can respect their professional boundaries as best you can and honour the master-butler relationship…
in which case you’ll get a bad end and lose the game.
That's because "mundane" doesn't necessarily have to mean "boring," of course.
And the types of games collectively known as "life sims" prove this fairly aptly, as anyone who has been playing Animal Crossing recently will attest.