Well, what to start with…
I remember watching anime. I think my first one was… Sailor Moon? at age 5, obviously dubbed in Korean.
As for an actual series NOT dubbed, I think it was Negima at around age 14.
I actually came across a VN before that: Ever17, the trial version. I absolutely loved it, but as a trial version, I couldn’t do anything after trial ended I was pretty much stuck.
As embarrassing as it is to admit, I at least saw my first HCG, which was Yumina, a little bit past that time (age 15?). After that, I started to wonder if I was missing something, and finally came across a copy of the full version of Ever17, which I completed at age 16. After that, I come to my first eroge, Shuffle, at the same time.
Yes, I actually played my first eroge, which I wasn’t supposed to have until two more years, at age 16.
VN (and eroge) changed my life. Even as I enjoyed both medias (VN and anime) though age 19, I was slowly losing interest in anime and gaining more passion in VNs. VNs were more descriptive. VNs allowed more perspectives, more literary elements otherwise impossible in anime. VNs are also various, and involve the readers interactions. I’m not watching a protagonist hook up with a heroine: I’m hooking up with her (well kinda).
Regardless, back to my history. After finishing Shuffle, I knew there was something more. Shuffle was barely a satisfaction and I was like a hungry lion hunting for prey. I started to madly search for more VNs based on artwork, and found so many games with cute girls and gorgeous artwork. But then, I came to a huge obstacle: I didn’t know Japanese.
This is why I went onto using ATLAS and AGTH (ITH wasn’t available then), and played my first non-translated game: Tenshin Ranman.
Obviously, I didn’t have that great of an experience, since I couldn’t read well over half the stuff that ATLAS was spitting out. I knew that then, I needed to learn me some Japanese.
I was pretty much desperate at that point. The artwork of VNs (and eroge) just captivated my very soul, and allowed me to master the basics of listening to Japanese within a year. I did this purely through repetition of anime and Visual Novels, and by age 17, I was relatively decent with understanding Japanese with just the voices, which led me to playing eroge with just character voices (which may explain why I find great importance in CVs), with ATLAS as a side-tool.
As I was playing Oretsuba, I had a real-life senpai who was also experienced with eroge. He introduced me to a new clipboard translator that can do JP -> KR translations, and that allowed me a whole new learning tool for Japanese, as well as being a tool that doesn’t splutter nonsense.
My learning continued, and I came across many types of games: nukige, rape, NTR, yandere… along with so many types of fetishes and plays, as well as acronyms, abbreviations, and slangs that aren’t defined by your Japanese dictionary. I learned to write Japanese at this point, both the Japanese “alphabet” and kanji, using my handy-dandy translator tool.
As I matured into a veteran player, I also realized that some individuals were restricted with the very obstacle that blocked me a few years ago: inability to read Japanese. This inability also clouded their thoughts, and at this point (age 18) I felt like I was that one person freed from the chains in the allegory of the cave.
As I left many communities like VNDB or Fuwanovel because of these reasons, I started this blog at age 19. I strove to write up reviews that will surpass communities like VNDB or Fuwanovel, but realized in return that my act of writing up reviews should be my own hobby and for my own good: not for the influence of others.
At age 21, about 5 years after I’ve first come across my first VN, I still consider myself an amateur compared to other players. I play as many new titles as I can. I try to join in much of the discussions made on other blogs that I follow on WordPress. However, it’s also true that I have very little time as I am now considered a member of the society, and my VN hobbies may not be accepted by others as much as I would hope.
Derived from my experience, I hope to give out one advice to the readers: VN and Eroge should be your hobby. Keep it that way, because that will be for your most benefit.
(I don’t know what else to write QQ)