After 25 years, one of the OG anime visual novels has finally hit Steam with its first official English translation

(Image credit: Visual Arts)

A quarter-century after its original release, Kanon - one of the most celebrated visual novels ever made - has finally hit Steam with its first official English translation.

Kanon puts you in the shoes of a high school boy who has recently returned to a town he had visited seven years earlier. He meets five girls who each tie into one of the game's major plotlines, with your choices determining which story you follow through to its conclusion. It's a cute slice-of-life romance that to this day remains one of the darlings of the dating sim scene.

Originally released in 1999, Kanon was the first game from Key, the visual novel studio that would go on to make the even more beloved Clannad. Like many romance visual novels of its era, Kanon originally launched with a bit of explicit sexual content attached, but later releases of the game - including this one - excised that content in favor of an all-ages story. It was a big enough hit in Japan to inspire light novels, manga, and two separate anime adaptations.

On top of the new, official English translation, the new Steam edition adds voice acting to the PC version for the first time, and upgrades the UI and visuals to look nice in HD. The game defaults to widescreen, which means some of the original 4:3 art gets cropped, but Steam reviews suggest you can still see the full, original art at the press of a button.

Kanon is a pretty niche game in 2024, but that's exactly why it was so exciting to see it among Steam's new releases this month. It's a game with a notable legacy in a notable genre, and it's great to see it get the chance to meet a whole new audience.

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Dustin Bailey
Staff Writer

Dustin Bailey joined the GamesRadar team as a Staff Writer in May 2022, and is currently based in Missouri. He's been covering games (with occasional dalliances in the worlds of anime and pro wrestling) since 2015, first as a freelancer, then as a news writer at PCGamesN for nearly five years. His love for games was sparked somewhere between Metal Gear Solid 2 and Knights of the Old Republic, and these days you can usually find him splitting his entertainment time between retro gaming, the latest big action-adventure title, or a long haul in American Truck Simulator.