Bringing along a Skype discussion into the forums…
To summarize, @Kanon started the discussion by saying that the alternate routes in Air are pointless in relation to the main story. Basically, since finishing the alternate routes has no canonical bearing to the main routes (as compared to Clannad where you receive a light orb which is needed for the Key magic), they are rendered pointless.
After a pretty length discussion and a few butt jokes, I think the main point that I got from it was that if a terrible route has canonical bearing to the main route, then it can be justified because of that somehow.
I honestly disagree with that notion, because if I think a route is bad, no amount of significance would be able to justify it.
Another point of discussion brought in were which Key works involved the side routes having bearing on the main story?
Kanon is exempt since it has no “main story” (I will not accept using Ayu’s route as the main story)
Air I can pretty much agree that it didn’t, although I never read the VN, so I can’t say this with confidence
Clannad, yes, because Light Orbs
Little Busters yes, because each route finished gives both Riki and Rin more confidence to be able to face the challenges of the post bus crash real world
Rewrite maybe. I honestly believe that it didn’t, because even though he needed the characters to fight alongside him in Moon route, I don’t think the completion of their routes were necessary to summon them to the fight
So what do you guys think? Is it important to you if the individual routes have bearing on the main story? Which Key works do you think those applied to? And any other info you might wanna add regarding the connections between alternate routes and main routes