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Have the “too many games” debate all you want: the rise of totally batshit dating sims runs the gamut of loving parody to social commentary on something deeply personal or that needs to be said.
Let's see; she's smiling, so option one should work — unless that throwaway line of dialogue back in Chapter 2 was hinting that she was actually a Tsundere and so I should choose number two... The Dating Sim is a type of game designed to set up goals, usually in the forms of schedules and stats corresponding to social skills, which must be achieved to discover a story focused entirely around the Character Development of the player's chosen girl/guy, get into his/her pants, or both.
This leads to Multiple Endings, though some Dating Sims make it possible to see several of these "endings" in a single playthrough.
Showing relationships at older ages and different stages in life is both important and rarely portrayed, such as finding love after divorce or the death of a spouse was the subject of controversy regarding its highly sexual content and scenes where characters didn’t consent, but it was also praised because the intended audience clearly wasn’t the straight male demographic that has been the gold standard for video game marketing for decades.
But with the birth of a game genre, there comes the games that work all of the common tropes to a T and either stay formulaic or perhaps blow the player’s expectations with a few mechanic changes here and there.
Speaking from a game design perspective though, the reason why the “try to date a classmate” setting persists is because it often resonates with younger audiences who may not have gotten out in the world to as deep an extent, and it’s just easier to have this closed-in setting and premise for knowing these people.
Schools are simply easier game worlds to create and you don’t need additional justification for constantly running into these people.People are afraid and hurting, others are hopeful and fighting for them.One way of fighting back is changing the narrative on what kind of media gets the most attention: creating media for the marginalized in mind in the first place, then watching those games get spotlight and discussion.Hanako Games comes to mind with Throw in the utterly wild developments in independent game creation concurrent to the way indie games get distributed and discussed nowadays, and it was only a matter of time before incredible developments in dating sims--and satirical pokes--would arrive.I think that we have all these out-there dating sims as a response to both avoidance of reinventing the wheel when it comes to game design, and misplaced satiation of a hunger for meaningful romantic and sexual narratives.How would they fit into something semi-realistic or a fantasy setting and how does sex and romance tie in? The batshittery of 2019 has only just begun and I don’t think it’s that out there to consider that this wave of surrealistic dating sims is just a precursor to how crazy things will get before they better--if they do--and it would behoove us to think more about which games get more attention and why.Tags: Adult Dating, affair dating, sex dating