Dating sims, or relationship simulation role-playing games (RS-RPG), are a video game subgenre of simulation games, usually Japanese, with romantic elements. They are also sometimes put under the category of neoromance. The most common objective of dating sims is to date, usually choosing from among several characters, and to achieve a romantic relationship.
The term “dating sim” is also often used incorrectly in English as a generic term for romance-driven games (ren’ai games), a subject matter which is stereotypically associated with the visual novel genre. 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. While the two genres often share a common visual presentation, dating sims are sometimes considered to be more statistically based than the “choose your own adventure” style of visual novels.
The technical definition of a dating simulation game, known as a romantic simulation game (恋愛シミュレーションゲーム, ren’ai shimyurēshon gēmu) in Japan, can involve several technical elements such as a time limit, several statistics such as looks and charm which can be boosted through exercise, or an “attraction meter” which can increase or decrease depending on one’s decisions.
Some original-English dating sims include SimGirls, Ciao Bella, and Summer Session.
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