Love is a real industry in some places. You can rent girlfriends, check into ‘love hotels’, go to a girlfriend café where a girl sits with you and listens to you and sometimes cuddles you — and then there’s dating sims.
The world of dating sims — or simulations — is bizarre as hell. They are for gaming what dating apps are for real life, and make up a big part of the simulation games that are already out there. These days, the selection is really quite nonsensical: you can play as a pilot, bus driver, surgeon, shark, bear, a farmer using machinery and a goat, in addition to the regular life simulation game The Sims.
It seems game developers took it quite literally when they said ‘love knows no boundaries’, and so while some of these dating sims are on the weird but interesting spectrum, there are some that are just borderline creepy. You be the judge.
You’re the only human in a world of birds (very fun), and you must navigate through schoolgirl quandaries in the prestigious St. PigeoNation’s Institute, a school for talented birds. More specifically, it’s a school for male birds, and you’re a human girl so…romance is in the air.
Will you choose the snooty bird with foreign airs and graces, the school bad boybird and charmer, the pudding-obsessed weirdo, or your best friend? I spent 17 hours on this game in total, so that pretty qualifies me as an expert.
Meaning Disability School, you play Hisao Nakai, a boy with a heart muscle problem who transfers to a school for people with disabilities. Despite all that he has gone through, he still has a chance in love and life. And wow, all the students in the school just happen to be girls. One is deaf and mute, one has had both her legs amputated, one has deformed arms, one has bad scarring on her skin from an accident — and they’re all for your choosing.
Team Fortress 2 Dating Sim High School
Yeah, you’re familiar with this first-person shooter multiplayer that sees you and your group of friends split into teams and playing some tactical games, but want to get to know the characters more? Now you can.
This dating sim shows you another side of the characters like the medic, scout, spy, who are now your schoolmates (or teachers). You’ll get to know them better before deciding who you will be making kissy faces with at the end of the game. Is it the mysterious Spy who you bump into at the park? Or the school jock Scout? There’s also the slightly douche-y, slightly dense Engineer (weird, because aren’t they supposed to be smart?). Why are all the dating sims set in in high schools?
John Cena Sexy High School Adventure
The description to this dating sim reads: “Fucco-san has had enough of being bullied, so he hopes that in his new school, he’ll make lots of friends! Will he be the most popular student? Can he make it in time for prom?”
Take note: every character in this game is John Cena himself, so you’ll need to see which version of John Cena is the most compatible for you to bring as your prom date — the ultimate goal for the game.
This is probably the only sim to refer to themselves as a ‘visual novel game’ about making it as a professional StarCraft 2 player. You are Mach, an aspiring professional StarCraft 2 player who moved to South Korea in an attempt to find a spot on a professional team to train with the best. You’re alone in South Korea, and you’re just starting to get to know people. Perhaps romance blossoms, or you found your perfect professional StarCraft team — only you can control your fate.
What are the odds: your parents divorced and your father married a woman with 13 sons, and suddenly you’ve got not only 13 stepbrothers, but also a shitload of boyfriend material to pick from. Like a typical drama, just with the brotherly element, this is one moral-bending game. Remember what I said about crossing boundaries earlier? Here’s the example.
Imagine a world where how good looking you are depends on how sharp your chin is. And we’re not talking model-good-looks sharp chin, but something more like dagger sharp. It’s so sharp that at one point in the game, one of the characters stabs another WITH THEIR CHIN. Meanwhile, you play a 17-year-old boy transferred to (yet another) prestigious boys’ school and like in the other games, you find love.