Dating sims, or relationship simulation role-playing games (RS-RPG), are a video game subgenre of simulation games, usually Japanese, with romantic elements.
They usually feature a main male character surrounded by beautiful girls, and were about interacting with these girls in order to increase their affection to him.
As the market grew larger and larger through the years, dating games began gaining all sorts of forms to adapt to different demands: there are some LGBT friendly, some deeply immersive and emotional and even some showing aspects of other game genres, such as puzzle and RPG.
Tools like multiple save slots, quick-save features, and the ability to skip text and rewind help players efficiently pursue every potential partner character and reveal every story path.
It’s like backwards-engineering a narrative database -- and you may be surprised to find how much the story changes when you focus on a different partner each time. Hakuoki is a period piece, taking place in the Bakumatsu period of Japan at the time of civil unrest between the Emperor and the Shogun.
The technical definition of a dating simulation game, known as a romantic simulation game 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 Sim Girls, In a typical dating sim, the player controls a male avatar surrounded by female characters.
The gameplay involves conversing with a selection of girls, attempting to increase their internal "love meter" through correct choices of dialogue.
The game lasts for a fixed period of game time, such as one month or three years.
And when it comes to, shall we say, couples, no one tops the open-minded pairings found in dating sims.