Is America ready to date virtual women?

Japanese developers have been gradually inserting "dating sim" games that have made it over to our shores without going full creep into virtual relationship territory. Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and 4 immediately come to mind, which offered streamlined JRPG experiences enriched by a subtle relationship building mechanic that powered up your characters in combat. The social link system of those games made virtual high school dating seem much less disturbing in-game than it did on paper.

This style of "combine pretend dating with something that takes gamers' minds off of pretend dating" is starting to be a trademark of Atlus, since the upcoming Catherine is using pretty much the same formula, though significantly less veiled. Catherine even has different routes players can go down based on how they treat their lady of choice, with eight different endings. There's even a drunk texting mechanic! Unfortunately, the accompanying gameplay seems like an acquired taste, even more so than the dating sim aspect. Almost 30 levels of what's been described as glorified Q-bert, with the equivalent of an optional dungeon considering over 100 more. The jury's still out on how that's going to fly.

Still, I'm really looking forward to how this game does, though I predict it's going to be close to how Atlus' other games fair. I.e. great amongst fans with little exposure elsewhere. I'm hoping I get proven wrong about that. If it's any consolation, Famitsu gave it a promising 35/40. Maybe the Giantbomb crew can rub some of that Zojirushi magic off on it. And let's hope more dating sims make it over here for everyone to enjoy! I have no shame in saying that!

Also, has anyone seen the limited edition for this thing? I don't usually jump on LEs, but...

That pizza box is so hot.

27 Comments
27 Comments
Posted by Anjon

Japanese developers have been gradually inserting "dating sim" games that have made it over to our shores without going full creep into virtual relationship territory. Atlus' Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 and 4 immediately come to mind, which offered streamlined JRPG experiences enriched by a subtle relationship building mechanic that powered up your characters in combat. The social link system of those games made virtual high school dating seem much less disturbing in-game than it did on paper.

This style of "combine pretend dating with something that takes gamers' minds off of pretend dating" is starting to be a trademark of Atlus, since the upcoming Catherine is using pretty much the same formula, though significantly less veiled. Catherine even has different routes players can go down based on how they treat their lady of choice, with eight different endings. There's even a drunk texting mechanic! Unfortunately, the accompanying gameplay seems like an acquired taste, even more so than the dating sim aspect. Almost 30 levels of what's been described as glorified Q-bert, with the equivalent of an optional dungeon considering over 100 more. The jury's still out on how that's going to fly.

Still, I'm really looking forward to how this game does, though I predict it's going to be close to how Atlus' other games fair. I.e. great amongst fans with little exposure elsewhere. I'm hoping I get proven wrong about that. If it's any consolation, Famitsu gave it a promising 35/40. Maybe the Giantbomb crew can rub some of that Zojirushi magic off on it. And let's hope more dating sims make it over here for everyone to enjoy! I have no shame in saying that!

Also, has anyone seen the limited edition for this thing? I don't usually jump on LEs, but...

That pizza box is so hot.

Posted by Jadeskye

you lost me completely about a sentence in when you called Persona 3 and 4 'dating sims'.

Posted by Anjon

@jadeskye: I didn't call them dating sims, I said they had dating sim elements. Were social links not akin to dating sims?

Posted by Twitchey

America doesn't need virtual dating when we have fleshlights.

Posted by mylifeforAiur

I'm ready.

Posted by SeriouslyNow

America, land of the AVN and pron central is really concerned with dating sims. Also, you're a weeaboo.

Posted by Crash_Happy

Plastic surgery being the state it is I'd say some already are dating virtual women.

Posted by Jadeskye

@Crash_Happy said:

Plastic surgery being the state it is I'd say some already are dating virtual women.

Edited by mutha3

Catherine isn't a dating sim.
 
Like, at all.
 
Also, this is weird. And Creepy.

Posted by JuggernautAK

Sir, with all due respect, I can not fap to this.
Posted by Irvandus

Dragon Age and Mass Effect, not only Japan.

Edited by Sooty
@Anjon said:

@jadeskye: I didn't call them dating sims, I said they had dating sim elements. Were social links not akin to dating sims?

Not really, social links = friendships and bonds. It just so happens you can technically be an item with some of the females but it doesn't really give you choice on when to take them out and shit like that so it's kinda far fetched to call them dating sim elements.
 
The Sims is a better reference
Posted by Bocam
Posted by Aronman789

Seeing how much Bioware wants you to have sex with one of your party members in every single RPG they've ever made, I'd say that they're the ones trying to push virtual sex.

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Edited by dungbootle

I was born ready.

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming

Can i virtually put my penis in her mouth?

Posted by FluxWaveZ
@Aronman789 said:
Seeing how much Bioware wants you to have sex with one of your party members in every single RPG they've ever made, I'd say that they're the ones trying to push virtual sex.
Yeah, I think Bioware is actually doing a "better" job at this virtual dating mechanic than Atlus.
Posted by mnzy

Why is it empty at 1.5 hearts?

Posted by mutha3
@FluxWaveZ said:
@Aronman789 said:
Seeing how much Bioware wants you to have sex with one of your party members in every single RPG they've ever made, I'd say that they're the ones trying to push virtual sex.
Yeah, I think Bioware is actually doing a "better" job at this virtual dating mechanic than Atlus.
They are doing a better job at being even more awkward and uncomfortable, I suppose.
Posted by YoungFrey

@mnzy said:

Why is it empty at 1.5 hearts?

Complete guess: "Empty" is part of the health bar. Or the label like on a fuel gauge.

Posted by PeasantAbuse

The limited edition is creepy as fuck.  Although the pizza box would be kinda neat if the game box came inside it.
Edited by mutha3
@PeasantAbuse said:

The limited edition is creepy as fuck. 

Honestly, it isn't that bad. At least it isn't underage-girl panties or a body pillow. I mean, its still a stupid and embarrassing package, but at least it isn't NIS. I'm just glad regular pre-orders nets you a art-book and soundtrack CD.
 
And, yeah, all that stuff is packaged in the pizza box. Uhhh.....why else would they give you a pizza box?
Posted by PeasantAbuse
@mutha3
I don't know, the boxers and pillow don't make much sense so a pizza box that doesn't contain anything doesn't seem that far-fetched to me.
Posted by Ramone

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

Can i virtually put my penis in her mouth?

That was more than I needed to hear

Posted by Kyle

People like this stuff a lot more than they are willing to admit. I forget who it was, but someone from Bioware (maybe even one of the doctors?) was once sharing some funny anecdotes about how anytime they ask a person, face to face, what their favorite parts of Bioware games are, they'll say 'the story, the RPG mechanics, the combat,' etc, etc-- Basically anything but the relationship stuff. But, any time they take anonymous survey data, the positive comments about the relationship/dating mechanics in their games rank significantly higher than you would ever expect from listening to people speak about the games out loud. Pretty interesting.

It makes sense-- It's kind of embarassing. But it's also fun.

Posted by TheDudeOfGaming
@Jonny7892 said:

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

Can i virtually put my penis in her mouth?

That was more than I needed to hear

Awww come on, we were all thinking it, i just asked it.
Posted by JJWeatherman

@mnzy said:

Why is it empty at 1.5 hearts?

Because if they're all empty, then who's to say they aren't just all full? :O

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