I’ve never played any dating sim games before, but I suppose I can understand the appeal. It’s not uncommon for mainstream games to allow players to choose between several potential mates during the course of their story. Every BioWare game I’ve played has had some sort of romance option. So dating sims are sort of like that, but the entire purpose is to pursue a relationship. They’re basically playable romance novels… which may be why I don’t care for them. Romance as a side plot is fine, but not the main plot.
By extension, I’ve definitely never played any dating sim that’s aimed at guys. Mainly because I’m reasonably certain most of them are softcore porn. Most of them seem to have a goal of sleeping with as many girls as possible. And I didn’t have high hopes for Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy! when the title screen image is a blushing, rather well-endowed woman standing in her underwear.
So why would I bother playing it?
Truthfully, I wanted to see if, from a woman’s perspective, what the game says works on women would actually work. Because the game could be like, “Oh yeah, say this stuff & women will fall all over you,” when it’s complete male fantasy & not related to the way women work by any means.
How does the game stack up? Are the “correct” responses really something that a real woman would respond to? Or would a guy get maced for following its example?
First of all, who knew that you’d become a powerful wizard if you remained a virgin for 30 years? Is that really a bad thing? I read an critique of this game that said if this was really the case more people might respond better to abstinence-only education. Seems like a reasonable trade-off is you ask me. Just wait 30 years, become a wizard, & then worry about finding a partner. Maybe being a wizard would help. Some women go for that power thing.
But that randomly weird aspect of the game aside, I was surprised that, for the most part, the game does encourage you to do or say things that probably would work in real life. Of course the game is very shallow & simplistic. Like, you may get a choice to “Say something funny” but that’s about it. You don’t have the kind of control you do in normal sim games. But I was surprised the game didn’t reward players for using lame pick up lines or coming on too strong.
Here are some of the things the game considers “successful” that would probably work in real life:
- Paying attention to what the other person is saying & remembering little facts about them
- Being honest & not lying to impress someone
- Being open
- Not being judgmental
- Not brushing aside things that are important to the other person
- Knowing your strengths
Not an exhaustive list, but these are the sorts of things that, as a woman, I would respond well to. And of course it should be a given that you’re being genuine about these things & not just saying or doing things to get into the lady’s pants. But a game can’t really portray that unless it does something like say (lie) before each response.
That’s not to say there weren’t things in the game that made me go, “Hold up, now!” Like complaining about men always having to make the first move (I personally prefer men to show interest first but I have made the first move on occasion) or saying that men have to do so much more work to be attractive to women while the only thing women have to do is “not be fat.” Not only is it not true to think that women only look for a small number of superficial traits in men, it’s also superficial to say that the only important trait in women is their weight. Physical attraction is an important part in a relationship, especially in the beginning, but if that’s the only thing you like about someone then it’s probably not going to be a very successful relationship. Plus, some guys don’t care about weight. Not to mention “not being fat” isn’t as straightforward a goal as it sounds (for both men & women). But what should I expect from a game that markets itself with pictures of half-naked women? (For the record, the only sexual aspect of the game is that when you “win” you get a picture of your girl in lingerie making bedroom eyes at you.)
Oh, & don’t randomly shout things like “Bazonga!” upon meeting a woman with a large chest for the first time. … better yet, don’t say that upon meeting any woman. It’s not the sort of thing we want to hear random strangers saying to us.
So yeah, I was surprised Don’t Die Dateless, Dummy! isn’t as hilariously offensive as I was expecting. Sure, it was shallow. But at least there wasn’t anything in it that made me think, “Come on! No woman in her right mind would respond positively to that!” I give it a B for likelihood of success.
I may do more of these in the future. So if you know of any small indie, relationship sim games & you’re curious how a woman would actually respond to the stuff going on leave me a suggestion.