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LIST: Dating sim video games to help you practice real-life flirting

By Ratziel San Juan Published Feb 14, 2023 5:26 pm

In the real world, it's not nice to play with people's emotions, even if your excuse is inexperience.

Every action, after all, has a direct consequence—a "butterfly effect" on all the people that we interact with in our daily lives.

We have to be careful about what we say and do so as to navigate healthy relationships that minimize harm on all sides. Of course, we acknowledge that hurting others and yourself is inevitable. This is why it's nice to know in advance all the right (and wrong) things to say.

Fortunately, there exists a special subgenre of video games known as "dating sims."  These are basically romance simulation games that revolve around the protagonist's point-of-view as they attempt to enter a relationship with a chosen character. Other variations of the formula include romantic visual novels and role-playing games (RPGs) with romance side quests.

Dating sims typically feature multiple endings where the main character gets the guy/girl of choice (or not), with options like saving and returning to old files in order to experience all possibilities in a single playthrough.

Whatever your intention, PhilSTAR L!fe recommends these dating sims and other remotely love-related video games that are worth playing for keeps.

ACE Academy

This comic slice-of-life visual novel has sci-fi and romance elements that you would expect from a mecha-themed plot. Hundreds of choices are available for the player to discover in their personalized story, which includes romantic and platonic relationships in the branching paths along the way.

Best Friend Forever

This love story recommended for dog people allows you to adopt your "furever friend" as you find true love in its colorful world. It's a unique simulation game that combines both pet care and dating—albeit not simultaneously.

Boyfriend Dungeon

This dungeon crawler has weapons that you can do more than just hack and slash your enemies with. More than that, they are tools that you would actually want to date!

Doki Doki Literature Club

Don't let the seemingly harmless art style fool you. This is a horror visual novel with sensitive content that actually warns players that it is not suitable for minors and others who are easily disturbed. With that said, it's pure unadulterated fun unlike any dating sim or video game on the market.

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

The name of the game is pretty straightforward. You play a dad...looking for other dads. Have fun!

Emily is Away

What looks like a remnant of r/nosleep or a repurposed creepypasta is actually a rollercoaster of emotions. Who knew computer sounds could be so triggering?

Hatoful Boyfriend

This avian love story allows you to flock together with birds of the same feather, or fly away if things come crashing down. Match with different archetypes of birds who come with wings of all sizes.

I Love You, Colonel Sanders!

Naturally, you would expect any KFC game to be finger-lickin' good, a dating sim no less. The story is packed with flavor beyond the 11 secret herbs and spices. At stake are your culinary school, business partnership, and... love life?

Monster Prom

Left with three weeks to get a Monster Prom date, you must deal with all the horrors of school life. It's a game that encourages you not to be a monster, but to show your true self.

Speed Dating for Ghosts

At least these ghosts are decent enough not to have stood you up. When you're meeting poltergeists and phantoms, you realize that dating isn't the scariest thing after all.