I don’t know what it is, but I just can’t resist a dating sim. I wish I could say I can’t resist a good dating sim, but the fact is, I’ve played some pretty bad ones to completion and I will do so again in the future. There’s just something about those shallow, ridiculous occasionally brain numbingly stupid stories that I can’t stay away from.
I really don’t know what it is…
In any case, countless hours spent in torrid digital love affairs may not have prepared me for the world of dating in any way, but they did teach me a thing or two about myself. Or 5, these 5 to be precise:
5. I’m a toddler and I can’t stand being told what to do…
This is a real shocker to me because I usually have zero issue with letting go of things in real life. I have performance reviews from my job that list my adaptability and willingness to change my mind as a strength. I’ve never been one to sulk if plans change or I don’t get my way, heck I hardly even notice half the time.
But the second on of those virtual pretty boys tries to tell me what to do, I rage! Maybe it’s because dating sim main characters tend to be super meek and get pushed around a lot, so I’m getting defensive on behalf of my avatar instead of myself. In any case, it drives me nuts. I have no interest in being anyone’s parent and I don’t need anyone to parent me either.
Not gonna lie, I scream at my computer a lot.
4. Sense of humor rocks
Ok, I knew this already. I like someone who can make me laugh and considering how easy it is, you really have no excuse not to. I also can’t spend too much time with people who can’t take a joke. Life is full of things that should make you justifiably angry or sad, there’s zero reason for your partner to be one of those things.
My favorite routes almost always involve the easy going goofball or the shy boy who can laugh at himself. You got a dark and twisted past? Of course, you do, it’s a dating sim, EVERYONE does. Learn to crack a smile. You’re much prettier that way…
3. I like being needed
This was another revelation. I thought I was an independent girl, I do my thing, you do yours, and if those align we can do them together. My maternal instincts border on the *never ever leave me alone with children* side. Yet, I find my heart melting when that normally harsh boy finally asks for my help with something (tsunderes are a whole other issue…maybe I’ll tell you about it someday). I really like taking care of the people I care for… I enjoy putting in effort to do something I think will make their lives a little easier or better. And when I see those efforts actually pay off, it’s a huge thrill.
Once again, otome heroines tend to be so incredibly helpless and useless, that the idea of them contributing anything at all of use is a huge triumph in and of itself. However, it has allowed me to soften up a bit and acknowledge that having someone count on you is nice. Really nice.
2. I care about who I am as much as who I am with
This one may take a bit of explaining. In some dating sims, you will see the attitude and personality of the main character change depending on the route they’re on, and therefore the suitor they’ve chosen. Occasionally, the change can be very striking. It has happened that I play a dating sim where my paramour happened to be perfectly lovely and the storyline is enjoyable, but the player character has suddenly turned into a whiny brat for some reason, or just a jerk.
No matter how sweet the other person may be, I don’t like being a jerk. I want to be with someone who brings out the best in me. It’s not very fair to put that on someone else I guess but still.
And I have noticed that in real life as well. I need someone who challenges me on some level or else I become lazy. If they let me get away with everything, I can get complacent. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s my responsibility not to be a jerk but I like to think that the person I’m with also wants me to be my best self. We can help each other along the way.
1. Respect is more important than looks
I know, I’m as baffled as you are. I’m the one who just wrote that, and it still looks wrong to me. Have I finally drunk so much that I’m just permadrunk now? That explains the last 5 years…
This may sound like a given to you, but it wasn’t to me. These aren’t real people and let’s face it, half the time that main character is so thick that I’m disrespecting her big time. I’ve relished laughing my head off at how stupid some of these girls are. But if you want some sugah, you gotta be a gentleman – I don’t care how pretty you are. Yeah that didn’t sound right either.
The Diabolik Lover boys are gorgeous, of course the are Satoi only does very pretty – see OzMafia as well, and yet I couldn’t enjoy a second of the game because of how dreadfully they treated the MC. Now there’s notions of S&M and control fantasies in that game so it may not be the best example but even in the fairly innocent Tokimeki Girl’s Side season to (I played the DS version). Saeki is by far the prettiest boy and the main route but they erred way too much on the side of tsun without enough dere to ever make me enjoy his company, similar thing would be said for Seiji in the 3rd game.
On the other hand, Junpei is not my type of character design at all but his sweet and considerate nature won me over so completely that his route quickly became my favorite.
All in all, these may seem a little obvious, but I never would have had the patience to actually put in the countless hours of dating required to figure out exactly what I want. Something surprisingly few people know.
So I’m not just wasting my time drinking wine and chasing 2d boys on the couch – I’m improving myself!