Once exclusively the purview of Japan and the skeezier elements of Newgrounds.com, dating sims have long since broken out of their ghetto and found some limited mainstream success, even critical acclaim. Steam now offers a decent spread of dating sims (with most of the naughtier ones being censored) and some of them are...weird.
People have tried to mix video games and sexy times together since computers were a thing, but they don't always mix so well. Perhaps it's just as well that a lot of titles in Steam's dating sim genre don't take themselves all that seriously. Or maybe I'm just underestimating the presence of some obscure fetishes out there. Here are some of the most bizarre of the bunch, along with some user testimony about what these titles can teach us about love and life.
Get That Purrfect Balance Between Love And Politics In Cat President
Cat President: A More Purrfect Union challenges the player to take on the role of 'an ordinary teenage girl' tasked with finding love, in a world where cats run the U.S. government. You get to be the campaign manager for your chosen kitty candidate, and although the game promises six different hunky cats to woo, one of them is clearly a dog in disguise (looking at you, ROVER).
This game was released in August 2016, at the height of US election fever, so some of you might feel much less enthusiastic about politics right now (although the internet's love of cats is a year-round constant). Here's what people have been saying:
The Wonderpuss, despite the obvious cat-bias in their name, got into civil rights for dogs:
Cañelo was grabbed by a pussy:
Pretty sure Thenewmanmiro is the exact target audience:
Hunie Pop Knows That Love Is A Puzzling Thing
You got Candy Crush all over my dating sim! Such must have been the happy accident that in the HuniePot studios office. Hunie Pop promises plenty of sexy times, steamy scenes and RPG elements, but knows that sex appeal alone won't sell their game to a serious gamer. Nothing's sexier than quick wits and reflexes, and what better way to show those off than through gem puzzles?
Resi sums it up:
But PantsuDestroyer420 hints at hidden depths:
Cob's experience was a mixed bag:
Hatoful Boyfriend Has Hearts-A-Flutter
On post-apocalyptic earth, birds have become the dominant lifeform. But one human girl has what it takes to make it as the only human student at the prestigious St. PigeoNation’s Institute, a school for talented birds! Avian if dating sims aren't usually your thing, Hatoful Boyfriend's surreal premise alone deserves some kudos. Don't you want somebirdie to love? The Steam community is raven about it, so let's peck their brains:
Zenith warns that there's more than meets the eye:
MattMelvin won't stop crowing about it:
Mygochu thinks this game's a hoot:
Go! Go! Nippon! ~My First Trip to Japan~ Is A Virtual Guidebook With A Twist
Finally, a dating game for people who enjoy Japanese things! This game bills itself as an interactive guide book, in which 'you'll travel to famous Japanese sightseeing spots in the company of a pair of beautiful young sisters. The girls will describe the spots, take you out to dinner, and grow closer to you throughout your travels.' How educational! And what did we learn here?
Sen is brutally honest in his assessment:
Looks like keen students like Wubbleston Cumberdale are getting frustrated:
At least Ryo learned something:
Thank you, brave lovers and pioneers of the Steam community, for reporting on what will be no doubt a significant aspect of future technology. I wonder if it's at all significant that the more popular dating sims with girl protagonists have given up on human males and instead moved on to other species.
Is this the next level of dating sim? Your favorite game character in your home:
I'd shake your hands, but something tells me that I'm going to regret it.
Ever played a weird dating sim that unexpectedly touched your heart? Let us know in the comments!