The unfair stereotype of the lonely gamer paints them as Fedora-clad young men in a basement, with several bags worth of Cheeto dust caked onto their sweatpants, where the only thing bigger than the stack of manga is the stack of used Kleenix. We’re living in a new world, folks, and some women feel like they’re about as likely to find a quality date as they are to connect to a Blizzard game on launch night, so they’re throwing in the towel and getting their kicks from games.
Romance Gaming is becoming huge as women opt for digital romance instead of the real thing. If your eyes are still burning from the picture painted in the first paragraph, it’s not too hard to understand why this could be appealing to these ladies. Some of them are single and having a hard time finding what they’re looking for, so they turn to the digital world to fulfill their desires. Others are in relationships, yet use these games to fill certain voids.
One women on a message board about romance games commented:
“my BF jokes that I’ll never cheat on him because no 3D man can reach the standards that my 2D men place”.
Take Ayumi Saito, for example. She was recently interviewed by CNN, during which she talked about breaking up with her boyfriend nearly a decade ago and opting for a digital romance instead.
“Japanese men are shy and not good at flattering women. But girls want to hear ‘I love you’.” she told CNN.
“When I was tired at the end of the day, before going to sleep, I was so relieved to hear his sweet and gentle words,”
She’s referring to the sweet and gentle words of a video game character from a romance game, like those put out by a company called Voltage. Here’s a look at what you can expect:
This isn’t just huge in Japan, otome games are gaining popularity in America as well. Otome refers to games that are geared towards a female audience, generally packed with lustful romance and more of an emphasis on feelings and emotions, and making decisions, rather than any type of traditional game play. Dating sims first gained traction in the 1980’s, but were geared towards men until a team of female developers decided to turn the tables, giving birth to otome games which translates to “maiden games”.
For our female readers who want to take the plunge, here are some otome games that are highly regarded:
- OZMAFIA!! on Steam,
- Princess Debut on DS,
- Code:Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ for Vita,
- Sweet Fuse: At Your Side for PSP
The goal of these games is typically to play out a courtship, and to have the target of your desires fall in love with you. Think Harvest Moon, where in between tending to your livestock, harvesting your latest crops, building expansions for your farm… you’re bringing gifts and showering your crush with attention until finally gifting her a blue feather to seal the deal. Now, take out all of the farming and everything else from Harvest Moon except that one element of gameplay. Between otome games and 50 Shades, guys are going to have to step it up before they become obsolete.