Dating Sims

Dating sims and visual novels have piqued my interest on Steam, partly because they’re games that feature nudity and sexuality on a game distribution service that has decided that nudity and sexuality are right out. The workaround is that you download the game off steam, and then augment it with a patch from the publisher, and by this clever scheme the game is, full-frontally featured.

So, wow! For someone to go through all that, dating sims must be pretty amazing.*

And then the story has a premise like this:

Takano is an actuarial data analyst in an insurance brokerage firm. These pretty ladies (👩🏻 👵🏻 👩🏾 👩🏼 👩🏽 👩🏻 👩🏼 👩🏽 👧🏼) staff the office. These fine gentlemen (👨🏻 👨🏾 👨🏼 👨🏿) are your rivals who will block you at every turn. Your task is to:

A) choose a co-worker
B) woo her until she’ll date you
C) once on the date, play it out perfectly. That is, navigate the dialog tree without missteps.

Do this correctly and you’ll get the successful ending, featuring nudity (naked boobs) and sexy times. And you’ll get a cheesecake photo of your lucky partner to hang in your cubicle between playthoughs. Click it to review said sexy nudie times.

On the other hand, fail and no boobs for you. Moreover, you will be spurned by your partner. Mess up too bad, and you may be shunned as a pervert, incarcerated for indecency, disgraced by your family, driven to suicide or even fired from your job.

The game had me at actuarial data analyst, and then lost me at the whole seduction culture thing.

Women are puzzle boxes and sex is the secret prize inside for solving her. This notion is rampantly common not just in games but much of the male-perspective narrative that is ubiquitous in our culture (and evidently, in Japanese culture)

If a game is going to feature sex and love, it should be part of the process, rather than the happy-ever-after ending or a last minute shag to mark the end of the second act, just before fighting the big boss.

So here’s my idea for a sexy-times insurance firm game. Mind you, I’m not an ordinary guy so my ideas may be…different.

Takano is an actuarial data analyst in an insurance brokerage firm. The company has a small staff including these ladies (👩🏽 👩🏾 👵🏻 👩🏼 👩🏿 👩🏻) and these gentlemen (👨🏻 👨🏾 👨🏼 👨🏿 👨🏽) They’re having a morale problem.

The boss (👴🏽) is unhappy after an unlucky run of accidents in the community has required a number of statistically improbable but expensive payouts. As a result, the firm has resorted to a lesser quality of snacks in the lunch-room vending machine.

Nobody’s happy at all.

It turns out that everyone is feeling down for different (procedurally generated) reasons. Some of them are misplaced in dissatisfying job assignments, others are struggling with family life or personal problems. Others still are lonely and need love.

Takano’s first objective is to fulfill his own occupational quotas, and in the meantime, find out why each co-worker is unhappy. Some are willing to voice their lament openly. Some are less inclined to be so open. Others still don’t know what’s wrong or missing.

Then, once Takano knows a co-worker’s deal, he has the opportunity to help him or her find that missing thing. This might involve a mini-game or convincing the boss to shuffle jobs around or even involve a side-adventure.

Regarding lonely co-workers, Takano can court and engage them** provided he has time in his schedule for an additional personal relationship. Also people are complicated: some partners will get possessive. Some won’t! Some will get attached once the relationship gets sexual. Some won’t. Some will expect Takano to spend a lot of time with them (or money on them, or effort wooing them). Some won’t.

Takano can also try to connect lonely co-workers with each other. Some couplings will be more successful than others.

As people have their personal life problems resolved, they’re happier and work harder. The company runs more smoothly and profits go up and the boss is nicer. When they reach a certain threshold, fancier snacks start appearing in the lunch-room vending machine.

And that’s what is really important.

* This is the case for Vampire the Masquerade: Bloodlines, a first-person vampire socio-political intrigue game featuring some stealth, neck-biting, nifty vampire powers and slashy-shooty fighting. It also features the best haunted hotel in gaming ever. Troika went out of business, but the fan base continues to add bug fixes and content adjustments in 2016. You may have to hunt down the fan-patch and configure your system to play it, but it’s definitely worth the time and effort.

** Sexy-times media, featuring nudity and adult situations can be set to play every time, the first time in a play-through, only when it is first unlocked, or never. Unlocked media can be reviewed in the media review library for posterity.

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