New category, a social simulation ?

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#1 by pigeondelion
2021-10-13 at 14:28
< report >Hi !

In short, I want to ask if Va-11 Hall-A and Coffe Talk could be seen as a dating sim or simply visual novel ? I propose the terms social simulation. But this seems too imprecise. Need to find something better because the expression represents already games like Animal Crossing, or even The Sims
This would be a dating sim, without dating, but keeping to focus on characters and learning about them and not the story, with a text-base presentation.

For those who know, a dating sim (and visual novel) is quite a strange genre in video game. Principally cause it doesn't really exist in Japan.

In Japan, we would talk about ren'ai game, but those are like Tokimeki Memorial and not Katawa Shoujo, which means they got rpg elements with the main character building its stats to date the girls of our choice. This is more or less an evolution of Princess Maker which was a Raising Sim (the raising being transpose from the girl stats to the hero's).

A game like Katawa Shoujo is in fact a bishoujo game, which means a game about beautiful girls. I think this is why it is not tagged as a dating sim here.

Soooo, this can become quite difficult to describe clearly what is a dating sim.

--- For some, it would be that the dating is central to the game scenario. Like Katawa Shoujo, Hatoful Boyfriend and Doki Doki to an extent, Dream Daddy, etc.

--- To others, it would be the statistics and their importance to date a specific girl. Like Tokimeki Memorial, Love Plus, Amagami, Monster Prom, etc.

In both case, the dating need to be central to the game, or else, it would be a game with dating sim elements. Like Persona (dating sim as a ren'ai game). Or Steins Gate, which would be a bishoujo game (each ending concluding generally by dating one of the specific girl), but is in fact an adventure game (in japan) or VN (here), cause to focus is the sci-fi story.

Quite.... Complicated.

And sooooo. I want to ask a question here, or discuss for those that are interested by the categories and nomenclature of those game, in Japan and outside.

What would be a game like Va-11 Hall-A or Coffe Talk ? Their central narrative point is to learn about people. The more you learn, the more you are able see some side of them. And, if the drinks choices could be seen as a way to hide a simple choice menu, I think we could see them as something similar to that statistics of Tokimeki (not in mechanics, but in practice). Instead of piking a choice of what you would think is the best, you need to learn about the character to know what to serve them (like you need to learn about them to know which stats to develop).

So those game wouldn't be a dating sim, cause the central point is not to date the characters. On the other hand, to focus of those game is the social interaction, not the story. So... Could we consider those game as dating sims, but without the dating ? As, I don't know, social simulator ? Or friend simulator ?

Thank you and have a good day ! Hope I was able to be clear.Last modified on 2021-10-13 at 14:41
#2 by substanceof
2021-10-13 at 15:59
< report >While tag like this might be useful, there's a lot of titles out there that not just have romance as non-central theme, but more as a minor addition or have no romance at all, like in "no romance plot" tag (same with their bisuoujo-ness) but don't really fit into "social simulation" theme. Putting equality sign between dating sim and VN is not right in the first place.Last modified on 2021-10-13 at 16:02
#3 by beliar
2021-10-13 at 16:49
< report >I'm not sure you fully understand what a "dating sim" is. By our rules, only the games that contain fully fleshed out stat raising mechanics, can be called dating sims - it has nothing to do with the plot point of "dating". Katawa Shoujo is in no way a dating sim, as it doesn't have any gameplay except for the choices.

In the same way, Va-11 Hall-a is not any sort of "social sim", as the only "gameplay" therein is the drink mixing. Hence, it is an almost pure visual novel with an insignificant minigame.

tl;dr Anything that is called a "sim" on VNDB must have a large amount of gameplay.
#4 by pigeondelion
2021-10-13 at 22:25
< report >Yeah, I understand that a visual novel and a dating sim are not the same thing, the first being a type/categories of game and the last a genre (I think ?....).

I understand that a dating sim needs stats raising simulation, like in Tokimeki. But, when reading about dating sim, it seems that most bishoujo game that are an adventure game in terms of mechanics (like Katawa Shoujo) will be considered as a dating sims for people that doesn't know too much about those categories. Like, Colonel Sanders parody, Doki Doki Litterature Club or Dream Daddy that are often labelled as Dating Sim in medias.
As an example, take this April's fool of Riot Games that announced a bishoujo game of Valorant : link
The game clearly isn't a dating sim, but, people call it that (even if Riot doesn't seem to have call the parody a dating sim).

My point here is, obviously, Japan and Outside Japan label those game differently and VNDB tries to have to best of both. But, what would be a game that take much from real ren'ai game, but throw away the raising simulation for something else, as mixing drink or making coffee ? But, I suppose those game are more inspired by bishoujo game than dating sim....
Still, why making coffee isn't a type of simulation ? Even if there is not hardcore rpg element as in Tokimeki ?
#5 by historyeraser
2021-10-14 at 00:05
< report >Conflating sims with RPGs is stupid. They have nothing in common other than dealing with stats. Everything else is very different.

Sims don't even need stats to begin with, which is why bartending games are considered such. Sims as a genre can loosely be defined as "(re)creating some kind of experience (immersion is typically the goal here) for enertainment purposes" which is obviously very broad. Valhalla AFAIK is called a sim because it's trying to simulate the experience of being a bartender.Last modified on 2021-10-14 at 01:26
#6 by pigeondelion
2021-10-14 at 01:25
< report >Well, I honestly seem to have difficulty understanding.
Didn't beliar said Va-11 Hall-A isn,t considered as a simulation through VNDB standard ? But, yeah, it is labelled as a simulation game only. Quite large of a category.

As for the rpg elements in dating sim, this is my problem with the label. Dating sim are considered as such through statistical like rpg element (grind). I do this link because of the video of Tim Roger on Tokimeki Memorial, where he compared the girls as "boss" in rpg, where you need a good enough build to beat/date them.
But, can a dating sim be one without those statistics ?
#7 by historyeraser
2021-10-14 at 01:42
< report >
I do this link because of the video of Tim Roger on Tokimeki Memorial, where he compared the girls as "boss" in rpg, where you need a good enough build to beat/date them.
But, can a dating sim be one without those statistics?
I'm surprised you watched that video and didn't realise that Tim tends to describe things, especially games in bizarre ways. He's honestly the second least reliable person when it comes to describing the genre of things IMO. And I say this as a fan.
But, can a dating sim be one without those statistics?
Yes. Look up Doukyuusei.
#8 by beliar
2021-10-14 at 05:00
< report >HE, stop confusing the poor guy, please. Sims do need stats. No, it cannot be a sim without statistics - read the tag description. Valhalla is not a bartending sim, as the gameplay is not directly toed to bettering yourself as a bartender - what the dev calls it is irrelevant. It could be a sim only if you raised your bartending skills, acquired levels, got harder customers as a consequence and so on. In essence, it's not a mistake to compare sims to rpgs.
#9 by pigeondelion
2021-10-14 at 11:02
< report >Isn't Doukyuusei simply one of the first popular bishoujo game ?

So, stats really are necessary for those games huh ?

This got me thinking. There is those games named "Walking Simulator" that got nothing to do with VN, but they got the "simulator" in their genre. I recently read an article written by a game researcher that decided to describe those game as "Talking Simulator". See Carl Therrien.
I disapprove the expression, but the fact that "simulation" is constantly appearing for game that doesn't have stats is a headache.
Is the VNDB definition of simulation too restrictive ? Or, should we research more about how japanese perceive the definition of "simulation" in their games ? Are walking simulator named that way in Japan ? But, I understand we shouldn't mix the definition of "sim" for text-based graphical video game and to its definition for western video games. Principally when walking sim simply was an insult at first and not a serious genre terminology.
Again, many new indie developers will consider their game as a dating sim while they are not (Dream Daddy).
#10 by historyeraser
2021-10-14 at 14:18
< report >#8

There's more games like Doukyuusei in the db with no stats that are not pure VNs that are also tagged as dating sims.

Granted, the other game I played myself that's similar to Doukyuusei doesn't belong here anyways, but that's beside the point.

Some date sims are about you using real time.map movement to go to places which will trigger scenes with one of the heroines. And each time you do this, the day-night cycle progresses. There's more to Doukyuusei and it's clones than this but I haven't gotten far in any of them to tell you.

From what I've seen of Amagami, there doesn't seem to be stats either, (It doesn't seem to play like Doukyuusei either) but it's still a hybrid game.Last modified on 2021-10-18 at 23:11
#11 by pigeondelion
2021-10-14 at 18:44
< report >It is interesting to see that Doukyuusei is simply a simulation game in the database here. But, Doukyuusei is a complete dating sim....

It got me thinking that Tokimeki Memorial 2 first part (when you are young) seems like Doukyusei (being a "visual novel" with movement and not simply dialogue choices), while the second part is like the first game.
So, rather than simply manage stats, a dating sim could be about managing its day-to-day life ? Where to go, where going for a date, which girl to talk, etc. ?
Amagami doesn't seem to have stats, nor a map from what I saw indeed, but does have a complex game design about how to manage your days.

So... This got me thinking, is there a "slice of life" tags here ?
All those game are similar, without being that similar when adding Va-11 Hall-A and Coffee Talk, by giving importance to a day-to-day life. So, maybe that rather than talking about a dating sim-like game, we could say those game are in general a type of slice-of-life visual game ?

I don't know if this could help ? Or maybe this is just useless.

Also, problem is, most eroge game are "slice of life" games, so maybe this is way too large to describe something that put focus on its character rather than a general story.

Anyway, thx for your answers.

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