Dating sim, ren'ai sim, raising sim and ikusei sim

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#1 by pigeondelion
2021-11-23 at 01:16
< report >Hi all !

So, I am trying to understand the best way possible how to categorize dating simulator cause in Japan, it seems quite different than here. Most people here, except what I would call with respect "purists" (people that care about the Japanese origins of the "VNs") will simply see a dating sim as a VN with its core focus about dating a npc. For purist, it will be about stats and time gestion. I decide to mark this distinction by using the Japanese expression. It will follow.

Here, the dating sim is a sub genre :

- Life simulation game
- Social simulation game
- Dating sim.

This is helpful to categorize those games cause, this way, dating sim are perceive as game with a focus on romantic social interactions.

But, this is a little more complicated in Japan and this is why I am posting here. I need help to see better in all this, I seriously want those categories to have no more secret to me. So, here is what I think I understand.
Dating Sim are in fact Ren'ai simulation game, which means simulation game about romance. Quite similar from here. BUT ! Ren'ai simulator are in fact quite different than dating sim, cause they have a focus about statistics (Tokimeki Memorial) and time gestion (Doukyuusei, which is a nanpage sub-genre) and Amagami). In fact, a dating sim would be the equivalent of a ren'ai game (see, no simulation here), which could honestly be any game with romance as a core focus. So, in japanese, you can talk about adventure ren'ai game, rpg ren'ai game, etc.

But, here comes another but.... The Raising sim sub-genre, that is here quite parallel to the dating sim.
The raising sim is about stats gestions but of npcs, rather than our own avatar. In Japan, a raising sim is in fact a 人物育成ゲーム (jinbutsu ikusei game = person development game). Here begin hell though. A jinbutsu ikusei game is a sub categories of the ikusei game, that are, from wikipedia, equivalent to social simulation game. Ikusei means "raising"/development by the way. What this means is that a "raising simulator", from a japanese perspective, isn't simply about raising npcs stats, but could also be about raising a pet (like a tamagotchi) or our won avatar.

He comes this official Konami description of Tokimeki Memorial : link
"恋愛育成シミュレーションゲーム" -> ren'ai ikusei simulation game !!!! In other word, Konami describes Tokimeki Memorial not simply as a dating sim, but also as a raising simulator about romance. In other words, from the perspective of Konami, there is a difference between a ren'ai simulation game and a ren'ai ikusei simulation game. I think that the "ikusei" subgenre is in fact what give this statistical mechanics to those game. In other words, Tokimemo would be a ren'ai ikusei simulation game while Amagami simply would be a ren'ai simulator game (or another sub-genre of it exists....).

Again more cumbersome.... Konami described Love Plus as a "communication game". In Japan, Nintendogs and Animal Crossing are categorised as such, and I have difficulties to understand where would a communication game position itself in all this... Cause, Love Plus clearly is a ren'ai ikusei simulation game. link

So, to sum up, the japanese categories :

- Ren'ai game
- Simulation game (life simulation doesn't seem to exist so maybe this categories would be Communication game ?).
- Ren'ai Simulation game
- Ren'ai ikusei simulation game.

.... Yeah.

What do you think about it ?

It could seem difficult for nothing, but I think it is interesting to have more precise categories about dating sims. Seeing forums like VNDB, people really struggle to understand what clearly is a dating sim. Many people see Katawa Shoujo as such, while other don't. Considering that in Japan, there is in fact a term to talk about dating sim that use stats seem to me really interesting for our categorisation. This way, a dating sim could really be all those games that are more adventure bishoujo game with a focus about romance. And, when we want to talk about dating sim that use stats, like Tokimeki or True Love, we could use something like Dating raising simulator or I dunno. All in all, I find this quite interesting that Konami describe Tokimemo as something more precise than simply a "ren'ai game".

Of course.... I suppose most of those terminologies are in fact more marketing ones than precise ones....

Thx for reading !
#2 by butterflygrrl
2021-11-23 at 03:07
< report >English speakers have generally drifted towards "life sim" to cover visual novels with strong stat-raising elements, usually restricting "raising sim" for purposes in which the player is distinct from the character being "raised" (such as Princess Maker where you are playing the parent).

The term "dating sim" has been heavily watered down due to people not deeply entrenched in the genre using it to refer to any game that involves romance. However in my experience "purists" would not use "dating sim" to refer to most life sims or raising sims at all. I've seen people strongly argue that it is not a "dating sim" unless you can schedule DATES, preferably in a freeform manner by directly asking your target to go to your chosen place at your chosen time. True Love would then be categorised as a Life Sim, but not a Dating Sim (because you can't set up dates) and not a Raising Sim (because you are not raising a separate character).

The Japanese game sites I visit simply list simulation games as "sim" regardless of the type. Similarly I have seen confused english fans just shrug and call games "Stat sims" or "Stat raisers" because that accomplishes the most important goal - getting the point across.

Fifteen years ago there was a big push to try and get english speakers to understand the term "ren'ai game" but it simply didn't stick. The term is too unfamiliar and communicates nothing to the newcomer, and it fell by the wayside.

Interestingly "otome game" is managing to stick around in casual english usage despite being somewhat opaque. Of course along with that you run into people who think that "otome game" literally just means "visual novel" and they will call any anime game they see "otome" even if it's porn for guys. Because they have no reference for the word "otome" so they took a guess and guessed wrong.

"eroge" on the other hand is much easier to explain to English newbies. it's got ero in it. they can get that. so despite not being an English word it's an easy one to pick up.

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