For the uninitiated, going down the rabbit hole of dating simulator games can be wild.
It’s not just the typical technophobic concern: spurning interpersonal relationships in favor of falling for an imaginary, pre-programmed character with unrealistic traits.
No — in a world where there are increasing developments in sex robots, virtual reality, and pleasure devices, that concern almost seems like an overreaction. Besides, lonely hearts love being immersed in a romantic plot.
Of course, there are plenty of run-of-the-mill dating sim games on the market with perfectly average Prince and Princess Charmings (childhood friends, handsome “bad boys”, etc.). But then there are the dating sims with bizarre concepts.
Whether you need love or a laugh, you can find something heartwarming, absurd, freaky, or all of the above. You can meet and seduce girls from a Tinder-like app and share “massages.”
You can be a university student housing a handful of rabbits and cats, who transform into beautiful boys vying for your affection. You can be one of the last humans in a post-apocalyptic scenario, living an average school life– and romancing birds.
Nothing is off-limits (or sacred), for better or for worse.
. J̷̰̝̬͔̌͐͛̎́̀̎̊̈́̂̕̚͜ ̵̧̩̳͎͇̮̮̞͉̉̀̆̂̓̊͐̽̎̕̚͝͝͠Ṵ̶̘̼̜̣͂̈́͗͐́͂̾̈̓̚ ̸̺̒̌̓͑͑̅̈́̓̿̉̈̅̑͠͝S̵̛͈̮͑̅͂͌̐̑͐̀͆̓̄̅̚ ̸̧̙̤̬̣̱̟̞̠͓̟̻̙̠̫̈̉̈́̊̂Ţ̷̟̤̹̬͓͖̘͇̯̭͊́̔͗̈́̋́̏̃͜ ̴̛̣͙͉̔̎̒̇́ ̴͙̘̘̱͓̓͆̏͆̀̃̆̃M̶̢̧̧̝̯̰̗͔̫͐͗͂͒͐͒̿͑̉̓͠ ̶͙̦̹͔̘̯͆̑Ơ̴̢͎̬̤̓̈́̎̈̀͋̈̉͊̃͝ ̶̨̰̥̗̱͉̥͓̲͓͖̟̮̖͚̓̆̽̾̚͝N̷̡̰̰̳̦̘̮͖̜̘̠̣͇̤̅́̑̃̍͛̂̂̇͗̓͊̀ͅ ̶̱̘͚͖̔̇̓Ị̸̤͚͇̩̫͙͙̖͍̈́̑͒͊̋̓̐͆͒̊̚͝͠ ̸̟̖̺̜̦̝̂͑͆́̓͆̾͋͆̕̕͝K̸̨̧̨̳̟̼͚̜̣̤̰̭̦̎̏̾̍̌̐̎̅̇̉̍̎̅̕͝ ̷̩̘̲̣͖͕͖͓̼̗̋̑A̸̛̳̟̯͍̺̿̄̈̈͗͒̑̀̂͐̽͐͝ . . →SWIPE TO SEE THE COLLAGE→ . . #DDLC #myart #illustration #drawing #draw #sketchbook #sketch #copic #instaart #instagood #digitalart #photooftheday #instaartist #artoftheday #animeart #manga #mangaart #animedrawing #animeartist #animearts #mangadrawing #animefan #animedraw #dokidokiliteratureclub #monika #justmonika #dokidoki
Just in time for Valentine’s, indie developer Copychaser Games released Speed Dating for Ghosts.
You play as a ghost, milling around in the afterlife. Fran, the antlered dating coordinator, welcomes you and lays down the ground rules.
After picking a room to go in, you sit at a table and strike up a conversation with each suitor.
— Samantha @ ECCC (@StillNotSam) November 27, 2017
Of course, you’re making a first impression as you navigate the right conversation options. Just like any other date, you exchange pleasantries and small talk…except instead of “What do you do for a living?”, the common conversation fodder is how you died, where you haunt, etc.
Each candidate has a distinctive backstory, personality, motivation, and outlook on life and death.
You get to know the ghosts in the room through two rounds of dating, then you have the opportunity to get to know them on a more personal level on a date…whether it’s a seance, a bank robbery, or just a pleasant journey through the woods. Each ghost carries an emotion that defined them in life– vengeance, determination, malice, fear.
As you interact with them, each spectre faces its turmoil. When it comes to self-development, soul-searching can be unfamiliar but ultimately fulfilling. Each date concludes with the reveal of your date’s tombstone in the graveyard.
In Speed Dating for Ghosts, you play a lonely ghost lookin' for love in the afterlife. Here are some of the spooky friends you can date. pic.twitter.com/0RsEbiPGkg
— Ben Gelinas at TOJam (@bengelinas) September 1, 2017
With a wry sense of humor and diverse reflections on the state of the afterlife, the game offers a unique twist on the solemn subject of death.
One of my favorite moments is at the beginning. When the dating coordinator asks if you came to the mixer to help your loneliness, you can reply that you are fine and don’t need love or friendship.
She remarks that if that is how you feel, then it is your personal decision, and you get an early ending…alone and eating ramen and hot dogs. It’s definitely a relatable moment for any introvert who’s not ready for commitment.
The game is notably progressive, allowing you to date masculine and feminine ghosts. Then again, gender is a social construct. Also, all of the spirits have morphed into abstract and eerie entities. That being said, the ghost of the athlete has a nice set of abs.
With a minimal but quirky art style, a chill soundtrack by Grankle, and branching dialogues with a total of 10 characters, the game is surprisingly charming.
Although the game length is short (around an hour), the game’s unlockable achievements offer replay value. Speed Dating for Ghosts’ simplicity and brevity are understandable considering it is the first game production by Copychaser Games.
The small team includes former Bioware developer Ben Gelinas (who worked on titles like Dragon Age and Mass Effect) and writer/indie rapper Mikey Hamm.
Thankfully, we can expect more to come. On February 19th, in a Steam Community community post, Copychaser Games stated:
“Buoyed by the game’s positive response, there are definitely plans to update with some degree of added content in the future. No word yet on when that will happen and to what capacity. But we’ll keep everyone updated via Steam and the newsletter!”
Finally, when it comes to finding your soulmate, you can get ghosted… in a good way.