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Old 02-23-2010, 09:24 PM   #1
cnutt
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Default Game Design Challenge: Romance

Edit: RESULTS ARE LIVE!

http://gamecareerguide.com/features/...me_design_.php
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Old 02-24-2010, 04:50 AM   #2
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"Jersey Shore" Dating Sim/fighting game imminent.

An interesting challenge. It seems the biggest hurdle is the cultural clash; American gamers are generally male, 15-30, and more interested in blowing each other up than building a relationship. I've always understood the Japanese gaming culture to be much more diverse, but I don't have firsthand experience to back that up.

I think there's probably a stigma attached to dating games here in the West, that they're for Girls (due to their pace/lack of action), lonely gamers (who can't talk to girls in reality) or perverts (who are hoping 'Fondle' becomes an option). Even this challenge presents that inherent bias;
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Originally Posted by Cnutt
And, please -- keep your concepts no more than M-rated, and your submissions suitable for all audiences. (source)
The implication is that a dating sim geared towards Western Audiences will somehow involve 'more than M-rated' content that is unsuitable for some audiences.

It makes me curious to see how dating is handled socially in the East, to see how they address things like asking someone out, behavior on a date, etc. Are they more private about it than Americans, or more open? Do they generally go out alone or in groups? Are dates arranged by an intermediary? I'm just curious to see how the culture considers dating, to see if there's something inherently different in the way Americans and Japanese couples initiate romance. I'll have to look into it because now my curiosity is piqued.

I really dunno where to start on this challenge, but it's still very early (both in the morning and in terms of the challenge) so I have time to ponder. My initial thought is that simply westernizing the same content (as Sprung and Brooktown High attempted) isn't the answer. While there may be a cultural reason Dating Sims are shunned, there is also likely a fundamental gameplay reason that the games hasn't caught on either. Again, culturally Japan doesn't favor the same genres of games as Americans do, so that's another place to look.

I would say that The Sims counts as a Dating Simulation, to some degree. While it's true that there's a lot more to the game than JUST the dating, the Live mode is almost entirely focused on social interaction, growing a family, and providing for them. Unless you're one of those people who just like to torture your Sims .

I'll bounce some ideas around later when I'm a bit more focused, we'll see if we can get some concepts going. Good luck, everyone.
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Old 02-24-2010, 05:41 AM   #3
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I would say that The Sims counts as a Dating Simulation, to some degree. While it's true that there's a lot more to the game than JUST the dating, the Live mode is almost entirely focused on social interaction, growing a family, and providing for them.
I think The Sims does not fit. You're right, but, for example, I wasn't so interested in family and friends, I only wanted to have a brilliant career. My case represents the fact that each one of us look for his own personal goals in life simulation games.

In high school I wasn't attracted by dating a girl, I was attracted by kissing her or taking her to my apartment when my mom was out That's why japanese dating sim does not work, as long as all of us (raise your hands if you say otherwise) certainly played an erotic game in the past.

Tricky challenge, because I believe that, placing the target to males aged 16
or more, you could get outside of the original genre.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:00 AM   #4
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Cool I call Twilight...

Sadly, there is one way that hordes of Western teenage girls will turn out- in force- to buy a dating video game.

Make it Twilight: the Video game.
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Old 02-24-2010, 08:16 AM   #5
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I think The Sims does not fit. You're right, but, for example, I wasn't so interested in family and friends, I only wanted to have a brilliant career. My case represents the fact that each one of us look for his own personal goals in life simulation games.
Most of my time in the Sims was spent building, so... I agree with you. It was only a dating sim if you wanted it to be. Still, if we're looking for ANY success stories, the Sims is probably the best we can eek out.

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In high school I wasn't attracted by dating a girl, I was attracted by kissing her or taking her to my apartment when my mom was out That's why japanese dating sim does not work, as long as all of us (raise your hands if you say otherwise) certainly played an erotic game in the past.
I think that may be part of the whole cultural issue as well. Sex is still considered extremely taboo in the West, while I'm fairly certain Japan has very advanced sex education.

I may, of course, be talking out my tailpipe on that last thought, however.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hero_of_canton View Post
Sadly, there is one way that hordes of Western teenage girls will turn out- in force- to buy a dating video game.

Make it Twilight: the Video game.
Sadly, I think you're 100% correct. If there was a Twilight-themed dating sim, it would be a best seller, I have absolutely no doubt of it. That should be your submission, if you can stomach the source material.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro View Post
"Jersey Shore" Dating Sim/fighting game imminent.
OMG

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro View Post
The implication is that a dating sim geared towards Western Audiences will somehow involve 'more than M-rated' content that is unsuitable for some audiences.
That wasn't necessarily the implication -- I just wanted to cover the possibility.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro View Post
I would say that The Sims counts as a Dating Simulation, to some degree. While it's true that there's a lot more to the game than JUST the dating, the Live mode is almost entirely focused on social interaction, growing a family, and providing for them.
I wouldn't disagree.

Also, while running the risk of sounding like the comic book shop guy from The Simpsons, I think it's worth noting that games like Tokimeki Memorial (which I actually beat back in the day on the Saturn when my Japanese was pretty terrible) aren't termed "Dating Simulations" in Japan -- which is where I think some of the stigma comes from the in the West. (Like you said, you only need a "dating simulation" if you can't get a date.) They're termed ren'ai (romance) games.

The reason this is worth considering, right now, I think, is more about considering what you want to accomplish in this challenge. TM offers a (reasonably, considering it started out as a 16-bit game) robust simulation of high school life, including social interaction and dating as the primary but not exclusive focus. It's kind of a nuance but I think it's relevant.

Really, TM and The Sims are actually a bit similar, just with a different balance of activities and much different presentation/play style. You're "building up" your TM main character (i.e. "you" -- you enter your name) in different statistics by picking and choosing what tasks to concentrate on. Of course these lead directly to attracting different girls (good at studies = bookish girl, good at everything = the cover girl, who's hardest to woo.)

I think this is why the developers at Backbone thought they could just ape the formula for Brooktown -- there's nothing intrinsically weird about TM once you accept the premise, it's just not stylistically American. But adding in really ugly character models and trying to make it humorous (and with Breakfast Club style cliques, making it very popcultury.) Just didn't fit any extant audience, particularly on PSP.

Anyway... ramble ramble... I don't usually post this much. Also, in 2010 it's a bit hard to believe I beat Tokimeki Memorial... twice. It's a fun, simple game.
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Old 02-24-2010, 02:13 PM   #7
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I'm game.

Time for some whiteboard magic.
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:50 PM   #8
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Default Bad Romance

I'm getting the vibe to run with a game based off of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I'm getting the vibe to run with a game based off of Lady Gaga's "Bad Romance"
Damn you stole my idea!

Joking apart, it's pretty obvious that a "Damned Love" fiction is more suitable to western players than just live an 'easy' high school love game, where you know you're gonna end up with someone, somehow, at the end of the term. I'm also sure the main aim of the challenge is not to blanket every cultural aspect of a japanese game with US/EUR features. Cultural walls are not the only reason why we werent' able to enjoy TM or other games.
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:39 AM   #10
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A "damned love" game, as in not getting the girl is the only option? It's just a hilarious story of how some antisocial kid ends up committing suicide? That could be a popular flash game.

*sarcasm*

Last edited by bob : 02-25-2010 at 01:40 AM. Reason: sarcasm
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