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  • Results from Game Design Challenge: Romance

    [03.16.10]
    - GameCareerGuide.com staff
  •  While romance games have had a pretty long history in Japan, success has eluded this genre in the U.S. Sure, some Japanese games get translated and are appreciated by niche audiences, but there hasn't been a really substantial success comparable to Konami's Tokimeki Memorial or its more recent Love Plus.

    What's the problem? Some Western designers have tackled the genre, but without making any major headway either. One notable attempt was the Nintendo DS launch game Sprung, which featured pithy dialogue and trendier characters than the Japanese games.

    Konami even tried to launch an original romance game in the west with Brooktown High: Senior Year, developed by Backbone Entertainment. It copied the gameplay format of the Tokimeki Memorial games -- a blend of social interaction, character management, and minigames -- but was intended as a humorous, pop-culture infused attempt at the genre; it was met with stony silence from gamers.

    Is there any way to make a relationship or dating game that's appealing to Westerners? Game Career Guide challenged its readers to come up with a solution.

    What follows are the best and most original entries we received. Here are our top picks:

    Best Entries

    Emily Greenquist Student, Flashpoint Academy, I <3 Mullido (see page 2)
    I <3 Mullido abstracts the concept of love, and tackles complex themes with cute characters. The result is an appealing experience for a carefully chosen target audience.

    Isaak Kraft van Ermel, Noordelijke Hogeschool Leeuwarden in the Netherlands, Hearthunters (see page 3)
    Isaak Kraft van Ermel suggests a competitive multiplayer dating game for mobile phone owners. Notably, gameplay requires physical presence and social interaction -- a potential spark for real-world romances.

    Vladimir Villanueva, Artist, The Album, Burgundy (see page 4)
    Villanueva's The Album, Burgundy is a unique title that challenges players to balance rationality, passion, forwardness, and defensiveness in the context of a "real-time strategy romance."

    Honorable Mentions
    Nacho Pintos, Student at UOC's Post-Degree Program (Spain), 9 Rooms (see page 5)
    Will Armstrong IV, Someone for Everyone (see page 6)
    Jean-François Michaud, Senior QA tester, EA Montreal, The Player (see page 7)
    Tania Anta, Student at UPC's Master in Video Game Creation and Development, Lost in Your Memories (see page 8)
    Randy Lee Bernard, Moves (see page 9)

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