January 2016 Community Game-Along: Dating Sims

Dating Sim Community Game-Along 2015

The first Community Game-Along theme of 2016 is the return of an old personal favorite, dating sims! For this month’s theme, any games where pursuing romance is an integral part of the experience are eligible. That means whether you want to play Dragon Age or Amnesia: Memories, it counts for the Game-Along!

If you’re new to Community Game-Alongs, simply play any game that fits the theme and share your experiences on your own blog, YouTube channel, social media, or wherever else you’d like to talk about it. Just be sure to tag it with #DatingSimonth so everyone else can see it! If you don’t know what to play, check out the suggestions I gave the first time I ran the dating sim Community Game-Along, or try one of these:

Clannad title art

Clannad (PC) – It would be a crime to not mention Clannad on this list after it was finally released officially in English just this past November. While the price tag may feel steep for a visual novel, its script is massive, and it’s often ranked as one of the best romance visual novels ever. Just get ready for a tearjerker if you decide to tackle this one!

Amnesia Memories screenshot Ikki

Amnesia: Memories (PC, PS Vita, iOS/Android) – One of the most popular otome game franchises in Japan, Amnesia is definitely worth a play if you’re a fan of pretty anime boys. It’s also available for only $3 on Steam until January 5th, so even if you’re not sure it’s up your alley, you can’t say no to that price! Just one word of advice: beware of cages…

Rune Factory 4 key art

Rune Factory 4 (Nintendo 3DS) – Rune Factory 4 is one of many games that has dating mixed in with other types of gameplay. With cute monster boys and girls to woo in between growing crops and fighting battles, this would be a great pick for anyone who would prefer more varied content than a standard visual novel. Really, any Rune Factory or Harvest Moon game would be a great choice, but keep in mind that some of them do not allow you to choose the gender of your character.

Code Realize English screenshot

Code: Realize ~Guardian of Rebirth~ (PS Vita) – I’ve already gushed far too much about Code: Realize as one of my favorite games of 2015, but needless to say, if you like otome games, steampunk, and an awesome female protagonist, you owe it to yourself to play this one!

ILUJam logo

Anything from the ILUJam (PC, Mac) – I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to highlight the awesome free games from the International Love Ultimatum Jam that Amanda Cosmos ran last June. There’s no better price than free, and there are a lot of interesting twists on the romance game formula among the ILUJam submissions! A lot of them can be completed in an afternoon, too, so this would be a great place to start if you’re strapped for time this month.

Let us know what you’ll be playing and share your favorite dating sim picks in the comments!

About Anne Lee

Also known as apricotsushi. Anne can be written with the kanji for apricot (杏), and sushi was the most quintessentially Japanese thing I could think of when I was 13, resulting in my goofy, albeit memorable, nickname.

  • finchiekins

    My friend and i are going to participate and talk on our podcast. I’m not sure what he’s playing but i’m going with Thousand Arms, a PS1 Red Company dating rpg that i’ve been meaning to play through since the late 90s. There are way too many PS1 games that i’ve been meaning to play since PS1 was relevant…

    • Oh, man, I’ve been meaning to buy and play Thousand Arms for ages, finchiekins! Maybe I’ll have to get off my butt and do that sometime in 2016 🙂 As for me, I’m going to do my best to start playing through Persona 4 Golden at long last…

      • Curious to hear what you think of P4G! I put in a few hours and never got around to playing it again… (not saying anything about the quality of the game, but it’s a bit slow starting)

    • Awesome! Be sure to share your podcast link in the hashtag when you post it so I can promote it! I loved Thousand Arms back in the day, I should really go finish it…

  • I need to go back and play again… Posts like this are sooo tempting!

  • Dude where has your blog been my whole life?!?! I’ve just stumbled upon it and I love that you do these! I’m totally going to attempt challenge this year. I might end up writing about Dragon Age:Origns since it’s what I’m playing currently. But I’d love to branch out with one of the Otome games on my phone. I might just pick on and stick to it. When are the posts dues? Is there a link up as well??

    • Hi Dina, thanks for stopping by! To be honest, I’ve never really understood how to run link ups, but I always share contributions to the monthly themes on social media, and if there are enough submissions to warrant a roundup post, I will do one at the beginning of the following month. Ideally you would want to get your posts up by the end of January!

      • Sounds good to me! I will have my post up by then! I’m so excited about this project!! Yay!

  • karin

    This is great!! I just started a gaming blog so I’ll be using the tag. Is it better to use the tag on twitter or I can directly use it from my wordpress blog? Ah! Also, I actually wrote a post already where I talk a little about Pacthesis’ dating sims. Are her games applicable to the tag?

    • Wonderful! You can link to this page in the body of your post to indicate it is for the Dating Sim Game-Along as well as share it on any social media you use with the hashtag 🙂 I had a look at your Pacthesis article and I think it definitely counts!

      • karin

        Great, thanks! I also did a review on Re: Alistair++ so I’ll link this page there too 🙂
        Edit: Done! I linked this page at the end of both posts <3 I'll do the same with other dating sims' reviews I'm planning to write soon 😀

        • Awesome! Thanks for participating!

  • Michael J. Hughes

    I’m new to VNs — I’ve only played Danganronpa and Steins;Gate — and I’ve never played a dating sim. Winning this contest would certainly speed me on my way, but I’m interested in playing a sim regardless, due in large part to your reviews of them for GameCritics.