A Dating Simulation, or DatingSim (also known as Romantic Simulation Game), is a genre of video game that most commonly possesses the objective of dating or otherwise romancing a set cast of characters in the game.
In a typical Bishōjo (Pretty Girl) dating sim, the player controls a male avatar surrounded by female characters. The gameplay involves conversing with a selection of girls, attempting to increase their internal "love meter"; a gameplay mechanic that shows the character's level of infatuation towards the player, through correct choices of dialogue.
The game lasts for a fixed period of game time, such as one month or three years. When the game ends, the player either loses the game if he failed to properly win over any of the girls, or "finishes" with one of the girls, often by having sex with her, marrying her, and/or achieving eternal love.
Following the game's completion the player can restart and attempt to end the game with a different girl.
- Dating sims often revolve almost entirely around relationship-building, usually featuring complex character interactions and branching dialogue trees, and often presenting the player's possible responses word-for-word as the player character would say them. These "responses" have a different number of associated "mood points" which influence a non-player character's "love meter".
- While Bishōjo (Pretty Girl) games make up the bulk of dating sims, games where the player character is female and potential objects of affection are male also exist and are known as GxB or Otome (Maiden) games. There are also GL (Girl Love) games, which focus on female/female relationships, and BL (Boy Love) Games, which focus on male/male pairings.
- Sexually explicit dating sims may fall into the category of H Game or Eroge. Eroge only gets released to PC because large Japanese game companies do not want to release games with sexual content on their game consoles. Because of this, Eroge companies make a censored all-ages (15+) version of the PC version for various consoles. The censored version contains far more endings and new added scenes due to the absence of sexual scenes.