I have a real fondness for playing weird dating sims, where I can date pigeons or cats or a goldfish or even actual military tanks. All of them personified and given human attributes, all very clearly not human.
Why is this though. It’s a weird genre I’ve never actually stopped to question the appeal of. What is it about this genre that keeps me coming back?
Well, as best I can tell, the answer lies in abstraction, and how it allows a safe environment to explore relationship dynamics.
So, here’s an example. In Coming out on Top I had the option to date a goldfish. This goldfish was a terrible influence on my chracters mental health, and it was a messed up relationship.
If this had centred on a human character, that would have probably been a pretty emotionally taxing narrative to play through, devoid of any real levity in its narrative structure. Replace that with a fish, there’s this amusing aspect running through the narrative that allows exploration of those themes, with a safe amount of self created situational levity.
Same for Hatoful Boyfriend. By replacing all its human characters with pigeons and creating that level of abstraction from real relationships, it allows more interesting stories to be made more approachable and digestable.
So yeah, that’s my 2 minutes on that. Thoughts?