Dating Sims are a subgenre of gaming that seems to be exclusive to Japan. Cracked readers should be insulted that western companies don't think we're capable of handling even a virtual relationship, but we don't have any evidence to the contrary.
Dating Sims are a lot like the class bunny rabbit, you feed and water them every day and at the end you're slightly proud but there's inevitably a sticky mess left behind. That and you and the bunny have next to no ability to communicate with each other.
A Dating Sim is a largely text based game where the object is to win the affections of pretty much whoever you choose. You will be presented with an array of beautiful girls or guys and pretty much assured that if you make the right choice in conversation every once in a while, you will get to see that person naked by the end of the game. This is vastly superior to actual Dating, since you can just hit that reset button the second you screw up and the object of your affection pulls a tazer on you.
Oh I'm sorry, you're a little late for that option. See, Konami, the people behind Metal Gear Solid, also happened to make a very innovative game for the DS recently. It's called ã�©ã��ã��ã�©ã�¹, pronounced rabu purasu and meaning Love Plus, proving the Japanese like mangling our words as much as Jerry Bruickheimer likes mangling history.
Anyway, Love Plus was so amazing because of the way the game starts to creep into reality itself. The first instance I noticed was when I had turned off my DS to go to bed. Next day I tried to start up my file, up popped one of the girls, berating me for not saving my game before turning off the console. After the warning ended and regular play began, I was still trying to catch up on what had happened, my shocking japanese didn't help but I distinctively heard the pissed off tone in her voice. I tried to experiment, turning off the console again, this time for some reason the game didn't begin as normal. I scanned through the text she had just thrown at me, and found out that this time, she wouldn't let me play until I verbally apologised to her. I stuttered out a japanese apology (only the warmth of my intestines on your floor is enough to wash away this injustice I have commited) and play resumed after a neat little presentation showing my influence with the ladies had diminished. Later, as I'm playing, I notice one of the girls in the hallway, I call out and she walks away in disgust.
That's not even the half of it. For a girl who is trapped in a plastic screen, she certainly lets me know who's in charge. Every time I turn on the console, my favourite girl pops up, comments on the time and day. If it's late on a sunday she acts disappointed that I'm not studying or in bed. I'm not sure if this actually happened but I could swear she once asked me if I had any real friends.
Now these are the kind of mindfucks that start to get to you. You start to treat them like a real person, which leads to people taking the game a little too seriously. And when I mean serious, I mean freakishly serious. We all had a laugh about the guy who wants to marry a video game character. Well he succeeded. And that girl in the middle? She's now off limits boys. I have a photo of the wedding right here: