The 6 Most Insane Video Games About Dating
Dating video games are hugely popular in Japan: They're text-heavy games where each click brings you a little closer to either getting to see some cartoon porn or ending up in a "game over" screen (and then seeing that cartoon porn on Google anyway). The stories always involve a childhood friend you secretly lust for, a wise character with glasses who gives you advice (that you secretly lust for) and, this being Japan, a healthy dose of insanity.
Some of these games take that last part a little too far, though, leading to some very confusing boners. Like ...
School Days -- Piss Off Your Girlfriend, Cause a Bloodbath
School Days is a popular erotic "visual novel" that inspired various spin-offs across different media -- including Cross Days, the game you can play with a literal cock control and which outs you as a pervert if you try to pirate it. In School Days, your character is a kid named Makoto who gets involved in a romantic triangle with two classmates that you have to get him out of without breaking the hearts of either of the girls ... because if you do, then shit gets real.
You can find the whole scene here if you want to see it in all its glory (you really do).
That's what happens if you string along one of the girls but then start seeing the other one on the side -- the first girl catches wind of it and kills her rival with a hacksaw. When you think about it, this means that even the "happy" endings are secretly terrifying, because you're now either dating or good friends with a potential psychopath waiting to snap.
The cover gives no indication of this, but you should know better than that anyway.
If, instead of cheating on the first girl, you actually break up with her to date the other one guilt-free, then the one you just dumped jumps off a bridge and lands headfirst on the cement right in front of you both. Even if you try to do things right, you still wind up soaked in blood.
"Oh hey, I didn't see you guys there, wow, this is awk-"
School Days was so popular that they even released a version for PlayStation 2 that censored all the porn scenes ... but made up for it by adding even more violent endings. For example, if you stick with the first girl and ignore the other one, then at the end of the game she pushes your girlfriend in front of an oncoming train, leaving you holding her disembodied hand.
In another possible ending, it's both girls who are run over by the train (after one tries to kill the other), and in another one, it's you. As if to acknowledge that the bad endings that you get if you play the game wrong are the most popular feature, the 2007 School Days anime adaptation ends with the protagonist decapitated and his girlfriend dead. That's like doing a Super Mario Bros. cartoon where Mario falls off a cliff and dies horribly, or a Zelda movie that's just Link being continuously attacked by chickens.
Let's Meow Meow! -- A Game About Sex With Cat People
You could probably guess the entire plot of Let's Meow Meow! just from the title and the fact that it's from Japan ... but we're going to tell it to you anyway (because we hate you). The setup is that your character in the game has always been nice to stray cats, so one day he's rewarded by a powerful cat god who offers to grant him one wish. Naturally, he asks for a cat-girl who will have sex with him, because what other reason could there be for not being a dick to animals?
We're on to you, cat owners.
A few days later, he receives a nude cat-girl in a box -- not a real girl in a cat costume, but some sort of cat/human hybrid worthy of Dr. Moreau. The cat-girl is also a maid (because those are legally required to appear in these games), and as soon as she's out of the box, she immediately proceeds to give your character a blowjob. If you still feel like you need to play this game after that, there are plenty more surprises in store. Several other animal-human aberrations somehow end up in your house, too, including a literal Playboy bunny:
Her real ears.
A half-dog cop girl who dresses like a Nazi:
Three common fantasies in one!
And in case the whole "interspecies sex" thing is creeping you out, another cat-girl who is actually a robot designed to look like one:
Right, like we've never heard the "Officer, she said she was a cat robot!" excuse before.
Finally, there's a human girl (your childhood friend) who "just happens to like wearing cat ears and a tail during sex." See, that was the only excuse you needed. They could have all been real women who enjoy disguising themselves as animals, and the sex scenes would have been exactly the same. There was no reason to involve cat gods, robots and mutants from another dimension. You had other options here.
"It's not really something we can control." -- Japan
And it's not like you can pretend they're real women who are into intricate role-playing -- each of the "girls" has the traits and personality of her respective animal, as if to remind you that, yes, you paid for a game where you pretend to have sex with humanoid animals.
My Girlfriend Is the President -- Your Girlfriend Is the President
If you've always wished your porn games had more political debates and international diplomatic impasses in them, My Girlfriend Is the President is the game for you. The plot starts when an alien spaceship crashes into the White House and kills the entire Japanese government (yeah, the game can't quite decide what continent it takes place on). To cover up the disaster, the alien in the spaceship brainwashes the entire planet into thinking the president is actually a random teenage girl ... who happens to be your next door neighbor.
It's still more plausible than Ron Paul getting elected.
Since you're the only one who knows the truth, the alien names you vice president. At this point, you reach that important moment in every young man's life when you must decide whether to pursue romance with the president, your other neighbor (and childhood friend) turned chief of staff, a female version of Vladimir Putin ("Russian President Putina") or the physical embodiment of the alien spaceship. All of whom look like 12-year-old girls.
A hard 12, but still.
As far as we know, this is the only dating game where your objectives include solving a missile crisis in North Korea (which isn't even a metaphor for boners), dealing with the political tensions between Japan and Russia (caused by the fact that both presidents have a crush on you) and still finding time to spy on the girls as they're bathing nude together. Thankfully, you have a squad of crack commandos at your disposal to help you with that last mission.
So this is what the guys who killed Osama do the rest of the year.
Meanwhile, you and all the other characters still have to attend high school, because, come on, you're teenagers, and not doing that would be unrealistic. The school scenes are pretty much normal, except one of the teachers is a panda with spectacles and another one is secretly an evil alien hiding under the most inconspicuous disguise ever: a combination between a child-molesting priest, Emperor Palpatine and a Nazi scientist.
So, the current Pope.
In the end, you and the girls team up to fight Evil Space Nazi Pope, and everything goes back to normal. Whether your brain will ever do the same thing remains unclear.
You will never be able to watch C-SPAN again without instantly having an orgasm.
Deiz -- Spot the Hermaphrodite
In Deiz, you're a high school student going through a normal school day -- or at least, what passes for normal in these games. Depending on your decisions throughout the day, you can end up having an intimate encounter with one of eight possible characters ... one of whom is a hermaphrodite. Which one? You'll only find out when it's too late.
Pretty sure there's an actual game show with the same premise.
The weirdest part of this game is that if you do everything right, it's a standard romantic comedy about a boy with a crush on a girl (who is also a critically acclaimed film director, for some reason). But if you mess up, things can go horribly, horribly wrong: For example, in one of the potential endings, you suddenly get kidnapped by a student who has been stalking you, who then proceeds to strip you naked, whip you and mock your unresponsive dong.
If your porn game makes fun of the player for not getting a boner, you're probably doing it wrong.
In the game, you have not one but two childhood friends, a guy and a girl, who help you hook up with your crush. However, one of the endings involves your male friend revealing his feelings for you by grabbing your penis, in the most awkward "game over" screen ever. And if you end up with your female friend, she also makes a move on you with her penis, as demonstrated in a scene where you become the unwitting middle ingredient in a boner sandwich.
It's nice that everyone's happy to see you, we guess.
And then there's the ending that combines almost all of the above: You and your friend (the one with only one set of genitalia, that is) are kidnapped and forced to make a gay porn movie at Taser point. This ending, by the way, was determined by a poll in the creator's DeviantArt page.
Really blew the chance to use the word "pole" there.
The game is completely free to download, but we're not sure who exactly the target audience here is. Let's say you give this a shot because you're into secret teenage hermaphrodites: You still run the risk of ending up being whipped by a girl dressed in leather and going "Aw, come on, that shit is just wrong!" And vice versa. Unless you share a very specific set of fetishes with the game's creator, this game is bound to produce more awkward moments than boners.
We hope this is admissible in court.
Yume Miru Kusuri: A Drug That Makes You Dream -- Exactly That
In Yume Miru Kusuri: A Drug That Makes You Dream, you control an ordinary high school student who meets a whimsical fairy girl trying to find a way back to her fairyland. In order to help her get back home, first you have to let her acquire some fairy power from your magic mushroom. If you've been paying any attention to this article, you already know that we're talking about sperm.
"And by you, I mean your dick."
That's just the beginning, though. After a couple of situations where she more or less forces your character into awkward sex in public places (once threatening to rape you with a stick), you discover that she's not really a fairy at all, just a crazy drug addict. The "fairy dust" she keeps talking about that supposedly will return her to the fairyland is actually some sort of dangerous hallucinogen, and your character has to decide whether to try to get her off the drug and push her away or enable her fantasy. Meanwhile, more really, really inappropriate sex.
This is basically Crazy Bipolar Girlfriend: The Game.
However, the game also gives you the choice to completely ignore the "fairy" (who presumably dies from an overdose off-screen) and romance two completely normal girls from your school in alternate plots that have nothing to do with drugs. You'd think this part of the game would be less crazy than the one with the drug fairy, but you'd be wrong.
Never, ever underestimate Japan.
One of the other girls you can pursue is Aeka, a shy girl constantly tormented by bullies. As the storyline progresses, you help her deal with her personal problems, first with your penis and then by pulling a knife on the girl who bullies her. It gets worse: Once her cronies run away and the bully is no longer a threat, you ditch the knife and start choking her to death for no reason.
Japanese anti-bullying campaigns are hardcore.
But then Aeka stops you, because what you're doing is wrong -- you should be killing her together.
That's right; the end of the game is that you and your romantic interest bond by attempting to murder another student. After like 10 minutes of this, you let her go ... not because you realize how awful it would be to end another person's life, but because the bully farted in front of you.
"You ruined the moment, jerk."
Hatoful Boyfriend -- A Pigeon Dating Simulator
Hatoful Boyfriend is a Japanese dating game for people who think that Japanese dating games are way too normal and logical. At least those other games star something resembling humans -- disturbingly young-looking ones, but still. Hatoful Boyfriend follows the exact same tropes, except everyone is a talking pigeon. Talking pigeons that you, a human girl, must date.
"Hato" means "pigeon" in Japanese, which ... still doesn't make any sense.
As usual, the creators have gone out of their way to come up with the most complicated back story possible to justify what was already a bizarre premise. In this world, bird flu killed off most of humanity and birds became the dominant species. The game takes place at Saint PigeoNation, an academy for gifted birds. You control the only human student, a schoolgirl in search of some bird lovin'. Every other character is represented by a photo of a real bird.
You're doing this on purpose now, aren't you, Japan?
Sometimes they have clothes on, but that doesn't really help.
Three common topics in one image: maids, cross-dressing and insanity.
Your potential paramours include a track star obsessed with pudding (not only do the birds participate in track, without flying, but they're able to outrun you), a racist aristocrat and a bookworm who turns out to be a ghost.
And then Unchained Melody starts playing, backward, as chanted by dying clowns.
But none of their stories contain as much unleaded crazy as that of Shuu, the school's antisocial yet strangely alluring doctor.
This man exudes sexuality.
At first he's dismissive of you, but if you're persistent, you can take him on a date. He seems to warm up to you after that, because on Christmas Eve he's nice enough to deliver a quill pen and a roast bird dinner to your cave (oh right, you live in a cave, for reasons that are never explained). It's a nice gesture from a -- wait, hang on a second, a quill pen and a roast bird?!
Shit shit shit shit shit shit.
Turns out that Dr. Shuu is a serial killer who secretly feeds you one of your potential love interests and then just straight up murders you and keeps your decapitated head in a jar. Which raises a few important questions, like "How does a human character get overpowered by a partridge?" and "How do I rationalize this erection?"
At least you're finally gonna get some action.
The only way to face the doctor and not be murdered is apparently to befriend another bird who happens to be a sorcerer and confronts him in an epic supernatural battle, at which point the dating game seriously turns into a turn-based RPG, with HP, powers, dramatic music and a final monster boss. And pigeons, of course.
Hey, they know what their customers came for.
You can read more from Mark at Zug, where he writes erotic fan fiction and explores the terrible world of men's rights activists. In addition to playing baffling Japanese games for educational purposes, Dustin Koski also writes for TopTenz. Check it out!
For more Japaninsanity (shut up, we're working on it), check out 5 Most Terrifyingly Homoerotic Japanese Music Videos and 8 Humiliating Japanese Ads Starring Oscar Nominees.