You won't be selecting every dialogue choice during your character's involvement with the game’s world, but you will be occasionally prompted to guide your hero or heroine along different paths, and depending on your prior actions these could result in good or ill.

This isn't Persona 4, you can't get away with dating them all at once.

Japanese dating sim players often refer to the romanceable characters in the games as "capturable." Whether you want to interpret that as literal or prefer to see yourself as "captivating" the various characters’ attentions is up to you, and sometimes up to the particular game’s themes.

If you walk off the path, you'll be pushed back onto it. The systems in these romance-focused visual novels are usually not robust enough to support complex social sims, they're more like long and pretty choose-your-own-adventure novels.

The player must accept their limited role in these spaces and do what they can in order to dig the interesting bits out of these games’ juicy narrative databases.

Many folks never see Hatoful Boyfriend subtly transform into its final revelatory route that blows everyone's minds.

It isn't a good game because it’s hilarious to date pigeons, it's a good game because of what it does to you after you become attached to all the pigeons and then play again one last time in order to "fulfill the promise." The epilogue is the real story.There are some people who dislike this disjointed storytelling style, such as those found in transmedia properties, so these types of games may just not be enjoyable for them.999: Nine Persons, Nine Hours, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward director Kotaro Uchikoshi spoke of his attempts at harnessing the player's experience and perception of a game's story during multiple playthroughs.Your character may speak of destiny and true love, but you as the player know better and are keeping a meta tally of all your conquests.Japanese cultural critic Hiroki Azuma wrote in his translated book Otaku: Japan’s Database Animals about the contradiction of the dual desire for small narratives and grand non-narrative databases, little quantum set-pieces at the expense of a linear canon story.But when playing dating sims you are actually being quizzed on how much you know about a particular character you’re after, either learned through attentiveness or knowledge of tropes.