Dating sims (or dating simulations) are a video game subgenre of simulation games, usually Japanese, with romantic elements. They are also sometimes put under the category of neoromance. The most common objective of dating sims is to date, usually choosing from among several characters, and to achieve a romantic relationship. The term dating sim is also often used as a synonym for the visual novel genre. However, this is mixing genre and medium, as visual novels are considered a subgenre of adventure games and the term does not cover simulations. While the two genres often share a common visual presentation, dating sims are sometimes considered to be more statistically based than the "choose your own adventure" style of visual novels.
The technical definition of a dating simulation game, known as a romantic simulation game (恋愛シミュレーションゲーム, ren'ai shimyureeshon geemu) in Japan, can involve several technical elements such as a time limit, several statistics such as looks and charm which can be boosted through exercise, or an "attraction meter" which can increase or decrease depending on one's decisions.
A bishōjo game (Japanese: lit. "pretty girl game"), or gal game, is "a type of Japanese video game centered on interactions with attractive girls". These games are a subgenre of dating sims targeted towards a heterosexual male audience.
- VGG: Dating Sim genre fan