Despite combining the traditionaly lucrative genres of RPG, Adventure Game, Soap Opera, and Straight-Up Porno, the "Dating-Sim" has had difficulty establishing a foothold in Western markets. But there's one place where the artform is getting more popular than ever and that's internet fandoms. With only a few art assets and even less programming knowledge, these creators have been releasing romantic homages to their favorite properties with sexy(?) results. 

1. TF2 DATING SIM: HIGH SCHOOL AU

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"What if instead of a team based multiplayer shooter, Team Fortress 2 was a visual novel based in an alternate dimension where all the playable classes were high school students?"

The answer to this improbably specific question is now answered thanks to schiphys. Enjoy the thrill of joining the art club alongside The Spy, or maybe fall in love with the class president, Miss Pauling. 

 

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I named my protagonist Counter McStrike, but only because "Jonathan Globaloffensive" wouldn't fit in the dialogue box. 

 

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There's something so tonally off about this project. When I think of TF2, my mind is flooded with visions of exploding gibs, blaring horns, and chaotic slapstick, but TF2 DATING SIM: HIGH SCHOOL AU is slow, quiet and idyllic. The only thing I can think to compare it to would be a Lamaze class taught by Duke Nukem. 

 

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So far there's only a demo (download link). Yet from what I've played, I just prefer gonzo SFM animations to this particular take on the Team Fortress universe. 




2. Internet Creepypastas

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"Creepypastas" are the short horror stories that birthed such memes as Slenderman and Herobrine, but for a unique little community that grew up on Invader Zim reruns and Hot Topic clearance sales, they're also the basis of countless comics and fanfics. The weird thing about most creepypasta fanworks is that despite their disparate and dark origins, most of them are meant to be taken as seriously as the Monster Mash. But if you dream of courting characters like "Jeff the Killer" and "Laughing Jack" you might want to look at Aaron der Schaedel's Creepypasta Curtain Call.

 

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Oy. There is a LOT of self-referential meta-humor to wade through in this game. 99% of the dialouge is the characters talking about how the demo isn't really finished and the sarcastic "barbs" barely register as jokes. I had downloaded the demo hoping to experience the ecstacy of boning Slenderman, but instead I'm just reminded of my teen years publishing unfunny zines at Kinko's. 

 

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The art assets are nice and it's clearly a labor of love, so download the demo if you're curious, but don't be surprised if you find that it's not your thing. 

 

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3. Nicolas Cage

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Sweet merciful Lord in heaven. Just play this. Everyone download this game and play it. Caging Me Softly is the best five minutes you'll spend all week. The dizzying highs, the soul-crushing lows, and the intense rapturous power of Nicolas Cage will leave you satisfied.

 

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There is only one point of interaction in the entire game. The music is harsh and might blow out your speakers. Despite this, I truly believe it to be the best game on this list. It is your duty to experience the unyielding terrifying romance of Nic Cage.

 

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4. The Smash Bros. Yaoi Game

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Hyrule Cafe: it's Smash Brothers, except instead of fighting, it's running a bistro! How will you handle the contrasting personalities and desires of your breathtakingly beautiful staff of waiters/warriors? The concept doujin game by SnakeyHoHo isn't technically available for download yet, but there is footage of the game in action

 

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Despite the heavy insinuations of male on male romance, I have a feeling most hardcore Smash players would still prefer to play this over Brawl. The project seems to have lost steam a few years ago and that's a damn shame. After so many terabytes of cheesecake Zero Suit Samus pinups being posted on the Internet, it was refreshing to see this game go out to allllll the ladies.

 

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5. Korean eSports

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SC2VN: The eSports Visual Novel is a kickstarter-backed game in which you play as a bright-eyed young foreigner in Korea who's ready to climb the ladder of professional eSports. As you traverse the Internet Cafes of Seoul, you encounter hoodie-clad rivals and allies who will guide you on your journey. But here's the most shocking part of this endeavor, it's actually fun even if you have no familiarity with the eSports scene.

 

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What's unique about SC2VN is that the story choices aren't about where to go on dates, or what gift to buy your beloved, it's mostly about how you choose to play StarCraft II. This malformed offspring of twitch.tv and a harem anime has people falling in love with you because you sniped their Protoss Cybernetics Core. 

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I can't stress this enough, my familiarity with these games is complete babyshoes. I'm pretty sure my friends and I would lose at LoL to a team of particularly determined housecats. But playing the demo (which you can download here) was a genuinely fun experience. Now, I didn't see anything particularly hot n' heavy, but just look at the face of this pro-player I beat in the first round:

 

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You KNOW we're going to make out at least once, right? 

 

Now that I think about it, there was ONE overtly sexual moment...

 

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6. John Cena and the WWE

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Oh man, a fangame that requires in-depth knowledge of anime tropes AND modern era professional wrestling? This is for a group of nerds so specific I could actually taste Nacho Pretzel flavored Combos as I played. For the uninitiated, John Cena is the most profitable popular wrestler in the WWE lineup. He supports the military, wears jorts, and looks like every male member of the Avengers rolled into one bro. As a result, older wrestling fans HATE HIS GUTS. No seriously, during the last Wrestlemania I saw my friends cheer armed Soviet stormtroopers over him. But I've never seen so brilliant and subtle takedown of a character as John Cena's sexy High School Adventure. The MS Paint fueled sideshow of a game in which you play as a new student in a highschool populated entirely by John Cenas.

 

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Every character you meet is just this .jpeg with a few scribbles to differentiate each other. The popular kid, the nerd, the bully, the clueless teacher, each form of John Cena needs your help to discover what it means to be a good friend and instead of sex, you express your devotion by wrestling.

 

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It's a bizarre concept, criticizing a wrestler's hokey cartoon-y ness by invoking an even hokier form of storytelling. But if anything I described sounds in the general vicinity of your relevant interests, give it a look (download link). U CAN'T UNSEE ME. 

 

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7. Five Nights at Freddy's

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Five Nights at Freddy's is a controversial subject in the gaming community, you either love it or you... are older than 15. The original game was basically a spooky puppet show, but fans constructed so much lore that it now makes The Silmarillion look like a Garfield anthology. In chibixi's Five Nights of Love you're once again thrust into the role of new security guard at Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, but instead of surviving, you need to seduce one of the animatronics within the titular five nights. 

 

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Oh man, it turns out Freddy Fazbear is a total tsundere! I don't know what's weirder, the fact that I sincerely just wrote that sentence, or that most of our readers will sincerely understand it.

 

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It's kind of amazing to see just how neatly the FNAF mechanics adapt to romance. You have to continuously jump from room to room, manage your energy reserves, and avoid running into rogue animatronics like Balloon Boy. On my first playthrough I found it fairly easy to mack it with Foxy, and on my second playthrough I was bold enough to make a move  on Springtrap...

 

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Unfortunately it didn't go so well. If you want to take a shot at wooing a haunted corpse in a bunny endoskeleton, you can play it here.

 

 

If there's a gaming experience that defies all human decency, we want to hear about it. Send your favorite mind-blowers to galleries@dorkly(dot)com.