The first game that set the standard for the dating sim genre was Dōkyūsei (1992), which relied more on timed events than dialogue choices.

However, Tokimeki Memorial (1994) truly popularized dating sims in Japan, in which the player, a high school student, has the ability to date a dozen different girls.

There are many variations on this theme: high-school romances are the most common, but a dating sim may also take place in a fantasy setting and involve such challenges as defending one's girl from monsters.

The game lasts for a fixed period of game time, such as one month or three years.

When the game ends, the player either loses the game if he failed to properly win over any of the girls, or "finishes" one of the girls, often by having sex with her, marrying her (as in Magical Date), and/or achieving eternal love.

Generally you meet several characters, and will have to choose one to court.

In Japan, dating sim characters are referred to as “capturable” -- whether that means you capture their hearts or their bodies depends on the game.

Tools like multiple save slots, quick-save features, and the ability to skip text and rewind help players efficiently pursue every potential partner character and reveal every story path.

It’s like backwards-engineering a narrative database -- and you may be surprised to find how much the story changes when you focus on a different partner each time. Hakuoki is a period piece, taking place in the Bakumatsu period of Japan at the time of civil unrest between the Emperor and the Shogun.While bishōjo games make up the bulk of dating sims, other types of games exist.Games where the player character is female and potential objects of affection are male are known as Gx B or otome games.In a typical dating sim, the player controls a male avatar surrounded by female characters.The gameplay involves conversing with a selection of girls, attempting to increase their internal "love meter" through correct choices of dialogue.But you’ll need to focus, as playing the field can result in an unsatisfying ending, and no one likes that.