IFComp 2007: Jealousy Duel X

Another perennial comp tradition: the token graphical game. This one is in Flash, and uses a simple button-menu interface rather than a text parser. Spoilers follow the break.

First impression: Dating sim lite. 1 For those who have never read Megatokyo: Dating sims are a kind of romance-themed game popular in Japan, typically focussed on interacting with multiple different anime-styled girls, any of whom the player character can wind up paired off with depending on your actions. It’s a genre with well-established tropes, and exists in both smutty and non-smutty forms. It’s got vaguely dating-sim-like subject matter and user interface, but instead of doing any actual dating, your goal is simply to accumulate as many potential dates, in the form of telephone numbers, as you can. Why? To taunt your ex-girlfriend, who’s doing the same.

This is the kind of premise that makes me go “Whuh? People don’t actually do this, do they?” Somewhat reassuringly, many of the other things that the player character does in this game are things that people don’t actually do — for example, studying anatomy by examining skeletons in an abandoned mine, or altering the social dynamic of a study group by feigning death. The technical term for this sort of game is “wacky”.

So, it turns out it’s not a dating sim at all. It’s an adventure game with wacky puzzles and constrained commands — at any juncture, you have a choice of four or five situation-dependent commands (often including conversation options), plus the ability to use items in your inventory. Constraints of this sort tend to make a game easier, but here it’s countered somewhat by the unpredictability of the effects of what you do. Any given action might bring you a step closer to a phone number, or scare someone away permanently. And that “permanently” part is quite a problem in a game that offers no way to save your progress. I found I was starting over repeatedly and clicking through the same sequences of commands often enough that it wasn’t fun.

Rating: 3

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1. For those who have never read Megatokyo: Dating sims are a kind of romance-themed game popular in Japan, typically focussed on interacting with multiple different anime-styled girls, any of whom the player character can wind up paired off with depending on your actions. It’s a genre with well-established tropes, and exists in both smutty and non-smutty forms.

2 Comments so far

  1. malkav11 on 15 Oct 2007

    As a game, it’s not that great. As something you click through a couple times exploring various options without making an enormous amount of headway, it was hilarious. I particularly like when you go back to the mugger after he’s mugged you.

    If it were less arbitrarily option-closing, I’d go back and try to actually win. But…nah.

  2. Merk on 28 Oct 2007

    The mugger is a “she.” Get the valentine from your closet, and the batteries from the hooker, and then go get mugged again. Or use the valentine while being mugged.

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