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2-D Men Versus 3-D Men: The Fine Line of Dating Sims and Reality

Updated on August 11, 2016

Dating Sims: Friend or Foe in Relationships?

Love, friendships, and adorable CGs; these are what dating sim games usually consist of. They are what gratifies young girls and women’s desires of lust and love. These type of games give them the ultimate chance to insert themselves into the game as if they are the main character with a bunch of good-looking men with different and stereotypical personalities at their side. There's the silent and stoic but secretly clingy type, the cheerful best friend, the older but young at heart man, and more. Although the personalities can be slightly repetitive in each game, it does not change the fact that players fall in love with them endlessly. Despite falling head over heels for each character, there is a fine line between the 2-D and 3-D when it comes having an actual relationship in real life.

There are always those T-shirts that say “2-D GUYS ARE BETTER” or something similar. Although the two-dimensional men seen on a console, phone, or computer screen are gorgeous and satisfy a lonely woman’s needs of wanting to experience love, the problem is that they are not exactly real. Comparing men from from two different dimensions is a killing blow in a relationship. There is the cliché saying that no one is perfect, except in this case, players can view the character in their selected route as perfect and gradually start to have stars in their eyes, making them expect more from men in reality.

Of course, there are players who can resist the tempting urge to compare the men from both worlds, but for the people who cannot, it can lead to serious problems in a real relationship, especially for those who are not in one but are looking for one. There is the serious risk of being blinded by the unrealistic handsome looks and unnatural actions of the three-dimensional men. For example, in the confession chapter of the selected guy’s route, his scene may include him meeting the player after work and going down on one knee with a bouquet of roses with a stunning, stylish suit on asking the player, “Will you be my girlfriend?” Scenes like those are supposed to make the player squeal like a schoolgirl and jump up and down to celebrate their correct decisions throughout the game. In actuality, men may not even go that far to confess, especially adolescents, crushing the dreams of many women who want to experience that kind of love. Love is difficult to come by so often; it is a complicated but exciting experience in a person’s lifetime. Players who have higher expectations may accidentally have a winner slip away without even realizing it. Not everyone can experience the drama and exhilarating romance featured in dating sims, but love itself is a roller-coaster.

Having high expectations is not exactly terrible. Just choosing to date someone because he or she is nice can be a bit general. The point of love is to find that special someone who is unique. Even so, reducing the expectations may help in experiencing different kinds of relationships and gradually realizing that ideals are not necessary. Also, it takes quite some time to truly learn more about a person, and not everyone can fit the exact needs and expectations in the first place. Even though there is over a billion people in the world, each one is different, and there is no way in meeting all of them. People need to make do with the place they are living in, the sorts of people they meet, and the probability of starting a relationship without having unbelievably high standards.

Although it may seem like I am criticizing dating sim games, I actually enjoy them as a player myself. I have been exposed to the illustrious genre of games since my sophomore year of high school. Unfortunately, I was one of the players who became blinded and began to lean towards the two-dimensional world instead of reality. I never had a boyfriend in my teenage years and after playing the games, I often found myself wishing that I had a boyfriend. I never got one because I was not able to find someone who met my undeniably high expectations. Now that I am in college, my mindset matured. I hardly had time to play my dating sim games, but I finally got a boyfriend. It just happened; it was not out of desperation. In fact, I chose him not out of comparing him with the type of characters I usually go for. He is actually a different type from what I tend to go for. I usually go for the silent and aloof type. My boyfriend is the complete opposite. I managed to get him to play one of my dating sims games on Steam before we started dating,and he enjoyed them as well.

Our confessions to each other were not as breathtaking and exciting as the kind in the games, but they were still adorable. Thankfully, there was no drama and any climactic events before because I do not think my sensitive self would be able to handle it, especially while taking college courses.When he asked me to be his girlfriend, I was surprised because he pretended to tie his shoe and got down on one knee and showed me two pieces of an origami heart, each having a letter depending on my answer. That itself made me emotional because I did not think he would go through the effort of asking me to just be his girlfriend. It was a memorable moment for me as a person living in the three-dimensional world. When I asked him if he was okay with me playing dating sims, he said he was fine with it because the men are only two-dimensional. He even told me that we can even get ideas for dates in the games, which is true. We have used the games as reference before, like sending good morning and goodnight stickers on Facebook Messenger and going out to amusement parks and shopping together. Although he is fine with me playing dating sims, when we first started dating, he jokingly told me to not treat our relationship as a route, but I knew he was serious, too.

Regrettably, there are times when I find myself comparing my relationship with the main characters in my games. When I was not busy with school work or club activities, I had time to play my games. Sometimes, I envisioned both of us taking the roles as the characters. I had to admit that that was embarrassing at times. When we became more serious and started to argue, I began comparing him to my favorite character once I “realized” that they were similar, especially in their kindness. It was a mistake because when he was not nice to me, I would blow my top off and get furious at him. In the end, I just needed to cool off and remind myself that he was his own person and not some character I bought for $3.99.

As I am advancing in my college career, I have had little time to play, but when I do, I find myself to avoid the games. Instead, I play less dating sims and more of the other types of games like RPGs, FPSs, and more. It is not like I am avoiding them on purpose. It is also not like I am losing interest in them despite not keeping track of my Tumblr blog with news feed consisted of dating sims and the new characters being released. I do not know why I have been playing less, but looking back and reflecting on my younger self, it seems like my real relationship trumped my virtual ones, satisfying my need of romance in my life. Needless to say, I do envy those who can handle both virtual and real relationships.

Despite the beautiful art, story-lines, and amazing diversity of characters, none of it is real. It is crucial to separate the three-dimensional world with the two-dimensional world, or else having an actual love life will be difficult in the future. Yes, experiencing love is a wondrous event, but having unrealistically high expectations is not the way to go. Players have their own reasons of playing dating sims, whether they are looking for a replacement in their loveless lives or simply playing out of interest. Dating sims are indeed amusing and have their strengths in providing ideas for dates and material or giving players the ability to become one with the main character. Even so, having the mindset of separating virtual from reality is important for a healthy and long relationship.


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