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One game series that often includes dating, with the goal of marriage, is the farming sim series Harvest Moon.
The subplot of dating is more focused towards choosing one of several girls or guys (dependent on the player character's gender) and offering them presents or joining them on events in the game.
There are also GL games, which focus on female/female relationships, and BL Games, which focus on male/male pairings.
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.
Games where the player character is female and potential objects of affection are male are known as Gx B or otome games.
Homosexual relationships are also possible, as there are games with no specific gender lines ("all pairings").
In fact, the term "dating sim" isn't even really correct, as it only encompasses romance games that have simulation elements (usually meters for stats that you have to raise to get the girl/guy you're pursuing).
The Japanese term ren'ai, meaning romance, is generally used to refer to any games that focus on the romantic pursuit of one of usually a number of selectable men or women, but since "dating sim" is more the well-known term in English, I'll be using it for the purposes of this event to refer to any game with romance elements, be it simulation, visual novel, or otherwise.
Because of this, Eroge companies make a censored all-ages (15 ) version of the PC version for various consoles.
These games often feature a day-night cycle with a time scheduling system that provides context and relevance to character interactions, allowing players to choose when and if to interact with certain characters, which in turn influences their responses during later conversations.
While bishōjo games make up the bulk of dating sims, other types of games exist.
The technical definition of a dating simulation game, known as a romantic simulation game 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.
Some original-English dating sims include Sim Girls, In a typical dating sim, the player controls a male avatar surrounded by female characters.