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Many folks never see Hatoful Boyfriend subtly transform into its final revelatory route that blows everyone's minds.
It isn't a good game because it’s hilarious to date pigeons, it's a good game because of what it does to you after you become attached to all the pigeons and then play again one last time in order to "fulfill the promise." The epilogue is the real story.
At this stage I advise friends new to the genre that they need to focus on a chosen character early and aim for that goal ceaselessly.
And I assure them not to panic from this seemingly premature decision, because dating sims are specifically designed so that you will want to see all the available characters, each attempt requiring its own separate playthrough on a different timeline entirely.
This isn't Persona 4, you can't get away with dating them all at once.
999: Nine Persons, Nine Hours, Nine Doors and Virtue's Last Reward director Kotaro Uchikoshi spoke of his attempts at harnessing the player's experience and perception of a game's story during multiple playthroughs.If you walk off the path, you'll be pushed back onto it. The systems in these romance-focused visual novels are usually not robust enough to support complex social sims, they're more like long and pretty choose-your-own-adventure novels.The player must accept their limited role in these spaces and do what they can in order to dig the interesting bits out of these games’ juicy narrative databases.It’s a troubling view of human relations in general but it’s one that simple gameplay mechanics can handle.So now we come upon the quantum conundrum of dating sims.