Romancing a pigeon: The weird, wonderful world of dating sims

Failing to find a spark in the arms of a boring old human? This Valentine's Day, maybe it's time to give insects, dinos, aliens and printers a try.

Screenshot from free dating sim Dino Dearest.

Sam Suite

Let's face it: real-life romance is messy. If you like something a little cleaner, or a lot weirder, or if you just simply like playing the luuurve bits of video games, you might want to check out a little genre called dating simulators.

These visual novel-style games see you taking the role of a protagonist who has to choose a love interest. By picking the right conversation and action options from multiple choices, you gain your romantic target's affections.

The games are sort of like choose-your-own-adventure anime-style romances, and they can range from very sweet and innocent to extraordinarily not safe for work.
We're talking about you Hikoki Fakkuboto.

And, because they're fiction, they don't always have to make a lot of logical sense. So if you want to date something that's not exactly human, like a building or a printer, it's entirely possible there's a dating sim out there for you.

In fact, why spend this Valentine's Day romancing a person at all? You can do that any time. From pigeons (you probably already knew about that one) to prehistoric beasts, here's a collection of dating simulators that will take you out of this world and into the arms of a...

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