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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.
Some Japanese dating sims may allow the player to have romantic or sexual relationships with characters in their teens.
If the player's outfit does not match the date behind the door, the door is closed and play continues.
The book Timeless Toys described Mystery Date as if it was the result of crossing "Barbie in all her high-fashion glory with 1965's biggest game show, Let's Make a Deal".
The player must assemble an outfit by acquiring three matching color-coded cards, which then must match the outfit of the date at the "mystery door".
The date is revealed by spinning the door handle and opening the plastic door on the game board.
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").
This can lead to confusion, as visual novels are considered a subgenre of adventure games and are not technically included in the dating sim genre.
While the two genres often share a common visual presentation, dating sims are sometimes considered to be more statistically based than the "choose your own adventure" style of visual novels.
When the game ends, the player either loses the game if he failed to properly win over any of the girls, or "finishes" one of the girls, often by having sex with her, marrying her (as in Magical Date), and/or achieving eternal love.
This gives the games more replay value, since the player can focus on a different girl each time, trying to get a different ending.
There are also GL games, which focus on female/female relationships, and BL Games, which focus on male/male pairings.