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by  |  18-Dec-2016 12:13

“I’ve seen so many people who are straight or who never play videogames play it.”The simplest explanation for its broad appeal is the most obvious: It’s just a really good game.

But its subject matter—dads—also touches a nerve that resonates with just about everyone.

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It’s a subversion of dating sims that is not just the best dating sim I’ve ever played but also one of the best games of the year.

At first glance, the game's romantic roster looks like a who’s who of sexy stereotypes: the bad boy, the jock, the sensitive artist, the clean-cut hunk.

Leighton Gray, a 19-year-old student at the Savannah College of Art and Design who created, cowrote, and art-directed , is queer herself; when she and cowriter Vernon Shaw sat down to develop the game, she says, defying stereotypes was at the forefront of their minds: “We wanted to set up expectations and knock them down.”Those complex characterizations not only make the story far more interesting, they render obsolete the usual rules of dating sims.

For all of the genre's seeming emphasis on romance, dating sims often contain a reductively transactional notion of love and sex, relying on a mechanic that independent game developer Arden once described as “kindness coins”: Put enough compliments or gifts into the object of your affection and receive sex in return.

“A lot of times with dating sims it’s a matter of getting a read on the character’s personality and telling them exactly what they want to hear,” Gray says.

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