Western dating games
We took a close look at Japanese dating game conventions, and it sounds like the Backbone guys did as well.
Those games are very much about time management, which is an interesting mechanic, but as noted here, can limit the time you spend really engaging with the meat of the social issues the medium (and presumably, the audience) really wants to address.
However, unlike the majority of Western women living in China, who watch bitterly as the egos of below-average men swell from the admiring looks of Chinese girls, I took an altogether different approach and chose to date Chinese men instead.
You might think of dating games as only being the Japanese ones where you play a cute girl and you have to go on dates with handsome anime guys until you're able to win one as a boyfriend.
These are the typical otome dating simulation games that started the trend (otome meaning "maiden" or "girl" in Japanese).
They are built to anticipate and encourage that style of play.
Many Western players new to the genre miss out on that fundamental aspect of the experience, writing dating sims off as shallow and basic after dipping their toes in.
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The first ending many people experience when playing notorious pigeon dating sim Hatoful Boyfriend involves being ambushed by ninjas for "failing to display sufficient intimacy with the birds." You are unceremoniously killed and brought back to the main menu to start over from the beginning or are forced to resume from an earlier save point.