Romance games, known in Japanese as ren'ai
(romantic love) games, are a category of videogame
that covers several mechanics and demographics. The distinguishing factor of these games is that the primary goal of the game is to establish a romantic relationship between the Player Character
and one or more of the NPCs
. Although the genre originates in Japan, they are also made elsewhere, particularly in the form of "doujin-soft
" (noncommerical fanmade games).
games are Visual Novels
(a type of Interactive Fiction
) or Dating Sims
(a type of Simulation Game
), although many are hybrids, such as Role-Playing Game
/ Dating Sim
or Action Game
/ Visual Novel
. Many ren'ai
games contain some erotic content; those where this is a major feature may be classified as eroge
(short for "erotic games").
See also Romance Sidequest
for games where the romance isn't the main focus.
In Japan, the term "Bishoujo (beautiful girl) game" covers any game for men that offers pictures or animation of attractive girls, regardless of gameplay style or narrative content (see Bishoujo Genre
). In the West, the term is generally used to cover ren'ai
games aimed at a male audience.
Examples of Bishoujo Games:
(maiden) games cover any game aimed at a female audience that is not a Boys Love
game; the majority are Visual Novels
with romantic elements. Many are made by departments or subsidiaries of bishoujo game companies; for example, Tokimeki Memorial
has an otome game spinoff, Tokimeki Memorial: Girl's Side
Not to be confused with otoge
, which is Japanese slang for Rhythm Game
Examples of Otome Games:
Boys' Love Games:
Games aimed at a female audience that feature male-male romance
. Like otome games, most are Visual Novels
and many are made by departments or subsidiaries of bishoujo game companies; for example, Togainu no Chi
was made by Nitro+ CHiRAL, a subsidiary of Nitro+
Examples of Boys Love Games:
Games which don't fall into any of the above categories.
Examples of other romance games: