Visual Novel / Sprung
Sprung The Dating Game
is a Romance Game
Nintendo DS game released in 2004 by Ubisoft. The player is given the choice of playing as either the male protagonist Brett or the female protagonist Becky, as they both go on missions to date and fall in love at the Snow Bird Mountain Ski Resort. Of course, not much skiing actually goes on, and the game is split into separate 'scenes' where the player is given the objective of completing a certain goal to progress (for example, getting Becky out of her bad Blind Date
.) Many of the scenes have little to do with the supposed romantic goals and instead provide opportunities for supposedly-wacky hijinks and collecting an impressive array of adventure game items, most of which can only be used to trigger joke responses.
The game is considered to fail as a dating game, as there is little choice of Love Interests
at its conclusion (only one romantic prospect for Becky, three for Brett,) and its lack of narrative flexibility left many people getting bored of reliving the same dialogue over again just to reach a certain outcome. It is often found in bargain bins due it being relatively unknown.
Unsurprisingly, Sprung contains many Dating Tropes
and Love Tropes
, as well as many a Shout-Out
, paying tribute to Lord of the Rings
, Right Said Fred, and Dawson's Creek
, among others.
This video game provides examples of:
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Conversations with Shana tend to get weird.
- Comically Missing the Point: If you tell Shana the hippie joke, she'll complain that it assumes the hippie is a man.
- Deep South: Leanne.
- Dumb Jock: Lucas is touted as an athlete, but he acts like a stoner.
- Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Brett can convince Shana and Leanne to kiss during a game of Truth or Dare. Lucas approves.
- Granola Girl: Shana the hippie photographer.
- Have a Nice Death: Not death per se, but the game over messages lay out the ludicrous consequences of your failures.
- Though one of Brett's game over messages involves Becky dying in a freak tiger accident in Siberia.
- Hypocrite: Alex lambasts Lucas for cheating on her, despite cheating on him with Conner the other day. Leanne (the women Lucas had an affair with) is likewise furious at Lucas for two-timing her and says that he is "the only man who sent my heart a-flutter," despite the fact that she was dating Danny until the stage before, wanted to break up with Danny because she wanted to date Conor, AND wants to join Brett in the hot tub the second Brett even flirts with her.
- Incredibly Lame Pun: Aspiring comedian Danny makes a lot of these.
- Infodump: At the end of Becky's route, she and Brett exposit heavily about how they grew up together.
- Informed Ability: No skiing or snowboarding happens on screen, so when a character is said to participate in winter sports, you'll just have to take the game's word for it.
- Lame Pun Reaction: One game over has you get so fed up with Danny's puns that you beat him to death.
- Let's Play: One for Brett and one for Becky, both by Slowbeef.
- Lifetime Movie of the Week: Discussed. According to Brett, they've come a long way in terms of production values and character development.
- Love Dodecahedron: All the characters are connected through friendship or romance, and everyone is switching up romantic partners at the drop of a hat. Relationship statuses and feeling also seem to completely change in-between scenes with no explanation, making it very hard to track how someone feels about everyone else.
- Meganekko: Erica sports square glasses.
- Mood-Swinger: Characters tend to do an emotional 180 very easily. Lampshaded by Alex, who says that "I reserve the right to change my mind frequently and without warning."
- Multiple Endings: The "Friendship" ending and the "Romantic Ending" for Becky; and a Last Minute Hookup with Becky, Erica or Kiki for Brett.
- Negative Continuity: A unique decision for a story-based game. Each stage seems to be its own continuity, as they often contradict each other and often play characters and relations in completely different ways. In more extreme cases, some stages contradict themselves.
- 100% Completion: Subverted. You can check how many items and artworks you've obtained, but a bug makes it impossible to get them all.
- Pair the Spares: Everybody gets paired up by the end of the game.
- Random Events Plot: Scenes do not necessarily have any logical connection to scenes that came before them. Stuff happens, just roll with it.
- Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: Brett's friends Danny and Lucas, respectively.
- Smug Snake: Conor.
- Suckiness Is Painful: If, on her Blind Date, Becky doesn't stop Danny's Hurricane of Puns, she'll start freaking out and making a scene. This is a game over.
- Totally Radical: Quite a lot, though Lucas and Shana are more prone than the rest.
- Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Happens all throughout the game, though one stand-out example is when Becky is giving Leanne dating advice. The only way to know which advice is "right" is to watch Leanne's reactions to each line and memorize them for after the ensuing game over.
- Videogame Cruelty Potential: The player can pepper spray anybody in the face at any point (there's no use for it outside of tormenting them) and you can set certain people on fire.
- The Dog Bites Back: Some characters will grab your pepper spray and spray you. One Bad End consists of you and the other person continuously pepper spraying each other, back and forth, until you eventually both get carted off to a mental hospital.
- Too Kinky to Torture: Some even respond positively to being sprayed.
- Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Being a jerkass rarely ends well.
- With Friends Like These...: Some of your friends can be rude, unhelpful or constantly have you solve their problems, and are quick to turn on you. Brett's friends will stop hanging out with him if he can't impress girls, and Kiki once stole one of Becky's boyfriends from her. Likewise, Brett and Becky have the options to be total jerks to their friends, though Brett is less cruel than Becky.