I’m on a study project to improve my understanding of roleplaying games. To this end, I already have two reading projects, A Game Per Year and An Adventure Per Year. This is the third, with the goal of reading or playing 52 games made in the last few years. Originally I considered making this “A New RPG Per Week” and that’s where the number 52 comes from, even though a weekly schedule is probably not within my abilities.
Arch Angel Dating Simulator is another recently released small experimental game on itch.io. I’ve been surprised at the lack of roleplaying games about romance and dating. After all, social interaction is extremely easy to do in the context of a roleplaying game.
There are a few, of course: Star Crossed, the games of Emily Care Boss and of course my own Chernobyl Mon Amour. Still, the prevalence of dating simulators in the field of digital games suggests that people are interested in romance.
Arch Angel Dating Simulator reminds me strongly of similar, digital games. There’s a selection of arch angels to date and guidelines and prompts on what sort of things might come up with each. It’s a simple game building on the premise that the attraction of dating an arch angel generates energy and motivation for the game to progress, a concept-based design choice.
To get more prompts for action, Arch Angel Dating Simulator suggests using a tarot deck or something similar. However, the nature of play is collaborative, building on the emergent dating fantasy. A card deck will just help things along, not dominate play.
I like the subjective, fuzzy, association-based design and the focus on angel romance. It’s a simple, winning concept.