Outings and Dates in CS Games

I have three questions I want to ask with respect to the title, but I think it’s valid offering them all in a single thread.


1. Which outings/dates have you encountered in CS games that you enjoyed?

The more I get to interact with characters in IF, the happier I am. I’ve only played a handful of games so far, but the trend seems to be to offer the occasional, brief encounter with a character (usually an RO) as a break from the plot, after which the event-driven story resumes. Were there times where any of you didn’t feel like the moment was over too quickly, where you thoroughly enjoyed the scene? Alternatively, did anyone encounter a scene that was brief, yet still completely satisfying?


2. Which outings/dates would you like to see in CS games?

I’ll admit, this question is asked purely out of curiosity. It can be applied to any setting. For example, in any school-type story, I’d imagine readers would expect a dance of some kind, but also something mundane like going to the mall to see a film, playing at the arcade, eating lunch, etc. In a science fiction or fantasy setting, however, it could be anything like spending an evening on a luxury airship or slaying a dragon.


3. How much interaction (inside or outside the plot) do you typically want with a character to consider yourself satisfied?

In other words, how much time must your MC spend with a given character during the course of a game for you to feel like your relationship with that character was fulfilling? It’s a very subjective question, I know, so be as abstract or concrete as you like. It could be… “I want at least two private conversations with a character where we can talk about serious things or just banter, and I want at least three choices during each.” I don’t know. What are your thoughts?


I’m happy to answer these questions myself, but I probably won’t do that unless prompted. Anyone can answer as many or as few of these as they like, of course!

Also, feel free to discuss anything else related to outings/dates with characters! I’m certain it doesn’t need to be only in CS games, but I’m not sure how badly the mods would want to move this thread to the off-topic forum if that was the case. They could always share their own thoughts on the matter to prevent that from happening.

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Hard to say really regarding how much character interaction I would expect for it to be fulfilling. I would want the majority of the time outside of the plot to focus on building up relationships with characters, as well as whatever character I happen to be romancing to be important to the plot in some way. I wouldn’t want them to be sidelined the moment the story shifts back to the central narrative.

As for what outings I would want to see specifically it depends on the setting, and the RO. The dates should be specific to the characters having them. Take ‘The Last Wizard’ for example. Each RO behaves differently in the romantic scenes. The priest has a more generic date at a local tavern, the shy heir has a quiet walk in the garden or through town, their sibling has a public dinner to boost their image with the citizens. All are amazing, yet completely distinct from one another. There is even variation depending on what point in the story the date occurs.

This is all just my opinion. Ultimately it depends on what the overall focus of the story is.

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1. Which outings/dates have you encountered in CS games that you enjoyed?

WayHaven and Nat, Fallen Hero and Ortega, to name two. Hard to remember. I don’t need these dates to end in a romantic/intimate setting. In fact, I love when it ends in fluff.

2. Which outings/dates would you like to see in CS games?

Honestly, I like outings/dates that are pretty sweet. They don’t need to be official going out in the town sort of things, really. Just bonding over something as mundane as doing the dishes would be quite lovely for me.

3. How much interaction (inside or outside the plot) do you typically want with a character to consider yourself satisfied?

Hard to say. And honestly depends if I’ll just be spending one book with these characters or a series.

If it’s just one book, I won’t expect as much time, but if it’s a series, I’ll be expecting a lot more time with them.

I don’t think the author should compromise on the amount of interaction the characters have with one another, but they can incorporate bits of dialogue when the MC is in a relationship with the character.

Dragon Age and Mass Effect do this where they’ll have added snippets of dialogue in conversations with an RO where they’ll mention X or Y. The climax fight against the Archdemon in DA:O or the Mages/Templers in DA2 is a good example.

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I would love to see more “meet the family” outings with an RO. The only ones I can recall is Double/Cross, where you meet the RO’s little sister, or prom night in Psy High with Carl’s grandma or Andrew’s mothers. It gives the RO a more human feel and shows they have a life outside of the main story. It could be anything from having dinner with the parents, to having big brother interrogate you to make sure you’re worthy :sweat_smile:

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  1. Do Hosted Games/WIPs count? Because on Pulse University and Diaspora you get a A+ scenes with your RO. They’re both outside, looking at the stars, just talking and getting to know each other. On Pulse, the scene is somewhat short, but it doesn’t feel lacking. Sangarinus from Diaspora has the best dates. They always feel satisfactory to play through, even if they are somewhat long (you have choices to define your character’s ideals and such) and a bit streamlined.

Sheperds of Haven has something like dates too, where you get to learn more about each character. I’m a sucker for that kinda stuff.

  1. Give me angst (don’t quote me on that). Give me characters who just had a nightmare and mistook me for a demon. Give me characters that haven’t slept in a week or are sick as heck who really need to slow down. Give me drunk characters. Let us met their Exes by accident. Let’s fight their old gang friends. Even if they’re not ROs at that time, let me see their not-so-good sides from time to time.

  2. Uh, depends. Some stories allow you to have dates or sidequests along the story (So like, you play two chapters and you just know there’s gonna be a date as an interlude there) so, I guess it mostly depends on how the story is structured. If I’m around the characters a lot and can interact with them organically, I guess dates aren’t that much of a must. If I don’t see 'em that often, having the choice to go see them from time to time would be nice. As long as I get to feel like I know them enough to trust them, or at least to fight by their side, consider me satisfied.

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  • Fallen Hero–Ortega and MC was really well done.
  • Breach: The Archangel Job–The outings with Rook and the MC were perfect. I just wish the “romantic” scene had been a bit more detailed.
  • Supernatural in New York–It’s just a WIP, but probably has some of the best interactions with NPCs (both friendly and romantic) that I’ve ever seen in a game. The Halloween party was freaking awesome and the sleepover with Grey was probably my favorite scene with a LI ever (tied with Rook, I suppose).
    *Superstition Wayward Road, by @ToxicDreams, who also does Dragon Racer here-- SWW isn’t a choice game, but I figured I’d add it since Tierra is doing the Dragon Racer series as well as Insight, both of which are awesome, too. But SWW’s “outing” with the group, and the romance-specific scenes between the MC and Zillah are outstanding.
  • Call me crazy, but I like the “action” dates, like we get with Rook in Breach. For some reason, I keep thinking about the movie Speed (for those old enough to remember it), where Jack tells Annie that relationships based on intense experiences never work, and she responds, “Ok. We’ll have to base it on sex, then.” Jack: “Whatever you say, ma’am.” I love that.
  • Undercover dates at balls and crap like that are also cool. Hell, even better, undercover surveillance where your MC and the LI are stuck sharing a room for a week could be a blast.
  • Anything that gets the adrenaline pumping: airsoft, paintball, rock climbing (indoor or actual rocks), kart racing, or even going to an arcade and playing games together.
  • On the opposite end of the spectrum, something more calming. Stargazing at night, hanging out by a stream or river or ocean and just chilling.
  • Also, I love the NPC specific side quests, like in ME2. A good way to spend time with an NPC and get to know them.

It depends on the interaction and the characters involved. Gazing longingly at each other isn’t romance, so that shit doesn’t fly with me. Teasing and flirting is fun, but it has to be more than just surface bullshit (i.e., either get physical or get personal, if you do neither, it’s boring and doesn’t satisfy me at all). The same is for friendships. Shooting the shit and joking around is great, but if there’s not some real connection there–whether it’s helping each other out and just talking honestly–then it’s too shallow to count. I don’t want insta-love or insta-BFFs, but there has to be something there other than childish garbage.

And I guess that’s the real thing–I’m not a tweeny-bopper, I’m an adult. And I want relationships that feel adult, be it friendship or romance. That doesn’t preclude having fun (playing games and doing fun stuff is necessary), but it should remove the childish uncertainty that tweens have with the opposite sex (or same sex, if that’s how they roll). Doing adult activities while blushing and stuttering and thinking that a hand touch is “romance” is laughable to me. So I’d rather have the adrenaline-pumping stuff where you can snark at your partner and flirt while pretend killing your fake enemies in the chest.

Just my two coppers, though.

I saw this and had to agree. Not with the angst part, because I hate angst. But I don’t consider your examples angst–I consider it to be realistic life experiences. And I like the ideas. Supernatural in New York did that with a nightmare, where the MC can call their LI, who comes over to hang out and make them feel better. I love that stuff.

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