What are some of your favorite romance option tropes? Are there any you can’t stand? If you can point to any examples in current CoG/HG games, which ones would represent which trope?
Well, the VN and IF industry left me utterly allergic to the “Childhood Friend Romance” trope. Some exceptions DO exist, but more often than not I just hate it so much I don’t have words for that. You can find so many of these I won’t even try and find a specific example, to be honest. Though I want to mention, that trope bothers me only if this is a situation where the MC and RO are adults, and spent their lives together as childhood friends, and that finally becomes romantic. If there was a falling out in the meantime and they didn’t see each other while growing up, or even had a fight and didn’t like each other anymore for a time, then it’s fine. It’s also fine if the characters are young teens, since it could be said they are still children, and thus, the childhood romance idea takes a more “Puppy Love” form. Think games like “Sixth Grade Detective” or the upcoming “The One Chosen” - though in the latter the MC literally meets all the ROs at the start of the story, so there isn’t even any preexisting story together.
Also, whatever trope that may be exactly, I tend to strongly dislike very flirtatious charming ROs, I always avoid them. A charming RO that is not flirtatious, or a flirtatious RO that is not the hottest person around is fine too, but the two together, nope, overused, hard pass.
A good example is G from “The Shadow Society” - it’s worth noting I tend to like these characters as friends, and my MC is often close to them, but I NEVER do the actual romance. Or well, almost never.
I also like the “Enemies to Lovers” trope, while I don’t like the “Rivals to Lovers” one. For some people the difference may seem subtle, but I think the whole dynamic changes. Enemies to Lovers would be two characters in literal opposed camps who actually truly wish bad on each other, and want to defeat (or kill, depending on the scope) each other - or well, at least the RO may want to kill the MC, since MC’s opinion usually depends on the player. There is no actual competitivity between the two, simply the desire to win, to defeat the other.
On the other hand, Rivals to Lovers doesn’t imply the characters are enemies - they can (and often will) work for the same cause, or causes that are not opposing but that may already have some overall rivalry. In that case, the two characters will actually compete with each other as to be the “better one” and often to be recognized as such, and while they’ll often dislike each other, that’s not always the case, and also, they rarely truly wish to hurt the other one.
Rarely the two tropes overlap, but then the Rivals wins over the Enemies, more often than not, and that makes me sad since it “spoils” the Enemies to Lovers situation.
These two tropes are harder for me, examples wise, because I literally don’t remember a good “Enemies to Lovers” so far… I guess we’ll have one in “The Soul Stone War”, but it’s too early to say with only one book released. It seems like the trope is more common in VNs than in IF.
Curiously enough, upcoming “When Twilight Strikes” has a “Rivals to Lovers” situation where the rival is a character I actually like, and who’s my chosen RO, which may be my ONLY exception ever for this trope. The thing is, there’s actual enmity from the RO’s perspective there, so that helps. No example of classical “Rivals to Lovers” comes to mind, right now.
Generally speaking, I like the “Hate to Love” trope though, not only literal enemies who become lovers. So when there’s a character who truly hates the MC at first, chances are I’ll go for that character.
My most perfect example is Galahad from the upcoming “The Bastard of Camelot”!
And then of course, you have tragic, tortured or traumatized ROs, but this is more of a “RO type” than a “RO Trope” thing, right?
Still, my favorite example (who is also my favorite RO in all of IF), is Zhu fom the “Relics” series.
Also, sorry for all the edits! Forgot to add some examples at first, and then realized I should still mention that last part about tragic, traumatized or tortured ROs, AND then typos
I guess if you wanted examples, Wayhaven has them pretty squared away. Not to imply that’s Sera hasn’t created any complexity (because I don’t think that at all) but in a general sense, you do have A, the icy monarch; N, the emotionally open one with a secret (they ask have secrets though tbh); F, the fun one; and M, the sex but oh no there’s feelings now ew one. Again, not to imply there’s not greater complexity, but just as a quick go to. And they’re all in the same game, so there’s the added bonus of comparison and interaction between them. I myself an a sucker for the emotionally unavailable ROs everywhere. And I’m sure there’s an unfortunate psychological truth to be uncovered about me that causes that but I’m not going to dig it up.
Hard agreement with the enemies vs rivals thing. I wouldn’t have been able to think how to put that to words myself, and I am 100% with it. Couldn’t explain why, but that distinction does make a big difference personally.
Also the childhood friends. I do enjoy a nice “neighbor next door” character, but I tend to be easily exhausted by the usual setup–which is typically the childhood friend who has always loved you but you’ve never noticed situation.
I, on the other hand, am all for a good friendly rivals as lovers (although that might not be the exact trope… I mean, instead of ”I need to beat you, oh wait I love you” something akin to ”you lost, so lunch is on you. Let’s try again tomorrow?” if that makes any sense. I do hate when a relationship loses the dynamic I love in it.)
I also do hate, with extreme prejudice, the Match Made in Stockholm trope (that is, from kidnapping to love). I don’t think I even need to elaborate on this one…
I personally despise “The oppisites attract each other” trope (or whatever is the name) because nearly always it present two radical different people, meaning two extremes opposites, that basically come to love each other just for the fact that have nothing in common.
Not a fan of the “From enemies/rivals to lovers” trope either, unless used after a really significant character development.
I might edit the comment if others come to my mind
This. I just can’t relate with the whole ‘we’ve known each other for years and just now I’ve realized I want to jump your bones’ Also for some reason the childhood friend is always nurturing and soft and so not the type of person that gets me going.
I second the enemies to lovers one (tho I also like rivalmances). The moment a RO jumps on me with a knife it’s the moment I know I’ve found the one
I am planning to use both of these tropes on the next game I want to write; rivalmance because I like them, and childhood friend to lovers because I want to see if I can make it interesting for people like me. So as an experiment, I guess?
Oh god, yes. Yikes.
Personally I absolutely abhor the yandere trope, I do Not think it has to do anything with love, it’s just a Male power Fantasy. Just my opinion, but I tend to avoid a Game entirely If there is that trope in the story
Well, that is the part where the exceptions I had mentionned come into play. When the childhood friend isn’t that type of character, I may like it, like for example in the VNs Amnesia or Period Cube. As long as it doesn’t overlap with the “yandere” trope and stuff like that (looking at Amnesia again).
Do you consider Rivals to Lovers and Rivalmance to be the same thing? I dislike both as I’m not interested in rivals mechanics to begin with, and if a character is supposed to be a rival in a game, my MC always does everything to defuse that rivalry and does not answer to it at all, instead acting nice and caring.
That being said, I consider Rivals to Lovers to be the one where the rivalry disappears gradually when love grows, while I think of Rivalmance as something where the rivalry remains, but at the same time there is love. Though as I said, I don’t like any of the two
Yeah, and it often gets conflated with real life mental health issues, which it then both romanticize and mis-characterize.
(Same with tsundere, but usually not as bad)
I think my earlier game (Totem Force) would probably fit better, as there are at least two childhood friends who you already know at the start of the game (but again, they are teenagers). I do like the childhood friends to lovers trope, but you’re right that it only really makes sense for teenagers or people who’ve been separated in between.
For my own dislikes, I’d have to agree with everyone on the hyper-flirtatious and yandere characters. Tsundere characters also; I have seen a few done well, but most of the time it’s just annoying.
I actually wanted to give an example where it would be childhood friends, but where there was no previous friendship, as in theory, it IS childhood friendship, but it’s a current time thing!
I like almost any! Rivals to Lovers, Enemies to lovers, Childhood Crushes, Caring partners, Flirtatious Strangers, etc.
Well…except for those “Bad boy; Good girl” tropes (every glance makes the “shy” one flustered), or really Yandere ones. I like to have at least some control over my relationship/emotions and how I react.
For some reason I don’t like poly either…could just be me tho Not a fan of having to split my time (or the ROs spending time alone w/o me)…Just me? yeah. or Love triangles I can’t bear to ever hurt one the the ROs…
i don’t think there’s a trope i dislike! personally, i think it all depends on how they’re portrayed in the story + the personality of the character and my mc. some routes are more interesting than the others, but i’ll try everything at least once.
i’m very partial to enemies to lovers trope - it’s always intriguing to see how it gets pulled off. and i also like charming/flirtatious ro’s who’s actuallt scared of commitments. so much potential for angst and pain, and i love it.
ohh I am usually weak to the flirt stereotype, definitely when they catch feelings. I guess I like the overconfident RO who outright says that they like the MC, I’m really dense when it comes to romantic things in real life so I like it when the RO just come out and says they find your MC hot and calls them nicknames. I also play these romances with shy/blushing options. As a trans guy who has issues with thinking that if I act soft or ‘feminine’ around a guy I’m interested in then I am automatically not a guy, I really appreciate that I can be a soft blushy mess of a gay in IF games if the confidant guy calls me handsome.
the best friend/childhood crush only works for me like in certain situations. Cove from Our Life is the best boy, but in other games I think I go for the childhood crush option if they are the more angsty character and there is a ‘tragic’ reason for why they haven’t been together.
I did like the Ice King trope but I think I prefer the more bubbly open character more eventhough I love the pining
I guess my real controversial opinion on these forms is I actually really like the Jun ‘romance’ in SoH. I realise that SoH is more like an “dark/gritty” anime in tone and I like my fair share of more ‘darker’ fiction as well the the good old wholesome stuff. Toxic fictional relationships are more of a guilty pleasure and I know those sort of routes arent for everyone…
So all in all a overly confidant flirty RO with a past with the MC where something ‘painful’ happened when they were separated would be a idle RO for me lol
I’ve been against tsundere ever since a certain red-haired mecha pilot gave my precious boy Shinji such a hard time. As others have mentioned, yandere and stockholm syndrome are also no good for their gross implications. I USED to think any sort of abusive or violent relationship would be an absolute pass for the same reason but then I cried my eyes out at the end of Samurai of Hyuga 4, so…still not sure if that says something about me lol
I don’t think I’ve ever considered this I like it more when the rivalry remains. I just want to fight ROs
I think I personally like it when characters have a very deep, but quiet relationship. Like they grow to love each other a lot over the course of the story, but aren’t all over each other. I feel like it makes big moments (e.g. proposal) very impactful.
I dislike any relationship that has a power imbalance. So stuff like stockholm syndrome and teacher/student makes me a little uncomfortable (unless it’s purposefully portrayed as a toxic/bad relationship).
I have no problems with any romance tropes, as long they are fun, but enemies to lovers is my favorite and the one i always chase when i can, but i have to choose how the Mc will react to this. There are many examples in CoGs but, for the life of me, i can’t remember the names exactly, except for Angel from the 180 Files: The Aegis Project
I love how you talk about your preferences. I do agree with the childhood friend trope, it bothers me so much how it usually is borderline nice guy/girl or worse “they’re like a sibling to me” like really? Do you want to kiss your siblings too? It’s kind of gross. Of course, it can be well executed but more often than not it’s cringy as heck. I also don’t like it when other people in the story keep saying things like “I always thought you’d end up together” or “just kiss already” as if the author has to make sure you follow their original idea of them being a couple. I’ve been through similar situations IRL and it’s just so annoying!
Other than that trope, I also prefer Enemy than Rival to Lover. I think rivals, even as friends, just bother me in general. It doesn’t help that many times writers make them rude and treacherous and it feels weird.
I think that my favorite RO is usually the charming one, flirtatious or not, but I don’t like “players” kind of ROs because if they flirt with everyone, how can you trust them to be faithful to MC once they get together? It’s the same with affair tropes. There are exceptions but most often than not these tend to be bad.