Slice of Life stories

I always end up wondering about this and have never quite got my head around it, so what better way to spend a Sunday morning than asking about slice of life!

I’m curious about what makes a game slice of life rather than nudging it into another genre such as romance? And what makes a slice of life game successful for you? What elements make something feel slice-of-life to you, and do you like those elements in games of other genres? (I’ve seen people talk about slice of life aspects in Crème de la Crème and Royal Affairs - what does that mean to you? Lingering on everyday routines, getting to know characters, workplaces, low-stakes interactions and events?)

I have the impression that slice of life plots are usually low-action, but may (or may not) have high emotional stakes for the main characters. But I don’t have a strong sense of much more than that. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts, whether you’re someone who’s played slice of life games or writes them!


Slice of life and romance are not mutually exclusive to me. A slice of life is an example of how normal day to day life is (relative to the setting). Plots are normally centered around just getting by and living life. The struggle of relationships instead of anything fantastical.

A strong slice of life needs what every story needs: solid characters, meaningful interaction, an understanding of what the plot means to the characters. However, since it is not nearly as plot heavy there is more weight on having well developed characters and meaningful interactions between them. How their immediate world reacts to them gets a greater focus then their influence on the world at large.

This is not to say you can’t not have zany, over the top, and chaotic slice of life stories. It doesn’t have to be realistic just mundane in the grand scheme of things and make it seem like every day life. Over the top characters in high school is still just going to school.


To me, slice of life means something in a book, movie, game, whatever, that you could take out of that medium, and place into reality, and no one would bat an eyelid.

Your story could have crazy elements about gods slaying sentient convience stores while the mc ignores it all and romances the local pet shop owner, but slice of life is something which can be weeded in no matter the genre.

An example: your mc could go to the convenience store to purchase a sandwhich. Is it boring to write? Yes. It is boring to read? Probably. But could you go do it right now in reality? Yes.


By this definition, I’m guessing superhero slice of life would have quite a lot of action.

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Only if everyone was a superhero. While superheroes would be common place, what is done normally in such a setting is not really any different than modern day.

I more was trying to imply that if it was a fantasy setting, slice of life could have some fantastical common things. Like fetching magic scrolls and the like as an intern as opposed to finding a magical cure for a zombie outbreak.

The most comprehensive and easy to understand answer is the usual tvtropes page for it imo

That being said, yes I agree that it’s low action but the appeal of a (good) slice of life story is a strong emotional core. Since “nothing” really happens in a slice of life story, the characters in it are so central in making anything under the genre a treat to play/read through

[I’m not saying that character is not an important part in other genres, just that in comparison to something like the fantasy genre where the setting can do a lot of the heavy lifting, slice of life leans on this part of story making a lot more]

That being said, this is why it’s easy for slice of life to be married to other genres (ie romance, drama) because they are also very character centric.


You lost me. I thought following the POV character’s normal workday was a slice of life without everyone needing to be of the same profession, and now I’m left picturing a world where every single person is, say, a lawyer.

To me, slice-of-life stories or games are games that can have drama, loss, and fun stuff…

But it isn’t earth-shattering. There is also no ‘You must save the world’. School settings are most often like a slice of life. Unless someone blasts the school lol

Slice of life can have romance, and they are actually perfect for romances. It’s just peoples seem to get contaminated by the mood lol

The story is light, and therefore the romance becomes light.

They do. It’s just…lighter. The angst level is low. Someone dies, and the author gives you a funeral scene and moves you to the next scene.

They don’t dwell on angst because it’s not the center of the story.

You’ll have everything, action, drama…you name it, it be there. Suspense, thrill, crimes…deception…but its always Light.

It’s not the center.

Choice of the Cat could be considered a Slice of Life…

Sixth Grade detective would be another.

Firstly, there is no one preferred definition of “slice of life”. This term is commonly seen in the anime-verse, but there has been more CoGs nowadays that try to incorporate “slice of life” into their projects.

What elements qualify as slice of life? Romance is not a mandatory feature in slice of life games, but it certainly helps make the game more fun to play.

These are just some of the aspects people expect in something that has the slice of life tag. Everyday mundane tasks is the most cited. Getting to know characters occurs everywhere and anywhere, and this also applies to getting to know one’s environment. Interactions and events between characters can be of any scale and any impact- these need not be low-stakes. A common misconception is that you can’t have any high-stakes stuff, or that it HAS to be of low-action. Emotional stakes can also vary. You can’t have all low-stakes or all high-stakes, it’s a mixture of both.

What games qualify as slice of life? Anything under the sun! Slice of life is as broad as life itself, and has plenty of overlap with other genres.

These do have elements of the same though, exams, sports day and the like. Does Tally Ho/Jolly Good and the upcoming Platinum Package count? In the latter you get to meet the needs of extremely wealthy people I think. At least there’s no evil person trying to achieve world domination. For myself, Maverick Hunter started out as action/adventure, but eventually evolved as I decided to give it more slice of life elements. What happens in the life of a Maverick Hunter in between missions?

What makes a slice of life game successful? What criteria applies to a good story certainly applies to a good slice of life story. The plot, conflict and even the ending are downplayed in favor of characterization and what I would call nonstructured action(i.e. what the characters do, and the reaction to said actions). This thus tends to be open ocean, free-for-all, which is a good thing.

And you go home to put the sandwich in the oven, only to realize that the oven is on fire. And what’s more, the perpetrator behind all this is a member of a terrorist organization called World Three (WWW) seeking to control the Internet by planting a virus into the oven network, so there goes your sandwich.

Well, that is certainly slice of life. Or that you’re taking a bath and suddenly the water supply is disrupted, and yes, another virus is involved. You need to send your digital copy battle data to deal with the virus! Wayhaven + slice of life + Mega Man Battle Network = this.


“Everyday life” or “normal” doesn’t have to (and shouldn’t) mean boring, even if it’s more grounded. Like with every other genre, it’s all about character goals and obstacles. What does a character, the player character or NPC, want? What or who is an obstacle to achieving that want?

Sure, it might not be as bombastic or high-stakes as say an superhero action-oriented game, but the stakes still matter. They just tend to be more personal or contained, as opposed to world changing or “epic”.

It’s ultimately all about execution. Reading someone go about a daily morning routine is boring, unless something happens to develop the character, story, or setting. Does it tell us anything about the character, story, or setting? If it doesn’t, then it might be worthy considering not including it. Slice of life shouldn’t necessarily mean including the boring parts of life.


For me, slice of life is the beats between the big defining moments. When one book ends and the next picks up a year later when the next big dramatic event happens, slice of life is what was happening in between. It focuses on the relationships with characters that are part of the person’s life when they’re not being stuffed in a fridge or dangled off a rooftop. It’s the hobbies they enjoy when their time isn’t dominated by the pressing time crunch of the end of the world as we know it. It’s the simple cat and mouse game of discovering which of their neighbors in the apartment complex is taking their clothes out of the laundry mid-cycle to run their own, using all the skills they’ve developed as a secret agent. It’s the small decisions that define them as a person when lives aren’t at stake.

Slice of life recognizes that even the ordinary every day stories of people (whether those people are extraordinary in other ways or not) are potentially just as interesting as the high stakes drama and can have meaningful depth to explore and can contain a good deal of character development, particularly by allowing the player/reader to learn about a character that hasn’t actually changed but has hidden depths that are difficult to see at a glance when things are moving quickly, such as how the ace pilot with ice in their veins on the job volunteers at the VA and is there for folks who just need someone to talk to about their lives and experiences.

From the beginning to the end of a slice of life story, which could easily be a whole story of its own or a subsection of a larger and more dramatic story, the world doesn’t generally change much, nor do the people in it, but the player/reader gets to more fully experience that world and better understand the people in it and their struggles and relationships. They can be a nice change of pace within a larger work, a small, skippable diversion, or a series of webcomics that go on for decades.

To summarize:

Character Relationships and Interactions: These games prioritize character development and interactions over plot-driven events. This can include friendships, rivalries, or familial bonds, explored through regular conversations, shared activities, and everyday scenarios.
Everyday Activities: Slice of life games highlight the small, daily routines and hobbies of characters. These activities reveal more about the characters’ personalities and lives outside of their primary roles.
Low-stakes, High-emotion: While the action in these games is often subdued, they still carry emotional weight. The stakes are usually personal and emotional rather than being world-altering events.
Exploration of Hidden Depths: A key element of slice of life games is revealing the depth of characters that might not be immediately apparent in high-action contexts. The slow pace and focus on everyday interactions give players the opportunity to discover and understand these hidden aspects of characters.
Minimal Change: The overarching story or world doesn’t undergo significant changes in slice of life games. The focus is more on immersing the player in the world and fostering a deeper understanding of its characters, their lives, and the world they inhabit.