I’m really interested in the parallel between railroad lines and speed dating. The whole ‘you have to get married in a year’ thing means that the main character pretty much has to put their relationship on rails. But what does that mean? There’s stuff to unpack there.
From the Gilded Rails interview, we’re told very relevant things about the romance options:
Here's a block quote from said interview
Eleanor/Eric Benson: Assistant Office Manager for the McKressin Line, an opportunity for an office romance or to secure the loyalty of a highly competent professional ally.; Isabell/Isaac Rochester Head of the Rochester-Atlanta Line, one of the biggest in the industry, and known as “The Dragon” due to a penchant for scorched earth tactics. Pursuit for any purpose highly contraindicated.; Rosalie/Rufus Cartwright Your childhood best friend and your father’s favorite of all the potential candidates, known for an interest in gardening and canapés. Carol/Carl Evans Social Page reporter for the Post , always has the pulse of the gossip scene and could help make or break your social reputation.; Beverly/Brandon Freeman Founder and leader of The Agricultural Society, and shockingly shy for an activist taking on the giants of industry in order to protect small farmers, the kind of ally who might be good for your moral character but could damage your business prospects.; Primrose/Preston Lessing Business page reporter for the Post , savvy to the twists and turns of industry and backroom dealings, but willing to champion the ethical businessperson, or crush the incompetent.; Temperance/Thomas O’Malley A pro-railroad industry fanatic and the head of a railroad similar to yours, there are many interesting business opportunities available if you’re willing to collude with the competition.; Victoria Elaine Prescott-Finley / Victor Edward Prescott III Fantastically wealthy, elegantly disposed, and resident of a a replica castle located in the countryside outside the city, and social connection like this one will ensure you never have to worry about anything ever again.; Jason/Janice Stanikopolos A Marxist reformer who fled England after a labor dispute with a mill owner, and also old enough to be your grandparent, unwaveringly loyal, possibly homicidal.; Fannie/Floyd Thompson Former sheriff of a frontier town with a penchant for dime novels about frontier sheriffs, currently working as an investigator for the government, sniffing out corruption and unfair dealings.; Diane/David Worthington Heir apparent to the crown of the social scene, die-hard opera fan, insufferable snob, as likely to help you secure your social status as to render you a pariah.
I’m guessing that the successful pursuit of one of these characters will require the MC to follow down that character’s ‘this is what I like’ path, an easy enough concept to understand given that the game’s ad copy says that “It’s speed dating […]” However, does that mean that effective speed dating requires both parties to first establish some common ground? If so, how long does that common ground have to be kept/maintained before other topics can be explored? It’s very much like being on rails until you reach your destination, and then changing course once you arrive. And of course, we only have a year to get married in the game.
Pardon the slightly off-topic change in conversation (just consider this a shameless plug), but one of the things that I am looking forward to in the upcoming Heart’s Choice line of games is exploring the world of romance beyond just speed dating. I mean an in-depth, realistic, critical look at ways romance can experience various levels of success / failure.
But in the meanwhile, I sure am looking forward to how deep the MC can develop their romance in Gilded Rails because I want to see the “top end”, if you will, basically the limits of speed-dating before it can no longer be called such, and goes into actual dating. Given that the results of a successful pursuit should result in marriage in the game, what does that say about the railroad parallel? For me, it seems to suggest that in dating, the shortest distance between two lines may not always be the best one, as one would probably miss a lot of interesting sights along the way.