Why Do You Like Romance in COG Games?

To be honest, I’ve never really been interested in the romance part of most IF games and this seems to be an unpopular opinion. I’ve seen people state that they would refuse to play a game if it didn’t have any ROs and I never really understood it. So why do you guys like it?


Because I’m lonely


It’s a vicarious experience. Just as people turn to fiction in order to experience the thrill of a heist (without getting arrested), the intrigue of solving a crime (without cadaverine or paperwork), or the wonders of space travel (without being Jeff Bezos), people who are craving romance can find a measure of satisfaction in reading a love story - and interactivity just makes it more powerful. It gives the lonely fuel for their daydreams, especially if it comes with the guaranteed happy ending real life never delivers, and it allows a happily married person like me to relive the fun of falling in love.

I’m actually not one of those “must have romance” readers - I enjoy a good romance subplot, but it’s not essential for me, or even something I necessarily pursue in every game where it is an option. But I definitely understand why some people actively seek that.


I’m also fairly “meh” about romance in these games - an opinion I have spoken freely about multiple times, by this point - but I’m not totally against them. Sometimes, romance between characters can serve to punch up a story.

And it’s not like I’m roleplaying as myself in these stories - if I were, the plot would grind to a halt at chapter one - so if I’m playing a character who might be inclined to feel some way or another towards some other character, then yeah, I have no problem pursuing a romantic subplot for them. It doesn’t do anything for me, but I like my characters to be happy.

My only big sticking point with romance in CoG games is that it must be done right. I have no patience for the stories that have romance purely as an afterthought, or the ones that try to force-feed it to you whether you like it or not. I also don’t like when a character is introduced, and my character’s perspective of them is to forever see them as eye candy in spite of anything else they may say or do.

Furthermore, the context of the story matters, as well. If I’m playing a military drama, I’m not gonna screw around with a romance subplot. We’re at war, damn it, now’s not the time for canoodling. On the other hand, a story about an American transplant to Japan, teaching English to Japanese students, meeting a fellow teacher and connecting with them over a shared love of manga, ultimately culminating in them becoming an item? Sure, that’s fine, that’s pretty cute, even.

So yeah, that’s my take: Romance is predominantly not a priority, or an interest, for me. But on the occasions where I might take an interest in it, it had better be done well, and it had better make sense for the story it’s in. None of that, “You’ve been kidnapped and are being held hostage by psychotic space pirates, now choose which one you want to have sex with” crap.


For me at least the answer is simple: romance is fun. And a well executed romance brings that extra something special to a story that can really tie it together.


Well, I also dont really like it and it’s wierd to see how people get so obsessed with romance in these games. Sometimes it feels like author just wanted to create a dating simulator and wrote a story on top, just because they had to.


The first reason is I’m gay. I just don’t get any representation outside of these games with romance. Sometimes I don’t get representation even if the game has romance. But usually IF is where I get to feel a connection to the MC I can’t in most other places. Basically, I’m gay and I want to enjoy being gay for once. I don’t think there’s anything strange or wrong about that.

The second reason is I’ve no interest in having a relationship in real life, it’s just not something I want. But I really enjoy romance, so the only way I can explore romantic love and passion and how it affects human behavior is through fiction.

In general, I just value a deep connection and relationships between characters. It doesn’t have to be romantic. I prefer character-focused games over plot-focused games, and I can be satisfied with a game without romance if the MC can form other kinds of deep relationships with the other characters. Platonic love can be just as impactful as romantic love. But I haven’t found a game that gives me that, so I’d rather just play games that allow for same-sex romances and not budge on that. If a story doesn’t hit for me, I can at least find satisfaction in the emotions of the romances. But if a story doesn’t hit and there’s no romance, then there’s just nothing.


I like non romance games too a bit but i think games are better with romance because it makes them more intresting


I don’t like games that are entirely about romance, but I do like having the option because it is actually a part of life. The game feels fake if no one ever thinks about relationships, unless the plot is such that you have much more important things to worry about. And I definitely prefer the adult version, but I’m only going to get that in adult games, of which there are not many…

1 Like

To me, putting romance at the centre is what hearts choice is for. Here in cog/hg, I don’t care too much for it.


While I like romance and rarely play games without romance, I do Not really need the romance part but I like character Interactions more than the Action part of the games and without romance the npc chars often feel empty just being there that the mc does not have to do everything alone.
I like character driven games, so If there would be games advertised with rich friendship paths I would play them too.

Horror games are an exception to this, since there are good horror games with the MC as only char.


I’d argue, to a point, that that is what interactive fiction is made for. I understand that some don’t care for it, but not only do I believe they are in the minority, I think that without romance, there would not be many successful IF games or stories.
Personally, I enjoy it, I think that a good story requires a plot that doesn’t begin and end with romance but it incorporates it and enriches the story. To me, it’s one of the major ways to see into a character’s heart. At least as the author intends. The only way to truly relate and habe an indepth look at a character’s drive, motivation, values, morals, i think you have to see what a character loves. It often shows itself in romantic love, but also in parental, sibling, friendship, etc. forms of love. And all these are valid and emotional. But romantic love just gives a reader a connection and a zest for the character’s passion that is what many people are drawn to in the first place.
So personally, I don’t think it’s 100% necessary, but it is almost always an improvement. And if you want a story with 0 romance it better be a damn good story. Like 10x the quality of a typical story. Romance just adds that much value. In my opinion.


It’s not an important element to me, but it adds spice.

1 Like

Romance is a huge draw for me. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that my preferred ROs are the ones who usually don’t end up with the protagonist and who end up as the losing angle of a love triangle at best. It happens so shockingly often that my frustration gets in the way of my enjoyment.

But VNs and games where you get to pick who your love interest are different; I can actually avoid/reject the romance tropes that annoy the Hell out of me, pair the MC off with the RO I want, and actually enjoy the story.


I like character interaction and dialogue, and usually games bundle some extra in with romance.


I would agree that romances are the most successful genre for IFs, but I’m not sure that was ever the intent of the genre, so I wouldn’t say it’s what interactive fiction is made for. IFs are an evolution of the CYOA novel, which are predominantly horror.

Actually, the first gamebook, published in 1930, was a romance novel.


our ancestors have spoken…

but nah, as others have said here, i’m a sucker for character interaction. interpersonal dynamics, personal drama, fluctuating relationships, bonding or falling out through hardship, etc etc. I don’t think it’s romance that I’m into so much as I’m really, really into reading about and observing the psychology of relationships.

if someone wants to point me in the direction of some interactive fiction that heavily focuses on characters but doesn’t feature romance, I’d likely still gobble it up. IF that isn’t character-driven just doesn’t hold my interest. i guess that’s a general rule, though–like I can’t stand high fantasy but I’ve watched most of Game of Thrones at least three times lol. All that political and social drama ugh :weary: I’ll make an exception to nearly any genre or medium if I get to desperately wonder what the characters will do or say next.

also, all of my MCs are queer. I love being able to hold them up to a cool character and go, “And now… kiss!” And they actually get to!! :joy::joy:


To me, a good story is like a steak. I can get enough of it, but I don’t mind having a nice dessert. If I wasn’t satisfied with the steak, if the romance for dessert was ok, at least I could live with the whole meal. Of course, if both are good, that would be great.
Just as the friend in front said, I am also a lonely person in real life, and I am not interested in romantic relationships in reality. Maybe I should not say so, because my pursuit is too high, but I am just an ordinary person.
In the game, the romantic objects of the protagonist can be all kinds of interesting people, even non-human, and we, as the MC, can transcend the ordinary in reality. We can be anyone and pursue characters that are completely impossible to meet in the real world, and finally reach a desired ending. I think these alternative romantic scenarios are really the icing on the cake when I’m reading a story and can increase my satisfaction with the story as a whole. It may not be necessary, but it’s definitely a plus.
So when a story has a romantic option, that’s an attraction for me,and if your story doesn’t have a romantic option, it better be good enough to draw me in. :rofl:


Same! Although plot-driven games can be fun now and then, the ones I return to over and over are the ones with great character dynamics. And the romances I’ve enjoyed most aren’t necessarily the easy ones - even if there’s a happy ending eventually, it means more if there was some serious conflict along the way: prejudices to overcome, priorities to reconsider, conflicting loyalties to balance.