Why Do You Like Romance in COG Games?

As others have mentioned, I like that I can so often play an explicitly queer character. It’s just nice to see someone like yourself in media, and it’s really quite rare to see a gay man as a protagonist or to have a lot of romantic options between men in games. So, for myself, it’s refreshing to have this community where this level of customization exists. I’ve never seen anything else like it in games.

That said, thinking about people in general - I think that any character-centric media is going to have people thinking about romance. There’s surely been numerous studies on why people ‘ship’ characters. Maybe it’s comfort, maybe it’s escapism, but I think the same logic applies here. There’s something satisfying (for some people) on having a good romance arc on top of a great story.


/shrug I like romance in EVERYTHING, I always have… :heart: but I don’t get upset when it is not there either. I have definitely enjoyed games with 0 romance as well, I just usually prefer the former. I guess it helps engage me/make the world feel real…but I totally don’t think romance has to be in a game for this to happen.

I also don’t understand when ppl get upset when it is a sub-plot in a game, since (unless it’s a romance focused game, obviously) you are always able to decide not to engage in a romance. It’s like when people spend Valentine’s Day complaining about Valentine’s Day…ok, fine it may seem silly to you, but it makes others happy so why not just let them live their lives and do their thing without dampening it? Does that make sense?


I second the reason being that I am a sad lonely gay who likes character interaction


It seems like fans of other genres, like horror, adventure, or comedy, seldom feel like they have to explain that preference, the way romance fans do. Or maybe I’m looking in the wrong places. Isn’t seeking connections one of humanity’s defining qualities, though? Even if it’s not to everyone’s taste, I don’t see what’s so hard to understand.

Anyway, I’m one of those people who considers romance a ‘make or break’ point. Good ROs can elevate a mediocre game for me, and poor ones can ruin it. If I look back on it months later, and can’t remember who my character romanced, I almost certainly won’t be singing that title’s praises.

I’ll add a +1 to the whole ‘I’m queer and like it when games remember I exist’ thing, too.


Even just being a regular human that cares about romance is outside of my reality. I’m never playing as myself. Of course I still always play as a gay man. If my character is nothing like me at all it’s not immersive.

Vicarious living for me and most people, I’d imagine :sweat_smile:
Might as well be blunt!
In an ideal world we would be in control of our lives and there would be a lack of risk/consequence, mundanity or complications. Games present that fantasy.
With fictional romance you can experience the feels without having to go through the actual work and the uncertainty that real relationships involve.
I’ve also noticed I imagine all the RO as good looking no matter what their description says. Must be wish fulfilment :eyes:

If you are ace, you can simply enjoy the adventure of romantic relationships like you would do with any real friend or family member, I expect. Who doesn’t love some drama?
Character driven stories are going to attract people who are interested in psychology, and there will likely be a big overlap with those who are specifically drawn to romance and like figuring out all the different relationship dynamics.
It’s just a part of the human experience, and it’s going to be one of the most relatable parts of any COG game I’ve played.
I’ve not conquered or saved any cities, I don’t have a secret power, I’m not highly intelligent/physically gifted/accomplished, but I know what it’s like to fall for someone. The parts of a story that focuses on relationships, all different types of relationships (brother-sister, mentor-mentee) add a lot of warmth to the game.

For me to be interested in an IF game without romance it would still need to be character driven for the most part.
It just feels natural/realistic to have those types of non-platonic feelings shown in some capacity, unless you are ace or its a game that focuses on survival in which case its possible there isn’t room for it.

Someone else has said it, if there is no romance in the game at all, then they’d have to make up for it in other ways (in order to attract as large an audience as easily as games with romance do).
I’m speaking as a woman here. I could be wrong but it feels like we are the majority demographic. Seems like men are more likely to tie their self worth/ identity to the “job” part of the story because they crave accomplishment?


I think romance adds spice to the story if done right. I live for the angst :rofl: but really, whilst I don’t self insert myself with the MCs, I sort of like to experience something entirely different from the life I live irl (in this case romance)… IRL, i have little interest about romantic relationships and giving the MCs i play some romance makes me happy. Ha!

But… I’d rather not have them if they were sort of late additions to the story tho, like the author just feel pressuref to add them due to popular demand… makes them feel. Meh, really out of place. Better leave the game with no romance if that is the case.


Hm, to be I see it as a way to help flesh out the MC and who ever they’re with. Everyone likes a cool MC and NPC. But everyone has another side.

Romance in these show traits like jealousy, protectiveness, even vulnerability. Let’s you have your MC express itself more. I generally do multiple playthroughs, always changing how the MC will be; and romance gives more options. 🤷


I personally really like romance and relationships (romantic or platonic) in all my media, if possible. And if a game has all types of relationships but romantic it often feels a bit off to me.

One thing I often enjoy in games, that also have romance, is that it allows me to head-canon more tension or motivation for my MCs actions. I love how in mass effect or dragon age, I can imagine my MC’s RO being the MC’s motivation for fighting and surviving the terrible struggles they go through. And it often allows for a quick emotional bond and immersion for me as I become more invested. And allows for a quiet and calm moment between the fighting where the MC checks in with the RO :blush:

… and it’s cute


I think a big part of what draws me to romance in CoG games (despite the fact that I rarely find romantic subplots compelling in traditional novels) is that I’m autistic and relationships are a very daunting and confusing concept to me in real life, so it’s nice to be able to experience them in a safe, non-judgemental way.

On top of that I find that romance in these games can be something of an educational experience, helping me to understand on a very basic level how relationships work and what sort of emotions/motives/experiences/struggles etc. might be involved. I’m aware that it’s likely to be quite removed from reality in most cases, but I still find it enlightening in a sense.


I think Choicescript romances as an educational tool isn’t going to be too helpful. Most of them don’t actually have anything in the way of romance, just stat values. The emotions are totally fake and scripted. Flirt options in these games always improve your relationship with the character, which IRL is absolutely not the case.

I figured as much. It’s more in terms of seeing how people in a relationship might behave, how they might talk to each other, what they might be thinking. But yes, I definitely take it with a generous pinch of salt, like anything presented in a work of fiction. That said I’d be very interested to see a game of this sort take a more true-to-life approach to relationships, perhaps even one designed around helping people like me understand them. It’ll probably never happen, but you never know.


Same here. That’s why I finally started writing relationships, because I found people more than willing to point out when things felt wrong.


Romance is a good bonus in a story if the romance part is good but also makes the story kinda flawed if it doesn’t delivered well. I can’t help thinking ‘ah good story but romance is wateres down which is not important to the plot too. It’s not really unnecessary isn’t it?’. That makes me think the romance part kinda makes the should be flawless story have flaws because of not so depth romance.
Make no mistakes i love romance story but so far cyoa romance story can’t give me what i really want that is ‘your romance relationship’ is essential part in the main story.
For example ‘the grim and i’ is a good romance story with romance relationship is essential part of the story.
Otherwise for cyoa with romance as ‘cool side optional story’ i didnt treat romance portion so seriously to avoid disapppintment, i do it just to satisfy my curious mind.

Thank you for sharing your feelings with me. :hugs:

In general, I personally would prefer to have a choice in my reading.I want to be satisfied with the consequences(of my choices), that’s why I choose to play a game (or watch a movie or TV show, etc.),.I want to get something out of it, and if I get something satisfying, that’s great. :wink:

Ps: I hope I understand you right, because I’m sorry I have to rely on a translation app to read and comment. :sweat_smile:

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Actually, usually, normally, I don’t inclined in seeking romance aspect of interactive game nor conventional novel. But, idk why in COG games, I’M ACTIVELY SEEKING FOR IT.

Untill I found the answer (in my humble opinion) yesterday.

I was playing different interactive game, with more complex design and diverse game system than COH simplistic style. There was romance, yes, but I’m not too interested in the romance that the game has gave. Maybe its because the writing? No the writing is equally good.

COG’s straightaway UI makes you focus more on the story and characters, rather than the “game” aspect. While other’s are vice-versa. You already got a stimuli from the gameplay, you have didn’t drawn out much for the romance.
In COG, the main source of stimuli is in the story or even romance of the characters (idc if you’re asexual or whatever, but you get my point)

So, thats my not-so-well-written opinion.

I enjoy romance, just reading it in general and enjoying how stories unfold. Romance for me add another depth to stories. More personality and drama.

I particularly like the psychology of romance and how different characters interact with each other.


I’d strongly disagree with that as an overall statement. At COG yes, that is the case as it’s what the branding has catered for and what many readers like and expect. If you venture into IF outside of CSG you will find plenty of very successful games with minimal to no romance where appropriate. IMO there are games where romance can enhance it, and others where it just detracts.

I personally find it jarring where you have a game that obviously didn’t factor in romance, but still do it. It’s kind of like “wait a sec, we’re just going to take a break from this horror themed game/whoops we’re almost at the end of this story and haven’t had a romance interlude yet, so let’s put a quick RO in here almost out of nowhere because games must have them, then keep going.”

Yes it can, but so can platonic relationships. It kills me sometimes that relationships like close friends, comrades and family are often seen as “lesser” and less forfilling in the COG sphere.

For an example where (IMO) a game has been far better without romance, look at the Grim and I. I think keeping the reaper not a RO actually improved the dynamic. (But that’s my opinion.) Just to be clear I’m not against romance being in games at all, it’s just I personally don’t understand why they are a prerequisite and a game with a poorly designed romance arc in there is seen as preferable to one that stood alone without it. I would really love to see more variety in the types of relationships available in these games.


I haven’t actually seen many non-romance IFs outside of COG either. There are tons of IFs using Twine or Ren’Py. Ren’Py is like 95% dating sims and most of the rest is horror games, many of which are both. Twine probably has the most non-romance IFs.

Wander over to IFComp to see a general x-selection of the text based interactive fiction community. There have been some highly placed games (and even winners) in multiple formats over the years with minimal to no romance in them.

(I might ad as an aside, that I did have an entry in IFComp a few years back, and out of all the feedback I got, there wasn’t a single complaint about lack of romance, or even a wish list for one, as it wasn’t a game suited to it and would have been awkward at best if I had’ve shoehorned one into a story where it didn’t fit. So yep, the expections are different in different spheres of the IF community.)