Why Do You Like Romance in COG Games?

I forgot about parser games in my calculations because I absolutely never play them, lol.

It’s not just parser games :slight_smile: I’ve seen games made in ink and twine that also have not been romance based. There was a really fun one this year about being a spam zapping software that (to my knowledge unless I missed it) didn’t allow you to have expressly romantic relationships with the rest of the software. I know I’ve seen many others that aren’t parser that have minimal to no romance either. Anything entered into ectocomp (spooky themes) almost never has any romance. It all just depends on whether the idea behind the game lends it to RO’s and in other sectors, romance is not seen as something that must be present or it won’t be played by many.

Again, it’s fine to like romance, put romance in games, or have a preference for them being there. But I don’t agree that games are not worth playing and are universally unpopular in the IF community at large if they are not present.


Everyone here seems to have a very developed opinion on the subject. I, on the other hand, am just a lonely son of a bitch that moves around a lot and has a hard time forming connections with people in general. This, coupled with the fact that I’ve been single for several years and haven’t really given myself opportunities to change things for a multitude of reasons, despite having pretty good people skills, means I have a somewhat bleak outlook on any romantic pursuits. Thus, until I find myself in a position to change that, I will continue substituting what I miss with the shallow and completely unfulfilling alternative found in IF, lol, I guess


It just adds to the story and makes it more memorable. Since in most COG games you can choose your own name, gender, preferences, etc. It’s not just read the story and get to the end, it in a since makes you the main character of the story you’re playing, you choose how you want to progress. Whether that’s in a relationship or not.


Yeah, it feels kinda weird to choose your gender and orientation and then have it not be relevant to the story. And it’s harder to be immersed in the game if you don’t know anything about the character. But on the other hand, many people also don’t want to be defined by their orientation. I guess a good approach if orientation isn’t relevant is to just ask which pronouns you want your character to use, because that’s likely to come up even if your gender doesn’t.

This is true since most COG games either end with a setup to sequel of the game you were playing and romanced character to continue it with, or left it end open ended enough to where you feel satisfied with how the story ended, but I think that for the most part it having that choice to either romance or not to romance is what adds substance to the story and give further incentive to care about the characters in the story. This is all besides the fact that some COG games have achievements for romancing a character in the story.

Lots of games have us choose things like hair and eye color that aren’t remotely relevant to the story except as flavor text. Some character-building questions are there more for the reader’s sake than for anything in the game itself, to make the character come alive in the reader’s mind. When I played “The Fleet,” a game in which the PC’s name and gender literally never come up, I found myself imagining my protagonist as a man, not because it mattered to the story at all, but simply because it made him feel more real to me.

It certainly doesn’t require romance to make gender “relevant” to the story or character, as most people begin to develop a sense of gender identity about a decade before they know whom, if anyone, they will be attracted to. And it’s not defining someone by their orientation simply to acknowledge that they have one. A careful and skilled writer could even use that information in flavor text to make the narrative feel more authentic to the character.


There are ways to tie hair and eye color into the narrative. It doesn’t have to be important, but it should still be told through the story. Just picking colors at the start before the story begins is very weird. To me, anyway. It’s a lot harder to seamlessly describe genders or orientations, and it may be out of place if they never come up.

I guess I like romance in COG games only if they feel like a natural progression or option that I’d like to explore, with characters that are interesting in and of themselves. There’s nothing that kills the mood faster than characters that appear for half a second and clearly exist for no other reason except to be an RO.

That said, in so many books/movies/games, the ROs feel like side-pieces that the MC has to string along (while saving the world/being a successful xyz), and I feel that does the romance and the RO so much disservice that I would prefer that the game/movie/book hadn’t bothered with the romance at all.

And I absolutely agree that we tend to overlook the power and emotional resonance that friendships can have. I guess at the end of the day, I just want the story to have strong characters that feel real (and that are there for a reason). If I can romance them, all the better.


Hm… Honestly I just kind of assumed the romances were at least somewhat natural. I’m actually aromantic so I have zero interest personally, but I figured the MC would unless aro is an option (which it only is in a small number of games). Don’t really know what a natural romance looks like, though.

Trust me, most of the fiction romance are either shallow and empty or rushed and forced. Sometimes they are even borderline with stalking and abuse.
I’m talking in general, not just COG.


Haha fair point, let me try to explain what I mean:

An RO that feels like they would exist in the world/story and interact with the MC regardless of whether the MC is “interested” feels natural, and real to me.

An example I guess would be Breden from Choice of Rebels, who exists and is a huge/integral part of the story regardless of whether you romance them. Choosing to romance them opens up really interesting conundrums/choices, but Breden stands up as a full character even if you don’t.

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Oof. Okay, it’s evolved for me over time. First off, sometimes on my first playthrough I don’t romance anyone. Busy trying to end a war, stop poilet a mech, maybe take over the word. Depends on the book/WIP. Qt first I didn’t care, but as I came across books that ran Romance subplots, or main plots more, when done well I csme to love it more.

I love personalities, wild, interesting, reserved, cool, sophisticated, funny, wholesome, quiet, you name it.

I am in the process of marrying my Tsundere girlfriend of 6 some years. She’s still a firey fire cracker and she doesn’t hate my guts anymore(debatle). Now when I see a hard to crack nut of a character that’s just so resistant to affection I can’t help but try.

It reminds me of how my relationship started, we are st a point where we just know so much about each other and have surrendered that newly met awkward match to memories alone.

People just want their seratoine and dopamine, let em have it.

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Choice of Rebels is not one I’ve played yet. I’ll check out the demo (not now though, it’s almost 2:30 am here) and see if I can figure out what you mean.

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From what I’ve read so far… the game desperately, desperately wants you to romance Breden, and it feels incredibly forced. Whether you choose to or not. Like… this is literally the most forced romance option I’ve ever read and it’s not even mandatory.

bit late to the party, but I like romance in non-romance focused IFs because it gives the player more insight to the characters when done right. Not saying that it can’t be done without the romance, but it just adds that little extra spice. And also, as someone who’s lgbtq but is unable to express that freely in real life, it’s just good escapism.


Obviously it depends on your gender identity, but I actually sometimes feel weird making a selection in a multiple choice format. I tend to select the male option. Nonbinary is more accurate for me, but the way it’s expressed in the games usually… isn’t, so I don’t pick that one.


What do you think is inaccurate about the way it’s written in games?

Nonbinary tends to be written as “neither male nor female,” which is probably true for a lot of people. But for me, it’s not that I’m not male. I am male. I’m just also agender.

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Personally, I’ve always found it pretty easy to not romance Breden, maybe because I prefer to play nobles less willing to take an upstart helot’s nonsense. Pick the right choices and I think he/she doesn’t even begin to express interest.