“All the dads here just are queer in some way—and that’s that.”
July 27, 2017 9:40 AM   Subscribe

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator [PG Gamer] “Visual novels and dating simulators are strange beasts, and the intersection of those genres with comedy often results in parody. Dream Daddy [YouTube] [Trailer] sounds exactly like that—like it’s going to riff off and satire both the simplification of relationships down to dialogue options and usage of queer relationships in the genre. It really isn’t, though: beneath the dad jokes and past a first glance, it’s a game about kindness and positivity. You play your own, custom dad, who’s moving to a new area with his daughter, Amanda. After his partner died, he’s been raising Amanda as a single father, and the two have a very close relationship. The cul-de-sac they move to is, conveniently, filled with dads, most of which are single (the other is in the perpetual relationship state of ‘it’s complicated’).”

• Dream Daddy: how the gay dad dating sim became a hit game of the summer [The Guardian]
“There is also a growing interest in games that think about and explore relationships, rather than just using humans as action ciphers. A broadening, diversifying audience and a growing community of creators who see games as a mode of self-expression means that we’re seeing more titles that revolve around personal interactions, character customisation, romance and choice. The Sims has always been the obvious standard bearer here, but recent critical hits such as Gone Home, Life is Strange and the experimental titles of Nina Freeman, Christine Love and Robert Yang are pushing in games toward human complexity. It’s genuinely funny, it’s sincere, it doesn’t poke fun at its players or its characters, it never punches down and it features positive depictions of gay and trans characters that don’t feel shoehorned in or spotlighted in uncomfortable ways. ”
• What We Liked And Didn't Like About Dream Daddy [Kotaku]
“I will say that this game does seem way more about men being attracted to and dating men than other visual novels about gay men that I’ve played. This isn’t the kind of game that turns into a hyper violent anime halfway through, and the issues of masculinity that get discussed in Mat’s route are actually about things men who are fathers would worry about. Men have a harder time making new friends later in life, and Mat actually talks to you about how hard it is for him to get to know people. On the other hand, the game is more resistant about talking about the actual reality of being an out queer man than I’d like. No one ever says what their sexuality is, as far as I know right now. On the mythological third hand, it’s kind of nice to just play a nice game set in a fantasy-land where men can just be gay and it’s fine.”
• DreamDaddy is one hundred percent dreamy and one hundred percent daddy [The Spinoff]
“For all its humour, and screenshottable moments, where DreamDaddy succeeds most is genuinely normalising a strange situation. It gets you invested in these daddies, for wants of a better word, and their drama and their damage, while also balancing your interest in these men with wanting to take care of your daughter. I decided to date Brian, because he seemed like a good guy, he was proud of his daughter and he seemed like someone with the skills to take care of my single dad. That plotline revolves largely around your dad and his dad competing, in classic dad fashion, and concludes with the startlingly honest and stark conversation with them discussing if they actually hate each other or if there’s something deeper. It’s the kind of moment that your triple-A games would skate around, to their detriment, but a smaller game like DreamDaddy can focus on, and to its credit, does focus on.”
• This game isn't your real dad - but that's kinda the whole point. [PC Authority]
“All of the conversations the player-character has with the different dads - whether trying to date them or not - felt unique and built narratives that I sincerely cared about. Despite being a dating simulator, Dream Daddy does an awesome job of making all relationships feel equally important - not just romantic ones. Although you do select a partner as you reach the game’s conclusion, you also establish rewarding platonic relationships with other dads that you have spent time with. And, at the end of the story, the most important relationship still feels like the familial one between you and Amanda. Amanda is brilliant. She is smart, sassy, and makes you laugh, while also trying to navigate the minefield of senior high school by passing her subjects, maintaining her friendships, dating boys, and preparing for college. She has this beautiful relationship with her dad that never veers into creepy territory - they tell jokes together, have rituals they share, and sometimes talk about their feelings in an awkward way that perfectly captures experiences I’ve had with my own dad. I related to her wholeheartedly, and playing the role of the father in those exchanges was eye-opening.”
posted by Fizz (52 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
 
We have a lot of gamers in my office and this game has generated a ton of discussion in our Office Slack gaming thread. People of all genders and sexuality are really digging this game. And so much of it is bound up with how positive the game feels, how it brings out that sense of community and kindness. I have yet to purchase, but just thought I'd share how well received it is in my neck of the woods.
posted by Fizz at 9:46 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


Brian is objectively the best date. Fight me.

(Also, while I knew how badly I wanted a well-designed, charming sim that let me play as a man dating men, I had no idea how much I actually wanted a well-designed, charming sim that let me play as an awesome dad.)
posted by haruspicina at 9:47 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


The webcomic "Something Positive" is just now starting to talk about this; one of the characters is just now starting to get hooked. And the author has hinted that this is a bit autobiographical.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:58 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Surely we're just waiting for the gamergate crowd to weigh in now that this has risen to a level to command their attention?

because ultimately, this is about ethics in gay dating simulators...
posted by Naberius at 10:05 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I haven't played this yet - the idea of a dating sim is just not something I'm interested in. But it's pretty hard to avoid hearing about it!

On one hand: Some people have been put off because of the involvement of the Game Grumps, who apparently are fond of ~lol so edgy~ racist humor. I can't really comment on it because I haven't watched their show.

On the other hand: You can play a trans character and apparently one of the dads is also trans? And it's not played as a joke; it just is.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 10:05 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


WARNING the theme song is an earworm of epic proportions
posted by poffin boffin at 10:06 AM on July 27 [5 favorites]


Many, Many of my friends are playing this, and loving it. They also love how much the parenting part of the story makes them want to focus on being a good daddo.
posted by dreamling at 10:07 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


the idea of a dating sim is just not something I'm interested in

same, the thought of it was too silly to bear but i did it anyway and it's not really much different than getting a bioware LI romance to trigger.
posted by poffin boffin at 10:09 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


this sounds silly

*watches trailer*

TAKE ME TO THIS CUL-DE-SAC
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:13 AM on July 27 [9 favorites]


Some people have been put off because of the involvement of the Game Grumps, who apparently are fond of ~lol so edgy~ racist humor.

I haven't watched a ton of Game Grumps, so I don't know if they're still racist. JonTron, who is a font of racist humor is a founder of Game Grumps, but was ousted from the crew *years ago* for being an awful human being.

So basically, while I'm not confident in saying that GG is no longer racist, I am confident in saying that they excised their most problematic member a long while ago, and any opinions of them based on JonTron don't really hold any longer.
posted by explosion at 10:13 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


How much can you customize the avatars? All of the dads in the trailer have full heads of hair and square jaws.
posted by grumpybear69 at 10:14 AM on July 27


This isn’t the kind of game that turns into a hyper violent anime halfway through
I am not really a VN kind of person as far as the sort of games I like to play--I'm charmed by the concept of this but won't probably play it myself. But I have friends who're very into them. And just from their constant talk about this, I was like: Oh, someone's been playing something made by Nitro+chiral. That kind of thing has to be taken with the same kind of giant grain of salt that you take when you read something and it needs to be prefaced with, "Just remember, the author of this was taking massive amounts of hard drugs at the time this was written." (I am not sure if this is true of whoever's writing the Nitro+chiral games, I will just say that of what I know of the plot summaries of several of them, I would not actually be surprised.) There's some sort of place in the world for games whose central experience is "wtf is happening what is this game oh my god no", but we can definitely use way, way, way more games that represent authentic same-sex attraction and relationships.
posted by Sequence at 10:16 AM on July 27


I think steam says I'm about 12 hours into the game. It's fun. It's very choose-your-own-adventure queer fiction but a graphic novel. Lots of fun scenarios and mini games. And Mat is the best date (so far).
posted by msbutah at 10:16 AM on July 27


This video shows the character building options.
posted by msbutah at 10:20 AM on July 27


I am not a video game player but until now, I didn't realize how much I want to be so I can play this. It sounds awesome as heck.
posted by Kitteh at 10:20 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


*adds to steam wishlist*
posted by TrinsicWS at 10:21 AM on July 27


Surely we're just waiting for the gamergate crowd to weigh in now that this has risen to a level to command their attention?

The existing audience (who overwhelmingly like it) absolutely contains gamer gate people. They hate women, so this side steps that entirely. Or to be nuanced, this doesn't really challenge their existing worldview in any significant way.

The only negative responses I've seen are people from the LGBT tumblrs who think this isn't gay in the right way.
posted by danny the boy at 10:24 AM on July 27 [5 favorites]


I was trying to finish a thing last weekend so I kept opening up Steam and looking at the game page for this longingly before emphatically clicking back to my thing that had to be finished, but I think I'll actually have time to play it this weekend! When I first heard about the game, I was worried it would play the scenario for mean-spirited laughs. I'm so glad to hear it's basically entirely earnest while still being fun and funny.
posted by yasaman at 10:25 AM on July 27


Between this, Va11-Hall-A, We Know the Devil, and the collected works of Christine Love, I am apparently turning into someone who loves visual novels more than most other game types. I want these developers to have so much success.
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 10:28 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


From the headline, I thought this might be a sequel to Shower With Your Dad Simulator 2015.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:36 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


the thought of it was too silly to bear

chuckles at this phrasing forever
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:37 AM on July 27 [5 favorites]


i love knife dad
posted by poffin boffin at 10:39 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


The only negative responses I've seen are people from the LGBT tumblrs who think this isn't gay in the right way.

accurate. and frustrating.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 10:56 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


There has actually been a lot of negative response that i've seen based upon non-active content found while datamining. I don't have the energy to go into it but I'm sure it's easily googleable via "dream daddy cult ending".

Idk if this is already mentioned in the fpp articles which I did not read
posted by poffin boffin at 11:01 AM on July 27


The only negative responses I've seen are people from the LGBT tumblrs who think this isn't gay in the right way.

accurate. and frustrating.


I'm not trying to snark or anything but is there such a thing as being "gay in the right way"?

I mean, every one is going to have their own way of living, their own sexuality, their own needs when it comes to finding a partner, how they identify or how they perceive others in the community.

I agree that video-games could be a lot better at representing the experiences of more LGBTQ individuals. But I don't think there's ever going to be a "right" way.
posted by Fizz at 11:07 AM on July 27


Could we either bring up and address these arguments against the game, or stop strawmanning them just 'cos they're from tumblr?
posted by Drexen at 11:09 AM on July 27 [7 favorites]


My only argument against the game is that the slack I frequent has become essentially 24/7 gay dad fanfic. I balance that with knowing there's a game out there where one of the dads (Damien) loves graveyards, taxidermy and the Victorian era, and has a proper disdain for the Edwardians, which makes up for about 93% of all the evil in the world.
posted by mittens at 11:13 AM on July 27 [7 favorites]


I'm not trying to snark or anything but is there such a thing as being "gay in the right way"?

fwiw I was trying to express that some of the reviews I have seen on tumblr which view the game very negatively do essentially boil down to them not feeling as if things are 'gay in the right way'. meaning I think those reviews themselves are disappointing and frustrating and I disagree with the idea that there is one 'right way' to be gay.

I don't have links to said reviews and I am not going to put the energy into looking them up because to be frank 1) there are definitely more than a couple out there and I didn't bookmark them for a reason and 2) I don't know if I can find them anyway given all the chatter on tumblr about the game. I will say that I contest that they are strawmen, but I will also say I'm not saying the majority of the criticism I've seen about the game on tumblr boils down to something that shallow. as someone else mentioned there are other arguments that come mostly from datamined material regarding, I'm pretty sure, a trans character. I'm not talking about those, I think there are potentially legit criticisms there

I know not having a direct link to any of those particular arguments/opinions so whether or not anyone thinks that is worth engaging is up to y'all and I'd agree with the opinion that getting into it without the representative source material is of debatable worth at best so *shrug*
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 11:24 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


I've seen a decent amount of talk about how this is cut from the same cloth as Yuri!!! On Ice in that it's a queer story where homophobia simply isn't a thing, which seems like it would be the most obvious form of escapism in such storytelling but is still quite rare in professional work.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:27 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


I'm not trying to snark or anything but is there such a thing as being "gay in the right way"?

Is there such thing as being straight in the right way? Of course not. But video games have been exploring straight love since... Donkey Kong? Mass Effect and Dragon Age have some gay and bi- characters, but I can't think of any other.

Thing is, I'm not interested in playing a dating sim of any orientation. I find the love scenes in Bioware games to be really, really cringey... as in, I look around to make sure no one is watching me play through them. But that's just me. I could do without the actual sex scenes, and just imply the characters are getting it on. I'm not puritanical, but it's basically an interactive cartoon... and watching cartoon sex is just... not my thing.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:36 AM on July 27


This is how I spent the whole of last weekend, so yep.

Damien is the best route because you end with a cordial-ish relationship with everyone, Mary likes you and the daughters and sons are as well as or better than in the beginning so win win for everyone.
posted by sukeban at 11:37 AM on July 27 [3 favorites]


Oh, I'm pretty sure there's same sex relationships as well as heterosexual relationships in Stardew Valley, which is very highly rated, non violent and allegedly addictive.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 11:39 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


It's not cartoon sex. I compared it to the bioware LI conversations with your LI.
posted by poffin boffin at 11:49 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


anyway doomfist is live so no time for dads
posted by poffin boffin at 12:39 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Dream Doomfist will be DLC
posted by cortex at 1:10 PM on July 27 [6 favorites]


Damien is a cape-wearing goth who loves blood, hates garlic, and wonders why Hot Topic would describe a ruffled blouse as “Victorian” when it’s so clearly Edwardian. Ugh, the savages.

TAKE MY MONEY.
posted by corb at 1:14 PM on July 27 [8 favorites]


Dream Doomfist will be DLC

Sombra is his daughter in this scenario, right?
posted by Fizz at 2:19 PM on July 27


The Magic Mummy spin should be made asap.
posted by msbutah at 2:26 PM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Surely we're just waiting for the gamergate crowd to weigh in now that this has risen to a level to command their attention?

Maybe they can bring the MGTOW crowd with them.
*grabs popcorn*
posted by acb at 2:31 PM on July 27


Most of the criticism I've seen has been people who don't acknowledge genre conventions. Why are there so many men who like men and have kids and want to date you, a man who has a kid? Oh, that's a thing I like to call the premise of the game. You may have seen it in the title of the game.
posted by knuckle tattoos at 2:32 PM on July 27 [14 favorites]



Surely we're just waiting for the gamergate crowd to weigh in now that this has risen to a level to command their attention?

.......

The only negative responses I've seen are people from the LGBT tumblrs who think this isn't gay in the right way.


Yeah, this fandom went from zero to death threats about as fast as I've seen, judging by my Twitter feeds.
posted by zabuni at 2:50 PM on July 27 [5 favorites]


Yeah, this fandom went from zero to death threats about as fast as I've seen, judging by my Twitter feeds.

idontwanttoliveonthisplanetanymore.gif
posted by Fizz at 3:20 PM on July 27


Mass Effect and Dragon Age have some gay and bi- characters, but I can't think of any other.

Well, there are a bunch of games that have same-sex relationships but where basically... I was going to say that everyone is bi, but they aren't really. It's more like everyone is player-sexual in a pretty shallow way. FO4.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:25 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


Even if I never play this game, that song will be in my head on and off until the day I die.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:55 PM on July 27


Yes, a fan artist has been getting harassed for drawing a gender-swapped cast where the trans daddy becomes a trans mommy. I've seen the image and frankly I'm more upset about the tubby bear dad becoming a buxom flat-tummy mom, although I do see why trans people may be offended by a trans person being depicted as the opposite gender. Not death-threat worthy, but yes, troubling.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 5:51 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


SONG OF THE SUMMER

"It’s exhilarating, like the moment you catch the eye of your dream daddy across a crowded neighborhood barbecue." - Pitchfork
posted by roger ackroyd at 7:42 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


I'm basically cosplaying this game as we speak, and have been for nine or ten months.

When I wake up, I'm making smiley-face pancakes for Little Miss.
posted by sonascope at 10:43 PM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Re Game Grumps being involved: the game is made in the GG office, and a number of the Grumps provide voices, but the team actually making and designing the game isn't part of the core GG team per se (or at least, not the ones that usually show up on the Let's Plays). Meanwhile the LPers - primarily Arin and Danny, though occasionally Barry/Suzy/Ross/Brian, have become way way better at being not so LOL EDGY and actually addressing things like racism and homophobia in their playthroughs. It's a work in progress for sure, but it's a lot better than the JonTron days.
posted by divabat at 2:37 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


I downloaded this at the weekend and am desperately trying to find time in my schedule to play it. I've never been interested in visual novels or dating sims before but all the positivity from players I follow on Twitter and Tumblr convinced me I had to give it a go.

For those interested in the (non-playable) cult-leader ending, here's a good article by Vrai Kaiser: Angels in America and Log Cabin Republicans: How Dream Daddy’s Joseph Reflects Gay Conservatism (spoilers, I guess).

For the MeFannibals, there's this. :D
posted by daisyk at 7:00 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]


(Honestly, a game with one gay cult leader out of seven gay main characters has a lower rate of gay cult leaders than most of the other media I consume, so I fail to see where the problem is off the bat...)
posted by daisyk at 7:01 AM on July 28 [4 favorites]


daisyk, that article was great and a much needed relief from my frustration. thanks.
posted by suddenly, and without warning, at 9:28 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Dream Daddy Creators Explain Why You Can’t Smooch All The Dads [Kotaku] [Article Contains Spoilers]
“In most dating sims, you can rest assured that if you pour time and effort into winning a character’s affections, you’ll have the option of ending up with them. In dad-tastic dating sim Dream Daddy, however, that’s not always the case—a fact that’s made some players upset. I recently spoke with creators Leighton Gray and Vernon Shaw about that.”
posted by Fizz at 11:31 AM on July 29


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