Friday, May 17, 2013

The Game I Didn't Want to Post About: Girlfriend Construction Set (1989)


Note: I wrote the posting below in January and decided not to publish it because it was a juvenile, inane, misogynistic, non-RPG. But saying this only seemed to increase demand for the posting, so I'm offering it in lieu of having accomplished anything else this week (I was at a business conference).

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From nearly the moment I put this game on my master list--only because someone contributing to MobyGames labeled it a CRPG--people were telling me to take it off. But my rule is that if someone, somewhere, decided a game is a CRPG, I'll give it a try long enough to find out for myself.

Well, Girlfriend Construction Set isn't a CRPG. Not remotely. It has character development of a sort, but no inventory, and while there is occasionally "combat" of a sort, it's not based on your attributes (since you don't have any). But you're going to hear about it because I played it long enough to compile notes for an entry.

In traditional RPGs, you spend a lot of time creating your character. In this game, you make exactly one decision about your character--your name--and spend the rest of the time creating what you might call the game's most important NPCs: your girlfriends. Yes, that's intended to be plural. If you want to "win" the game, you can't just date one girlfriend the entire time; you have to become a serial romancer, dating a long succession of increasingly "better" girls until, ultimately, the perfect couple attends THE BIG PARTY.

Before even the opening screen, there's a warning screen indicating that the game has some sexually explicit material. It's too bad I can't call this a proper RPG because that would go on my lists of "firsts." Trickster got to spend half of January romancing Emanuelle in Brazil, and I'm stuck fighting giant worms and stuff. But this game goes to show that "sexually explicit" doesn't necessarily have anything to do with "erotic" or "titillating." The game is "sexually explicit" in the way that a 12-year-old is sexually explicit when he tells his friends that sex occurs when "the boy pees in the girl's belly button."

I probably should have started this posting with the same warning.

The game has two major phases--the "construction" phase and the "dating" phase--and you return to them repeatedly. In the construction phase, you set your girlfriend's physical and personality attributes. You start with a pool of 50 points. A "perfect" girlfriend--10s in everything--requires 100 points, so the best you can hope at the outset is for an average one. The process starts with the name and face.


Since the numbers represent the number of points you have to spend for that face, they theoretically get more attractive. I don't debate that 10 is probably the top one, but almost everyone else looks equally homely, cartoonish, or disturbingly childlike. I guess #9 has something going on, but she can't even hang up the damned phone long enough for her character portrait. All of the women, it must be said, are unmistakably from the 1980s.

After that, the game asks for a confounding list of physical measurements that left me realizing I'm 40 and I still don't have a handle on what an average woman's bust, waist, or hip size is. I had to Google Christina Hendricks to get a reasonable benchmark, even. Anyway, the combination of these measurements determines the overall physical rating on a scale of 0 to 10, with the consequent number of points deducted.

Finally, you answer a series of 8 questions designed to elicit your girlfriend's personality:

  • How attractively does she dress?
  • How trustworthy is she?
  • How often does she get jealous?
  • How would I rate her overall personality? (Here, I'm picturing the game's target audience saying, "Wait...girls have personalities?")
  • What is her average type of mood?
  • How well do we get along with each other's friends?
  • How often do we have sex?
  • What are her ideas on marriage? (Opening a little window on the psychology of the developer, "0" is she wants to get married right away and "10" means she wants to stay single forever.)

Melanie is a well-balanced girl.

With the girlfriend thus created, you begin the "Dating" phase of the game. You select from a list of 40 possibilities for the date--everything from "go out to dinner" to "go to a jello wrestling match" to "fly to Vegas for the weekend" (apparently, your PC has unlimited funds)--and call your girlfriend to see if she wants to go. If you choose the wrong type of date, you're likely to get a rejection.

What does intelligence have to do with going to the zoo?

If she agrees to the date, the game walks you through a number of scenarios that occur. Go out to dinner, and the waiter might spill soup on your date. Go horseback riding, and you have to decide whether to pretend to have fun while sustaining significant damage to your unmentionables. Head to a rock concert, and you have to decide whether to blaze one with her (if you do, you get stopped by the cops on the way home). Take her to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and she disappears into the crowd, returning later with a suspicious story.

Actually, that seems entirely plausible for New Orleans at Mardi Gras.

My favorite one is taking her to China "for dinner" (I guess that's dinner the following day) and getting caught up in a revolution.

This may be the dumbest scenario I've ever faced in any game.

This part of the game could have been more fun if the choices weren't so juvenile or obvious. For instance, taking my girlfriend to a baseball game, I manage to catch a foul ball. My choices are to:

  • Give the ball to my girlfriend
  • Hurl the ball at her head (that must be difficult since she's presumably next to me)
  • Keep the ball
  • Hurl the ball at some random elderly woman
  • Throw the ball to a beautiful blonde a few seats away (although the game has it as "blond," making me wonder about my orientation)
  • Hurl the ball at the third baseman's head

Obviously, only the first option is particularly useful when I'm trying to score points on my date. There are lots of other options throughout the "dates" that invite you to commit shocking acts of violence against your girlfriend for seemingly minor offenses, which would be a bit vile even if it didn't undermine the purpose of the game.


"Give her a bottle of sleeping pills" comes up as an option multiple times, even when it doesn't make sense in the context of the scenario. The sexual scenarios the game leads you into are best not described, not because I'm afraid of a little lewdness, but rather because they're just dumb. I don't have a problem with a little ribaldry in my fiction--RPGs or otherwise--but it helps when the author a) has actually had sex at least once himself; b) doesn't clearly hate the object of his sexual attraction; and c) understands things like the term "BJ" only applies to men.

Anyway, depending on your choices and how your girlfriend reacts, your status points either increase or decrease. If the variance gets too high, your girlfriend will dump you.

A smarter girl would dump me after going to London for the weekend.

But play your cards right, and the variance will get high enough that you eventually dump her and construct a better model.

Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that your girlfriend's physical or personality scores have much to do with the outcomes of your date. For instance, if you go to Hawaii, there's an excellent chance that your girlfriend will propose to you, regardless of where you set the "desperate to get married" meter. This scenario always resulted in a loss for me; if you reject her, you lose points; if you get married, it ends badly and you lose half your points.


It isn't that difficult to slowly work your way up to 100 points, at which point you can construct the "perfect" girlfriend and go to THE BIG PARTY. Getting to the party is a little silly, involving not just a perfect score but some precursor dates in which you (nonsensically) get a talking fish called Wanda (yes, I know about the movie; that doesn't make the game any less stupid) and get some passwords from cows at the Zoo. THE BIG PARTY is full of celebrities, drugs, orgies, and such, and you navigate through the various rooms before arriving at a "won!" screen in which both you and your date realize that you're perfect and are going to live happily ever after. There's a final list of stupid choices, all of which dump you to the DOS prompt.


According to MobyGames's profile on Tom Scheffler--clearly authored by Scheffler--he "improved" the game throughout the 1990s, released a Windows version in 2000, and was planning to release another one in 2009. The site says that the newer games feature "far more realism and depth" (perhaps he briefly had a girlfriend during this time). During this period of maturity, though, he doesn't seem to have realized the inherent misogyny in the idea of a "girlfriend construction set." I suppose there's nothing technically wrong with a dating simulator, but there is something wrong with one that espouses primitive ideas of a "perfect" girlfriend and gives you so many options to drug her and assault her.

The annoying thing is that the "scenarios" section of the game isn't a bad idea. I wish more CRPGs featured them. Though Girlfriend Construction Set isn't a role-playing game by any means, it is a game in which you "play a role," with relatively clear choices between good and evil (though I'm not sure the developer actually realizes which ones are good and which are evil). It'll still be several years before these choices start appearing with abundance in proper CRPGs.

Let's get back to the real list, with perhaps a more cautious eye towards MobyGames's definition of an "RPG" from now on.

72 comments:

  1. Ah, shareware. I had forgotten how much I hated thee. Many were the times I spent 90 minutes downloading a program only to find some stenchy pile of crap like this. The game that's all title and no substance. You see it on the BBS list, it looks awesome, it taunts you with its length - should I really spend my download credits on it? And then you end up with somthing like GCS. Ugh, the bad old days.

    "doesn't clearly hate the object of his sexual attraction"

    You have to realize that the men who wrote this kind of software were treated very poorly by women. This was a long, long time before being geeky was cool. Doing everything that society said was right, treating women the way that they were told, only to receive disgust...it really does a number on young men. When the only interaction you have with attractive women is when they experience revulsion at the sight of you, it's a recipe for creating misogynists.

    I'm not saying I support it - I'm just asking for understanding. I wouldn't go so far as to beg for tolerance, that's a bridge too far.

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    1. I don't think we need to understand at all. I'm far more interested in defending women _from_ this sort of trash than trying to defend its creation.

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    2. These men in nerd culture that thought the world (and women, especially) are against them grow up and come in positions of power in our patriarchical society and perpetuate their misogyny. I understand how stuff like 'Gilfriend Construction Set' comes to exist, but as Tristan Gall above notes, I have little patience for the woes of the nerd when every day women are battered and raped by men who are predisposed by our society to think we own them.

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    3. Well, let's be honest here. Women *are* against nerds. Especially back in the 80s when this was made. Nerds don't grow up into positions of power, they grow up to be office drones.

      Having little patience for the woes of the nerd is exactly what we're talking about. Being self-righteous about it doesn't help.

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    4. I don't think women were against nerds then or now.

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    5. Women were not "against" anything then or now, because that is a childish brush stroke across over 50% of the planets population. I was in high school from 88-92 and I spent most of my free time playing video games and tabletop at the local Game Preserve in Indianapolis. I still found girls that liked me for who I was and I was no George Clooney. I was tall, skinny, and awkward. This is not even a juvenile view of women. It is just disgusting crap. Maybe women were "against" you because you had nothing to offer. Maybe you had unrealistic views of women. I don't know and I don't care, but don't blame "women". Try harder.

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    6. I was in a nerdy guy in high school around the same time, and found girls who liked me for what I was. But I also know that at least some of these girls came under major pressure from their female peers for not dating someone more conventionally attractive and high-status, and I've heard a LOT of stories from guys that ran along the same lines. Social status is where it's at in high school, which has always been a kind of covert matriarchy (see Mean Girls, Carrie, and a billion other examples in real life and fiction).

      I think it's possible to think about things like that, and to take note of how each gender treats the other badly in subtly (or not-so-subtly) different ways, without being accused of "childish brush strokes". The female attraction to overt power is as real as the male attraction to youth and good looks, and each of those attractions is damaging to both genders (and equally repugnant, if you want to look at it that way). And I don't think it's helpful to tell men something that basically boils down to "STFU, women have it harder, your past suffering is your own fault by definition".

      I don't blame men for being embittered by that any more than I blame women -- which is to say that in both cases, we're led to treat people like objects. And that's what this game is really about (treating people as objects to be manipulated for personal gain), albeit from a totally clueless perspective!

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    7. Hey, shareware introduced me to the amazing Exile series, so I can't complain about it too much. Then again, there was a certain charm with the shareware demon of Spiderweb. I'm having a hard time finding any charm with this game.

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  2. Well, I have to say I'm glad you played that... so I don't have to ever think about it ever again. That just seems like a terrible game.

    Back to the real RPGs!

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  3. "It'll still be several years before these choices start appearing with abundance in proper CRPGs." - That's not exactly true: you're only two games away from Dragon Wars, which is quite choice-heavy AFAIK, and only two years away from Tunnels&Trolls, which has loads of them.

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  4. Man, if you think this thing is bad, you're going to need to wear some sort of a hazmat suit if you ever decide to cover the Japanese PC RPG scene.

    By the way, the graphic for "#10" seems to have been blatantly stolen from the original Leisure Suit Larry.

    Fantastic blog you have here, by the way! Unfortunately, I just caught on to it recently, so I've got a lot of catching up to do...

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    1. Unfortunately? I envy your position. I remember when I found this blog two years ago and consumed it all in a mad binge. If I were a CRPGaddict-addict, I would have overdosed.

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    2. The woman in the hot tub at the end of the first game! I knew that portrait looked familiar, but I couldn't place it. Thanks!

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    3. You can't blame all Japanese PC RPGs, some don't even cover the topic of sex; I'm guessing you're talking about Hentai RPGs. I can't really speak to those, but there may be some good ones.

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    5. No, I wasn't trying to say that at all. Sorry if it came across as so broad-brush. It's undeniable that a certain segment of that scene produced some very ugly stuff, but there were many hidden gems as well. Also, many hardcore western RPGs (including obscure stuff like Quarterstaff) got ported over there, and there was even a Japan-only Phantasie IV! So, it was a pretty cool little scene overall, if you can separate out the hentai stuff.

      That reminds me, Quartestaff would be a good one to cover here. I wanted that game so badly after I first read about it in Dragon magazine that I actually bought a Mac just to able to play it!

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    6. Thanks for the info about that graphic. It was unique among all of them in that it looked too sophisticated for this particular developer to have created.

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    7. @Brain Breaker:
      Rance 1 is just a few games away, so the Addict will have to cross that bridge soon. That series is quite vile, but still extremely popular. Especially in the West.

      It's basically a series where you play a role of a serial rapist.

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    8. Yeah, I wish we could force Chet to play a bunch of fan translated JRPGs. I feel that would end badly for everyone involved though: Chet for having to play them, us going to jail for having kidnapped him and locked him in a basement with a stack of JRPGs and writing software and nothing else, the blog, as Chet has to take a hiatus to clear his mind of tentacles....

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  5. "Opening a little window on the psychology of the developer"

    It could be said that this whole game is a gaping maw towards such. It's an important piece in gaming history because of it. Much could be written about its objectifying premise, treating women like input/output machines where you have to do the right thing to get laid and the partner has no agency in the affair.

    It'd be great if this was an one-off and further dating sims (about which I agree, there is no inherent fault in concept) treated their NPCs with some dynamic system - a great first step for example, would be for the game to randomly seed in the beginning of the game that x amount out of the full y of the NPC cast simply will not respond positively to your advances no matter your angle because they do not feel any attraction to you. But there is no such thing, the (predominantly Japanese) dating sim genre is all input/output. Buy her the gift she likes. Be there at the right place at the right time. Pretend to like the activities she likes. Say the right thing. Be a total sociopath. Get laid.

    There's a long line from media like this to modern concepts such a 'pick up artists' and 'mens right activism', all championed by nerd culture. It's startling that the developer didn't abandon this videogame and perhaps begrudingly admit that in the folly of youth they had coded it but instead maintained and upgraded it for decades, isn't it?

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    1. Totally agreed about the shallowness of most dating sims. The "Harvest Moon" series is a particular offender in this regard -- the game is pret' transparent about the fact that [(gifts + chat) * time = love]. Though HM should get some credit since the goal of the game is to get married and have kids, not randomly hook up.

      Persona 4 is my favorite RPG of all time (even beating out BG2! blasphemy!) and I think it avoids some of this trap, despite being non-dynamic, three ways: you don't give gifts, you just spend time; the time is spent helping them work through an emotional difficulty, rather than raw flirtation; and the game integrates the friendship mechanic into the RPG side of the gameplay (e.g., stronger stats in battle and greater willingness to rescue you during a fight).

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    2. This assumes that all men are the same and get the same treatment. It's not true at all. Nerds are at the bottom of society and get shit on just as much as anyone else. Not getting laid while watching everyone else around you do so is torture. Especially when the men that women go for behave so despicably. It causes cognitive dissonance.

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    3. Nerds are the bottom of highschool politics, not society. People who got beat up for being bookish then run the world, now.

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    4. Maybe having a bullshit sense of entitlement might have more to do with not getting laid than being a "nerd?" Just, you know, thinking out loud here. I mean, I've certainly had difficulty in that arena, but I'm pretty sure whining about how WIMMIN ONLY LIKE JERKS would only have exacerbated the problem--and quite deservedly so, too.

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    5. http://manboobz.com/2012/08/22/yo-dudes-alpha-males-are-a-myth-according-to-actual-experts-on-wolves/ glad to see this reaching pop culture saturation finally. Third wave feminism is getting more traction too.

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    6. Being upset with women is often a proxy for being upset with something else. Harland is upset by the treatment he received at high school (many of us can sympathise), which would have been caused by a variety of personal and social factors.

      Blaming everyone with a vagina for that unhappy experience seems like an unhelpful simplification of what actually occurred.

      FWIW, The first thing I was called was 'square' in primary school circa 1990, as was one of my best friends, a girl, who taught me long division, Ultima IV and Brian Jacques.

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    7. @Helm

      Blaming the Japanese and the dating sim genre to be misogynistic is a bit disingenuous. Yes, there are games (especially some hentai) that have that element. But note that there are also lot of Japanese dating games where you play a girl dating boys (with similar gameplay I assume), but it's mostly the games with a boy dating girls that are translated / reported about in the west.

      Also, most western RPG:s with romance options (e.g. all Bioware games) work in similar fashion.

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    8. I do recommend reading this book http://www.amazon.com/Otaku-Database-Animals-Hiroki-Azuma/dp/0816653526 for very interesting analysis on post-war media consumption habits. It doesn't just speak to the Japanese mindset, as it seems to me nerd-dom via the internet is becoming normalized in the identity described in the book.

      The Japanese dating sim is very much misogynistic, as is a startling amount of their popular media & culture, if it's not outright rapey, it'll be constricting, inescapable gender roles and stereotypes of every type of woman. That there are some dating sims reversing the protagonist structure does not erase that.

      As to Bioware games, yes, their dating sim aspect is awful as well.

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    9. "It'd be great if this was an one-off and further dating sims...treated their NPCs with some dynamic system - a great first step for example, would be for the game to randomly seed in the beginning of the game that x amount out of the full y of the NPC cast simply will not respond positively to your advances no matter your angle because they do not feel any attraction to you. But there is no such thing, the (predominantly Japanese) dating sim genre is all input/output."

      In fairness, aren't most heroic tales constructed this way? I can't think of any stories in which a hero sets out to save a princess, does so, and then is completely rejected by her in favor of someone more glib and good-looking.

      The aspirational narrative is built around the idea that what we do/accomplish is more important than who we are, so that if we just try hard enough, we can get anyone to love us -- or, to put it more charitably, we can be worth loving. For men, that's borne out to some extent by the facts, since riches and power will open many sexual doors, though love is a different issue. (Money can't buy love, but it can buy "love".)

      You locate these issues in gender, but to me they're intimately bound up with capitalism and the Protestant work ethic. We encourage men to think of their worth in terms of power and visible accomplishments, because it stokes the economic fires and facilitates the occasional war. That's an efficient strategy in a world where dragons need slaying, but it also leads inevitably to things like GCS, because if you frame someone's worth in economic terms then everything is a transaction.

      BTW claiming that nerds run the world is disingenuous. I've seen enough of the corporate world to know that Jobs and Gates are exceptions, and people like that are usually shunted aside in favor of glad-handing MBAs. Being "nerdy" isn't really just about having niche interests, but also about being unwilling or unable to participate in traditional male displays of power and dominance -- and outside of certain subcultures, that's generally considered unappealing.

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    10. Yeah, nerds don't run the world, though they are often useful to those who do.

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  6. Wow, this game....

    "Give her a BJ"

    Maybe you're dating a drag queen? RuPaul would approve, I guess.

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    1. PetrusOctavianusMay 18, 2013 at 1:03 PM

      Maybe he couldn't spell cuni..eh cunni...damned, how did you spell that again?

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  7. If you are interested in this format, for a much better game you might want to consider Alter Ego.

    Wiki even considers it an RPG:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alter_Ego_%281986_video_game%29

    ;)

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    1. I remember Alter Ego being pretty interesting. I'm planning to give it another go at some point. The stat and interaction systems had a lot of synergy that I never really got a handle on how it all connected.

      There's no combat as far as I remember, but all scenarios you play through rely on character stats. No inventory. Stats increase based on choices in scenarios.

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    2. Oh, there's inventory too. Missing the inventory options is one of the easiest ways to meet an early end in Alter Ego.

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    3. The Alter Ego pair of games are pretty great. Playing as an infant is particularly amusing.

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    4. I guess I don't remember all that much of the game then. I don't think I got past college now that I think about it.

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    5. There's a browser version of game:
      http://www.playalterego.com/

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  8. Hmm, a mention of Christina Hendricks, enjoying shows with Alyson Hannigan and Felicia Day?

    Were you able to select "redhead" when constructing your perfect girlfriend? ;-)

    (Totally understandable by the way!)

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  9. Who was clamoring for this? I didn't see anyone really ask about it after you said you're skipping it. Just looking at screen shots, the game didn't seem to have any redeeming qualities. Thanks for the confirmation.

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    1. I guess there weren't many comments about it, but I got four or five e-mails. Despite my encouraging everyone to post comments, I get about twice as many e-mails as comments on the posts themselves.

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    2. Wow, your inbox must be flooded, as you have 50+ posts on all the recent blog posts you've put up.

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  10. Wow so glad I've never been forced at gunpoint to play that.

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  11. Dating games are cool, but only if they are good. This sounds like it would have been a cool game if it had featured some more tactical game mechanics. I once played a flash dating game in which you had to beat up girls, or else they would beat you up and leave you half dead. If you managed to beat them up instead you would get them to like you. So in the game you had to constantly keep going to the gym to get stronger, while also juggling part time jobs to get money for the gym, and when you walked around in town you constantly ran into random encounters of girls who wanted to beat you up. That was a pretty cool game. From this posting I gather that Girlfriend Construction Set ins't quite that, but at least the game was probably made with good intentions. Maybe the "evil" (manly?) choices, like 'slap her silly' should have boosted your "ego points" or something like that, giving you a tactical choice of whether to be a sucker for your date and lose self confidence, or whether to protect your ego and risk your date going badly. A balance between 'ego points' and 'status points', that would have been interesting, just a thought.

    Btw, is THIS game 100?!? Lol, or do only actual rpgs count?

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    1. I really can't imagine that I'd enjoy any "dating game" that features "beating up" the opposite sex as a key gameplay feature.

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    2. Yeah, I think the evil/manly choices should open up a new location to explore, called "jail" where the "dating" isn't quite so fun.

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  12. A fun diversion (the review not the game)

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  13. Let's see... It might be fun to make a realistic dating simulation at some point. I think it would start with a personality test for the player (Big Five or Myers-Briggs), then include compatibility comparisons with the artificial personalities in the game. So you would meet a lot of random people, and most would turn out not to be all that compatible with you (but maybe enough for some sort of relationship). The object would be to find a good long-term match. Let's face it - Most relationships are mostly luck. We don't meet that many potential mates in real life to end up with "the perfect match".

    Tim Minchin, "If I Didn't Have You"

    Hmm, maybe it could be done as an MMO - So you interact with other players' personalities and choices. And if things go really well, maybe the game gives you an opportunity to make real-life contact with each other, perhaps initially by email or in-game chat. That could greatly improve on the limited choices of reality.

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    1. Oops, I accidentally deleted part of that... the part about "It might be fun to make...", but that "It might not be all that much fun to play." Still, as Sid Meier says, games are basically about making interesting choices, so there is the potential for creating a really good relationships game. The key is that your choices have to matter in a non-shallow way that takes into account both of your (or multiple players') personalities.

      The personality test part could be made less tedious by having really interesting questions. Lori and I tried to do this on our old School for Heroes site. And if you only do the test once, then it's stored in a database, the rest of the game would be about actual game play, relationships, and choices.

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    2. Dating sites and MMOs seem to have a pretty natural crossover point. You could be onto the next big thing!

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    3. Statistically Briggs Meyers is kind of crap FYI. Little predictive power and doesn't really seem to correlate well with who you are as a person.

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    4. That sounds like something a namby-pamby ESFP would say.

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    5. This sounds like reinventing match.com. However that WAS a really fun game. I beat it seven years ago.

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  14. Well, Girlfriend Construction Set isn't a CRPG. Not remotely. It has character development of a sort, but no inventory, and while their is occasionally "combat" of a sort, it's not based on your attributes (since you don't have any).

    Only my second reply, and already I'm issuing an apology. Hi, I'm the guy who filed the entry on this alleged game in Mobygames. (You may remember me from "latest comment on Braminar", which I also submitted to MG.) My beat there is pretty much contributing curios and edge cases to astound and dismay. I had no idea when I submitted these game glosses to that database that my innocent actions would have such major repercussions down the road.

    Though its genre system was well-intentioned when first implemented, if you stray very far from the well-worn path of AAA titles, you quickly discover games that aren't really accounted for in any of its "primary" genres, at least one of which must be applied to any new game entry there. There are plenty of games, of course, which don't fit any of them, while others can be considered at least tangentially applicable (and to irritate the approvers there, this could have been filed under "action", "educational" or "sports" as a joke.) This one seemed to have elements of the RPG and simulation genres, so that's where we cast our wide net in this case. I'm not really sure where else I would have filed it.

    I consider character development and stats management as pretty much the hallmarks of the CRPG (both of which, to some extent, this program covers), while figuring factors such as whether and how inventory and combat are handled to be more in the shadows of the adventure and strategy genres. (Detractors even over at MG will point out that my system would categorize soccer team management sims as RPGs then, to which I have to ask -- how is a sports team that different from a party of adventurers?)

    It's an interesting question, what an RPG would look like without combat and inventory. Some modern titles by Choice of Games come close, though admittedly they would probably be filed as adventure games (subgenre: interactive fiction, though without the text parser!) above RPGs. (But I don't think your criteria will ever get you to them!)

    Anyhow, I apologise for having mislead you and, hm, having inadvertently given this fossil program and its retrograde attitudes a wider contemporary audience than they really merit. Your coverage was far more thorough than mine!

    (The contributors over at Mobygames have pretty thoroughly revised the genre system for more accurate categorization, but as the administration there is basically absentee, it could be quite some time before we see it implemented. So tread carefully when poring over its RPG list in the future -- if you see something that you think falls outside your project's mandate, there's a good chance that it does.)

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    1. I think you're creating a problem where none exists, as both this game and a soccer team management game are simulation games.

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    2. Football Manager 2013 and Girlfriend Construction Set. The best and worst sims ever created :)

      Delete
    3. There's no apology necessary, since there's always going to be some confusion inherent in applying nebulous category definitions to a variety of games. That this game (or any other) isn't a CRPG under MY rules doesn't mean it's not under someone else's. Also, in setting the categorization, you weren't exactly anticipating some obsessive-compulsive coming along and trying to play all of them. I'd rather a more liberal definition of "RPG" on a site like MobyGames and a more conservative definition on my blog than the other way around.

      Anyway, regardless of how much I (didn't) like them, your two contributions have generated some of my more interesting blog material.

      Delete
  15. I'm glad you posted this, cuz I can't stop laughing at "Give her a blow job."

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  16. Addict, you may have been loathe to post about this game but I submit to you, that in doing so you have sparked some interesting discussion that would have otherwise not occurred.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was half my reasoning. The other half was I hate writing that much stuff and not using it.

      Delete
  17. All of those pictures from the opening screen are stolen. As mentioned, #10 is obviously "Eve" from Leisure Suit Larry, but the rest of them are from 1980's GAMETEK games... games like Jeopardy, Wheel of Fortune, Super Password, Classic Concentration, Card Sharks, etc. These are the people you would play as your contestant. GameTek made all the game show games into PC games, and this game stole and cropped all of the pictures. Hilarious!

    Speaking of shareware/BBS games... anybody wanna play THE PIT?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! The others were so bad that I figured he MUST have created them himself. Thanks for the correction.

      Delete
  18. "What does intelligence have to do with going to the zoo?"

    Maybe it's a reference to Rocky!

    Nah, probably not.

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  19. The sad thing is that this isn't the creepiest computer game I've seen. That said, as far as I can tell, computer games don't get nearly as creepy as tabletop RPGS, the worst two being FATAL the RPG (FATAL stands for either Snagnfl Nqiragher gb Nqhyg Yrpurel or From Another Time, Another Land, depending on the edition), and Enpvny Ubyl Jne (RaHoWa) the fxvaurnq RPG.

    I've tried to read both of them. I got about 30 pages into FATAL before wondering why I was reading a section describing ohtorne travgny hair patterns (No, I am not joking), while RaHoWa I couldn't finish the first page without feeling physically ill.

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  20. There actually was another version of the game that came out in 2012 called Girlfriend Construction Set 5 (don't ask me where 2-4 went) that can be purchased from http://www.tcshare.com/ for $19.95.... and though I am loathe to admit it, curiosity (also having too much time on my hands + a disposable income) led me to buy and play this game. I have to say, even though it's pretty clearly not a good game nor is it even nearly worth $19.95, it's about 10 million times better than the original. And as you can see on the site, this one is now "Multi-Gender"!!! Yes, you can now play as a female. You can also now create a partner of either sex, so I guess this game does not discriminate.

    Even though it's by no means a good game, and I'm not sure there's anyone on the planet to whom I would recommend it, it is no longer gratuitously misogynistic, there are actual sex scenes, and the writing is better. Not good, mind you... but better. So I guess congrats, Tom Scheffler? I mean, he obviously put time and effort into this game, and I personally know that he made at least $19.95 from it so good job, man.

    I would like to end this with a bona-fide Scheffler quote: "It took several months of hard work to finish. Now I can finally go on some real dates. With my REAL girlfriend."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the update. It sounds like the game matured a bit with the author.

      Delete
    2. Wonder how many points would his REAL girlfriend score. XD

      Delete
  21. "while their is occasionally"

    I'll let you find the error. ;)

    Here, I'm picturing the game's target audience saying, "Wait...girls have personalities?"

    That was a pretty funny joke.

    I'd rather games like this and Raance be skipped, in all honesty. The intent in them isn't to create a good game, I'm sure.

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    Replies
    1. That's an embarrassing mistake to have sat there for two years.

      Delete
  22. I can't even feel offended by GCS. I've found the game so bad it loops around to being hilarious. The options are so stupid I can't take it seriously. (At a hockey game you can do literally nothing but beat the shit out of your GF for no reason).
    So far my "girlfriends" have been Dio Brando from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, Diego Brando from Steel Ball Run, Doggo from Undertale, and a being named "what the fuc" with measurements in quad digits from me mashing on the keyboard during character creation (got a body rating of 10/10). I didn't know you had to dump them to progress so all my runs ended in divorce or me getting dumped.

    If the new version's free edition let me have custom portraits I probably would see how silly that one gets too.

    ReplyDelete

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