Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

Time, Inc.

1. Design History
Attached is a Google Document of our preliminary thought processes in choosing our game
concept:
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1tHQ9DnkLYv8EPoeCx-ZYhS_WUu1vnU-Aq2rTB4lYb7
s/edit?usp=sharing

2. Vision Statement

2.1 Logline

A scientific research company creates a method of time travel and a scientist accidentally
gets sent back in time. In order to return to his correct time, he gathers a group of
individuals to help him build a device to return home.

2.2 Gameplay synopsis

To start off, we must define what a dating sim is first before getting to our argument. Emily
Taylor describes a dating sim, or dating simulator, as being “a video or computer game that
focuses on dating or romance and may contain erotic content” (Taylor, 194). Although there
are many different types of dating sims, our game will be targeted for male audiences since
our argument focuses on how women are portrayed in male targeted dating sims. Patrick
Galbraith’s talks about how “There are multiple girls that the player can interact with, and,
in most games, multiple possible stories and endings as an outcome” (Galbraith, 2011),
which our game will follow the same format​.

This is where one of Helen Kennedy’s arguments comes into play, with a “feminist
approach might be to welcome the appearance of active female heroines within traditionally
male or masculine genres” (Kennedy, 2002). In dating sims, Taylor explains that in most
dating sims, women are portrayed as appearing “strong initially, but this first impression
always turns out to be a mere façade” (Taylor, 201). The women in dating sims are never
shown to be independent or strong after they interact with the player, instead they usually
end up relying heavily on the male protagonist and their affections. Essentially, the women
in these games become entirely dependent on the player once you achieve a romance with
them, with the end result usually being that of sexual intercourse as a reward. There seems
to be a formula with male targeted dating sims, where the player merely interacts with the
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

female character and eventually woos her no matter how the player treats/talks to her. In the
end, they fall in love with the player and that is the end of the narrative.

Henry Jenkin writes, “video games often depend on gamers’ familiarity with the roles and
goals of characters from different genres and the importance of understanding a game’s
narrative before learning the aesthetics." This idea comes back to how the player has
assumptions already from playing other games so when they play a similar game they
already have expectations of what they intend to see within in the game. Our game argues
Jenkins’ claim because instead of our game sexualizing women and having the typical end
result of most dating sims, we want the player to try to see these characters as real people
and focus on interaction along with relationship building.

Turning towards our game itself, our game mechanics are fairly simple, with the player
assuming control of a single character to navigate through the world. Since the game is a 2D
text based, game there won't be any open world navigation with a 3D model, but the player
still has the ability to travel around with a party to different locations. During fighting
scenarios, the concept is similar to that of D&D (Dungeons and Dragons) style, where the
each player takes a turn to attack until one goes down. Each action you take during your
turn takes away from a meter. For example, the player’s meter has 100 points in it, but using
a move, like using your weapon, will subtract 15 points from the meter. This meter
replenishes a little every time it's the player’s turn. During social interactions with female
characters, the player is given choice based answers to pick from which can have an
influence on the approval of the female character.

During interactions with female characters and NPCs, the player will sometimes be given
choice based answers to pick from. These choices are significant towards what makes our
game different from other dating sims; an approval system. The approval system in our
game is important in that it gives the female character’s agency, which comes back how
most dating sims don't give female characters any power or independence. Our game is
made to give our female characters a depth to them and to have an opinion on the player.
Having an approval system in our game thus enforces an importance towards perceiving the
female characters as individuals and wanting to build a relationship with them. This ties into
our intervention being that our female characters have significant roles in the narrative and
aren’t simply made as objects to be claimed or collected by the player.​ ​They are not
considered ‘damsel in distresses’ or passive characters, they are integral to the story and
have agency.
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

Lastly, the setting of the game takes place in various eras, such as Medieval, the Future,
Egyptian, and much more due to the time traveling aspect of the story. This is crucial to the
look/feel of our game, because the player meets the female characters and other NPC’s in
these different eras throughout the story. Galbraith mentions how in dating sims
“backgrounds are static and change when he changes locations; they are often recycled.
Onscreen text describes the place and situation.” (Galbraith, 2011)​ ​The player gets to
experience a variety of ethnicities and cultures due to time traveling as well, which adds to
the experience of the game. Due to the game being 2D text based, during conversations the
backdrop behind the characters will be influenced by the era the player is in currently in the
story. For example, if you are in medieval times, the backdrop will feature castles and
forests while if you’re in a future time there will be urban like buildings and technology.
The characters you meet along the way are dressed for the time too.

3. Audience, Platform, and Marketing

​3.1 Target audience

Our target audience would be male/neutral, because this would come back to our argument
where our game is meant to break away from the traditional male dating sim. Since our
game wants to make the argument that female characters in dating sims, have agency,
having our game being targeted towards men would be the best strategy.

In order to adequately make our argument, our game would have to target the same
audience as the types of games we are criticizing. This way, our intended audience who
proliferates the objectification of women in dating sims would be the ones experiencing our
criticism of the genre.

3.2 Platform

The game would be available on PC and Mac devices, as it is a point-and-click
text-based interface. This is mainly due to Steam housing similar games.

3.5 Feature Comparison

Another example of a dating sim is Haramase Simulator 2017, which is so-far
incomplete anime-style dating simulator in which the goal is to impregnate as many
NPCs as possible while managing your stamina and other stats.
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

This game highlights male sexuality as the reward system of the experience, and
utilizes female character as a point system, with impregnation as the goal. The narrative
is marketed toward some semblance of sexual gratification at the expense of female
character.

Our game serves to remove this element of the dating sim, and not employ sexuality as
the primary tool of narrative advancement. Instead of male sexuality driving the game
forward, our game would be character-driven, with females possessing agency and
narrative significance throughout the game. The female characters would also decide if
they accepted the male protagonist’s advances rather than being completely subject to
the male character’s whim and fantasies.

4. Gameplay

4.1 Overview

The gameplay of our game revolves around social interaction and fighting. The social
interaction segment of the game is during the times the player is talking to the female
characters. This is mainly the player trying to build and strengthen the relationship as the
story progresses. The other part is fighting, which is essentially the player fighting enemy
characters to progress through points in the story. Therefore, the gameplay conflict of the
story revolves around the player balancing his time between finding items to repair his time
travel advice and gaining the approval of his party.

4.2 Gameplay Description

Specifically, the social interaction of the game revolves around choice based answers that can
influence the approval for the characters. The answers the player chooses work along with
certain attributes: understanding, kindness, temper, and cruelty. The game will present the player
with answer which can bring up your attributes if picked. For example, if the player has to kill an
enemy, they are presented with 4 choices; spare them, recruit them, kill them, or torture them. If
the player chooses to spare them, the player will be given “+2 Kindness” to their kindness bar.
These attributes can help shape how the player wants to be portrayed as along with opening up
other narrative options. An example of this, is if the player is high in “understanding”, they are
be able to be compassionate towards NPC’s or do negotiations in battle. If they are high on
“cruelty”, the player will only be able to initiate negative choices like to kill/torture.
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

There is also an approval system that is involved with the social interaction part of the
game. This approval system is used for the female characters and how they feel about the player.
This is shown on the screen as “+/-” with the character’s name next to it. An example of this
would be if a female character who is kind see’s that the player is does something she thinks is
morally wrong, the player loses approval from her. It could even get to the point if the female
character comes to not like you anymore because of the decisions you made, she could leave the
party all together and won’t come back. Picking choices that the female player approves of leads
to them trusting you more and building your relationship with them. If the player maintains a
high approval with a female character by the end of the game, the player gets to pick the one they
wish to be with which leads to different ending depending on who you choose(the player can
only choose one female to be with if they have max approval in the end.)

Looking at gameplay during battles, it works similarly like D&D style with the players
taking turns to attack, defend, use times, etc. The player will of course control the protagonist,
but they will also control the female characters that join the party. The player has to manage their
health (HP) and stamina points (SP) during battle as well as the female players in your party.
Depending on what class the player picked during the beginning will affect how the protagonist
will fight during battles. The three classes are: Melee (uses hand to hand combat), Weapon (uses
weapons like knives to fight), or Guns (uses different guns to fight). Stamina points deplete
whenever the player uses special moves during their turn. These special moves come with an SP
price too. An example of this would be if a player was a “Melee” class, a special move they
would use is “Mega Punch” which would cost 20 SP. The SP bar will recharge very little
whenever it is the player's turn. The player’s and female’s HP will be affected if the they get
attacked by the enemy and vice versa. The player wins the battle if they defeat all the enemies
but if the player and party loses it causes a game over. If this happens, the player is prompted to
the their latest save.

4.3 Controls

The game will be navigated through a point-and-click interface. A click of the mouse
would advance the dialogue, transition between scenes, and initiate any other advancements in
the narrative. The player would select which conversation options they desired by clicking on
them.

Some conversation trigger combat sequences. The player would have a weapon based on
the class selection at the character customization scene of the game. These weapons, combined
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

with player stats, would do a certain amount of damage. The player would click on an enemy to
inflict damage upon them until their designated health allotment reach zero.

4.3.1 Rules

The player interacts with characters. advances their conversation mechanics, and occasionally
participates in combat sequences with their party.

Combat

4.3.2 Scoring/Winning Conditions

The player wins the game through the completion of the narrative. The reward system is
established through the multiple possible endings.

There are eight romanceable characters in the game, each with their own morality and
personality. Different choice options throughout the game provide different personality stats for
the playable protagonist, while providing different approval scores for the characters in the party.

There are several different endings possible from the gameplay, and the ending selection is based
on a combination of the number of party members attained throughout the course of the
narrative, how much the protagonist has repaired his time travel device, and the approval of his
chosen romantic interest.

The best possible ending, which effectively “wins” the game, would entail the protagonist
gaining maximum approval for the love interest he selects and repairing his time travel device
before his thirty-day time limit, choosing the time period he wishes to stay in. A different ending
scene plays as the effective reward for the completion of the narrative.

4.5 Levels

Each level will be a different theme and time period. For example, the player will travel through
a space station theme, medieval theme, Egyptian theme, jungle theme and others. Each level you
will earn or lose stats based on your decisions and how you interact with the characters.

5. Game Characters
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

5.1 Character Design

The characters are drawn in a 2D, with large, expressive facial features reminiscent of
anime-stylings typical of anime games, which the vast majority of dating sim games employ.
However, our game would not exaggerate the female character’s sexual features as many other
dating sims tend to do. They would be ethnic and physically diverse, with different races, body
types, and physical conditions.

​5.2 Types

The game consists of a protagonist, the party members, and the NPCs. The protagonist is
the main player character. The party members are primarily interacted with through conversation
and approval mechanics, but can be playable during combat sequences. The NPCs are interacted
with primarily through conversation, and can be fought during combat sequences.

5.2.1 Player Character

The player will have his own option to choose which class he/she will want to play the game as.
They have the option to chose between a warrior or thief. Before the player starts the game, the
player will have to customize his own look. The player is also able to create his own stats and
special skills (charisma, strength, intelligence, dexterity). However, the player will not be able to
create a maximum amount of stats and skills right off the bat, he/she will have to earn those
throughout the game.

5.2.2 Love Interests

The Party members are not strictly NPCs because of their aid during combat sequence.
There different skills offer various aid in regards to the protagonist’s mail goal. They are as
follows:

Akane: Found in the sci-fi level. Has an amputated robotic arm and is skilled in combat.
(See Figure 2)

Katerina: Found in the medieval level. Approves of ruthless and cruel behavior and is a
skilled negotiator. (See Figure 4)
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

Camille: Found in the urban ghetto level. Healer. Has skill as a healer, but has difficulty
honing her skill due to her socioeconomic status.

Neema: Found in the ancient Egyptian level. Skilled at locating hidden objects, and
therefore helps you more quickly locate the scattered pieces of your time device.

Kai: Found on the remote island level. Has low charisma, but the most typically “good”
moral compass, and approves heavily of kind and compassionate actions.

Emily: Found on the battlefield level. Is skilled in weaponry, and cares deeply about her
looks and appearance.

5.2.2 NPCs

NPCs will be utilized in order to broaden the narrative boundaries of the story and to add combat
elements to the gameplay. Each player’s stats will be affected based on their decisions with
NPCs. Each level will have a new set of NPCs, meaning there will never be any NPCs that linger
on to the next level. Each NPC will be dressed and characterized for the time period the player is
in. (See Figure 3)

6. Story

6.1 Synopsis

In the near future, a scientist working for a scientific research company creates a method of time
travel, a time traveling watch. He accidentally gets sent back into time after completing his
invention and now can travel to and from time sporadically. He has 30 days time to get back to
his original time before his watch stops working completely. Through the help of six female
characters who all have their own expertise, he tries to get back home and maybe find love along
the way.

6.2 Complete story

The story begins with a scientist finishing up his latest invention, that being a time traveling
wristwatch. All of a sudden however, he gets sent back into time before he could tell anyone
about his invention. As he his getting sent back in time, he catches glimpses of certain time
periods before he lands in Egyptian times. When he comes to, he notices that he is no longer
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

back in the space station and begins to panic. He makes note that his watch is missing certain
parts to it as well. This causes him to think back to how he saw certain time periods and he uses
that as his first clue.

The protagonist sees a timer activate on his watch and concludes that he has before the timer
runs down (30 days) in order to find his way to his proper time period. However, his time device
is in a state of disrepair. As he is zapped against his will to different time periods, he talks to
multiple characters he finds in order to try to find the missing parts of his device.

Through the narrative, he gains approval of the party members he meets along the journey
through his interactions with them and the choices his makes in the narrative. Through meeting
different females along the way to help him find the missing parts of his watch, he can start
building relationships with them.

On the thirtieth day, the entire party gathers in the planet level and he says his goodbyes to each
of them. He then chooses the time period he wants to end up in for the rest of his life. In the best
ending, the player would choose his favorite time period and his favored love interest would join
him there. In the good ending, the player would choose a love interest and join them in their
respective time period that they already inhabit. In the normal ending, the player would receive
requited feelings from his chosen love interest, but would return to his native time period without
her. In the bad endings, the love interest could reject the player. In alternative bad endings, the
protagonist fails to fix his time device in time, it malfunctions and explodes, and the protagonist
dies. The party members mourn or celebrate his death depending on their respective approval.

6.4 Subplots

As the protagonist attempts to rebuild a time machine, various enemies will have
their own reasons for thwarting his attempts. The protagonist also has the option of
completing sidequests in the various time periods in order to affect the approval of their
party members.

For example, in the medieval level, a defeated NPC is captured. The player can
choose to kill him or spare him, much to your accompanying party’s celebration or
behest. The NPC would now have a different involvement in the story, but would not
ultimately affect the ending besides the approval point gained or lost from your party
by interacting with them.
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

7. The Game World

7.1 Overview

Our game will contain seven different locations (time periods). It will start on a space station
during the year 2147. Then the player will travel back in time to an Egyptian courtyard setting.
The player will then move forward in time to a medieval garden, a jungle on a remote island, a
battlefield, an urban ghetto, and lastly a futuristic planet.

7.2 Key locations

The space station level will be the game's first location. It will serve as a place to reveal
information about the player and to discover his mission and why he must go back in time. It will
show just how lonely, cold, and isolated the space station is. It will give a sense to the player just
how advanced in time he is and the technology he has access to.

The Egyptian courtyard will be the second location. Here will be the player’s first encounter with
a female character and an NPC. This level will serve as a learning level for the player and
discover the possibility of gaining or losing stats.

The medieval garden will be the third level and serve as the player’s first experience with
combat. Here the player will gain skills and boost his stats with combat. Low level weapons will
be attained this level.

The jungle level will be the fourth level and serve as a training level for the player. The player
will be faced with mini combats on this level to survive on the island. These minor combats will
serve as practice for the fifth level.

The fifth level will be a battlefield. This level is where the player will fight under the female
character’s army. After combat, the player will be down to his last bit of health, but before he
dies, he will be transported to the next level.

The sixth level will be the urban ghetto. This is where the player will find a female character that
is a healer and will revive his health. She will act as a guide for the player to find a missing piece
for his watch.
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

The last level will be a futuristic planet. The theme of this level will be sci-fi. Everyone who is
still in the party will be in this level. This is where the player will have the decision to choose
which female character he wants to be with.

7.3 Time

Our story takes place across multiple time periods. The protagonist’s native time period
is the near future of 2147. Other time periods our expanded upon in section 8.2.

7.4 Society and Culture

The beginning of the game takes place in the protagonist’s home period, the near
future of 2147. The protagonist will be living in a space station by himself, and will
therefore not live within a culture or social structure outside of his own values, which
the player would reflect onto him and develop as the game progresses.

Each time period in the game world would come with its own set of values and
customs reflective of that era. For example, the medieval world would have stricter
gender roles and would dress women in a certain fashion. Contrastingly, the futuristic
science fiction-themed world would have more progressive gender roles and less
conservative styles of dress.
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

Figure 1 (typical gameplay screen at the initiation of a narrative choice.)

Figure 2 (a potential romanceable character--Akane-from
the futuristic sci-fi level. She is ethnically Asian, has a buff body type, and an amputated robot
arm.)
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

Figure 3(NPC who the protagonist elects to kill or

spare)
Figure 4 - (Two potential romanceable party members, Helga and Akane.)
Aleny Ayala, Jordan Jackson, Shane Pederson

Citation Page

Galbraith, Patrick. "Bishōjo Games: ‘Techno-Intimacy’ and the Virtually Human in Japan."
Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research​ 11.2 (2011): n. pag. Web.
May 2017.

Kennedy, Helen. "Lara Croft: Feminist Icon or Cyberbimbo?" Game Studies: The International
Journal of Computer Game Research. Game Studies, Dec. 2002. Web. 02 May 2017.

Jenkins, Henry. “Game Design as Narrative Architecture”. 2010, pp. 118-130.

Taylor, Emily . "Dating-Simulation Games: Leisure and Gaming of Japanese Youth Culture ."
Southeast Review of Asian Studies 29 (2007): 192-208. Web.