Whether you're so ensconced in a relationship that your friends refer to you by a portmanteau nickname like "Bennifer" or clocking up so many years of singledom that you have to check to see whether there's anything in your pants, anywhere you surf on the net today is going to have hearts, lollies, cherubs and teddy bears all over it. We here at JIG are more than happy to add to your misery with a roundup of romance, dating and candy-related games.
The Hookup - Flash mystery / adventure / gossip game. You're the new girl in town (sorry guys) and you have to dig dirt, make confidantes and win people over to your side. Information is power—the more gossip you can get about people, the more likely you are to score high in an Intense Conversation—a showdown where your success depends almost literally on 'playing your cards right'. I'm not even sure if there's an objective or if you can 'win' the game, but if you enjoy sims-style games, this is an intriguing adventure with unique gameplay and great artwork. While you're there, check out their versions of traditional puzzle games at the-n.com/games.
RNIB Blind Date - Interesting little Flash choose-your-own-adventure game designed to be accessible to sighted and non-sighted players alike. You have a choice of dates: "Tara, a sophisticated woman" or "Geoff, an Elvis impersonator." At each point of the date you choose from three options, and you win if the date ends successfully, with your date getting smoochy. It's a simple little game without a huge amount of options, but it shows the potential for adventure and point-and-click games to be accessible to a wide audience. It's also surprisingly difficult to win.
Ren'ai Games - According to Rio's site, a ren'ai game is a game or interactive novel with a romantic theme. These games are primarly download only, and gameplay is usually of the choose-your-own-adventure style, although some are more obviously novels with limited interactivity. Rio has written several games with intriguing storylines and multiple outcomes (both good and bad). The game I played was Amgine Park, in which you play Gen, a single teenager whose friend is determined to get her a boyfriend. One day while out in the park, Gen meets a new boy in town whose eyes make her melt. Could this be the start of something beautiful? These games are short to play, but it's lots of fun trying to get all the endings. If you like the idea of interactive novels but think you can do better than the games offered here, there are tips for creating your own ren'ai games.
And if it's simple arcade fun you're after, don't forget about the previously reviewed Heart Attack from the fine Brits at Preloaded. It's an adorable little shooter filled with charming graphics, earth shattering explosions, and exquisite particle effects.
And that's a little something for everyone to occupy your heart-filled Valentine's day. =)