This can lead to confusion, as visual novels are considered a subgenre of adventure games and are not technically included in the dating sim genre.

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There are also GL games, which focus on female/female relationships, and BL Games, which focus on male/male pairings.

There are many variations on this theme: high-school romances are the most common, but a dating sim may also take place in a fantasy setting and involve such challenges as defending one's girl from monsters.

When the game ends, the player either loses the game if he failed to properly win over any of the girls, or "finishes" one of the girls, often by having sex with her, marrying her (as in Magical Date), and/or achieving eternal love.

This gives the games more replay value, since the player can focus on a different girl each time, trying to get a different ending.

The degree of sexual content varies, but may often include intercourse.

Sexually explicit dating sims may fall into the category of H Game or Eroge.

Eroge only gets released to PC because large Japanese game companies do not want to release games with sexual content on their game consoles.

Because of this, Eroge companies make a censored all-ages (15 ) version of the PC version for various consoles.

The most common objective of dating sims is to date, usually choosing from among several characters, and to achieve a romantic relationship.

The term "dating sim" is also often used incorrectly in English as a generic term for romance-driven games (ren'ai games), a subject matter which is stereotypically associated with the visual novel genre.

It is loosely based on a Californian-type urban area, specifically Hollywood.