The game lasts for a fixed period of game time, such as one month or three years.
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.
While bishōjo games make up the bulk of dating sims, other types of games exist.
Games where the player character is female and potential objects of affection are male are known as Gx B or otome games.
Dating sims such as Tokimeki Memorial often revolve almost entirely around relationship-building, usually featuring complex character interactions and branching dialogue trees, and often presenting the player's possible responses word-for-word as the player character would say them.While the two genres often share a common visual presentation, dating sims are sometimes considered to be more statistically based than the "choose your own adventure" style of visual novels.The technical definition of a dating simulation game, known as a romantic simulation game in Japan, can involve several technical elements such as a time limit, several statistics such as looks and charm which can be boosted through exercise, or an "attraction meter" which can increase or decrease depending on one's decisions.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.One game series that often includes dating, with the goal of marriage, is the farming sim series Harvest Moon.Some original-English dating sims include Sim Girls, In a typical dating sim, the player controls a male avatar surrounded by female characters.