PS: This article is translated manually from an essay in Zhihu. You can check the original version here if you can read Chinese. There are some distinctions between the two versions because of translation.
PS: 本文由站长人工翻译自于一个知乎专栏，如果你不擅长英语，可以在 这里 浏览中文原版。由于翻译的原因，本文和原文不尽相同，还请见谅。
Once I was browsing the Web for a rest, I noticed that a net friend mentioned the guiding impact of the relationship of Galgame. This interested me of a sudden. You know, there is a popular explanation of the word “Galgame”—— “Galgame = Girl + Love + Game”. I think it’s great since it fundamentally and briefly summarized the meaning of “Galgame”.
As the explanation goes, “Girl” stands for beautiful young girls(If not, nobody will play Galgames), and “Love” is being in a relationship with a girl(or a group of them). In brief, Galgame is a kind of game that simulates that the player is in a relationship, or developing a relationship, with the girls.
With the constant development of Galgames, the relationship between boys and girls in Galgames has significantly separated from reality. Nowadays, Most Galgames have fully reduced the requirement of decision and skill of the player. In the game, the player just needs to choose a favorite girl to “fall in love with” according to the evident options. Many games are even significantly simplified in that the player just needs to choose a single option to get into a character’s route.
Besides, even if there are many options in the game, it is most likely that the options are to add the interests or enrich the character. They won’t influence the route the player decided. Galgames are developing towards visual novels now. As a result, its playability is evidently reduced to lower the threshold and the burden of gaming. After all, the game companies are clear about who is their target audience.
Also, the demand of the players who buy the game is no longer challenging or finding fulfillment, but asking for a temporary rest. In the tendency, Galgames are becoming unavoidably “Lighter”.
Galgame is more similar to the products such as comics and animations. As a player, you just need to watch the love story of the main character and the girls, of course, from the viewpoint of the main character himself.
As for the distinction, you will basically never see the face of the main character. Additionally, almost every girl will stare at you without blinking. So you won’t be as extremely coy as you are in reality. Somehow, you are just an avatar of the main character.
Thus, it seems that you will learn a lot of “love skills” from Galgame because most of the love stories in Galgames will have a “happy end”. Simply thinking about this, “Since I’ve watched these ‘successful cases’, I probably can learn many love skills, right? There should be something that I can learn, isn’t there?”
Nevertheless, I need to tell you regrettably that this thought is totally WRONG. You can’t learn almost anything that can improve your love skill. Though it is hard to believe, it’s the truth —— All because of the distinction between you and the virtual character, dear player.
What causes such a huge distinction between you and the virtual character?
First of all, the distinction of background. The living conditions of virtual characters are very different from those belonging to an ordinary person in the reality. In fact, you have already lost the game just on the starting line.
The reality is not impartial. Even if we ignore the appearance of the main character, it is usual that the main character will have some beautiful girl classmates(or neighbors, whatever) that are close to himself. The main character is usually very sophisticated, even in childhood. He deeply understands the virtue of respecting the other, being modest, and protecting the weak. However, If we look backward at our childhood, we will notice that we regarded the opposite sex as alien and spent almost every second teasing them. The distinction is evident now. The main character has even chosen his future wife through his glory of human nature since he was in childhood. He is so sophisticated that we ordinary people can hardly achieve it.
Second, the distinction of luck. Some people don’t have childhood sweethearts, it isn’t a big deal. When we entered senior high school, everyone is competing on the same battlefield, isn’t it? Actually, it’s not. Though we ignore the experience of the main character, he still has some luck, which can bring him many opportunities that not only to encounter beautiful girls but also to increase the girls’ interest in him.
Sadly, many people including you and me are bad at increasing the relationship between the opposite sex. When we want to chat with the person we like, we are often flushed with shame and are incoherent. In this situation, nothing can teach you how to deal with the problem, including Galgames.
Last, the distinction of appearance. Have you noticed that we’ve ignored the appearance of the main character at first? In a way, the appearance is an addition, but also a necessity. It can “speed up” the progress of the relationship, as well as prevent it from breaking down. In reality, the appearance seems to be a wide abyss, which stops us from crossing it and getting true love.
The main character is usually very hypocritical. He pretends to be modest and says that he has no good appearance. However, when he is in the relationship, he will again, pretend that he has just realized that he has a good appearance.
Whereas, we can not impute to the main character. After all, the story and all the characters are created and designed by the people who are standing behind the screen —— creators. The purpose is to trigger the player’s resonance and empathy. It seems that the strategy makes the player more comfortable, but it is more similar to “boost and kill”. When the player tries to copy the method in Galgame to reality, the consequence is obvious. I bet that the player will slap him/herself in the heart seriously.
After the main character, the virtual girl characters have also played an important role in Galgames. There is a very special feature —— the virtual girl characters have a high tolerance. Many players may never realize this. Where does this feature reflect at? The answer is in dialogues, which is the main method of Galgames to tell the story.
Usually, even if the main character says a lot of useless words, the girls can continue the talk in many different ways, and in a relaxing atmosphere. They will also show their unique tempers now and then, and this will enormously increase their loveliness. They are very experienced in chatting, and they can always show their tricks when it’s necessary. The main character will never be embarrassed and anxious when chatting with them. It’s not an exaggeration to say that the dialogue is similar to a civil war between the table tennis team, and even if the ball is flying toward the judge’s mouth, the ball can be caught somehow. All thanks to these beautiful, kind, friendly, lovely, mild, generous, and competent girl characters.
Let your minds fly for a moment. In reality, if you say some useless thing when chatting with a girl you like, the consequence is making you flushed with shame and keeping an unforgettable ashamed impression in your mind. It may last for decades!
Thus, it can be seen that the love story in Galgame seems like pulling a rabbit out of the hat to avoid the situation getting out of hand, but the fact is like transporting litchi through an aircraft carrier to make everything is almost nine-tenths certain. No wonder the endings are always happy. Learning the knowledge of love from Galgames is similar to learning how does a captain of an aircraft carrier transport litchi. It’s very ridiculous.
This way, Do Galgames have any advantage? Generally speaking, yes! One of the advantages is that you can learn to respect the opposite sex well. Although all the girls in the game are very close to you, as you observe the behavior of the main character, you will find something in common that the main character can often understand the emotion and the ideas of the girls, even protect the girls whatever himselfs’ risk. Whether this is logical or not, at least the main character is positive.
In conclusion, Galgame is a kind of game. It’s for you and me to enjoy. It is totally unnecessary to argue about its value. Sure, I don’t deny the value of the game, but the value is often a kind of individual idea, and we can’t add it directly to the game itself. Remember, when the creature becomes itself without the creator, it can’t represent the will of the creator!
This is the first translation article by me. I believe there are many mistakes in it. If you like the article, you can leave a comment in the comment section down below. Thank you for reading!