No need to remind you: a woman who cancels the date is a mandatory step in the game of seduction. Whether it's the first date or whatever date, I repeat, you. I hate canceling dates because I hate being canceled on. I try to live by the Golden Rule — do unto others as you'd like them to do unto you. It's pm on Friday night, and you have a date for 8pm. He's cancelled at the last minute, leaving you high and dry, so you'd be fully justified.
Tokyo, Japan is arguably the hub of dating sim culture, and where the conversation around these technologies is most prominent.
How to react when a date cancels
The character AI can respond to the player prompts but cannot act freely apart from user interaction. Once the user stops engaging with the character, that avatar usually does not go on to interact with a larger game world.
In my brief engagements with the game, the response options seemed rudimentary and the interactions overtly scripted. The next notable dating sim I encountered, VR Kanojoshifted away from traditional video game elements.
This game implements VR for a more immersive experience. The AI in this game is capable of operating freely from user engagement. The VR Kanojo experience was far more intimate, not just in the bedroom setting, but in the overall approach to player interaction: There was a give and take present, as well as a sense of uneasiness akin to the nerves of a real life first date.
VR Kanojo also features explicit scenes of sexual interaction, presented in the format of step-by-step lessons, each escalating the sexual encounter. For example, one of the earlier scenes will have the player lean in for a kiss. If the player tries to make any other kind of advancement outside the activity set up in the scene, i. In both Love Plus and VR Kanojo, if a player is unable to bond or romantically progress with their virtual partner, they are encouraged to try a different tactic a different piece of dialogue, or an option to give the character a gift of some kindbut the player can never force an interaction.
One may see this design choice as evidence that gamification can impact intimacy with regard to how people define consent in the modern world — and that these technologies need to remain cautious of the freedom they give users. A video game makes use of hard-coded boundaries. Their popularity may be indicative of the larger society beginning to desire rigid structures and guidelines for romantic encounters. Love Plus and VR Kanojo, as well as their contemporaries, can be seen as evidence for the very early stages of a society moving towards substituting human interaction with digital assets for experiencing intimacy and love.
Given the work culture and dating sim boom continuously depicted in Tokyo, this shift could potentially be of service within cultures that value convenience and where many feel they do not have time to invest adequately in another human being. One could see dating sims make an impact in our general outlook on intimacy with regards to convenience, acting as a solution for systemic loneliness, and potential safe spaces. People cancel at the last minute, change their minds, break promises, don't show up, behave strangely, antagonize you capriciously, get moody and ruin an otherwise perfectly nice evening.
If that were all they did, your course of action would be clear: Unfortunately, those same people who behave strangely have also been known to make you happy by showing interest, showing up and showing you a great time.
The gamification of intimacy through dating sims
This complexity is what renders dating such a challenge. For example, in the scenario above, here are two of your potential responses to the cancellation: He's cancelled at the last minute, leaving you high and dry, so you'd be fully justified. However, if you like him, he may not ask you out again if you chew him out. Well, these things come up, so hey -- no problem! But if you do that, would you be setting a precedent for allowing him to cancel again with impunity?
The gamification of intimacy through dating sims
You do want to give him a second chance without being a complete doormat. And your best friend introduced him to you, so just being nasty to him won't do. Which option is better?
This is not a trivial question, and researchers like David Buss claim that the human brain evolved to its current gargantuan size mostly to figure out complex social questions like this. That way, you have reliable strategies that you can use over and over again, knowing that they give you consistently good results.
One such strategy applicable to our scenario and actually all human interaction comes from game theory. A game is any situation in which you make decisions that affect other players.
Dating and Game Theory: How to Make Better Decisions in Your Love Life | HuffPost Life
So in dating, even when you think you're not playing games, by definition you are. In fact, any extended social interaction is a combination of many games over time. A particular kind of game called the iterated prisoner's dilemma bears particular relevance to dating. Without getting into the intricacies of this game, I just want you to know that each player in the game has a choice to either cooperate or defect -- basically, to be nice or nasty.
Not so surprisingly, cooperation aka being nice is the more effective long-term strategy with a caveat that we'll discuss. In his book The Evolution of Cooperationpolitical scientist Robert Axelrod reported on the success of various long-term strategies when pitted against one another.
He came up with some interesting findings on the nature of cooperation, one set of which I'll summarize as the four Axelrod Criteria.
They should hold you in good stead in dating, business, friendship, family dynamics and the odd international treaty negotiation: Start by cooperating, not defecting. This generally means saying 'yes' instead of 'no'. You continue to cooperate until the other person defects, at which point you need to Once the other person defects, you defect, too.
Your strategy is basically to do whatever the other person did in the last round.