I have, more than once, written in defense of Love Plus, a game I have never even played. (In fact, I have only played and critiqued one high school dating simulation, Brooktown High for PSP. My review appeared in Electronic Gaming Monthly in 2007; I remember feeling very conflicted, because that game was hardly The Worst.)
In early 2010, the Japanese-language dating simulation got a ton of maybe-undue coverage, mostly because the types of people we figure are playing Love Plus on their Nintendo DSes are, we imagine, Akihabara-dwelling hikikomori who have never touched a breast that isn’t made of plasticized vinyl.
…I can’t condemn a love simulation like Love Plus+ because that game only asks the heart to do real things in artificial situations.
Much worse, I think, is behaving artificially during true situations. And that is a truly human behavior. I guess in that way, some games train us to be better than ourselves.
So if Love Plus+ really is about manipulating girls and playing romantic odds, to hell with it. But if it instead teaches painful moments of human connection, which are rare in these times, that’s awesome! Embrace it! “Personal Trainer: Heartbreak.”
The point of all this is, I’ve always wanted to play Love Plus, since God knows I’ve already stormed the Internet with all my readymade assessments of the game. No more excuses: an English-language fan translation is now available as a patch.