We’ve written up a lot of bizarre Japanese dating sims in the past. There was LovePlus, a game that inspired thousands of men to pledge their everlasting love to virtual (and, surprisingly, volatile) girlfriends. There was Jurassic Heart, where you play a high school girl who falls in love with a Tyrannosaurus Rex.
While these are all pretty weird, none of them are quite as bizarre as My Forged Wedding, a dating sim where players pretend to have a pretend wedding. Let your brain wrap around that one for a second.
Here’s the premise: You’re a recent college grad with no employment prospects traveling to Tokyo to stay with your uncle, who is the “president of one of those tech companies that is so hot right now.” (Timely! Relevant!) I chose the name “Kimberly Karmichael,” which is the name I used in middle school when I went into chatrooms to cybersex with strangers.
After you get off the train, you meet a sexy, mysterious stranger who asks you to be his fake bride. Players can choose between eight characters, including Yamato, a “sarcastic teacher,” Takamasa, a “twisted scriptwriter,” and Takao, an “awkward lawyer.” (Is there any other kind?)
I chose Kyoichi, the “big shot diplomat,” because his cheekbones reminded me of Christian Bale and because the other characters’ storylines were $3.99 each.
As you play the game, it turns into a choose-your-own-adventure-type story that culminates in the two of you falling in love and raising a family together. Suffice to say, I did not get that far. Japanese dating sims are lengthy. As. Hell. But I could easily see how the game, with its meta “pretending to pretend to be married” conceit, would be addictive if you were a 14 year old Japanese girl who was tired of stealing her mom’s translated E.L. James paperbacks.
My Forged Marriage is brought to you by Voltage Inc., the maker of such other dating sims as Kissed By The Baddest Bidder, 10 Days with my Devil, and Be My Princess. All of them appear to be conceptually similar to My Forged Marriage, and they all seem to cater to the same adolescent girl fantasies of being swept off your feet by a wealthy, high-cheekboned, secretly soft-hearted bad boy. These fantasies are derivative and silly and sexist and totally eyeroll-worthy, but if this is how young Japanese girls are getting their ya-yas out before they start meeting boys and having sex IRL, then more power to them. At the very least, it’s probably healthier than what Kimberly Karmichael did when she was their age.
H/T Molly McHugh | Screengrab via My Forged Wedding