Only Lonely Women Play Otome Games and Other Common Misconceptions

This post has been a long time coming, and I mean a LONG time coming… I had the idea for this post around the time that post about the infamous Vogue article, but it wasn’t until a month or two ago when I saw an especially troubling search term that I actually started writing this post.

Otome miscon

Before I get into why this is so problematic, let me say that I am in no way shape or form the authority on otome games and the types of people that play them. I can only speak for myself and my experiences. However, despite that I can still say with some degree of certainty, that otome gamers get a bad rap sometimes. So I decided to write a post that addresses some of the misconceptions people have about otome gamers while still answering the above question.

*Disclaimer: The ideas presented in this post are my own, it’s fine if you disagree with me. All I ask is that you be respectful when commenting. 

So after playing around with a ton of post ideas, I decided to list common misconceptions and answer the above question at the end. So without further ado, here are some common misconceptions about otome gamers:

Misconception #1: Only Women Play Otome Games

While it may be true that otome games were originally designed with a female audience in mind and to this day, women are the largest consumers of otome games and their related materials. But that in no way means that they are the only consumers of otome games, in fact there are a growing number of men out there who enjoy playing otome games. Sure their numbers are relatively small when compared to those of the female otome community, but the fact of the matter is that they do exist!

But, it’s a shame that when otome gamers are portrayed in the media, they are almost always women or teenage girls. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read comments written by men who wondered if it was normal for them to play otome games. I’m not a man, myself, but as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter who you are. Play whatever you want and don’t let anyone anyone tell you otherwise!

Misconception #2: Otome Games are Practice for Real Relationships

Now, I am no relationship expert, I’m just a 20-something who has a healthy obsession games, so my advice should be taken with a grain of salt. But, even though I’m no love guru… I still know a thing or two about relationships, at least as much as the next 20-something…

I don’t care how realistic a game is, it will never ever take the place of real life relationships. So the very idea of some one using otome games as practice for real life romantic relationships in the future is ridiculous. There is only one way to gain relationship points in real life, and it doesn’t involve stats raising or clearing checkpoints. It involves actual human interactions, whether that is through a dating app like Tinder or just meeting up with people at social events, love requires another (living) person. Spending hours romancing virtual hotties is not relationship practice… sorry.

Misconception #3: All Otome Gamers are Anti Social Loners

For years, gamers have been portrayed as antisocial loners who spend their days locked up in their mother’s basements playing video games. Well, the same holds true for otome gamers, people seem to think that the only people that play otome games are lonely women with too much time on their hands.

But, the truth is that otome gamers come in all shapes and forms, in fact many hold full time jobs, have families, and do just about everything else normal healthy individuals do. Sure, there will always be exceptions, but for the most part everyone I know that plays otome games lead fairly normal lives. In fact, they are some of the most social and fun people I’ve met and it’s a shame the loner stereotype is so prevalent.

Misconception #4: Only Single Women Play Otome Games

Now it’s time to address the question that started this post…

“Is it wrong for me to play otome games even if I have a boyfriend in real life?”

The short answer, “Hell no!” Why is this even a question?! I guess I should clarify that I am in no way passing judgement on the person who asked this question, because up until a few years ago I too thought that only lonely single women played otome games. It was only after I started playing otome games myself and I began interacting with other fans of otome games that I realized how diverse the community really was.

I’ve met several people who are in happy and healthy relationships and they also enjoy playing otome games. I also know several single folks who also enjoy playing otome games. For most, playing otome games is the same as playing any other video game, there really isn’t some deep psychological reason behind it. Most people play otome games because they are fun! Sure some are in it for the escapism or the fantasy aspects, but for the most part people play them because they want to… your relationship status has no bearings on that! So why is it that people still think that otome games are only for single women? 

Well that’s were you all come in, I want to hear from you all! Why do people think it’s wrong to play otome games when you have a significant other? Also, I know there are many more misconceptions about otome gamers that weren’t covered in this post so feel free to share some of the other misconceptions people have about otome games and otome gamers! Let me know what you think by leaving a comment on this post below! 

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20 thoughts on “Only Lonely Women Play Otome Games and Other Common Misconceptions

  1. I really agree with this. Otome gamers comm are so diverse! XD and everyone definitely can play this without having to worry about their ‘status’ in social life~

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!! I totally agree with this comment! The otome community is so open and diverse and that’s what makes it so much fun!! 🙂

  2. I agree with all you said. For me it’s embarrassing to say I like otome games because I know I’ll just get teased or laughed at. It happened once even though my friends are good people and I know they didn’t mean harm, they laughed because it was out of my character, so I let it slide and never said it again. But I think otome does get judged badly by many.

    1. Awww I’m sorry that happened to you! Yeah, it’s a shame that most people don’t get the appeal of otome games, but to each their own. I remember telling my coworkers about how I play otome games and they just couldn’t wrap their minds around why someone would “date anime men”… But could care less what ppl think about my hobby, otome games are fun!!

      1. I don’t mind if they don’t get the appeal, more like the misconceptions that is unfortunate. But like you it won’t stop me, I just won’t mention it is all.

  3. “Practice for real relationships” 😂 If anything, I’d say that it can only be good for a relationship if you can talk about the people you crush on, real or fictional. Playing at fictional dating is even fun to do together, seeing where you compare or differ with each other. Dragon Age Inquisition is brilliant for that. Solas just does something to me, but my partner can’t understand what I see in him!

    1. lol I tried to get my BF to try otome games once…he didn’t really like them, but at least he tried 🙂 And most of my friends don’t get the appeal of otome games so they won’t play with me. But the online community is huge and it’s fun chatting with ppl online that like them!

      I’ve never heard of Dragon Age! *goes to look up*

      1. Haha, at least he made a valiant effort for you 😆 Sometimes I really don’t know what we’d to without the web, I’d feel so cut off from the communities I love otherwise.

        Oh god, you need to play them. Inquisition is the latest one, and a great place to jump on too. The series always had the dating sim element in there, but the devs took it to the next level for that one.

  4. To the person did the search:

    It’s really no different than reading a romance novel or watching a romance anime. Lots of people in relationships play games. So play on!

  5. Great post, pokeninja!

    I wouldn’t call what people tend to stereotype otome gamers as (or gamers who play romance-oriented stuff in general) total misconceptions, since there is some truth to it. The fact is, otome games are targeted towards 15~25-year-old heterosexual single women and most otome gamers fit this target demographic. The merchandise and events rarely, if ever, take the otome gamers in relationships into account, for example. It’s like a given that most otome gamers are single. In any survey- amateur or professional- of otome game(r)s I’ve come across, the most domninant demographic is “single female in her late teens~early twenties”.

    I certainly disagree with the “otome gamers are lonely, antisocial and unhygienic otaku/fujoshi that can’t get boyfriends. Instead, they live our their pathetic fantasies through lame romance visual novels riddled with cliches” mentality, though. Maybe a pinch do fit this bill to some extent (but perhaps not *just* because of an obsession with otome gaming), but I’d say the majority are just “normal girls/ladies”- if slightly on the geekier/nerdier side due to the crossover with the ACG fandom- that enjoys romance stories told through games. Not too different from being a romance anime, comic, manga or novel enthusiast in my eyes.

    Overall, it’s not like I can’t see how the “casual” observer would misunderstand the community. It’s easier to pigeonhole after checking the first five results of Google… As opposed to carefully looking over a wide variety of sites and developing your own consensus after seeing things from multiple perspectives.

    As for the burning question: “Is it wrong for me to play otome games even if I have a boyfriend in real life?”

    My general answer would be “not at all, but what made you ask?”

    In more detail: I think it’s worth considering why the question came up in the first place. The likely reason is probably the asker’s desire to be a good, “moral” partner; making sure s/he isn’t inadvertently “being a cheater”. Maybe it was a transient insecurity and they wanted fans to reassure them for the day.

    But what if this question was raised because the otome gamer has some self-awareness that s/he may be too obsessed? Has s/he picked up that her/his love of otome games may be to a degree that it could interfere with the real relationship? Or maybe a particularly insecure boyfriend has been bothering the otome gamer about it and made her/him feel compelled to ask? Is s/he hiding her hobby? If so, why?

    If I were the asker, that’s what I’d try to consider. It’s easier to think about this all in a black-and-white, “otome gaming in a relationship: right or wrong?” but the truth is that there *could be* more going on outside of that question if the person asked with the mindset that it may be a significant issue. Even if you think it’s perfectly moral, does your partner? And if they don’t, why? If you can’t convince them that you can separate reality from fiction… It sounds like there may be some underlying insecurity and/or trust issues. What makes them think you can’t? Why does it bother them? Is someone who won’t even *try to* accept your *healthy* interest in enjoying a harmless hobby worth it?

    Anyway, again, great post. Hopefully it’d be some food for thought for people who are content to categorise every otome game (or a vast majority) fan with a misguided sense of social superiority.

  6. Thank you for addressing these misconceptions. Gamers come in all shapes and sizes, and i certainly disagree with the notion that people just play to get relationship practice. Otome games work equally well as stories, and if guys want to play them, why not? It can be vice versa if girls wish to play male oriented games(i personally see a lot of appeal in games like muvluv)

    Incidentally, when I went to Japan and visited otome speciality stores, many were 20s-30s well dressed women in groups…

    SMH that people think these things, I can’t even
    I know males who play too, regardless of their sexual orientation, and also guess what? If girls play yuri games it doesn’t make them gay, nor does it make them hetero, it just means you like that content an enjoy experiencing it. Ditto for otomes.
    Take the stage, and slay~

  8. Great read. I, you already know, don’t play otome games but am always tempted by you know who. But I have heard of all of these misconceptions. Ah, just like being an otaku has a lot of misconceptions, so is playing otome games.

    1. Thanks Arria!! Yess join me in the dark side, we have cookies and bishies!!

      Yeah, it’s a shame that these exist… as long as something makes you happy (and doesn’t harm anyone else) I see no problem with it!

      1. No problem. Ahahaha! We’ll see, my friend. We’ll see. I’m already down to the deepest pits with YOI, so I don’t think my fragile heart can take any more bishie obsessions with otoge. We’ll see. I’ll never say never when it comes to bishies. Hehehehe. And reserve triple chocolate chip cookies for me in case I join the dark side. Exactly! As long as it makes us happy and don’t harm anyone else, there’s really no problem. Just those nosy people who can’t help but criticize others for following their passions and being happy. Bitter.

      2. YOI just kind of caught me by surprise, but I love it!! I have a triple chocolate chip cookie right here for you when you decide to come join me lol XD

        Yes! Bitter people smh…

Gush about cute otome boys~