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What genre is this type of mechanic?

Scutarii

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Long Live the Queen at least is definitely a raising sim. Be advised though that most modern examples of the genre are pornographic.
Raising Sim is another handy searchable term, thanks!

I don’t mind some titillation but want it part of an overall story with...you know...characters we care about. Not barely masked fetish inserts.

If you haven't played it yet, go for "Princess Maker 2".
It's old, but it's also still damn excellent.
I’ll try and find a copy 👍

Also on the SNES was "Wonder Project J". Unfortunately, it was never translated, but I think a few years back there was an effort at a fan translation.
I’m PC only and the SNES is only a year younger than me!

A pretty good translation! Probably shouldn't post a link here, but you can google it pretty straightforwardly. There was also a sequel on the N64.

Something worth bringing up is that though I've described all these games as coming under the umbrella of "life simulation", they're not all quite the same kind of game. Princess Maker incorporates a simple JRPG. Academagia is like a CYOA story. Wonder Project J is... probably closest to a point-and-click adventure?

Another more recent game in the Princess Maker vein is Cute Knight. (Its adventuring stuff, as I recall, is in a Dungeon Master-esque first person view.)
Good to know, thanks. For me I don’t mind them having variety in mechanics, just hopefully having a pace I can control. I game to relax and being able to boot up, play for 20mins, step away and grab a drink, procrastinate for 15mins then carry on playing without skipping a beat is my style. The genres you listed all seem to be compatible with that.

I would not say most, not for raising sims and definitely not in English. 18+ content is more common in less complex games in my experience.

Four Princess Maker games are available officially on Steam now. The first two are using the updated Refine graphics, rather than the old style most of us know PM2 from. The translations are readable but have plenty of errors. PM4 is not available possibly due to more complex licensing issues, so it's 1, 2, 3, and 5.

Academagia is definitely a fun complex one. Same developers also did "1931: Scheherazade at the Library of Pergamum" which is more dating-sim than Academagia was but still has some fairly complicated mechanics.

A recent game I've played is called 'Chinese Parents' (was originally chinese, is now translated, again with occasional wobbles). It's a multi-generation raising sim, so some of your stats will carry forward into your next child. There are some minor dating sim elements (with different mechanics based on whether your current character is male or female) but definitely nothing risque.

There's a little Korean game not many have heard of called Lu Bu Maker which is mixing Princess Maker and Romance of the Three Kingdoms. The translation is not great.

There's a complicated sci-fi raising sim called Ciel Fledge which has been in development for a while and still isn't out but I have my eye on.

For games directly inspired by Long Live The Queen, there's the very obscure "Maraiyum: Rise of the Setting Sun" and "Masques and Murder", and a much better-known "Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem" which is still in development and has been for years, but is playable and free and has a large fanbase (I can't say much about it personally as I have not played it, I'm kind of steering clear of this until it's done, I don't want to cross-contaminate.)

There are a lot of vaguely life-sim games out there, some better than others. Tokimeki Memorial is THE big complex lifesim franchise in Japanese but there are no official ports and the only fan translations are for the Girls Side games on the DS. I know nothing about how to play fan-translated DS games.

Shira Oka was a Western attempt at making a Tokimeki-style game but due to complex reasons it was never as successful as they'd hoped and I'm not sure the game is even available for sale anymore. It is very long and you timeloop through the story, progressively raising your stats and unlocking more scenes as you pursue all of the (twelve? I forget. a lot) character routes.

And I am currently neck-deep in the development of the second Magical Diary game - current builds are playable up through late February of the school year.

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Now, if you DO want an 18+ game, there are two versions of 'Littlewitch Romanesque' on sale. The Steam version has the sex scenes cut out and the pantyshots redrawn. The JList version has all the sex. It's a fun game but be advised that it is NOT an RPG - you will never get to actually choose what spell you want to use, you will only unlock scenes with spells in them after you already know the spell and then your character will cast it automatically. The strategy comes in balancing your skillgain to unlock spells and scenes.

I can probably say more about the subject but I need to get back to work!
Thanks for the comprehensive breakdown! Lots to dig through there 😀

The generational stuff sounds interesting, I quite liked it in Agarest Generations (and yes I save scummed the hell out of it)

I already grabbed Magical Diary 2, the main reason I posted this thread was that I reached the end of the (then latest) build and needed more!
 
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