Later Daters is a dating game for seniors focused on sexual freedom

Here’s a truth that’s rarely acknowledged: old people fuck. Contrary to popular belief that the older you get the more inflexible you become, the reality is that some older people grow Following adventurous and hungry with age. Later daters, a visual novel about moving into a retirement home, is partly based on the love lives of real seniors interviewed by the game’s developer, Bloom Digital Media.

According to Miriam Verburg, executive producer of the indie studio, talking to older members of her family who are dating long after divorcing was eye-opening. Her aunts, Verburg says, often had to clarify “from the start” if they wanted a relationship to be monogamous.

“[Monogamy is] not necessarily something that happens in relationships with older people,” the aunt told Verburg. “A lot of us have been married for a long time. And we’re not married anymore, but we don’t want to go that way.

“Older people are somehow assumed to be asexual,” the aunt continued, “while they’re probably a lot more open-minded than we think.”

Later daters allows players to not only dictate the main character’s background leading up to the nursing home, but also provides fans with great flexibility in pursuing relationships. There’s the typical simple romance you might expect from a dating sim, but you can also have occasional flings, or even get polyamorous with a handful of characters. Better yet, throughout the course, Later daters makes the options clear enough that you are never surprised by your tangles.

Image: Bloom Digital Media

“There is always an option to say no, because we always give the agency to the player,” says Verburg. The game is also careful to highlight romances as character studies, rather than puzzles where the player simply has to say the right thing to score. Characters sometimes bristle when you try to tell them what you think they might want to hear.

The idea for the game, Verburg told Polygon, partly came from the realization that baby boomers aren’t just getting older, they’re playing games more and more, but popular video games often ignore them outright. . “There is going to be a big game market [there]says Verbourg.

The unusual dating sim is also a natural progression from the studio’s larger oeuvre. Where Bloom Digital Media’s Previous Game Long story explored young LGBT romance, Later daters swings in the opposite direction. The game is about aging, losing people, and what it means to be comfortable in retirement. Crucially, Later daters takes place in Canada, where the healthcare system is more robust than in countries like the United States.

“Getting older is kind of a loaded topic about capitalism,” Verburg acknowledged.

While Later daters originally started as a conversation about older gamers, now that it’s been out for a while, the studio has noted that its most visible fan base is actually “ambitious millennials” who see aging as a relaxing escape. While the game has certainly been embraced by some seniors, playing something about adjusting to a nursing home isn’t exactly a fantasy for those fans. Younger players, meanwhile, might already be grappling with the complexities of having open or non-monogamous relationship systems, and the game lets them see what that might look like over time.

Laurie, protagonist of Later Dater.

Image: Bloom Digital Media

Although the audience is not perfectly aligned with the subject of the game, Later daters still reflects a phenomenon among older singles. A subject interviewed for the game had been married to a man for about 15 years, eventually raising a small army of children. But in her golden years, she dated women instead, some of whom are married but in open relationships.

“The idea of ​​monogamy is so limited in terms of understanding how love evolves with age,” Verburg says. “So we kind of thought it was natural to put in a polycule.”

According to this interviewee, having a lesbian relationship was the first time she felt emotionally and sexually fulfilled. And in Later daters, players can certainly be a part of situations where characters only begin to explore their sexuality after reaching seniority, including a scenario where a character decides to transition later in life. Trickier situations, like HIV-positive characters with an active sex life, are also thoughtfully handled. The game oscillates between endearing moments of well-being and poignant, sometimes sad intrigues, with a rare grace.

But just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean the game can’t get racy either. After all, the developers wanted to share the realities of real people’s lives, and people don’t just waste away as they get older. Seniors told Verberg he bought creative aids, like “erotic cookbooks” that provided “recipe” prompts to try with partners. And more than one interviewee enthusiastically told Verberg how much they like to surprise their dates with visits where they are naked except for a large coat. It turned out that getting older was just the start of an exciting new chapter full of possibilities for these seniors.

Later daters is split across two chapters, and it’s available for Nintendo Switch via the Online Store, and Mac and Windows PC via To smoke and Itch.io. A recent game update introduced a full-fledged Cribbage mode.

About Jimmie P. Ricks

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