Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator

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Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator
Developer(s)Game Grumps
Publisher(s)Game Grumps
Director(s)Tyler J. Hutchison
Producer(s)Arin Hanson
Brent Lilley
Designer(s)Tyler J. Hutchinson
Jory Griffis
Greg Batha
Eric Itomuna
Alejandro Quan-Madrid (Minigames)
XPTND (Minigames)
Writer(s)Vernon Shaw
Leighton Gray
Composer(s)Jesse Cale
Baths (theme song)
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
  • Microsoft Windows, macOS
  • July 20, 2017
  • Linux
  • September 22, 2017
  • PlayStation 4
  • October 30, 2018
  • Nintendo Switch, Android, iOS
  • July 2, 2019
Genre(s)Visual novel

Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator is a visual novel video game released on July 20, 2017 for Microsoft Windows and macOS, and on September 22, 2017 for Linux. The game was developed and published by Game Grumps and written by Vernon Shaw and Leighton Gray.[1] The expanded Dadrector's Cut was released for the PlayStation 4, along with an update for the PC version, on October 30, 2018.[2] It was released on Nintendo Switch on July 2, 2019.[3]


Dream Daddy is an interactive visual novel where the player can choose between seven different single fathers they can date. Included are mini-games to complete, multiple endings and voice acting by members of the show Game Grumps. The player is able to customize the appearance of their player character.[4]


The game follows a lonely single father who has just moved to a new house in Maple Bay with his daughter, Amanda. On the cul-de-sac where he lives, most of the fathers are single, and the player has the option of romancing them.[5] The available romance options are:

  • Mat Sella, an easygoing musician and coffee shop owner.
  • Craig Cahn, a fitness fanatic and the protagonist's former college room-mate.
  • Hugo Vega, an avid bookworm and Amanda's high school English teacher.
  • Brian Harding, a friendly but highly competitive man who often brags about his daughter's accomplishments.
  • Damien Bloodmarch, a goth fascinated with Victorian-era fashions and aesthetics.
  • Robert Small, a rugged, mysterious and hard-drinking loner.
  • Joseph Christiansen, the youth minister at the local church and the only married dad.


Vernon Shaw, the co-creator and co-writer for Dream Daddy,[6] met the Game Grumps while he was working as a talent manager for Maker Studios.[7] Maker Studios was the Game Grumps' channel network from June 2013 to January 2016.[8][9] The idea for the game came from a joke that Vernon and co-creator Leighton Gray made about dads visiting Disneyland, and the inspiration to make a dad dating simulator came from the pigeon-dating visual novel, Hatoful Boyfriend. The development of Dream Daddy started after the proposal of the game by Shaw to Arin Hanson, to which Hanson immediately approved. Tyler Hutchinson, the director, and Jory Griffis, the narrative designer, were hired in fall of 2016. The original plan for the game was to have development be done in around 9 months in time for a Father's Day 2017 release, but this proved to be too difficult.[7] Dream Daddy was announced on June 18, 2017, with a 45-second-long teaser trailer uploaded on the Game Grumps' alternate channel, GrumpOut.[10] On July 14, 2017, it was announced that the game's release would be delayed due to the discovery of some last-minute bugs, and would miss its original release date of July 13, 2017.[11] It was given a new date of July 19, 2017, only to be delayed again. It finally came out on July 20, 2017.[12][13] A Dadrector's Cut of the game, featuring additional sidequests and minigames, was released on the PlayStation 4 and launched as a free update to the PC version on October 30, 2018.[2]

Initially, Hutchinson and Griffis thought the game was too linear and told Vernon and Leighton to look to the 1994 game Tokimeki Memorial for inspiration on system-driven dating sims. After systems-based gameplay was installed, the player did not just play for the dads' affection but play to a point where they could be "cool" or "erudite" enough for the dads' affection. Narrative paths became more character-driven and logic-based as development went on. The word count for the game would be around 133,000 when development was eventually over.[7]

A philosophy used by Vernon Shaw while developing the game was "sincerity wrapped in cynicism", meaning the player would play the game because of the intrigue about gay dads but walk away with life lessons about fatherhood and relationships. Griffis recalls the switch from the game being about dads having sex to being about relationships came towards the end of development when character arcs had been fully established. The lack of references by characters to their sexual orientation came from the developers feeling that most media dealing with queer people was about societal issues and not about the relationships themselves. Instead, the game deals with issues like social anxiety and toxic masculinity.[7]


Critical response to the game was "mixed or average", according to the review aggregator Metacritic.[14] The game's writing was praised by publications, such as Wired UK and PC Gamer.[20][17] Critics noted that the game does a good job at transitioning from comedic to serious segments, with Simone de Rochefort of Polygon saying "While it's remarkable and perhaps surprising that Dream Daddy capably handles serious plots—especially if all you've seen is the game's marketing—no one should be shocked that it's also damn funny."[18]

The representation of LGBT people in the game was met with generally positive reception. Matt Kamen of Wired UK praised that the game did not use gay stereotypes.[21] Elise Favis of Game Informer said on the game not referencing the characters' identities, "Datable characters don't ever speak of sexual identities, which can feel strange at times, but it is also appropriate; since Dream Daddy is about fulfilling fantasies rather than mirroring reality, I got the sense that this world is removed from those social issues."[15] Hannah Dwan of PC Gamer said the game should have included commentary on the difficulty of queer people finding relationships in society.[17] The game's system of determining what gender identity and sexual orientation the player character has was praised by Wired UK.[20]


The game was nominated for "Best Visual Novel" in PC Gamer's 2017 Game of the Year Awards,[22] and for "Best Adventure Game" in IGN's Best of 2017 Awards.[23] It was a runner-up each for "Best New Character" (Damien Bloodmarch), "Best Cast of Characters", and "Game of the Year" in Giant Bomb's 2017 Game of the Year Awards.[24][25] It won the award for "Biggest Surprise" in Game Informer's 2017 Adventure Game of the Year Awards.[26]

Year Award Category Result Ref
2017 Golden Joystick Awards Best Indie Game Nominated [27]
PC Game of the Year Nominated
Breakthrough Award (Game Grumps) Nominated
2018 National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers Awards Game, Special Class Nominated [28][29]
SXSW Gaming Awards Trending Game of the Year Nominated [30][31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Gach, Ethan (June 18, 2017). "Help Hot Dads Find True Love In Dream Daddy". Kotaku. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Romano, Sal (October 17, 2018). "Dream Daddy: Dadrector's Cut coming to PS4 on October 30". Gematsu. Retrieved October 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Megarry, Daniel (June 19, 2017). "This gay dating sim lets you hook up with your perfect daddy". Gay Times. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  4. ^ Moyse, Chris (June 6, 2019). "Dream Daddy: Dadrector's Cut coming to mobile and Nintendo Switch". Destructoid. Archived from the original on June 19, 2017. Retrieved May 25, 2020.
  5. ^ Strawhun, Aiden (June 19, 2017). "Fulfill Your Dating Dreams With Dad Dating Simulator Dream Daddy". GameSpot. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "Vernon Shaw (@VernonShaw) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  7. ^ a b c d Noclip (September 3, 2018), How Game Grumps Created Dream Daddy - Noclip Documentary, retrieved 2018-10-11
  8. ^ Joy, Shaun (January 13, 2016). "Polaris is Not So Grump: The Game Grumps Leave Polaris". techraptor.net. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  9. ^ The Game Station (July 5, 2013), Exciting Announcement!, retrieved 2018-10-11
  10. ^ Dream Daddy - Teaser Trailer (A Game from Game Grumps!), retrieved 2018-10-11
  11. ^ "Dream Daddy on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  12. ^ Rowen, Nic (July 14, 2017). "Dream Daddy delayed, some fans are salty". Destructoid. Archived from the original on July 15, 2017. Retrieved July 14, 2017.
  13. ^ Warr, Philippa (July 14, 2017). "Dream Daddy is currently a delayed daddy". Rock Paper Shotgun. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  14. ^ a b "Dream Daddy: A Daddy Dating Simulator for PC on Metacritic". Metacritic. Retrieved August 11, 2017.
  15. ^ a b Favis, Elise (July 27, 2017). "Dream Daddy". Game Informer. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  16. ^ Matschijewsky, Daniel (July 28, 2017). "Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator - PC". GameStar. Archived from the original on August 4, 2017. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  17. ^ a b c Dwan, Hannah (July 24, 2017). "Dream Daddy: A Daddy Dating Simulator Review". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on August 5, 2017. Retrieved July 28, 2017.
  18. ^ a b de Rochefort, Simone (August 10, 2017). "Dream Daddy review". Polygon. Archived from the original on August 10, 2017. Retrieved September 5, 2017.
  19. ^ Sheehan, Gavin (July 20, 2017). "Who's Your Daddy? We Review 'Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator'". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved August 2, 2017.
  20. ^ a b c Kamen, Matt (August 2, 2017). "Dream Daddy review: subverting gay clichés with great writing". Wired UK. Archived from the original on December 6, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2017.
  21. ^ Kamen, Matt (2017-08-02). "Dream Daddy review: subverting gay clichés with great writing". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  22. ^ PC Gamer staff (December 8, 2017). "Games of the Year 2017: The nominees". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on January 6, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  23. ^ "Best of 2017 Awards: Best Adventure Game". IGN. December 20, 2017. Archived from the original on December 23, 2017. Retrieved January 3, 2018.
  24. ^ Giant Bomb staff (December 28, 2017). "Game of the Year 2017 Day Four: Debut, New Characters, Story, and Styyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyle". Giant Bomb. Archived from the original on December 29, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  25. ^ Giant Bomb staff (December 29, 2017). "Game of the Year 2017 Day Five: Best, Worst, Cast, and Capture". Giant Bomb. Archived from the original on December 30, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  26. ^ Favis, Elise (January 9, 2018). "The 2017 Adventure Game Of The Year Awards". Game Informer. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  27. ^ Gaito, Eri (November 13, 2017). "Golden Joystick Awards 2017 Nominees". Best In Slot. Archived from the original on January 10, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  28. ^ "Nominee List for 2017". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. February 9, 2018. Archived from the original on February 15, 2018. Retrieved February 19, 2018.
  29. ^ "Horizon wins 7; Mario GOTY". National Academy of Video Game Trade Reviewers. March 13, 2018. Archived from the original on March 14, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
  30. ^ McNeill, Andrew (January 31, 2018). "Here Are Your 2018 SXSW Gaming Awards Finalists!". SXSW. Retrieved January 31, 2018.
  31. ^ IGN Studios (March 17, 2018). "2018 SXSW Gaming Awards Winners Revealed". IGN. Retrieved March 18, 2018.

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