Generally you meet several characters, and will have to choose one to court.
In Japan, dating sim characters are referred to as “capturable” -- whether that means you capture their hearts or their bodies depends on the game.
My best friend got the original Sims game when it came out in 2000, and I remember staying up late with her playing it for hours.
It was so much fun being able to create our own world where we could be whoever we wanted to be and do whatever we wanted to do.
The term "dating sim" is also often used incorrectly in English as a generic term for romance-driven games (ren'ai games), a subject matter which is stereotypically associated with the visual novel genre.
The technical definition of a dating simulation game, known as a romantic simulation game in Japan, can involve several technical elements such as a time limit, several statistics such as looks and charm which can be boosted through exercise, or an "attraction meter" which can increase or decrease depending on one's decisions.
Some original-English dating sims include Sim Girls, In a typical dating sim, the player controls a male avatar surrounded by female characters.
It is pure fun and it is not considered as cheating on your partner when you are flirting with game characters!
The Love Plus series is a highly popular dating sim game which has also been misunderstood as a game for loser nerds who do not have social lives.