The War of Desire and Technology in Dream Daddy

in Screen Bodies
Jon Heggestad Lecturer, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, USA

Search for other papers by Jon Heggestad in
Current site
Google Scholar
Restricted access


The media theorist Sandy Stone has referred to flattened and digitized modes of communication in terms of “tokens,” using this framework specifically to address the ways in which we employ technology to compress, send, and receive desire. In taking up this thread, this article examines how tokens of desire are compressed and passed through the specific video game genre of dating simulators. While addressing a number of popular titles, the article highlights one offering in particular, the 2017 release Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator. The scope of this analysis extends beyond the game itself to consider the physical responses of its players—as made visible in game tutorials and walkthroughs distributed online. This exploration of the relationship between players and the game highlights how gameplay facilitates desires, how elements like agency and fictionality encourage certain responses from players, and how the genre ultimately functions alongside earlier, predigital objects of affection.

Contributor Notes

Jon Heggestad is a lecturer in the English department at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he teaches courses on writing, rhetoric, and film. His research interests look to issues of representation in visual culture broadly and, more specifically, at the intersection of queer theory and digital humanities. ORCID: 0000-0002-2376-7947

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Screen Bodies

The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology

  • Aarseth, Espen. 1997. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature. Baltimore, MD: JHU Press.

  • Bogost, Ian. 2016. Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games. New York: Basic Books.

  • Booth, Wayne C. 1988. The Company We Keep. Berkeley: University of California Press.

  • BuzzFeedBlue. 2017a. “People Find Their Dream Daddy (A Dad Dating Simulator).” Video. Uploaded 9 August.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • BuzzFeedBlue. 2017b. “People Date Their Dream Daddy • Dream Daddy Pt 2.” Video. Uploaded 15 October.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Carse, James P. 2011. Finite and Infinite Games. New York: Free Press.

  • Gallagher, Catherine. 2006. “The Rise of Fictionality.” In The Novel: History, Geography and Culture, ed. Franco Moretti, 336363. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Game Grumps. 2017. Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator. Game Grumps.

  • HuniePot. 2015. HuniePop. HuniePot.

  • Juul, Jesper. 2005. Half: Video Games between Real Rules and Fictional Worlds. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Lamerichs, Nicolle. 2014. “Romancing Pigeons: The Deconstruction of the Dating-Sim in Hatoful Boyfriend.Well-Played: A Journal on Video Games, Value and Meaning 3 (2): 4361.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Linzmayer, Owen. 1983. “Brother Can You Spare a Token?Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games 1 (1): 2829.

  • Markiplier. 2017a. “Dream Daddy LIVE.” Video. Uploaded 30 July.

  • Markiplier. 2017b. “How to Be Daddy | Dream Daddy—Part 1.” Video. Uploaded 20 July.

  • Mediatronic. 2014. Hatoful Boyfriend. Developer Digital.

  • Metacritic. 2017. Dream Daddy: A Dad Dating Simulator for PC Reviews. (accessed 25 September 2021).

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ngai, Sianne. 2012. Our Aesthetic Categories: Zany, Cute, Interesting. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

  • Punday, Daniel. 2012. “Narration, Intrigue, and Reader Positioning in Electronic Narratives.Storyworlds: A Journal of Narrative Studies 4: 2547.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Stone, Sandy. 1995. The War of Desire and Technology at the Close of the Mechanical Age. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Turkle, Sherry. 1995. Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet. New York: Simon & Schuster.

  • Usaya. 2016. My Horse Prince. USAYA Co., Ltd.

  • Warr, Philippa. 2017. “Dream Daddy: There's a New Daddy in Town.Rock, Paper, Shotgun. 25 July.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Weigel, Moira. 2016. Labor of Love: The Invention of Dating. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

  • Wilbur, Brock. 2017. “Dream Daddy Invites You to Make Your Own ‘Dadsona.’ZAM. June,

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 375 375 35
Full Text Views 18 18 1
PDF Downloads 17 17 1