is a subgenre of simulation video games in which the player lives or controls one or more virtual lifeforms.A life simulation game can revolve around "individuals and relationships, or it could be a simulation of an ecosystem".

When the game ends, the player either loses the game if he failed to properly win over any of the girls, or "finishes" one of the girls, often by having sex with her, marrying her (as in Magical Date), and/or achieving eternal love.

This gives the games more replay value, since the player can focus on a different girl each time, trying to get a different ending.

Today online games which allow you to raise show dogs or sim horse games are also quite popular.

Some artificial life games allow players to manage a population of creatures over several generations, and try to achieve goals for the population as a whole.

Games where the player character is female and potential objects of affection are male are known as Gx B or otome games.

Homosexual relationships are also possible, as there are games with no specific gender lines ("all pairings").

These games often feature a day-night cycle with a time scheduling system that provides context and relevance to character interactions, allowing players to choose when and if to interact with certain characters, which in turn influences their responses during later conversations.

While bishōjo games make up the bulk of dating sims, other types of games exist.

It also includes genetic artificial life games, where players manages populations of creatures over several generations.