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Eating Games With Curry: My Trip to the (Virtual) Hostess Club

Posted on the 16 July 2014 by Kaminomi @OrganizationASG

My Trip to the (Virtual) Hostess Club

A few years back, a dating simulation game called Dream Club was released for home consoles. Unlike the plethora of romance simulations that swear by Japanese high schools as their central stage, Dream Club takes place in a hostess club. For the uninformed, those are clubs where you pay money to talk to and have a drink with an attractive lady (you pay for her drinks, too). They’re a rather prevalent part of Japanese working culture, and despite how sleazy my description sounds, hostess clubs are actually pretty normal ways to relief stress, with some companies organizing and paying for a visit to a hostess club for their employees.

Anyway, rather than a normal romance simulation in the style of the more typical games, Dream Club is a hostess club-visiting simulator. That not only includes talking to the girls and getting them drunk (necessary to advance their story, may I add), but also the part where you, a guy with no stable job, go to work every week to blow half your paycheck to visit the club and the other half on buying drinks and presents for the girl. Also everyone is over 20 because the legal drinking age in Japan is 20, but I wouldn’t blame you for doubting it.

My Trip to the (Virtual) Hostess Club

The premise of the game is a simple one. There’s an extravagant hostess club named Dream Club, open to only those with pure hearts. You, Mr. I-bought-this-game-with-extremely-pure-intentions, are pure enough to get a one-year membership to the club! Now you have a year to spend time and money with the eight girls who work there, as well as two secret ones. Since you are a responsible adult who works on weekdays, you can only visit the club on Saturday. You spend weekdays doing part-time jobs, or you could choose to go shopping, which somehow takes an entire week even if you’re just going out to buy a hair accessory, and renders you unable to work for the rest of the week. What do you mean I can’t just swing by the store after work or something? At the beginning you have no qualifications, so you will have to take jobs that pay around 20000 yen a week (~$200), or jobs that pay more but take up two consecutive weeks and eats up your weekend, preventing you from visiting the host club. Doing a job enough times will earn you a related qualification, which will unlock slightly better jobs.

My Trip to the (Virtual) Hostess Club

Each Dream Club visit will charge you a flat entrance fee, plus a fee for requesting a particular hostess (which might as well count as part of the entrance fee. I mean, what, are you going to visit the hostess club just to chat with their front desk person and then leave?). That totals to 10000 yen, or ~$100. Then you are going to have to buy the hostess and yourself some alcoholic drinks. Drinks are expensive, starting at 1000 yen a cup and going all the way to 4500 yen a cup for the really fancy ones. You can also buy yourself a bottle, which fills 5 cups and is cheaper in the long run. You have to pay for the girl’s drink too, and no, you can’t be a cheapass and just get her a bottle of her favorite drink. She will then drink at her own pace, and if she finishes, you will have to buy her another one. You can always just buy her and yourself water, but nobody is capable of getting drunk on water. The key to advancing the plot is to get the girl tipsy (and you, yourself, have to be equally drunk), and talking to her then so that she will reveal more about herself.

Eating Games With Curry: My Trip to the (Virtual) Hostess Club

I racked up a huge bill on my very first visit and swore to never go to a host club in real life.

While you guys are having a drink, you can talk to the hostess girl, give her a present, or order food/a karaoke session. When you choose to engage in conversation, you get to choose one of three topics, and it will lead to a 3-option dialog choice. This is pretty standard-fare, except the dialog choices here are trickier than most galge. More often than not, trying to overly impress the girl will work against you because the setting is that you are an average dude and therefore claiming that you do anything at a non-casual level will always be revealed as a bluff, and simply agreeing with her or being a yes-man all the time doesn’t usually work. Sometimes, you don’t get dialog choices, but instead, get to pick one or three reactive moods to the conversation. This can get tricky as well. The only form of saving in this game is its auto-save, which means you can’t just save and reload to pick the best option either.

Since you are on limited time and the game auto-saves, the room for error is quite low. Just like real life! Unless you are following a guide, of course. There are several mini-games you can play with the hostess, including a pocky-biting game, karaoke (in the form of a rather difficult rhythm game with a small margin for timing errors), spraying ketchup on an omelet rice, and a chugging contest. The latter’s difficulty is dependent on your alcohol tolerance level, which you can level up by drinking more alcohol. Man, this guy is going to end up with some major health issues in the future…

My Trip to the (Virtual) Hostess Club

Having a high alcohol tolerance works both ways. I mean, yeah, you can look cool by downing your cup of whiskey in a matter of seconds and impress the lady with your smooth alcoholic skills, but it’ll take you more drinks (and thus more money) to get drunk enough to be able to select the story-advancing conversation topics.

For my playthrough, I chose to go after the blonde girl with twintails, Mian. As you may have guessed, she is a tsundere. Not just any tsundere, but the insufferable type who is insecure deep down and will constantly lash out at you even when you haven’t really done anything noteworthy. This breaks the immersion of the high-class hostess club setting, since she is awfully rude from Day 1, despite that, you know, you are a paying customer. To be fair, the protagonist isn’t exactly prince charming, being a guy who tries to use cheesy lines on his second meeting, but Mian is a good example of the tsundere that almost everyone is tired of.

My Trip to the (Virtual) Hostess Club

Perhaps starting off with another heroine would give me a better impression of the game, but I fell asleep in the middle of my second playthrough because the game is so, so boring. The conversations are hardly interesting, and the “gameplay”, whatever little of it, gets repetitive. I give the developers props for actually trying out an innovative system and setting with the game (and also the excellent cel-shaded 3D models), but it’s the kind of thing that sounds more interesting on paper. The game itself isn’t very fun to play. There is hardly any story to Dream Club, aside from getting to know your girl of choice and help her overcome some problems (for Mian, it’s her lacking communication skills). Since the entire game is in 3D, any “CG events” are actually pictures rendered in the game’s engine, in the style of a cellphone photo during a date.


I am never going to a real life hostess club. Holy shit, look at that money I could be spending on video games! How does the protagonist even pay rent? He obviously finished school, so is he still leeching off his parents? Dude, you’re living with your mom, making $200 a week, and blowing it on hostesses and booze? At least your money and qualifications carry on to New Game plus, which means there’s a chance for you to be rich and actually justify your spending habits. Oh yeah, did I mention that in order to get Mian’s good end, I had to buy her a 150000 yen scooter 3 months after we just met? I had to buy some chick I barely know (and have to pay to converse with) a $1500 scooter, and I make ~$300 a week even with the better jobs on the first playthrough. Man, I wish I could be this free of worries.

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I like J-RPGs and porn games.
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