In a Shitty World, 'Dream Daddy' Works Because It's Genuinely Wholesome

Earnest games are IN.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at
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I’m really happy that my partner picked Dream Daddy up, for reasons that this article highlights.

I generally avoid social media in my day-to-day because the constant stream of bad news and political tooth gnashing puts me in too deep of a mental hole to function normally, but she follows things closely, sometimes acting as my conduit to the broken world outside of my job and gaming.

Most of the prestige television like Game of Thrones is pretty dark/grim, and being with me has also influenced her to start playing more challenging games… Usually this means if she’s looking at a screen of some sort she’s sighing, shaking her head, muttering angrily, or generally reacting negatively to something that’s happening, real or fictional.

This whole setup seems genuinely unfair, so it’s been great to have her looking at a screen and laughing or smiling at all the positive stuff going on with this game. Are there more relentlessly wholesome/positive shows or games that I should be pointing her at after she’s done with Dream Daddy?

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Steven Universe isn’t always the most upbeat, and in fact wades deep into upsetting subject matter, but the show as a whole holds up empathy, emotional maturity and compassion as its chief values. I like our world and the people in it a lot more after finishing an episode.


Stardew Valley, Scribblenauts, and Animal Crossing would be my recommendations for games to check out. As for shows I would recommend Little Witch Academia if you have Netflix. I’m not super deep into anime but my understanding is there’s a number of well written shows that are like that. I think they talked about it on the podcast in the past, had something to do with sports.


I’ll second Steven Universe.

I’d also say Sense8 - it isn’t perfect, and there’s definitely some terrible things happening to people, but the thing that show trades in better than a lot of media is triumph and joy. There’s a lot of “heck yeah!” in that show.

As for games, Elite Beat Agents never failed to cheer me up, if you can get a hold of it.

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We’re saturated with satire. It’s okay to like things, it’s okay to have feelings, and it’s okay to not want to read the news every day.

Couldn’t agree more. I haven’t gotten to Dream Daddy yet - My partner and I are going to play it together - so I can’t really comment on it yet but GOSH I’m looking forward to playing it. Also, if you haven’t seen San Junipero by now, boy does it does it act as a counterpoint to everything in Black Mirror. It really should just stand as it’s own thing.

Anyway, other than the games listed above, here’s my wholesome games list:
Quantum Conundrum
Blocks That Matter
Costume Quest
Grow Home / Grow Up
Octodad: Dadliest Catch
Where is my Heart?
Burly Men at Sea
Critter Crunch
Katamari Damacy
The Professor Layton series

Also keep an eye out for Ooblets!

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TV shows:

  • Leverage is a great show about a group of con artists that go after corrupt people/corporations on behalf of the average person. Lots of great character development and interaction, great writing, and sure, it’s a bit wish-fulfillment since the bad guys get taken down and the good guys. Five seasons, currently on Netflix.

  • Midnight Diner: Tokyo Stories is a Japanese drama about a small eatery that makes whatever dish its customers request. Each episode focuses on a person’s problem and a specific dish. 10 episodes, on Netflix

  • Wakakozake is a Japanese drama about an office lady that enjoys good food and drink. Each episodes focuses on a dish or two and is all about the enjoyment of eating good food. Two seasons, on Crunchyroll.

  • Flying Witch is an anime about a young witch that moves to the countryside. Very slice of life and relaxing. 12 episodes, on Crunchyroll

  • SHIROBAKO is an anime that’s also a love letter to anime in that it’s a deep dive into anime production. It’s also a show about finding direction after college, dealing with the frustrations of personal failure, and how to grow as a creative. 24 episodes, on Crunchyroll

Video Games

  • Hustle Cat is a visual novel about working at a cat cafe and making new friends. Some other stuff happens since it’s a visual novel, but it’s a very positive game about family being the people you surround yourself with.

  • Fantasy Life is a 3DS game and honestly, just read Austin’s thoughts on his list for Giant Bomb’s 2014 GOTYs.

  • Katamari Damacy (and its subsequent sequels) is a pure and wonderful game about rolling up items to create a star and I don’t have much else to say besides the soundtracks are incredible, the visuals are great, and it’s super relaxing. Except hot/cold. Fuck that level. PS2 through PS3.

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I think maybe you’re talking about Yuri on Ice or perhaps Haikyuu (in regards to good and well-known sports anime). Haikyuu is probably better at getting you amped up but Yuri on Ice’s story is short, sweet and feel good most of the time.