Calendar / Time Management Games

The Tennis thread of all things made me realize my favorite types of game involve some form of time management… specifically stat-raising games where days go by independently of your control.

Games like _Persona, Fire Emblem: Three Houses, and Tokimeki Memorial: Girl's Side_ make you feel like every day is meaningful. I think it helps the world feel more realistic when time is a factor preventing a 'perfect' run. It prevents you from maxing out stats, so you need to stop and think about how you're going to spend your time in order to reach your personal goals.

Even games that are seemingly infinite (such as _Top Spin_ or _Harvest Moon_), can make time a vital component of the gameplay and can influence things like whether you've had enough rest before Wimbledon or whether your crops will wilt before you harvest them.

Do you find this gameplay mechanic satisfying like I do, or is this stuff annoying/frustrating?

Either way, show me your video game calendars!

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By the way, if there is name for this style of game I would be curious to know. This stuff is kind of hard to search for, even though I know there's a lot out there!


Friends of Ishikawa makes you feel things about cutting class and / or cramming from 3AM till 7AM, and just that was enough for me. When is the next exam date? I need that scholarship…

For me, I tend to shy away from these mechanics, since they are too often aligned with some optimizable characteristic (e.g. Persona relation upping). I liked Tokimeki Memorial for the element of exploring the unknown event space. I think the more random nonsense there is to reward sub optimal play, the more palatable it is.

Back in the olden days when I played NHL games on the Genesis, I always had a lot of fun with the season mode, which featured a calendar that showed you which opponents you'd be facing on which “dates.” You also had the option to simulate games, which was a fun gamble, because it really did feel random.

Then there are the obvious ones like Stardew Valley and Baby Animal Game, where the element of time can be both stressful and a large part of the appeal!

Princess Maker! Specifically Princess Maker 2 because that‘s the one I’ve played.

You have eight years to prepare your daughter for adulthood, after which you will receive some kind of ending (and there are tons). You manage the years week by week, choosing to work, study, or go out on an adventure.

I love these kind of mechanics. It's fun to boot up the game again and think, "okay, how can I do better with what I learned last time?"

Or alternatively, "okay, how do I make her a really bad person this time?".


I've never actually gotten the ending where she becomes a princess.

I love the timer in Dead Rising. I just completed my first “perfect” run. I rescued every survivor, defeated every boss, and got the best ending which leads into Overtime mode. I did not answer all calls from Otis, but can you really blame me? That guy calls you a whole lot.

@“MDS-02”#p111521 Oh cool! Every time I learn something new about Ringo Ishikawa, the more interesting it sounds. I thought it was a basic kunio-kun sort of thing, but hearing there's some simulation elements has me intrigued.

@"whatsarobot"#p111527 What's even more interesting to me are the 'Football Manager' games where they don't even actually play the sport, they just set up training schedules and simulate being the owner of the team. I like the idea that around a million people look at this as an ideal gameplay experience:


Football Manager is basically a raising sim like the one @"Mnemogenic"#750 brought up. It's interesting to think that the "primary" demographic of people these games are marketed to really just want the same thing, whether they're middle aged european footy fans or teens who want to become parents in East Asia.

@“Mnemogenic”#p111534 I was really hoping someone would bring up Princess Maker! And I agree, it always looks super compelling to me, but I‘ve never actually played it. I’ve heard it‘s hard to understand what to do, and your daughter can run away from home a lot if you aren’t careful. But it's also got like 80 different endings with everything from marrying a Dragon or becoming a Dark Lord or… uh… the father marrying the daughter. The open ended possibilities of it are so interesting!

I did find this list of raising sims: At some point I need to dive into this genre!

@“Tradegood”#p111609 If I squint hard enough, I can see the appeal of these kinds of experiences. I could even get into a basketball version of it, I think, if the simulation featured interviews and press conferences with players (a key part of the fan experience for many). I don‘t necessarily need the option to play the matches themselves, so long as I feel like the players I’m managing are a little bit like people, and not just names on a spreadsheet.

Another one of my all-time favorite games is 80 Days. Not only do I love it because I grew up with the Jules Verne book and love traveling and different cultures and the victorian era… but also the time mechanics are so sweet. I love that you make dozens of choices throughout the game to manage your resources and it's pretty well randomized. I played the heck out of this game, sometimes just to push the limits in maximizing the amount of new locations I could travel to and still win.


Are there any other games even somewhat like this?